mcdonalds in hong kong

one of the things i really wanted to try in hong kong was mcdonalds. i’ve been told that mcdonalds is different everywhere in the world, with every country adding their own twist to the fast food favourite.

my dad ordered the big mac combo ($21HKD = $2.72USD … wow), my mom had some grilled chicken sandwich and I ordered something that was called the McSpicy but looked just like the mcchicken as i know it from canada. (those who know me will know that i strongly believe the american mcchicken is an imposter of a sandwich.)

2 combos, 1 sandwich and upsized “shake shake” fries costed less than $100HKD = $12.97USD. crazy!

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the mcspicy was good. it tasted and it looked like the mcchicken, except when you bite into the patty, you can actually taste the chicken meat rather than it having been fried and frozen beyond all taste recognition. this was a nice and pleasant surprise. a downside, however, was that since the chicken was fried and battered, the patty was extremely oily. after i took a bite into the sandwich, i could see oil guzzling from the meat. i was blotting my sandwich after every bite!

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something unique to hong kong (as far as i know) are the shake shake fries. an upgrade of $4HKD = $0.52USD will get you a paper bag along with a pack of seasoning. the idea is to dump your fries and the seasoning into the bag and “shake shake” it until you have a bag of flavoured fries. i’ve been told the seasonings are set and you don’t have any choice. i was looking forward to trying the seaweed flavour, but when i ordered, they had honey bbq (which was good!)

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macau vs vegas: a reflection

macau at night is interesting. to me, it’s just like hong kong — a very “night market” type place. everyone is on the streets, not drunk, but hungry and seeking delicious and cheap fare from the local street vendors.

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macau and vegas are very different. people always compare the two, but the only thing they have in common is that their main source of revenue comes from the local casinos. people go to vegas to party, get drunk and have their bachelor/bachelorette parties. people go to macau with stacks of cash ready to gamble. it’s no surprise that macau rakes in 5x more profits from casinos than vegas. 

walking through macau, i couldn’t spot a single night club. maybe they are tucked into the hotels somewhere, but even so, there are not that many large hotels. the ones that are large, however, are extravagant. case in point — the venetian which is apparently 4x the size of its vegas counterpart, and also has the largest casino floor in the world.

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the wynn macau has a fiery fountain show and inside, a crazy “rotunda” that twists and turns and opens up and plays music. it’s absolutely nuts.

fountain show:

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rotunda:

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one thing also to note is that in vegas, you can drink anywhere– one of my favourite things about vegas. but in macau … i’m looking at the casino floor and everyone either has tea, water or coke. i asked my cousin and he told me alcohol is served ….. in the VIP areas.

walking through the streets of macau at 1AM, nobody is drunk and nobody is rowdy. everyone’s crowded around the many, many bacarrat tables in the venetian with their life savings in chip form, not knowing what the next few minutes of their life would entail. 

comparing and contrasting some other things..

in vegas, you have street people slapping their escort cards and shoving them in your face. in macau, they just throw these on the floor and hope that as you walk home alone to your hotel room with your head slumped from losing your life savings in a game of sic bo, companionship may be the one thing you seek.

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similarity: long taxi lines in both vegas and macau.

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the hotel rooms were large, keeping in mind that you are in china.

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also, the hotel receptionist told me that everything in the mini-bar is free of charge. i was so excited, until i discovered the contents:

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dat san miguel tasted good, though.

so, macau- you alright. but i’m more of a vegas girl. though, I must admit, you have delicious food.

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macau in food

crab congee

there is a type of crab which is slightly smaller in size than what we’re used to in north america that is very popular in macau. walking down the streets, this dish is often advertised on storefronts. delicious! i’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong with crab congee in macau.

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more in detail here: http://lunchbag-hk.posterous.com/macau-is-delicious

shrimp roe wonton noodles

had this at the same place as the crab congee place. less places had this advertised which leads me to think it’s more of a local shop specialty. it was delicious. you could definitely tell by the stringiness that the wonton noodles were homemade. the shrimp roe was light but flavourful. would definitely have this again, and next time i’ll be ordering two plates 🙂

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more in detail here: http://lunchbag-hk.posterous.com/macau-is-delicious

roast duck

the best roast duck i have ever had. in my life. ever. it’s marinated perfectly in some sort of black pepper flavoured sauce. the duck is tender, not too fat and not too lean. so perfect. this restaurant is a must if you ever visit macau!

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side note: nothing else is that good. the wonton noodles (both mein and fun) were mediocre.

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congee inside the grand lisboa

 nothing special. the restaurant overlooks the casino floor so as you have each spoonful of your $40HKD bowl of congee, you can watch people lose much more money per hand.

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portuguese egg tarts

unfortunately, we weren’t able to make it to either of the world famous portuguese tart places. we arrived at cafe margaret 15 minutes before their closing, but i guess they decided to close up earlier (it was raining that day– maybe they had less business because of it?). lord stow’s shop was too far for us (we were only there for 2 days, 1 night). however, tons of places sell portuguese egg tarts, so we tried a random place. it was better than the ones i had in toronto, and i guess it will be left a mystery just how delicious portuguese egg tarts can be.

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beef brisket noodles

our first stop in Taipa, Macau! the beef brisket was absolutely amazing. i have never had brisket that tender and flavourful. the spices of the brisket overflowed into the broth making the soupy noodles a must-have for any visitor!

