Hong Kong: Kadoorie Farm, McDonald’s Next, Food Hunting, Garden of Stars
The end of our HK trip has been fast approaching. On our second last day, we wanted to eat a lot, especially our must-eat food. We took MTR to Jordan to visit the infamous Australian Dairy Co breakfast. But what we saw made us step back a little. The queue was insane. We were pretty hungry so we decided to come back another time. Nearby, there is Block 18 Doggie’s Noodle, one of the Michelin-starred street food. We gave it a try. The shop was empty, we were the only customer at that time. The middle-aged lady couldn’t speak too much English and she didn’t have English menu. So what she did was giving us the Chinese menu and told us the English name of the dish. Based on the name alone, we couldn’t figure out what the ingredients were, but we just tried our luck and ordered Doggie Noodle, siew mai (top left on menu) and fire ball (2nd row, right side of menu). Doggie noodle looked very simple, but after we put chili in, we loved it. For siew mai, I didn’t taste any meat, it was made of flour. For fire ball, it was more like fish ball. I was impressed when I saw many photos of actors and actresses who have visited the store.
Other than food and hiking, I was on a quest to discover suburban places in Hong Kong. I wanted to escape the city. And I found Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden (KFBG). There are 2 ways to visit KFBG with public transport: take bus 64K from Tai Po MTR, or take bus 64K from Kam Sheung Rd MTR. We decided to take bus from Tai Po to go there, and take bus to Kam Sheung Rd when we were finished. The bus 64K announces the destination name at every stops, there is also LED screen to show destination name, so you will know when it arrives at Kadoori Farm. You can also use Google Maps to find the exact location of KFBG.
Tips & Resources:
1. Official website for KFBG is http://www.kfbg.org/eng/
2. Before you visit, take note of the closing days, you can find them here.
3. The opening hour is 9.30am to 5pm, with last admission at 4pm. Admission fee is $ 30.
4. KFBG map can be viewed here.
5. Because KFBG is very huge, and some of the attractions are located at very high altitude (such as Kadoorie Brothers Memorial Pavilion at 602m, compared to reception office at 152m), you can use shuttle bus services for $10. Shuttle bus price, route and schedule can be found here.
6. If you are more interested in the trails, this map provides complete information on the trails.
My main tips for the shuttle bus:
1. Visit on weekend because there is higher frequency of shuttle bus.
2. Your first stop should be Kadoorie Brothers Memorial Pavilion. Here, you can see the moon gate at the entrance before the pavilion.
3. From Kadoorie Brothers Memorial Pavilion, if you have time, you can walk along the Sky Trail which will bring you to T.S.Woo Memorial Pavilion, from which you can walk a short distance to Kwun Yum Shan Summit; or walk Sky Trail and turn at Grassland Path to come back to bus stop of Kadoorie Brothers Memorial Pavilion. If you do not have time to explore the trail, you can simply wait at the bus stop, and take the upcoming shuttle bus to next destination, which is Kwun Yum Shan. Do note that you need to queue at the bus stop, and if the people dropping at your stop are not many, you might need to wait more for yet another shuttle bus.
4. At Kwun Yum Shan, you get nice breeze and cool view, which makes you feel that you are not in Hong Kong. There is Dragon & Phoenix pillars if you’d like to take some shots.
5. From Kwun Yum Shan, again you can wait for shuttle bus and ride it to the next destination of Butterfly Garden, or simply walk down whichever way you like.
6. From Butterfly Garden, you can walk through the trails back to the reception.
Even though from the map you can see so many attractions, in reality not all are worth visiting. Some places simply consists of only a room or two, with some exhibitions. If you have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) syndrome, yeah you need to visit ALL of them even if it’s just for a few seconds. For us, we did not have time to visit every corner of KFBG, the farm is truly huge! Hence, I have reason to go back next time 🙂 If you are avid hiker or farm lover, you should visit this farm.
