Sunday on Hong Kong Island's South Shore

Trip Start Mar 13, 2007
Trip End Aug 10, 2007

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Then on Sunday morning I decided to do the touristy thing and take a local double-decker bus across Hong Kong Island to Aberdeen for dim sum brunch at Jumbo Floating Restaurant, one of several huge boat restaurants anchored among the yachts and sampans in Aberdeen Harbor and served by water taxis that run continuously from the docks.  Dim sum is the one of the best known forms of Cantonese food and typically showcases the delicate, subtle, and refined flavors characteristic of Cantonese cuisine, and I was eager to try a wide variety of the little morsels because I had previously only eaten one dim sum meal in my life (in Vancouver).  

Fortunately, because Jumbo is such a touristy spot, my waiter was able to remove the veil of mystery of what was moving around on the dim sum carts for me.  I thought I'd stay away from the snails, the steamed pig's "huge intestine" with black pepper, and the stewed beef tripe in satay sauce, among other unappetizing-looking dim-sum delicacies and go mostly for things in presented in pretty little packages.  I settled on six dishes I thought would give me a good mix of flavors and textures - 1) steamed dumplings filled with pork and jellyfish in shark's fin broth, 2) steamed seafood dumplings with wasabi, 3) steamed jumbo shrimp dumplings, 4) baked shrimp and smoked duck meant puffs, 5) baked barbecued pork pie, and 6) steamed rice noodle role filled with scallop.  My dim sum were all delicious and quite different from the typical Chinese breakfasts of congee, cold noodles, pickled vegetables, and spicy-salty soup usually served in hotels.  Interestingly, the steamed dumplings' contents in these Cantonese dishes were all visible through the semi-transparent rice noodle wrappers, in contrast to steamed dumplings in northern China in which the fillings are always buried deep beneath a thick layer of wheat dough.

I continued my Sunday on the south side of Hong Kong island by taking the bus to Stanley, one of several rather remote seaside villages on the south side of the island that cut off from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong by the islands mountain range and are popular abodes for expats and Hong Kong's wealthy.   In addition to beautiful views, two small temples, restaurants, and a small shopping mall, Stanley has one historic colonial building, Murray House, that was dismantled to make way for the Bank of China building downtown and reassembled on the other side of the island, now housing an interesting maritime museum.  However, Stanley is best known by tourists for Stanley Market, a large covered market selling knockoffs of designer brands that's absolutely packed with status-conscious Westerners searching for a cheap find that will demonstrate their standing in some small way when they return home.  As you may have guessed, I didn't stay there long.

Between hiding from thunderstorms, I continued spent the rest of the afternoon hiking back from Stanley over a headland to the beaches at Repulse Bay and Deepwater Bay, beautiful spots without too much overdevelopment but (like everywhere in Hong Kong) well served by public transportation.  Only a few miles from some of the most densely packed real estate on earth, the south side communities and beaches felt almost like tropical paradises.
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