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pork chop bun

these seem to be wildly popular in taipa, with every other shop offering pork chop buns. however, i’m inclined to believe that these shops are only selling these to profit off the popularity of Tai Lei Loi Kei, a local shop in Taipa. known for selling out early, their pork chop buns are cheap and delicious — my two favourite characteristics for food. 

i read online that they start serving these buns at 3pm and usually run out by 5pm. we got there at 2:45pm and they had already started selling. the place was packed!

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dessert

i read online about this place in taipa that serves delicious mango pudding and durian ice cream. we found the place (9A rua de cunha, taipa) and everything said about the food here was right. the mango pudding was so fresh and delicious — there were real mango bits in the pudding! the durian ice cream, which my dad ordered, was apparently really good too. personally, i’m not a fan of durian. my mom ordered some coconut dessert. we all opened our dessert and took a whiff at the same time. my mom and i couldn’t smell anything but the durian.

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koi kei – pastries/bakery shop

there is a pastry shop that is wildly popular among tourists visiting macau. it is touted to have the “best souvenir” to bring back home for your friends and family. the place is called koi kei and it was absolute madness in every store. it is also so popular that there are easily 20+ shops in and around macau. sometimes there are 2 on the same block. each one is as packed as the last.

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but its business is well deserved. they make some pretty delicious stuff — the most popular being almond cookies. they are also known for their egg rolls, dried meats (beef jerky, etc) and almond/peanut candies. 

the best part is that you can sample anything in the entire store. they easily have over 50 products and each has a sample box. and they are not wiener-sized costco samples. they are full-sized, what-you-see-is-what-you-get. ah, asia.

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macau: canons and views

after seeing the ruins of st pauls, my dad tried to look for these historical war canons. we walked around the ruins and found a walking trail which would lead us to where we want to go.

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on the way, met up with my bro here:

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the walk was actually quite nice. it was a pleasant change of scenery since what we had seen of macau so far were the casinos, hotels and marketplaces – and not to mention, each of those places was flooded with people.

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we took some stairs up and ended up at a place with a pretty incredible view.

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also, it seems macau also prefers hilarious cartoons to convey important PSAs.

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eventually, we found the war canons!

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we took more stairs up and reached the highest point we could get to. there was a garden and a museum detailing the history of macau on the roof in addition to a seemingly endless row of canons and incredible 360 views of the country.

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a canon:

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incredible 360 views:

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we stayed until sundown and the walk back down was nicely lit 🙂

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macau: ruins of st pauls

after a delicious lunch, my dad decided to lead the way to the ruins of st pauls.

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we took a wrong turn at one point and ended up in Senado Square, which is basically a large, old-fashioned marketplace-type shopping area.

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finally, we ended up at the ruins of st pauls.

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in the 16th century, this was a rather large church with built-in residences. tragically, in 1835, most of it was ruined in a fire caused by a typhoon. after the clean-up, there was only one wall left standing — the ruins of st. pauls.

front:

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from behind:

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up close:

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it’s kinda crazy.

next to the historical landmark was a tiny temple, obviously overshadowed by its neighbour as it had virtually no visitors (the ruins of st pauls was overcrowded with people). my dad was intrigued, as he usually is, and we found out that it was the famous na tcha temple.

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there was a plaque which explains the story behind this:

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also, this sign to the “museum” of the na tcha temple was written weirdly.. or is it just me?

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in front of the temple, to get back to the main street, there was a very old-fashioned brick road. very nice.

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~ time travel ~

we walked back towards the ruins at night and saw that they shine a purple light on the wall.

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very eerie. 

macau is delicious

after we check-in to the hotel, we were hungry so we went hunting for some food. my aunt told us about this restaurant in macau, and all we knew was the name and main intersections. we somehow made our way to the vicinity but had to ask a bunch of people for directions. we finally found the restaurant after a while, and to our dismay, we discovered that it was ..

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… closed on tuesdays.

dejected? dispirited? yes we were. it was raining, and we were hungry! so we decided to keep walking and randomly pick a restaurant. it’s a dangerous game of food roulette… you never know what you’ll end up eating…

so a few steps down the road, we stumbled upon a restaurant. the insides were plastered with photos of celebrities (presumably. they were attractive and young and smiling.) posing with the food or the owners. good enough for us.

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we ended up ordering their 2 signature dishes, which are shown at the top of the menu. the first one, shrimp roe homemade wonton noodles, and the second one was crab congee. the crab is a special type that is only available in macau (as far as i know). we also ordered a plate of choy..

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.. which BY THE WAY was phenomenal. those are whole pieces of garlic at the top. new meaning to garlic cooked choy.

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the shrimp roe wonton noodles came. and it was freakin amazing. best noodles i have ever tasted, and i usually do not like that thin, “mein” type noodle. the shrimp roe had so much flavour, too!

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so then the crab congee came. and oh. my. goodness. best congee i have ever had. hands down. no exageration.

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dat crab. dat flavour.

it took everything in me to not come here again for every meal for the rest of our trip.

Macau!

tuesday morning, my parents and i set sail for macau!

hong kong has a few ports where you can take a ship to macau. we went to the one at sheung wan and bought our tickets…

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and we took this “turbojet” there…

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the inside:

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the ferry took about 1 hour and when we got there, we took a shuttle bus to our hotel (grand lisboa/hotel lisboa). the shuttle bus was so dinky. the venetian had a baller-ass coach bus though.

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PS- 4 wheel luggage is a godsend.

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