Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It Had To Be Done #2: KFC Breakfast in Hong Kong

Let's be honest: that KFC smell is infectious. And, luckily, it's universal.

I was on my way to my beloved Toast Box when that KFC odor reached out and tapped me on the shoulder and said: "Hey buddy, it's never too early for some KFC, right?"

Well, the big surprise to an American here is that KFC in Hong Kong has a breakfast menu and what a menu it is!

KFC chicken breast with brown gravy served with scrambled eggs or a hot dog (!).

I think there are hash browns under there somewhere too.

Just an unholy mess of food. I was hungry.

The gravy helped it go down but I couldn't eat all of that.

Still, kidding aside, the KFC breakfast menu is more interesting than the normal KFC menu at home, or the McDonald's breakfast menu.

I've got 5 more days; should I try for a BK run?

(It's worth noting that I didn't escape unscathed from the Colonel Sanders hellhole as, just like at home, the batter did aggravate my coughing a tiny bit.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hong Kong Film Archive on the Anniversary of Anita Mui's Death

I know Tim, duriandave, Brian, and YTSL might find it hard to believe, but, yes, I did drag my lazy self to The Hong Kong Film Archive -- finally! -- on a drizzly day no less!

I'm still a bit sick but my fever is gone and my cough is subsiding; however, when the cough returns it comes back quickly with a vengeance. My cough drops from Watsons have helped, though.

So the Archive is easy to find and, while I did not attend any screenings, I did get to see the exhibit on the Seven Little Fortunes.

I was aware that Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, and Sammo Hung were students of the China Drama Academy but I probably should also have known that director Corey Yuen was also a member, as well as Yuen Wah and Yuen Qiu -- the landlord and landlady from Kung Fu Hustle to most people.

The exhibit was fun and it was a bit surreal to be standing there watching old Sammo and Jackie clips with a lot of school kids who were giggling at all the right moments in unison.

I then took a break in the library and flipped through an assortment of current movie magazines.

I purchased a few books downstairs -- I got two copies of that Jupiter Wong book and it's a good thing I did as the binding is already falling off of the copy I was flipping through.

And the purchases came in a nice canvas bag -- a great souvenir by itself.

I got 2 copies of this Jupiter Wong book precisely so that I could frame pages like this one -- a shot from Tsui Hark's sometimes laughable The Legend of Zu -- one of my favorite images from that 2001 film...

The late, great and always wonderful Anita Mui discussing a scene with respected director Ann Hui on the set of Eighteen Springs...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hot Pot in Hong Kong

I finally had hot pot in Hong Kong.

A friend took me to Four Seasons Hot Pot in Wan Chai/Causeway Bay.

And we had a ton of beef, dumplings, fish balls, shrimp, pork neck, and other assorted goodies.

Those shrimp -- prawns? -- were moving when this plate was brought out...

They ain't moving now!

Cuttlefish waiting to be cooked...

We still had beef to be cooked later...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Implements of Getting Well in Hong Kong

To quote Withnail and I (1987): "We are indeed drifting into the arena of the unwell."

Actually, I don't feel horrible; I certainly feel better than I did yesterday morning.

I just have a slight, dry cough.

I schlepped my dirty clothes to the laundry this morning and the total is determined by weight and today it was $176HK which means I did a lot of laundry. That's still cheap, really, compared to using the hotel laundry or doing it at home anywhere.

So pictured below are the implements of getting well as I see them.

As a friend is supposed to be taking me to get Cantonese hot pot tonight, I want to be well to enjoy that fully.

The one cup on the left is mango pudding and the one next to that is Macau Sawdust Pudding. I got those at one of the many bakeries around here. I hope they taste good with Robitussin!

It Had To Be Done: McDonald's In Hong Kong

I felt a little under-the-weather today -- tired -- and the drizzly weather here was not helping matters much.

So, in an effort to eat something safe and quick, I hit a 24-hour McDonald's near the hotel.

Did I say safe?

Well, the first thing that greeted me was the Ebi burger. Yes, shrimp.

Normally I like all things shrimp but in this case, the thing looked like one of Mickey D's hash browns with little shrimp pushed into it.

And then plopped down between a hamburger roll. If that is not enough for you, you can get a double one with two patties!

I settled on this cheesy thing with pasta, sausage, egg and noodles in a clear broth in a big bowl served with the same greasy fries we have in America and a Coke Zero.

Check out this link here and, I should add, that it didn't look that "good" when it arrived on my tray.

Hey, the whole combo meal was still under $4 US; what can you get at an American McDonald's for that price?

A picture I found on the web; yum -- cheesy pasta buried in broth with a McBreakfast sausage and the famous "egg product" so familiar from McDonald's breakfast selections!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Did I Really Just Buy A Life-Size Charlene Choi Poster?

And the answer to that question is: "Yes and it only cost about $7 US!"

