And yeah, the Dragon’s Back definitely lives up to its name; it features some absolutely jaw-dropping views.
The amount of satisfaction that I get from hiking is something that has really surprised me on this trip. I sort of figured I’d be sticking completely to cities — and that is pretty much what I’m doing — but being able to get out and see nature every now and then is actually really nice.
Of course, it helps when the sights are this spectacular.
I think we’ve reached the point where I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking.
And that’s exactly what you’ll get at Sun Kee Cheese Noodle: pure, unadulterated comfort food.
I mean, just look at that. It’s just a big old glop of creamy, cheesy sauce on top of a mound of noodles and unctuous pork cheek.
I think you get a better idea of what’s going on here after the noodles have been mixed with the sauce.
It’s so good. The noodles themselves are nothing special — I’m pretty sure they’re just instant noodles — but that sauce is rich and creamy, with a satisfyingly sharp cheesy flavour. The tender slices of pork are a perfect accompaniment.
It’s kinda like mac and cheese, only with noodles instead of macaroni, and with big pieces of tasty pork.
Hidden away at the back of a sketchy little mall, the place pretty much defines the term “hole in the wall.” But when the food is this good, I’ll eat it in a broom closet. Just gimme that bowl of cheesy, creamy noodles. I don’t care where I eat it.
And with that, I’ve now been to all the Disneys. Yeah, that’s right — all my friends might be getting married and starting families, but have they been to every Disney park in the world? No? Well then, I think we all know who the real winner is (what’s that? It’s them? It’s 100% them? Yeah, that sounds about right).
I’m not going to go into the same level of obsessive detail I did for Tokyo, but I do have some brief thoughts.
The Disney magic starts on the subway ride to the park. Yes, those are Mickey-shaped windows, and Mickey-shaped hand holds. Delightful.
The park was shockingly empty. There appeared to be a decent amount of people when you were walking around, but we didn’t wait longer than ten minutes or so for any rides. Some rides didn’t have a wait at all. It was amazing. Coming from the insane crowds of the Tokyo parks, this felt flat-out bizarre.
There were some great rides here, but the highlight was, without a doubt, a Haunted Mansion-esque ride called Mystic Manor. I had heard really good things about it, so my expectations were pretty high, but it still managed to blow me away. The animatronic technology was probably the best I’ve ever seen, and the ride itself was so fun, with so much personality and a really delightful amount of attention to detail. It was easily one of the best rides I’ve ever been on. We did this one twice, and I honestly regret not doing it a third or even a fourth time.
There’s a dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong called Tim Ho Wan that both has a Michelin star, and is delightfully affordable. So as you’d expect, it’s insanely crowded. I mean, look at that madness in the photo above.
It doesn’t help that the restaurant is way smaller than you’d expect (dim sum joints tend to be absolutely enormous, but not here). They do, however, cram as many people as they possibly can into a fairly small space. Pretty much everyone has to share a table, which is quite common at Hong Kong restaurants.
It’s totally worth it, though. Everything I tried here was the best version of the dish that I’ve had.
These baked buns with BBQ pork? So good: sweet, with a lightly crispy shell, and a generous filling of perfectly cooked pork.
These had a similar filling, but were deep-fried and amazing, with a perfect balance of crispy and chewy.
And these shrimp dumplings? Holy crap. The shrimp was cooked to absolute perfection, and the wrapper was just right — not too thick, not too thin. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to make these things any better.
It wasn’t all fun and games, though. These rice rolls filled with pig’s liver were shockingly unpleasant. And I really like liver! But the flavour here was all metallic bitterness; that pig must have lived a hard life, and it didn’t taste like it was seasoned with anything. It was an odd misstep in an otherwise superlative meal.
How delicious, you ask? Extremely delicious.
I wasn’t even sure what I was ordering. I held up two fingers (my brother is here on this leg of the trip, so I’m ordering for two), just assuming I’d wind up with waffles. He asked “mango pancake?” I nodded, and we were off to the races.
Everything about this was shockingly good — from the fresh and fluffy pancake, to the satisfyingly tart sauce, to the chunks of absolutely perfect mango. The very sweet, creamy mango works great with the pancake, with the slightly sour sauce cutting the sweetness from the fruit.
I wish I knew what this place was called, but trust me — if you ever find yourself in Hong Kong, just wander around until you find it. It’s totally worth it.
The menu at McDonald’s in Hong Kong is kind of boring; nothing particularly jumped out at me. But I’m way too deep into this McDonald’s around the world thing to stop now, so yeah — I got a couple of things.
The first thing I got is the Loaded Fries with Guacamole and Tomato Salsa Sauce (that name just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?). I think someone needs to tell McDonald’s Hong Kong that fries with a bit of sauce on them and a tiny cup of guacamole on the side doesn’t quite count as “loaded.”
This was fine, I guess. The tomato salsa sauce was pretty tasty — it basically tasted like a very cumin-tinged hot sauce — but the guacamole was watery and bland.
The other thing I tried is the Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Burger. This was actually pretty bad. The jalapeno slices and jalapeno tomato relish were zingy and spicy, but it’s also topped with a very thick slice of pineapple which absolutely overwhelmed the sandwich with sweetness.
The worst part was the chicken itself. Though the exterior was nice and crispy, it was ridiculously dry on the inside. I finished this, but I’m really not sure why.
One of the things Hong Kong is known for is its various roasted meats — goose in particular. I checked out a couple of goose joints that happen to have a Michelin star. Yeah, they take their goose pretty seriously here.
The first one, Kam’s Roast Goose, was easily the most popular of the two. It draws some pretty intense crowds, with a 40 minute wait on this particular evening.
The goose here was seriously tender with a really great flavour, though the skin wasn’t nearly as crispy as you’d hope. It was quite good, but probably not worth the crazy wait. The Michelin star seems like overkill.
The second place was called Yat Lok Restaurant; it definitely wasn’t as slick as Kam’s, but I think it was the better of the two.
The goose was equally tender and flavourful, and the skin had that amazing level of crispiness that you’re hoping for (though getting it in noodle soup — while delicious — probably wasn’t the best idea, because it quickly sogged up that great crispy skin).
Aside from Sakurajima, Sengan-en is one of those things that comes up a bunch when you’re looking for things to do in Kagoshima.
It’s a former residence dating back to the 1600s that’s been turned into a pretty amazing garden.
It costs 1000 yen to get in (about 11 bucks Canadian), but it’s totally worth it.
Just getting there is pretty spectacular. It’s about two kilometres from the city, and you could take a bus, but the walk is impressively scenic; it’s clearly the way to go. I mean, I think this video speaks for itself.
Then you get there and it’s enormous and seriously impressive.
That’s not to mention the hiking trail that leads to a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
It’s pretty much just endless steps going up, so it’s crazy exhausting, but once you get up there it’s totally worth it.
That’s not a bad view at all.