Typhoon arrived in Hong Kong

Batman and Mao Mao would be flying off today. They woke up early to pack their luggage and was done before 9am. All of us, including Redhead, went for breakfast together. There was one last place that we wanted to try. Although the dish we wanted to eat was not really meant for breakfast, Batman and Mao Mao had no other chance to eat it.

We went to 永合成餐廳餅店 (Wing Hap Shing Restaurant). It was a very ordinary-looking place, very much like one of those cha chaan teng that could be found all over Hong Kong. The only clue was the many newspaper articles pasted on the front of the restaurant. There were only a handful of customers in the restaurant. We were worried that the dish we wanted to eat would not be available so early in the morning. But the staff said that it was and we happily placed orders for three claypot rice.

We ordered a cup of milk tea each. It arrived unsweetened and we could add as much sugar as we wanted from the container on the table. I really liked the retro-looking cups.

Wing Hap Shing is famous for their beef and egg claypot rice and we saw many pictures of it in the newspaper articles pasted out front. The raw egg was added just before the claypot arrived at our table so it was still uncooked. We added some dark sauce and mixed up the contents of the claypot. The egg also became cooked by the residual heat. It was tasty and the beef was tender and savory. Although this seemed to be the dish that was mentioned in all the newspaper articles, we felt that the other two claypot rice we ordered were tastier.

Besides the beef claypot, we also had the pork and chicken feet claypot and asked for an egg to be included. By the time the claypot arrived at our table, the egg was cooked to the consistency of a soft boiled egg. There was some black bean sauce mixed into the ingredients which gave it a salty flavor. The pork was cut into large chunks. The meat texture was a bit coarse but the pork was tender enough that there was no difficulty eating it.

The chicken and mushroom claypot was tasty as well. Like the previous claypot, we also asked to add an egg to it. The chicken meat was firmer than Singapore’s chicken but it was very flavorful, tasting of garlic and ginger. Mao Mao said that if she closed her eyes, she could imagine herself eating Hainanese chicken rice.

Despite the rather heavy meal in the morning, we finished everything because it was so tasty.

After breakfast, we went to The Cupping Room for coffee. I had the cafe latte this time and it was lovely.

Then it was time for Batman and Mao Mao to collect their luggage from Redhead’s apartment and Redhead helped them to find a taxi. After a quick round of goodbyes, Batman, Mao Mao and I boarded the taxi while Redhead went off to work. I’m not flying off today but I decided to just tag along for the ride. We asked the taxi dropped us off at the International Finance Centre (IFC) Mall and the journey cost around HKD 20-30.

Batman and Mao Mao’s first stop was at the 奇華餅家 (Kee Wah Bakery) outlet. All of us bought a whole basket worth of snacks each for our family and friends back in Singapore. I wasn’t planning to buy today as I thought it would be better to buy the snacks closer to my departure date. But Mao Mao said that since I was already at the outlet, I might as well buy my snacks. Otherwise I would need to make another trip to a Kee Wah Bakery outlet. It made sense so I also started to add some items to my basket.

After we made our purchases, Batman and Mao Mao spent some time packing the snacks into their luggage. Then we went to the In-Town Check-In which was at IFC. The check-in counters were in an enclosed area and one needed to buy an airport express ticket to the airport to be able to go inside.

After Batman and Mao Mao checked-in their luggage, we decided to explore the IFC Mall. There was plenty of time as we had around two hours before Batman and Mao Mao needed to leave for the airport. It was raining heavily and through the large windows, we could see the leaves of the coconut trees blown to the side by the strong wind.

IFC Mall had many shops and most, if not all, were branded shops. It was lunch hour and in front of every eating place, be it a restaurant or fast food, were long queues of people waiting for their turn to eat. Some of the queues were hardly moving but the office workers in the queue did not seem concerned. I wondered, that give the long queues, how was it possible to finish eating lunch within one hour? Perhaps that was why people in Hong Kong seemed to work long hours.

Then it was time for Batman and Mao Mao to leave for the airport. I also took the MTR back to Sheung Wan. I was tired of walking around the shopping mall and since it was still raining heavily, there was no point going out either. Even though I had an umbrella, the rain was so heavy that my bag was wet by the time I reached Redhead’s apartment. Luckily the bag was slightly waterproof so only the outside was drenched while the inside was still dry.

I left the bag to dry while I spent the rest of the afternoon reading one of the books I’ve borrowed from the library. Since the outside was gloomy and it was so quiet in the apartment, I fell asleep. I woke up at around 5-6pm. A glance out of the window confirmed that it was still raining, but not as heavily as before.

It was still a few hours before I was supposed to meet Redhead for dinner. Since there wasn’t much to do in the apartment (Redhead’s TV could not receive any signal), I decided to take a slow walk to the meeting place. I walked to Central, then took a different route back to Sheung Wan, passing by 九記牛腩 (Kau Kee Restaurant). I noticed that it was still packed with people and I hoped that the crowd would have lessened by the time Redhead and I met for dinner.

