Tuesday, December 08, 2009

ching ching!

on our way home from london, we stopped over in hong kong to see my side of the family. in the instant that i saw my relatives, the six long years between drinks disappeared - a very comforting feeling indeed.

we stayed in tin hau, a relatively quiet neighbourhood on hong kong island. tin hau is dotted with excellent hong kong style cafes (think congee, or rice porridge, for breakfast and noodle soups for lunch) and the most fantastic dessert house, ching ching (i kid you not).

that's right: a house of desserts.
and so many to choose from: from classic tong yuen (rice dumplings) in ginger syrup, tofu fa, red bean soup and my absolute favourite, black sesame soup. you can choose to eat the desserts hot or cold, or you can add semolina pearls or tong yuen, or any combination that you desire.
the first night, i ordered black sesame soup that included coconut milk and semolina pearls. this was smooth and silky, with sweet pops of pearls in each mouthful and a lovely nutty taste from the black sesame. mmm.

elmo ordered red bean soup with mango pieces (of course). the mango was absolutely delicious. how i would love to live in a tropical country - think of all the fruits!
we returned later to sample the mango pudding and the tofu fa - equally silky and delicious.
we were in heaven!

eating aside: a mere two weeks in london and paris were not enough preparation for the excesses of hong kong.

the buildings are BIGGER.
the number of people: HUGER.
the shopping centres: HIGHER.
the smog: SMOGGIER.
it's a vibrant, bustling, elbows-out, get-on-with-it kinda city.

and though we barely embraced consumerism while we were in london or paris, we shamelessly lost control in hk at muji.

muji is a japanese lifestyle store that offers everything from furniture to fashion to food. there was something about the clean design and practical simplicity of their products that we couldn't resist.

we confess: we want to live a muji life!

elmo found this and immediately declared his love for it.it's a portable speaker, almost measuring 3cm across, that is charged via a usb port. this cute little cube flips out a plug that fits very sweetly into your mp3 player of choice. for its size, the sound is pretty good. and so far, we've got through a leonard cohen concert without losing power.

i can just imagine: elmo as dj at all our summer bbqs...

Monday, December 07, 2009


we have returned from a lovely two weeks in london where we met elmo's new nephew, mr x.

last time i visited europe, i felt like i was in a theme park: 'i guess i better see the [insert famous icon/building] since i'm in [insert big city]'.

so, other than a few days in paris, it was a nice change to just hang out with the locals in east london and spend time with the newest member of the family...
mr x and his mum, L, took us to their favourite local haunts including a fabulous shop that sells fresh, buttery, flakey croissants near the columbia road flower market.

and what a gorgeous market too: i just loved the stallholders with their sing-song 'two-for-a- fiver', 'three-for-a-fiver' chorus as we strolled through their lovely roses, tulips, black eucalyptus plants and many many more. they all looked so beautiful - i so desperately wanted to take some plants home with us!