Now how the heck do I get this thing home?

(And please, no comments about finally getting Ah Sa onto my bed; that was the only place in this small hotel room where I could unwrap the monstrosity!)

For what it's worth: I did get Diau Charm with Lin Dai on DVD complete with an extra CD!

And I got some Britpop CDs for my friends from the bargain bin.

And Whose Baby Is In The Classroom? on DVD -- I keep thinking that I already own this but I don't; the preview seems to be on every Li Ching DVD I've watched so far.

Tonight: another good meal and the new Zhang Yimou!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sherlock Holmes in Hong Kong: Downey Rocks The House for Christmas Eve

Talk about multiculturalism: I spent-this morning watching an American actor try his hand at Sherlock Holmes in an packed auditorium of mainly local Chinese people on the eve of a Westernized Christian holiday.

I got to the theater 5 minutes after the starting time on the ticket and the commercials had just started. I say commercials because today the only actual preview was for the Louis Koo/Sandra Ng New Year Comedy All's Well That Ends Well Too 2010 -- everything else was just commercials for food and beauty products.

I especially liked the scallop cheddar cheese concoctions on offer at your local HK Pizza Hut!

Sherlock Holmes is not a perfect film but it moves so fast that you hardly have time to notice the loose and hard-to-follow "plot" -- or what there is of one. Robert Downey Jr. brings a lot of enthusiasm to the role and it's hard to imagine that only a few years ago, I did not enjoy his work as an actor.

After a nice bit in Wonder Boys, a friend forced me to watch him in Home for the Holidays and I was starting to soften on the guy.

Then came his perfect take on Tony Stark in Iron Man and now his Sherlock Holmes -- a guy who swaggers through London like a weird mix of Gauguin, Mr. Spock, and a young John Barrymore!

Nice production design -- an effective use of CGI as well -- helped make the film a bit more enjoyable than it probably should have been as it's a good 15 minutes too long in my opinion.

I also did some shopping!

I finally got a copy of a wonderful compilation championed by duriandave recently, as well as the 2-DVD set of Yonfan's Prince of Tears and some music related things.

I already have the Karen Mok via download but the price was reasonable and I liked the packaging and the additional DVD.

Why don't we have these peanut butter-and-chocolate-cream Oreos in America!?!

Christmas Eve Buffet tonight and then some exploring with a friend tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Starlight Bookstore; Another Day of Walking and Eating

After much walking and the use of a friend's handdrawn map, I found the infamous Starlight Bookstore which Brian has written about in the past.

It's a good thing that it was closed because it looks like the kind of place that would drive my allergies into a frenzy: dusty and musty with paper products sure to cause my hands to start itching like crazy.

As you can see from the window, the place looks like a bomb went off inside.

I did get to wander through North Point again.

I had breakfast at Toast Box and tried their version of Laksa, albeit Singapore-style laksa.

One of the big questions I am still asking myself is why are there so many Japanese shops and things in Hong Kong? There are far too many to simply be a gesture towards visiting Japanese tourists; I think the locals just really look to Japan to set culinary and fashion and artistic trends.

I stopped for lunch at Ajisen Ramen, a chain with many shops in Hong Kong. I had the sweet corn ramen, a Pepsi Light -- finally found an equivalent of my beloved Diet Pepsi! -- and a 3-piece side order of gyoza.

The whole meal including the service charge was less than $7 US.

Why would anyone ever go to McDonald's here!?!

Well, time for a short rest and then...guess what? Time to walk and then meet a friend for dinner!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Morning Routine, Toast Box, Fortress Hill, and a Score of Shaws

After continually getting lost on my way home from the Causeway Bay MTR station each night, I decided to draw myself a little map today. This map is the sort of thing that reads:

"Turn left at the Nestle sign after the overpass near Charlene Choi billboard..."

Hong Kong is a place where one can easily be at the right place but still totally lost -- nothing more frustrating than leaving the right MTR station from the wrong exit!

Cat washing itself or another Chinese dragon?

Then I hit the wonderful Toast Box. Peanut butter toast -- sliced into squares! -- milk tea, and two fried eggs for about $4.00 US!

I had to get a 2nd milk tea though!

I decided to not wander too far today since I'm going to the movies later so I just picked Fortress Hill on a whim.

I wandered around and *think* that I ended up in North Point -- hard for me to know the exact difference as a wandering tourist. I saw the Tung Po Building which I think is where the Tung Po Restaurant is that YTSL introduced me and Dave to last time around.

So, I stumbled into a shopping complex in an office building in the hopes of finding a cheap watch and found a secondhand DVD shop -- I think a few people had mentioned there were a few of these in this area.

What a jackpot!

Everything there only added up to about $40 US total. Not only that, but I've got a spare copy of Hong Kong Rhapsody!

I then hit a few more shops and found a few other goodies but nothing quite as momentous as that batch.