Funicular fetishes, food tour frenzies and escalator excitement – Central district, Hong Kong

For yesterday’s adventures, click here.

As we were planning on spending much of today on the Hong Kong Island side of the city, we decided to also track down a good breakfast option over there to start the day.

The Hong Kong MTR subway system proved to be extremely simple to use, and in no time we found ourselves wandering aimlessly through the rabbit warren of streets, alleys and high rises that surround the Central district.

‘Aimless’ may sound like a desirable state of being while on holidays, but when you’re on a deadline and, despite the brilliant little ‘Handy’ device given to us by Residence G (our hotel) which included access to Google maps, things can get a little hectic when you can’t track down one tiny little noodle shop!

As it turned out, the one we interested in hadn’t opened, so we walked across the road and tried some king prawn wonton noodle soup from Tsim Chai Kee.

Bugger. Me.

King prawn wonton noodle soup at Tsim Chai Kee

The broth in which the wontons and noodles were immersed was absolutely divine! Rich, briny, light on the palate…I could have drunk litres of it! And then there were the massive wontons (they are king prawns after all!). The prawns had been cooked to perfection, simply bursting with flavour at the slightest pressure. It is only after eating at a local joint like this that you’re eyes are opened to the possibilities that some cuisines really offer. While wontons and noodles in/out of broth are common fare in Australia, what we had the pleasure of experiencing was in a totally different galaxy in terms of flavour, skill and tradition.

With a few hours to kill, we made our way north to the tram station at the foot of Victoria Peak, the tallest mountain on Hong Kong Island. A few pretty cool stats regarding the tram…

  • apparently an average of 17,000  people ride the tram either up or down the mountain on a daily basis!
  • at its steepest it has a gradient of almost 50%; and for the true rail buffs…
  • it uses a Russian gauge!!

I know, right?!! I couldn’t believe it ether! The excitement in the air is almost palpable!! That bit about the Russian gauge was almost too much for me to handle when I found out…so much so that I didn’t get any photos of the tram whatsoever, so you’ll just have to keep those sweet dreams going under your own steam…

Sweaty, eager, heaving masses. Mad for funicular action…

Once at the top we checked out the obligatory view over Hong Kong Island across to Kowloon and the New Territories. Pretty sensational, despite the it being the worst smog day for the past 12 months!!

The Peak

Hong Kong panorama

High rises everywhere!

We then spent the next hour or so doing a loop walk around Victoria Peak, taking in the magnificent views on all sides.

Stuck, and can you believe it’s actually a two-way road!!

I had to laugh!


Backtracking down the hill (more mechanophilia en route), we met up with a group of ten strangers that were going to be our new friends for the next three hours, and commenced our tour with Hong Kong Foodie Tours.

Our tour guide, the lovely and extremely knowledgeable Sylvana, took us on a fantastic journey through the byways and back streets, introducing us to all manner of delicious Cantonese delectables!

This was a comprehensive and well organised tour that I wouldn’t hesitate recommending to anyone! While it covered all manner of edible delights, it also gave us an insight into the history, culture and societal pressures that have Hong Kong what it is today.

Making wontons at Tsim Chai Kee, around 1800 per day!

Ladling broth at Tsim Chai Kee

Roast pork!

One of the locals at the wet market. She was hilarious!

Another local

Making sugar cane juice

Contemplating life

Baked (not steamed) pork buns!

Freshly baked egg tart…so light and fluffy, it just crumbled and melted in your mouth!

Feeling rather full, we decided to forego another dim sum restaurant for dinner, instead deciding to lose a few more calories by riding the worlds longest outdoor covered escalator, the ‘Central-Mid-levels escalator system’. At more than 800m long, it provides an essential, and dry, mode of transport for the thousands of people that commute down to Central on a daily basis for work.

Looking back over the world’s biggest escalator…

At this stage the astute ones are probably thinking, but how does that constitute a significant loss of calories?

The catch is that escalator only runs on one direction; down the hill in the morning, and up the hill of an evening. So after making our way up the hill the easy way, we also spent the next thirty minutes trudging down the hundreds, if not thousands, of steps back to Central station.

By this stage we decided to negate all the good work we had done and drop into the Fine Foods Store at the Royal Garden Hotel. In her research before the holiday Karen had spotted an incredible dessert that we both knew we had to try!

Green apple cheesecake inside a white chocolate shell!!

Rose and raspberry macaron! (there’s fresh cream in the middle of the raspberries as well!)

Just spectacular, and so very tasty!

The perfect end to another not-so-lazy day in Hong Kong!


Nuns on the run, and a total of four Michelin stars!