In my last post about Hong Kong, I explained what sweaty tourists we were. We ran around the country, attempting to take it all in in 5 days of 90° weather. Totally worth it.
Now I will get to the really good stuff: shopping & eating.
Expat Shopping: As I mentioned before in Hong Kong, Mr. FGK & I traditionally hit up the grocery stores as soon as we arrive in a new country. I usually have a list of spices I haven’t been able to find in Korea & we do our best to stock up. Then, towards the end of the trip, we will assess which foods we liked & could most reasonably attempt to cook once we’re home. We make a new list of spices & things needed to prepare that meal & head to the grocery store once more.
As expats, our souvenir shopping is a lot different than it would be if we lived at home. We typically look for the things, such as the spices mentioned above, that can’t easily be found here. Here is a quick list of things we’ve been known to stock up on while travelling:
- Deodorant – Although that is quickly becoming an available product in Korea, more brands & scents can be found in other parts of Asia.
- Toothpaste with fluoride – Ask any of my expat friends. Whenever abroad, we buy all of the Crest & Colgate we can fit in our backpacks.
- Make-up – Korean skincare products are amazing! I love them because they work magic but, at a really reasonable price. However, the make-up doesn’t always work for me. I’ve grown tired of buying products only to find out they have too much glitter or were made for oily skin not dry skin. These days, I just try to buy western brands of make-up available in Asia & stock up when I’m in a country that has more products or better prices.
- Clothing – Yes, Korea has super stylish & affordable clothes. No, they don’t always fit me properly & they don’t fit Mr. FGK at all. So if we see a familiar western brand, we buy ourselves some goodies.
- Snacks – Some things aren’t available here, yet. I say yet because I have hope that as I’ve seen Sprite, M&M’s, Reeses Nutrageous & Lays all hit the market here over the last 3-4 years, more products will become available in the future. In the meantime, when we are travelling & see exciting snacks we can’t normally buy or the new flavors of chips we didn’t even know about, we buy ourselves treats.
While in Hong Kong we restocked on Ginger powder since we were having trouble finding it here. Then we bought ourselves little egg tart tins so we could make them once at home. I picked up a fancy tea pitcher on Kitchen Street, some Aussie shampoo, Revlon lipstick & nail polish. Lastly, we got Crest Complete with Scope, Kit Kat dark chocolate & a Mars bar. We were in the lap of luxury! Expat shopping = check!
We had one last thing to buy, though. On our trips, we always attempt to pick up a nice souvenir piece that we can decorate our home with. Something useful & practical that serves as a reminder of our trip. This time, we were a little less practical.
In HK, on Kowloon Peninsula, there is a flower market, just past Prince Edward Road West. We visited there on our second day. The market is filled with beautiful plants & flowers, both potted & arranged. It covers 2 blocks & through the entire walk all that can be smelled is fresh, floral scents. It was charming, to say the least.
At the end of this walk, we reached the Bird Market on Yuen Po Street. Here, birds from all over the world can be seen in intricately designed, traditional wooden cages. Walking through this market, all that can be heard are the sweet songs of little birds keeping each other company. It was here, that I fulfilled one of my childhood dreams. I came in contact with not one, but two Macaws. A golden & a rainbow. I was obsessed with these birds when I was a child. So, when I invent my time machine, I can go back & tell 10 year-old me, that dream will be fulfilled.
Again, I cannot describe the charm we felt touring these two markets together. So on our last day, when deciding what item would best remind us of our trip, we decided to go back to those markets. In the end, we bought a bamboo bird cage with little birds & flowers carved in the sides. It was tricky getting it safely to Korea & I’m sure it will be tricky transporting it back to America one day. But it is beautiful & whimsical & best of all, it has stories behind it.
Indulgent Food Excursions: Fooooood! This was the number one thing on our minds from beginning to end. We made a long list of foods & did one heck of a job crossing through that list. During our 5 days we ate: dim sum, roasted goose, roasted duck, 5-layer roast pork, pork buns, egg tarts, pineapple buns, chestnut tarts, wife cakes, fried noodles, satay, HK style french toast, ginger milk curd, Chinese egg pudding, Cantonese sausage, beef brisket, Kowloon style Thai food, egg waffles, etc.
Food in Hong Kong is good. Really good. It’s exciting, sometimes strange, but entirely delicious. The food, as always, was the highlight of our trip. Now, I will let the pictures do the talking.
Thanks for the memories Hong Kong!