What better way to end my in-country blogging career than to ramble and free-associate random things about Hong Kong and my exchange? Sure, there are probably better ways, but I can’t think of them. As you may be able to tell from the title of this post, my creativity has just about run dry. So, being that I’m in the late night eatery on campus, I’ll talk a little about food here. The best food (in my opinion), and the thing you absolutely should try if you go to Hong Kong, is McDonald’s.
Just kidding, you should actually go to a dim sum place. Now in the U.S., people normally think of dim sum as only dumplings (if they think about it at all), but it actually consists of a large variety of small, bite-sized dishes, including dumplings, steamed cakes, cold black fungus and seaweed, thousand year eggs (surprisingly good), and chicken feet (unsurprisingly bad). The cool thing about dim sum is that it is a genuine Hongkongese/Cantonese specialty, and that you can try a wide variety of foods, and perhaps foist the chicken feet off on a friend. I personally was a fan of pretty much everything I tried besides the chicken feet, so it was great for me.
Hong Kong has been really awesome, despite my sarcasm in the previous post, but the one thing that is crazy to me, and this is coming from the U.S., is the consumerism. It seems like every street has a mall, and multiple jewelry shops. Now, a large part of this is that Hong Kong serves as a place where people from mainland China come to buy lots of expensive items at slightly cheaper prices than they could get them in China, but it is still kind of weird seeing four branches of the same jewelry store on one block. However, the lights and buildings of Hong Kong can be beautiful.
Hong Kong is truly an international city, and one of the best places to see that is in Chungking Mansions. You can get the best curry in Hong Kong there, as well as a variety of Indian sweets. It has a slightly unsavory reputation, but it is definitely worth going with a friend. The Chungking Mansions are also the closest thing to the old Kowloon walled city, in that it is in some ways its own self-contained neighborhood within one building.
Speaking of which, another thing that is definitely worth seeing is the Kowloon walled city park. It is a beautiful sanctuary of nature, and has a few ruins and some interesting history about the walled city. Kowloon walled city started off as a literal walled city, a fort against pirates and other invaders. Obviously, everyone wanted to build their buildings within the walls for safety, and so it became pretty crowded. Later, during the Japanese invasion during WWII, even more people moved in. By the 1950s it was crowded with interconnected apartment buildings holding factories, restaurants, stores, housing, and the Triads, and was a largely lawless warren of prostitution, gambling, and drugs. There were 33,000 people living within the Kowloon walled city at its peak, which means a population density of 3.25 million per square mile. It was torn down in the 1980s, and a park was made in its place.
I hope my rambling has been somewhat interesting here, or at the very least informative. Thanks for reading!