Hong Kong Food Diary

I went to Hong Kong for the first time! And ate approximately six trips’ worth of food, clearly. You’d think we planned our entire itinerary around meals and snack times.

But food in Hong Kong is just that good and accessible—everywhere we went there was something that looked delicious and didn’t make a dent in our wallets.

I think breakfast is such a great way of seeing the every day life of people in the country you’re visiting. The things they eat, the way they order food like they’re talking to a friend, the time they take to sit there and eat. Some of them opened up their newspapers, some of them took a bite and were on their way out.

(We spent a good hour taking pictures while eating like the tourists we are.)

The old-fashioned places were my favourite. This one was called Mido Cafe and straight out of the 60s, timeless in its subdued green hues and patterned tiles.

When we weren’t sitting at cafe or cha chaan teng (Hong Kong-style restaurant) eating we were roaming around and hitting all the food stalls on the street. Egg tarts for HK$45! I almost want to write a currency table so you could see how cheap it is in different currencies.

And they were freshly baked.

There was a famous stall called Hop Yik Tai in Sham Shui Po selling cheong fun—they ladled out mini rice rolls onto a plate, splashed it with sauces and gave it to you to eat in the alley next door. No-frills but delicious.

Another famous Hong Kong snack! Egg waffles that looked puffy but were actually crispy and airy inside.

And of course we had dim sum. Because that’s what you do when you go to Hong Kong—eat dim sum every day. It’s hard not to when it’s just! So! Cheap! And my stomach has a huge capacity for steamed buns.

We had the famous BBQ pork bun from Tim Ho Wan and it was a game-changer. No other pork bun comes this close for me. The chain’s got a lot of pressure with its one Michelin star and critics saying it’s overrated, but as far as I’m concerned it was the best I’ve had. I could dream about that crispy crust.

Dim sum was cheap on the whole, but it could get expensive in the swankier areas. I specifically wanted these piggy buns from Yum Cha, which was a proper restaurant in the city with waiters that actually paid attention to you (in fact ours was hovering right in front of us and refused to leave the entire time, but that’s another matter). Anyway, I got the buns and they were the cutest thing on the island I ate.

And if this isn’t the prettiest har gow I’ve ever seen! Certainly the best dressed shrimp dumpling you’ll find.

These were pineapple puffs! If I’m going to pay double the price for dim sum, they’d better come in a silver cage shaped as baby birds.

That was just a fraction of the food pictures I had from the entire trip, but we did actually do things other than eating! Like observing the billions of cats that seem to populate the streets of Hong Kong.

We also found ourselves crawling through a pirate’s cave on Cheung Chau island.

The travel bug is real. I finally got to check Hong Kong off my list of places to go! It was a gritty city cramped with old buildings and movement, but being in the middle of all that meant I got to see all the colours and neon lights and the towering double decker buses up close.

Cake and Peaceful Days at Cafe SOROR

Recently I’ve been on a hunt for small cafes with pretty desserts so it’s a good thing that there are so many hidden around the streets of Tokyo. Everything is designed with heart, from the interior to the beautifully plated desserts.

I went to SOROR, a cafe in Shin-Otsuka near Ikebukuro. It’s tiny, so sometimes people have to wait outside for a table (I waited). But since it was cold out the staff gave us blankets to keep us warm. So kindPlus the storefront is adorable. I want to sit out there!

Lunch plates are one of my favourite things about Japan. Cafe SOROR had the typical sets with soup and drinks, so I had their bibimbap with apple juice.

Their quiche plate was also good

We finished off with dessert and were completely satisfied with the aesthetic and taste of their homemade cakes. Everything was so pretty! There was also a vase of dried flowers conveniently placed on our table that became a prop for our pictures.

It’s the kind of place that I would go to even by myself—a cosy and unassuming space that lets you enjoy cake in peace.

Classy Pancakes at Ivy Place, Daikanyama

I’m simple when it comes to pancakes, but when they appear on a plate at one of the most sophisticated restaurants in Daikanyama i.e. one of the most sophisticated places in Tokyo, the bar is set high.

Ivy Place Pancakes

It’s literally a plate of three pancakes and cream, but that huge, smooth scoop of cream has such an elegant presence for a breakfast dish.

Ivy Place

The atmosphere of the whole place was so neat and upscale and unlike any other cafe I’d been to in Japan. High ceilings! Wooden furnishings! It made me feel fancy just walking through it. Also rewarded, because we’d just spent 40 minutes waiting for a table.

