Impatience in Cramped Quarters

It’s about 14C right here now in Tseung Kwan O, HK where I am currently staying.
My 10-day break is coming to a close soon but it has been totally amazing.
Trips the second time around are almost much better because one already has done the tourist sightseeing and then some. I was here in HK many years ago…way before HK was returned to China. Yes, I was here before 1997.
Age must have something to do with it.
Seeing HK in one’s 20s and seeing HK in one’s 30s is somehow strangely different.
This time around, we took time to explore the hidden crannies, the local haunts, re-discover the pleasure of just walking in spring weather. It’s a beautiful time of the year to be in HK. The weather is nicely crisp and cold, well, cold to me as a Malaysian at least. At 15 to 18C in the day, it feels like air conditioning everywhere I go. The weather drops slightly at night so it’s even colder.
As we’re staying in a friend’s apartment, we feel much more relaxed and with 10 days, there’s really no rush to get out as the day breaks.
And with a super efficient MTR system and a pre-loaded debit Octopus card, it’s really fun and easy to get out and about. The city is also safe and if one knows Cantonese (and though we speak with our Malaysian twang), one gets to do many exciting explorations on foot. And HK isn’t at all about shopping and shopping or all the time about city life.
We managed to catch the HK Sevens on TV when we were here. Rugby is a big deal here.
We started to check the weather report daily before we go out. Temperatures do drop. Wrapping up and layering is a must.
I was so pleased to find tea kiosks and tea shops all over. Drinking soup and herbal teas are another favourite here.
HK people aren’t rude at heart. They’re blunt with no ill-meaning. Life’s hard and tough here so you get lots of impatient folks.
Will share more when we get back to Malaysia.
Until then, cheers from a blustery Hong Kong!

The Quest For That Perfectly Grilled Stick

It’s terrible to be disappointed. And it’s worse to disappoint your friends, especially when they’ve built up this humongous anticipation of what you told them.
A few nights ago, Nic and I took a friend for a meal of satay. We’d brought other friends to this place and they had all loved it.
Granted, it was at its original ‘birthplace’ – this little quaint kampung house smack dab in the midst of a bustling suburb. Sure, the satay was on the pricey side – but the good taste quite made up for it and made us quite forget the price. But the satay was freshly grilled over a charcoal fire. The original way satay is supposed to be made, right?
I’ve never tasted Haji Samuri’s satay kajang so I cannot compare.
But my ideal stick of satay is one that’s a bit burnt or ‘hangus’ with slivers of fat interspersed with lean meat dipped into a gritty kuah kacang with lots of kacang bits. I don’t quite care for Batu Maung satay which is a very Penang style satay where the sauce is on the satay and the satay is grilled with the sauce so you don’t get a dipping sauce. Not very exciting, I must say! It’s like eating a dry stick of grilled meat!
And so when we drove to this place a few nights ago, we were surprised that the satay people had moved to a more hip and urban area.
Fine, I thought. Moving is always happening for businesses anyway. They must be expanding since the old place could not accommodate so many people who’d heard of this expensive satay.
We finally landed at the new place. It looked more like a fastfood joint than a satay place. You walked up to the counter, ordered and paid first. Then you take your seat and the satay will be served.
I didn’t see anyone fanning or grilling satay. I did smell the satay though.
When the satay arrived, we dug in hungrily but unfortunately, the satay was cold. Not piping hot, not warm. Just cold. Like it had been sitting around for a while.
Out of curiosity, we hailed one of the young waitresses over and asked if the satay was grilled in an oven or done by hand. She said it’d been grilled in an oven but the oven used charcoal. She looked a bit worried so we didn’t want to intimidate her any more.
I don’t know about you but authentic satay is truly hard to find. Especially satay that’s grilled to perfection with little burnt bits and a taste that is all about being homemade. I don’t know if the mcdonalisation of satay will be the way of the future. The other problem I had is that the cordial drinks were expensive. Cordial drinks (and one that’s extremely sweet) for three people cost us almost RM15. Imagine that. Our satay outing came to RM70 for 3 people for 25 sticks of satay, 2 plates of rice cubes, 3 cordial drinks and a plate of tomato rice.
Right about now, I just want to try Haji Samuri’s satay kajang and see if that’s a winner. I also heard there’s an Indonesian man selling satay kambing at Chowrasta market in the evenings. Hopefully these two won’t disappoint!


Thanks for all your kind thoughts, warm wishes and good cheer.
I have been so abundant that I got a sugee cake on the dot at midnight last night, and me in my nightie, sans contacts so it was a bit hard making out who was holding the cake with a single candle on it.

THANKS VERN & MRS HOR! You both are the best neighbours ever!

I’ve been getting calls and lots of lovely messages and if there’s one thing I want to say: thank you.

My cousin called me yesterday to ask what I wanted but I really couldn’t think of anything.
In the end, I said, well, maybe a book or a CD. Well, Vern got me a Stacey Kent CD!
Anyway, it’s fantastic just knowing I have so many caring pals all across the world.
I’m going to go out and enjoy myself today!