Hey...this looks familiar!
I'm not sure if the Saint Honore Cake Shop in Chinatown all the way back in Sydney is in anyway related to this one, but accidentally finding this bakery really struck home (no pun intended!) how deep the Canton influence in Sydney runs.
Lap cheong sausages and other dried meats hanging in an outdoor market.
Searching through the web for place names and landmarks now, it seems that I may have inadvertently found my way to Wan Chai, where there is a bustling and chaotic wet-market selling a variety of fresh produce, meat and other edible goods.
A stall in the Wan Chai street market combining two of the best things in life: fruit, and socks.
The wet-market was a real sight to behold. The last time I saw something like this was when I was in Tianjin, my hometown in China, a few years back, and a relative took me to one of the local markets. Certainly, there is nothing like this in Sydney. The Wan Chai wet-market was positively teeming with life, from the butchers and fishmongers shouting their wares, to the old ladies picking discriminately at the fruits and vegetables, to the silver-scaled fish still flopping about in their pans. It was overwhelming, but in the best of ways.
A fishmonger with his array of seafood.
So many varieties of molluscs.
Woah, fish roe alert! Or, at least I think it's fish roe.
I gawked at this rack of ribs (stripped bare!), and the huge, whole liver and heart hanging next to it, until the vendor stared back and I scuttled away in embarrassment.
Another sight to gawk at: dried up chicken carcasses hanging in a row.
There were hawker-style food stalls aplenty, offering cheap hot meals, but I decided to lunch on odd bits and pieces collected from a range of sources. First up - the Hong Kong egg tart (dan tat):
This one was purchased from the Tin Lok Bakery in Wan Chai.
The pastry crust was wonderfully crumbly and layered, as a dan tat's ought to be. The custard filling was not as rich as that in a Portuguese egg tart, the latter making use of heavy cream and egg yolks. Still, eating this was an enjoyable experience.
The pastry was stellar. I desire desperately to learn the secret behind making a multi-layered tart crust.
I bought and ate whatever looked interesting. At that moment, it happened to be a glutinous rice ball, rolled in desiccated coconut and filled with a black sesame paste:
Black sesame is one of my favourite flavours in a dessert. I love it in all its forms - black sesame ice cream, black sesame soup, black sesame sponge roll!
Needing something savoury to balance out all the sugar, I got a few pieces of sugar-glazed bacon (okay, fine, more sugar!) from Bee Cheng Hiang, a company specialising in bakkwa (salty-sweet, jerky-like pieces of dried meat).
The glazed bacon was listed as "gourmet bakkwa". Candied bacon is as gourmet as bacon gets in my book!
The streaks of fat were the best bits.
Stomach filled (for the moment), I did a bit more sight-seeing:
Sasa, the HK version of Priceline, but so much more awesome. I may or may not have blown all my spending money on fake eyelashes, eyelid tape, and hot pink lipstick...what, I'm a girl!
Ooh, shinyyyy...maybe it's good for hypnotising myself into eating less chocolate in the new year?
Cake food porn!
Apparently home to the best dim sum in Hong Kong. Must try on my next visit!
Chocolate selection at the International supermarket in Windsor House.
How is it that they stock the 90% and 99%, and Woolies/Coles do not?!
Commuters waiting at the bus stop. I haven't ridden in a double-decker in years.
It was cool walking through these dingy back alley-ways. Only in the light of day, though!
One of the entrances to Causeway Bay Station.
By the time dinner time rolled around, my Achilles tendons felt like they were about to snap. Sorry for that piece of imagery, but paper thin-soled ballet flats really aren't made for walkin'. Nothing a good dinner can't fix. Stay tuned for the details in Part 4!