I forgot how horrible the weather in Hong Kong is in August. My 3 minute walk from the MRT station to my hotel at 11pm at night left me completely drenched in sweat, battling against the 80% humidity and 30 degree heat.
But you know, I still do love Hong Kong. Although I grew up a little less local than some, the city is incredibly dear to my heart. There's something comforting and familiar about the streets, the tall buildings, the red taxis.
Walking the streets in the morning, it saddens me that I never picked up Chinese (my parents were advised to bring me up with one language despite the fact they can speak multiple), and thus miss out on the packed out breakfast hot spots, noisy, bustling and aromatic, covered in white tiles, and windows filled to the brim with menus in Chinese.
In hindsight I really should have just checked out what everybody else was eating and pointed to whatever looked delicious.
Determined not to end up in a Western style cafe, I find somewhere with an English menu as well and sigh happily with my soup noodles.
Street side juice bars make me smile. Especially when there's guava involved.
I try cronuts for the first time. Petit Amanda's are baked, not fried, making them quite light and crisp, although they were a bit lacking in custard.
Shopping expeditions are followed by bowls of pig intestine congee for 5 Australian dollars.
The lines for Garrett's Popcorn confuses me. I know it's good, but should anyone wait that long for popcorn?
My second cronut comes from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel's Cake Shop on Connaught Road, wrapped up like an expensive looking burger, brought back to my very plush room at the Ovolo Hotel in Central to have with a tea, as goodness you need one to cut through the sweetness!
The little suckers are rich, there's oil, butter and chocolate, leaving you feeling a bit greasy in the mouth, but also smiling with all the chocolatey calorific goodness. It's so bad. But so good. It gives me mixed feelings.
White chocolate fondant melts into our mouths and our souls and beings at Gold by Harlan Goldstein, where we sit outside, above the party scene below.
Dinner takes my breath away at Sevva, where I stupidly don't bring my camera to the decadently decorated rooftop restaurant, with views to absolutely die for. My group of friends are amazing, and although we meet to discuss business and life, we are all connected by our love of food as well.
Sevva offers up simple, unpretentious food that is marvellously executed. Poached salmon with truffles on a bed of asparagus keeps me surprisingly delighted. The shared risotto entree is also rather mind blowing.
We also eat three kinds of truffle cheeses together. Before serving, I was running around the room with the truffled pecorino, still wrapped up in cling wrap, and making everyone smell how aromatic it is, even with a barrier in place.
Paisanos pizzas bring back New York memories. The pizza was so big, my friend had to put it on someone else's head to fit it in the elevator.
Pierre Herme macarons nearly give me a heart attack with their price, but pleasantly surprise me with how good they actually are. Based on previously negative experience with Laduree macarons in Sydney, I was expecting much less, so got so much more. The shell gently crumbled, then melted away into your mouth with the ganache, a delicate texture, absolutely fuelled with flavour. It's $45 for 12 (Pierre Herme only allow you to buy by the box, the smallest being a box of 7), but it's well worth doing at least once.
Plus the box is so darned cute.
And then my friend from Thailand brings boxes of marbled brownies the size of my face. I am happy.
I never have enough time in Hong Kong. It's a weekend there, a few days here, I think I need a week trip next time to fully appreciate and explore and shop properly. As should you if you ever pop by this little gem.