Our first whole day in Hong Kong, we had a repertoire of quintessentially Hong Kong meals: congee for breakfast, dim sum for brunch and a homemade seafood dinner, alongside street snacks, of course, in the form of egg tarts and the famed egg waffle.
A little before 9 in the morning, Alvin’s mom suggested that we have some rice porridge at a famous congee shop in Yau Ma Tei (油麻地, Yau Ma Dei), a short taxi ride away from Tai Kok Tsui, on Kowloon Peninsula. So she called a cab and off we went.
For the unacquainted, Hong Kong’s geography may be a bit confusing–most of Hong Kong’s territory is actually on the Chinese mainland, with the urbanized peninsula called Kowloon. Opposite of Kowloon is Hong Kong Island, the business heart of Hong Kong. Beyond Kowloon and directly bordering the Chinese mainland is New Territories.
Nathan Road is Yau Ma Tei District’s main drag, dotted with restaurants, retail shops and other less reputable businesses (Note the yellow karaoke sign above). What struck me was the sheer number of pedestrians dwarfed by the vertical landscape, buildings side by side, vying for every available inch of space.
1. Ocean Empire Congee Shop 海皇粥店 – Review
G/F., No. 497A Nathan Rd, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
2. Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market 油麻地果欄
After the breakfast, we walked around Yau Ma Tei’s wholesale fruit market. Most of the early morning (midnight to be exact) business transactions had already taken place, so the marketplace stalls were mostly cleared out for the day.
It was nice to see some glimmers of old Hong Kong in these parts. Take this traditional shophouse as an example, gritty and largely unlit, almost harkening back to those early 1970s triad movies for which Hong Kong is so well known.