Same idea as some thoughts on life in Japan but here I am collating thoughts about my current home Hong Kong. This could be anything related to Hong Kong’s culture and everyday life that I’m finding worth sharing.
Before moving to Hong Kong I’d seen and tasted mooncakes (月餅 ), however they never really left a big impression on me until we experienced our first Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) in September 2020. As all large gatherings were banned, we couldn’t take part in any of the traditional festivities usually happening on and during the festival. Through the kids’ bi-lingual school though the whole family was introduced to the concept of Mid-Autumn Festival, mainly admiring the full moon and feasting on mooncakes with family and friends. Besides the kids making lanterns at school to parade on the evening prior to the main Mid-Autumn national holiday and making non-edible mooncakes in a craft session, we didn’t purchase mooncakes to try though. We were still too new to Hong Kong and, again, I blame it on the pandemic, hadn’t had many opportunities to embrace its culture yet. This year however, with school properly back on, and gatherings, even though not encouraged, taking place (un)officially, I decided to celebrate the festival at least a little bit as a family; not just the kids at school as the previous year. In the lead-up to September 21st, I’d seen ads across the MTR stations of snowy mooncakes (non-baked cakes with a rice flour coating and custard-like filling). Just visually they appealed to me much more than the original and much more common baked mooncakes made with lotus seed paste and with a red bean or egg yolk filling. When I finally saw a pack of snowy mooncakes at a local supermarket I bought them immediately only realising at home that this was a do-it-yourself kit, excluding the moulds required to turn the cakes into the exquisite, little pieces of art they stand out for. Set on my mission to enjoy mooncakes this year as a family, I spent some time finding mooncake moulds online and, together with the kids, chose our favourite designs. As recommended on the packaging, they were delicious eaten ice-cold after a short stint in the freezer. The people I’ve spoken to about mooncakes over the festival period don’t really like them, I assume as they are so rich and therefore extremely filling. However, besides trying the non-baked version this year, I also had a traditional, baked egg-yolk filling type as well as a baked, vegan version with a custard filling, which made me realise that mooncakes are the perfect energy-fuelling treat for me. Shame they are only really sold and eaten over the festival time. Well, until September 2022 then…
Hong Kong’s yards
I have to admit that even though I moved to Hong Kong 6 months ago, I haven’t been able to go and explores the city much. Due to the ongoing school closures there hasn’t been much spare time on my hands. The one exception was that one day in November (which happened to be the day before schools were told to shut down again after only two months of allowing kids on campus). A friend had suggested to go to Sheung Wan to visit some galleries, followed by a typical yum cha lunch. It was the first time I could just wonder through streets and little alleyways without nagging kids trying to drag me in all sorts of directions. During a previous short trip to Hong Kong I had noticed the street art that is scattered across central Hong Kong, however, at that point I hadn’t been looking (yet) for the little green and quiet spaces that I so admired when walking through Tokyo’s streets. During that wander through Sheung Wan, I stumbled across below, peaceful courtyard and decided to add a picture here whenever I discover a new one worth sharing, just as I had done with the little Tokyo front gardens that play such a big role in the city’s urban landscape.
In Some thoughts on finding peacefulness I‘ve written about the quiet places I discovered during the time I lived in Tokyo and I am planning to do the same for Hong Kong. Compared to Tokyo, Hong Kong feels louder and more chaotic. This is only partly due to its density. Hong Kong’s culture and the nature of its people plays a vital role in it, too. Since I am not living in the middle of it all, I am enjoying the city‘s vibrancy, its hustle and bustle and noise whenever I am ‚in town‘. Saying this, I still feel the urge to search for the quiet spaces in Hong Kong; tranquil havens to go to whenever in need of a break.
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
Being situated in the New Territories it takes some time to get to Kadoorie Farm but the relatively long drive is worth it. Set along a steep hillside with a myriad of short walking trails to chose from, you can easily find yourself all by yourself in the midst of tropical plants and trees. We went on a slightly wet day which covered the higher parts of the farm in mist. It was beautiful.