Ivy Place Pancakes

Needless to say everything on the menu is pricey, which is why we only got pancakes. But here’s a story! I ordered pancakes with extra fruits and berries, which costs more—but the waiter made a mistake and forgot to bring me my toppings. So when I asked about the missing berries they apologised and brought them to me at no extra cost. So kindcry

Ivy Place

There were lots of stylish people enjoying their Saturday brunch at Ivy Place, and it was fun to feel like part of that crowd. Even if we didn’t order anything except pancakes (“just water, please”). It was really a special occasion, so I’m glad I got to try it once! And at least I can affirm that their pancakes are, indeed, delicious.

Ivy Place

Back in Time at Nikko Edo Wonderland

Nikko Edo Wonderland

We travelled back in time to the Edo period of pre-modern Japan. What’s the secret?

Easy. Take a two hour train from Tokyo up north to Nikko, get on a bus, and pay ¥4000 to get inside. Haha.

Nikko Edo Wonderland

I’d known this place for a while and always wanted to go because it’s a historical themed village where everything and everyone is straight out of feudal Japan over two centuries ago. Doesn’t that sound fun? The only thing is it’s pricey and far from Tokyo, so it does take some effort to get here. But I finally did and it was great! We were immediately greeted by a ninja.

Nikko Edo Wonderland

The staff are all appropriately dressed as Edo people living in the village, whether they’re swordsmen or townsfolk or the local police. But the best part is that everyone else become part of the village too! Exhibit A: Three female ninjas in pink visiting for the day.

Nikko Edo Wonderland Costumes

We wanted to join in the fun too, so we went to dress up. Renting the outfit cost us another fortune, but we got to wear it till the end of the day and it is pretty much the real deal, so it’s money well spent. I’ve worn kimono and yukata, but I’ve never gotten to be an Edo swordswoman.

Nikko Edo Wonderland

A samurai needs to eat too. The streets were lined up with traditional stalls and I got a stick of hot dango (which was not a good idea to eat while wearing a ¥3000 rented costume).

Nikko Edo Wonderland

Nikko Edo Wonderland was having an anniversary campaign when we were there, so all the activities were free that month! Which was frankly amazing, because we must’ve saved at least a thousand yen painting our own daruma dolls and making strawberry daifuku.

Nikko Edo Wonderland

More things you can enjoy for free—picking a fight with random villagers in the street and practising your sword skills on them.

Nikko Edo Wonderland

They even had the cutest black shiba inu! I think I took about a few hundred pictures of Hachi. And then one with him, because I liked him so much.

Nikko Edo Wonderland

Definitely another place I’d recommend people to go to for a day trip out of Tokyo. It was one of the more unique attractions I’d visited in Japan, and the people at the village are so committed and good at their role that you really don’t feel like you’re in the 21st century at all (except when you’re taking selfies in your kimono with your iPhone). Go back in time and explore old Japan!

Nikko Edo Wonderland

Snowy Night at the Oldest Ryokan in Japan

Hello! As soon as vacation started I went off on a trip across the Kanto region in Japan, so I’m going to get straight it and start a mini travel series with the night we spent at Sekizenkan, the oldest hot spring inn in Japan.

Sekizenkan

If you’ve watched Spirited Away then this bridge probably looks a little familiar to you. Sekizenkan’s supposedly one of the inspirations behind the film’s onsen setting, and whether it’s true or not the place looks pretty legit.

Sekizenkan

It’s 326 years old, which is actually really amazing once you add up the centuries. We also realised that’s probably why the ryokan is kind of worn out and creaky, but that was all part of its charm.

Sekizenkan

Another charm was definitely its cost. One night cost us ¥6,000 (US$53), which is already half the price of most ryokans. You could call it a no-frills deal—it doesn’t pamper you quite as much as other places and you have to set up your own futon, but all that were really minor comforts to sacrifice for such a great price.

Sekizenkan

I mean, we still got the usual gift of manju!

Sekizenkan

Another reason for the low price was because the meals are provided at an economy size instead of the usual kaiseki 1o-course shebang. But when we got this whole tray of food for dinner, there really wasn’t anything economy about it. Everything was beautifully laid out and still looked expensive, so I didn’t think we were missing out on anything.

Sekizenkan

Our dinner was served in the dining hall where our table was waiting for us. So homely.

Sekizenkan Breakfast

Breakfast was another grand affair! (Okay seriously, this is a steal at the price we paid) There was porridge in the morning so that was a nice change from the endless bowls of rice. They even let you get refills if you wanted them, which is always a plus point anywhere.

Sekizenkan

It wasn’t just the food, but the whole landscape of the place was worth every yen. It may be an old place, but they’ve kept it gorgeous. Every window we looked out of had a good view even it was a clump of trees in the dark.