I then walked back to Central and decided to look for Rabbithole Coffee & Roaster, which was recommended by Batman’s barista. I was tired of walking around in the rain, which drizzled on and off, and wanted to find a place to sit down. I had it marked on the map but when I walked past the location, I couldn’t find it. After walking past the same location three or four times, I gave up and took a ride on the mid-level escalators instead.

I rode along on the escalator, glancing at the shops that I passed by when suddenly I saw the sign for Rabbithole. There it is! I quickly got off at the next exit and walked and retraced my path. But strangely when I got down to the ground level, I couldn’t find Rabbithole. It was puzzling and frustrating.

Since I had already spent so much time looking for the cafe, and also because I had nothing else better to do, I decided to get on the mid-level escalator again. This time I paid more attention to my surroundings and quickly got off again when I saw the Rabbithole sign. But once again, I couldn’t find the cafe when I reached ground level. And I was so sure that it was just here. Thinking that I had miscalculated, I walked up and down the street twice. Nothing.

I was on the verge of giving up again when it suddenly hit me, like a light bulb turning on in my head. In Hong Kong, businesses occupied different floors of a small building, accessible by a small entrance to a staircase or elevator. Silly of me to think that Rabbithole was on the ground floor just because it was a cafe. I walked along the street again, this time looking upwards. Soon I spotted the Rabbithole sign but it was worrying that the windows looked dark. I looked at my watch and realized that it was already after 7pm, way past closing time. Oh well, I still had one day left in Hong Kong so I could always come back tomorrow.

I was tired of walking in the on-and-off rain and looked for a place to sit down and have a cold drink, and maybe a light snack. The problem was that most cafes closed at 7pm. I wandered until I passed by 翠華餐廳 (Tsui Wah Restaurant). Now this was an option, but when I peeped into the glass windows, the place looked crowded and busy so I moved on.

Further down the street, I saw a sign for the 北海道牧場餐廳 (Hokkaido Dairy Farm Milk Restaurant) and thought that I could give it a try. The truth is, I am just attracted to the word “Hokkaido” which evoked lovely memories each time I saw it. So I went to the place which was white and bright but with much fewer customers.

I ordered a Hokkaido milk coffee which was sweet and milky.

I was also tempted by the 3 inch tall egg sandwich so I ordered that as well. It was too thick to pick up with my hands without making a mess so I ate it using a fork and knife. It was made up of thin layers of egg and lacked the buttery flavor of the scrambled egg toast from the 澳洲牛奶公司 (Australia Dairy Company). I felt a bit sad that the food did not live up to the real Hokkaido standard.

Redhead met me after she finished her work and we went to 九記牛腩 (Kau Kee Restaurant) for dinner. Despite the late hour, the restaurant was still fully packed and we shared a table with three Chinese tourists. This time I chose thick noodles just to see how it would go with the curry beef brisket. The thick noodles were chewier but I felt that the e-fu noodles was a better match. I thought that I had gotten my appetite back but apparently not. I could only finish half of the curry beef noodles. Maybe I could blame it on the thick noodles as they were more filling.

It continued raining through the night. When I went to the toilet in the middle of the night, I saw a big cockroach on the bathroom window sill, positioned right above Redhead’s toothbrush. It looked disheveled so I assumed it had crawled indoors to escape from the wind and rain. As I looked at the cockroach, the first thought that ran through my mind was, “Shucks, Batman had gone home.”

Since Batman wasn’t around, the responsibility of tackling the cockroach was left to me. I stared at the cockroach and tried to build up courage to tackle it. I didn’t dare to touch it so I took a piece of toilet paper and tried to flick the cockroach out of the window. It didn’t work and worse, the cockroach ran onto Redhead’s toothbrush. Then it ran onto the window sill and I quickly slammed the window on it. The cockroach didn’t die and scuttled away when I opened the window a little to check on it. I closed the bathroom window and locked it so that there would be no further unwelcome visitors.

On the way back to the bedroom, I stubbed my second toe against the sofa leg. It was very painful and I limped the rest of the way back to the bedroom. When I got into bed, the toe was still throbbing painfully. I don’t think that I had ever stubbed my toe so badly before. The cockroach must have cursed me.

Places we ate today

永合成餐廳餅店 (Wing Hap Shing Restaurant)
Address: G/F, 113-115 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan
Tel: +852-28505723 / 28505726
Opening hours: 6:30am – 4pm (Mon – Sat)
Nearest MTR Station: Sheung Wan

The Cupping Room
Address: Shop LG, 287-299 Queen’s Road Central (Entrance on Clevery Street), Sheung Wan
Tel: +852-93161980
Opening hours: 8am – 5pm (Mon, Wed – Fri); 8am – 6pm (Sat); 10am – 6pm (Sun)
Nearest MTR station: Sheung Wan

北海道牧場餐廳 (Hokkaido Dairy Farm Milk Restaurant)
Address: 8/F, The Loop, 33 Wellington Street, Central
Tel: +852-28100011
Nearest MTR station: Central

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