Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hong Kong Vacation - November/December 2012 (Part 3)

On November 30, I had vegetarian lunch again with another good friend who I met in a taxation course in Richmond more than 10 years ago. He is residing in Hong Kong now so he guided me to a nice vegetarian restaurant called Gaia Veggie Shop (大自然素食) in Causeway Bay for lunch. This restaurant offered more variety of vegetarian dishes than I thought.

Wow, the menu is very attractive … makes me hungry by looking at it now >-<
I seldom have such fancy vegetarian meal like this!

Can you imagine? They even have different kinds of sushi or sashimi. All made with veggie ingredients.

My most favourite dish here was snake soup with chrysanthemum and dried mandarin peel (陳皮白菊五蛇羹). It had a light flavour with the aroma of white chrysanthemum.

The other one we ordered was Peking duck (北京片皮鴨). It tasted quite different from the real Peking duck dish, but still acceptable.

The side dish we ordered was lamb skewers with satay sauce (沙爹羊肉串), also tasted very good! There were two different customers ordered nigiri sushi combo which the food presentation looked very attractive, but I was already too full to try.

Originally my friend would like to bring me to Nan Lian Garden (南蓮園池) in Diamond Hill after lunch, what a great idea since I really love to re-visit the garden again with more photos taken! However it was a pouring day so our trip to Nan Lian Garden had to be cancelled. Instead my friend took me to a nearby shopping centre which was just opened in August 2012 – Hysan Place at Lee Gardens (希慎廣場). This stylish mall has many high-end and luxury stores for fashion, jewelleries and skincare products, but my favourite visits there were Eslite Bookstore (誠品書店), a very large bookstore chain owned by Taiwanese and “Kitchen 11” food court to enjoy the yummy dessert from Honeymoon Dessert (滿記甜品). The Canadian (British Columbian) owned restaurant Triple O's by White Spot can be found in this food court too!

As I’m talking about meals today, I would like to take the chance to encourage my dear readers to consider having ethical and environmental friendly diet. For example: more veggie less meat (多菜少肉), no roasted baby pig dish at Chinese banquets (不吃乳豬) and more organic food if budget allows (有機食品). Above is a list of logos of different countries in eco labelling programs that I found in Hong Kong airport which can be a reference guide when someone is looking for environmentally responsible products J

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hong Kong Vacation - November/December 2012 (Part 2)

November 28 was 齋戒日 (a vegetarian day for me since it was October 15 in Lunar Calendar), my kindergarten girlfriend took me to a special place for sightseeing and eating vegetarian lunch. It was called Chi Lin Nunnery (志蓮淨苑) and its connected park Nan Lian Garden (南蓮園池). One of my aunties wanted to take me there few years ago but it didn’t work out, I’m glad I could finally have a chance to visit this beautiful attraction!

The entrance of Nan Lian Garden (南蓮園池), a very peaceful landscape with lots of greens such as different kinds of Chinese pine trees (松樹).

Nan Lian Garden was a classical Chinese garden constructed in 2003-2006 on the blueprint of Jiangshouju (南蓮園池以山西省新絳縣,隋唐郡府園林絳守居園池為藍本), an elegant landscaped garden in Shanxi province during Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). It was also constructed in accordance with the standards from “Record of Governor Wei’s new place in Yongzhou” 永州韋使君新堂記 written by Liu Zongyuan 柳宗元, a famous poet in Tang Dynasty. His suggestion of human-suitable, with environment condition, and maintenance of nature (逸其人, 因其地, 全其天) is found in Nan Lian Garden. In other words, it means the design for a garden should suit the people who uses it, taking into consideration the condition of its environment, making sure that what is man-made is in harmony with the beauty of its nature (逸其人-- 以人為本;因其地-- 因地置宜;全其天-- 保持景物的天然真趣). No wonder all the ponds, waterfalls, rocks, plants and timber structures are arranged perfectly. It is unbelievable to have this comfortable and tranquil garden situated in Diamond Hall, an urban area in Hong Kong.

(I just read an article about Nan Lian Garden from a Chinese magazine and it reminded me that there was some Chinese instrumental music around 古琴音樂 as we walked in the park. The article also mentioned that the view was different as the visitor stepped forward and looked back 步移景轉, 曲徑通幽 which I think maybe similar to chisenkaiyu style garden in Japan 日本的池泉回遊式庭園 with view and perspective changing as people wanders along the path.)

I have no idea what this is called. There are several of them in the garden. Do you know the purpose? My friend told me it’s for rain collection, interesting!

(These are called rain chains or kusari doi in Japanese 鎖樋, and are used to transport rainwater from the roof downwards to a drain or to a storage container for household usage. Thanks Natasha for pointing this out!)

After Nan Lian Garden, we visited temple halls (殿堂區) in Chi Lin Nunnery (志蓮淨苑). I recall there is an outdoor lotus pond in the centre. Here are two of the temples: 大雄殿 (I think is Main Hall with Sakyamuni Buddha) and 觀音殿 (mercy Guanyin Buddha). These elegant wooden temples were rebuilt in 1990s following the style of Tang Dynasty architecture. I felt this peaceful environment gave me calmness and soothed my soul.

There is a vegetarian restaurant where we had lunch. Unlike its nunnery and garden, it was quite noisy … probably because of the vegetarian day in lunar calendar with more customers than normal. Still overall it was a very pleasant and enjoyable experience to walk around in Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery J

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hong Kong Vacation - November/December 2012 (Part 1)

Back to Hong Kong at night on November 25 and stayed there til another trip to South East Asia on December 3. During this period, I enjoyed various things that are hardly found in Vancouver J

Sweet Chinese donut (牛脷酥) and little pudding cake (砵仔糕) for breakfast. They were fresh-made and the more common little pudding cake has some red beans (不過 this 砵仔糕係冇紅豆).

My brother and I tried the breakfast in Hong Kong McDonald’s… macaroni combo with harsh brown and hot chocolate. Each combo was accompanied with a free gift of travel-size Pantene shampoo.

Unlike Vancouver, there are much more home-made hot tofu puddings in Hong Kong. This one I had is in brown sugar 熱辣辣黑糖豆腐花, que deliciosa!!!

What is this? Hint: Can be found everywhere in Hong Kong. It’s also the logo of Hong Kong flag … Bauhinia or Hong Kong Orchid Tree (洋紫荊).

坐叮叮- taking tram would be fun if you have plenty of time. The only concern is you don’t want to miss the stop. But one of our professors who doesn’t speak Cantonese and Mandarin took the tram in Hong Kong by himself last October. I asked how he could manage it and he said just asked people (in English) and counted the number of stops to get off properly.

Every time when I travel to Hong Kong, I visit my old place – Amoy Garden (淘大花園). Finally Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate II (牛頭角下邨「二區」) has been completely demolished and I could see the whole Amoy Garden from Kowloon Bay station 九龍灣地鐵站. It is gone but the memory is hidden in the heart forever.