Sekizenkan

Shady, but magical. Also I’m glad we came here when there was snow everywhere!

Sekizenkan

Even the interior was pretty, with old-fashioned corridors and furnishings all over the place. This one elevator in the ryokan opened up to a long dim hallway that looked very much like a creepy tunnel, so that was cool.

Sekizenkan Onsen

And of course the baths were amazing. They had an outdoor onsen! (I feel like all good ryokans need to have one anyway) It was snowing when we entered the hot spring, so needless to say that was the best bath I’ve ever had.

Sekizenkan

It’s not the fanciest or the most luxurious, but Sekizenkan has an old charm of its own that you can’t get anywhere else. And of course it’s nice to be able to say you’ve stayed at the night at the real life Spirited Away hot springneko

January Conbini Favorites

It’s been a while since I did a conbini post! Been a while since I posted at all, really. Technically I just skipped a week of posting, but during finals period everything feels like an eternity when you have to study instead.

If I can’t go out to cafes then at least I’ll make sure I eat good stuff from the convenience stores.

Conbini Chicken Steamed Bun

I’m going to start with this since today is actually the first day of Chinese New Year and it’s the year of the rooster! Lawson was selling this chicken steamed bun that looks like a rooster—I love chuukaman even when they don’t come in animal form.

Kanahei Pocky

Remember the last post about the illustrator Kanahei’s exhibition? To continue about her success, here’s a limited edition Kanahei collaboration Pocky that’s everywhere in the supermarkets and conbini. There’re strawberry and chocolate flavours, so of course I bought them bothKanahei

Family Mart Macarons

Ooh. Here’s the fun one. Sometime last year I was amazed when I saw Family Mart selling macarons, and now they’ve even gone on to make it DIY. The macaron shells come neatly packaged in a cup with jam, and then you assemble everything yourself.

Family Mart Macarons

I just wish they had buttercream instead of jam for filling, but I can’t really be picky when this is obviously more of an activity than a dessert anyway.

Conbini Steamed Bun Heart

And there’re some other cute stuff too, like this heart-shaped chocolate steamed bun from Seven ElevenheartThis thing just oozes with so much filling! It’s so comforting to be able to just drop by a convenience store round the corner and get a hot chocolatey heart to go.

Counting down to spring break…sakura

A Day at Kanahei’s Town

Hello! I went to the exhibition of one of my favourite Japanese illustrators Kanahei. But since exhibition is not cute enough a word, they called it Kanahei’s Laid-back Town (カナヘイのゆるっとタウン) instead.

Kanahei

This was the part I got the most excited over—cute foodkanaheiThey had a little cafe set up next to the main hall serving a menu inspired by Kanahei’s characters. Basically everything from the burgers to the drinks came as Usagi (the rabbit) and Pisuke (the bird) and it couldn’t have been more adorable.

Kanahei

Of course the exhibition itself was full of Kanahei goodness. I’d always collected her drawings and stickers in digital form, so it was funny suddenly seeing everything blown up.

Kanahei

And since it was after all a laid-back town, there were lots of benches and resting spots to sit down on and enjoy the scenery.

Kanahei

Even Usagi and Pisuke are relaxing in their room, and they’re the main stairs of the exhibition.

Kanahei

These illustrators never fail to impress me. The whole design of the place was so whimsical but well thought out for everyone to enjoy it. And by everyone, I really mean anyone of all ages. I didn’t see any kids! Ok, maybe a handful. But the majority of visitors that day were all people my age or older, and everyone wanted to take pictures with the mascots and buy Kanahei dolls on their way out. I suppose grown ups do have the advantage of spending power.

Kanahei Usagi Pisuke Burger

I didn’t really buy merchandise, but I spent more on food at the cafeKanaheiWe got this Pisuke and Usagi burger plate and I was tickled by how pink the buns were. It was such a huge serving of burgers and fries we shared it between two people.

Kanahei Pisuke

Pisuke red bean steamed bunPisukeI was worried the bun would get cold (because obviously I was taking years to take pictures of everything on the table) but the basket it came in kept it soft and steaming. No wonder Pisuke’s face is so red.

Kanahei

And we got smoothies at the end! With the two of them waving us off from their cups.

It’s too bad this was only opened for a limited time, but considering how popular Kanahei’s illustrations are I expect it won’t be long before her next big event!


Welcome ♡

▷ . Cheryl

I'm a university student in Tokyo blogging every weekend about cute food and cute places in Japan٩( ᐛ )و

Read my About Me ☆ to know more.

はじめまして!
大学一年生のシェリルです
毎週日本の可愛い食べ物や場所についてブログ更新していますヽ(´_`) /♪

よろしくお願いします

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