The farm also has a cafe that serves vegetarian and organic food. You can get the menu from the link at general information page. But they also have seasonal menu which they write on a black board at the cafe. The cafe is self-service type, so after ordering and collecting your food, you need to find your own table. But don’t worry, because there are plenty of tables at lobby area. For our lunch, we ordered spring roll, cheese pizza, spaghetti, organic soy milk and organic green tea. Yum. Just looking at the photos make me miss KFBG. Another important distinction to highlight about KFBG is their campaign about sustainable living. We witnessed food farm in execution. It was a refreshing visit to the countryside.
Back to the metropolitan city, upon exiting bus 64K at Kam Sheung Rd, we took MTR to Wan Chai. My sister loves egg tart, so we bought some at Honolulu Cafe. I should say that the egg tarts have quite different crust from the usual egg tarts we often see in our daily lives. Honolulu’s egg tarts have puff pastry crust, or flaky pastry crust. In my own layman description, the crust is more like croissant skin rather than butter cookies. Hope it gives good idea. A few blocks from Honolulu Cafe is Kam’s Roast Goose. We wanted to give it a try because it is one of the Michelin-starred restaurants, but we were turned off by the long queue. We gave up and went on a search for Michelin-starred street food: Kelly’s Cape Bop. Kelly’s Cape Bop is not far from Honolulu, it is selling Korean food such as shown in the menu below. We ordered chicken bites with spicy sauce, and seaweed dumpling. We didn’t know that chicken bites already included a few pieces of seaweed dumpling, ugh, we felt we bought too much of seaweed dumpling.
We then walked to Admiralty Centre to visit McD’s Next. The thing at the top of my curiosity list is the table service. In my mind, customers will wait to be seated, and upon being seated, staffs will ask them for their order. But it was not the case! We looked for our own seat and ordered ourselves at the counter. We were pretty full with egg tarts and spicy chicken so we didn’t order main dish from McD. Instead, we ordered their coffees. There was a promotion stating that if we purchased coffees, we would get discounts for cake and bread. So we ordered latte, cappuccino, crayfish croissant and cheesecake. We loved the crayfish croissant! Our table is equipped with 3 air-chargers, however only 1 works, it is painfully slow to charge, and you need to tilt the phone certain way so that the cable works. Another thing to note is, there is no toilet in McD, you need to go out from McD and take escalator to 2nd floor to find the toilet.
Feeling super full with all the food, we wanted to burn calories so we took MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui to visit Garden of Stars. It was not easy to find the garden, we spent a lot of time looking around for signages. Finally we followed recommended route from Avenue of Stars: take the lift next to the East Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit P1 (press “Pd”). Do note that Tsim Sha Tsui and East Tsim Sha Tsui are connected with walkway so you can alight at Tsim Sha Tsui MTR as well. The garden is located at level 2, it is an open-air rooftop with minimum lighting. Honestly it was too dark to capture any photos, so we decided to go back the next day.
From Garden of Stars, we walked to Nathan Road to look for Jenny Bakery. They make very nice butter cookies. Based on Jenny Bakery’s official website, the store location is at Mirador Mansion but it is only open until 6.30 PM. It was already late when we arrived at Nathan Road. However, a few days earlier when we walked pass Chungking Mansion, we saw some ladies carrying signboards in front of the mansion that say Jenny Bakery is now open at Chungking Mansion. So we trust the ladies and go to the store at Chungking Mansion, however what we found was a souvenir store selling Jenny Bakery cookies and other stuffs. There’s also a paper pasted on the wall that say: Original Jenny Bakery. Hmm, it looks so fake to me. Jenny Bakery is a very reputable brand, they do not need to sell other stuffs, and they do not need to write that the cookies are indeed original. Thus, we decided to try our luck and visit Mirador Mansion. We were so lucky, the store was still open. We bought 2 small mix butter cookies and 4 big mix butter cookies. That’s how much we love Jenny Bakery! If you are planning to buy some, always buy from the official store. Check their latest price to know whether you are being scammed or not.