Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ladies Market

I'm posting this early this week as l am going to Ryan and Jill's tomorrow, staying over night and then going to Shenzhen with Maureen, the lady whose house we stayed in when we first got here.  I want to get some summer clothes made.  I'm hoping they make bathing suits because although l brought two along, one completely disintegrated and the other one had this wooden ring thingy holding part of it together and l stepped on it and broke it.  She has lived here quit a few years and knows her way around so it should be fun to go and see what new things l can learn!
The Ladies Market (or the Tung Choi Street Market)  is situated in one of the densest urban areas of the world and was infamous for its brothels and Triad activity.  The city has been trying to clean this up and has built a huge new luxury hotel with a mall and many restaurants, but the brothels remain a few streets over and the Triad's are still in business even though it is illegal to be a member.
It doesn't seem to matter what time you go to Mong Kok, it is always filled with people.
The girls in the Chiropractors office were explaining to me that the way we say Mong Kok is wrong, and the M is actually pronounce W as in Wong.  We also say Kok with a K sound and it really a hard G sound!  Probably most things we try and pronounce are wrong!!
Looking down into the Ladies market.  Traditionally it was stocked with only ladies wear and things pertaining to women, but today it has a great variety for everyone.
If you want stuffed toys they have them!
You can buy jade, although l'd be suspect that it's real!  Most of it is some kind of resin!
There are some quit nice pictures, and some are really weird.  Blaine has bought a few radio controlled helicopters and cars at this market.
Wooden trivets and jewelry.
The pashmina scarves and some of the silk runners and table clothes are really beautiful.
There are all kinds of Chinese dresses, jackets, kimono's and kids clothes. 
Of course there are the ever present copy purses!
One stall is full of Nascar hats, jackets, and t shirts. 
If you want fancy beaded purses this is the place to buy them!
And if you don't have enough hair on your head you can buy hairpieces of every description  and color.
Chinese love fancy clothes even for the children.  Some of the dresses are really lovely.
Blaine of course loves to look at sports shirts and  sports jerseys.
There are toys galore!  These are only a few of the types of stalls that are there.  Some don't let you take pictures.  
This street musician was pretty good and switched between English and Chinese pretty easily.  They seem to sing a lot of 80's type songs

You haven't lived until you've been to Stinky Tofu Corner.  That's what we call it.    I have never smelled anything so vile as fermented bean curd cooking.  You can smell it for a block or more before you get there and in the heat of the summer it is absolutely revolting!  

Besides the tofu, they sell all kinds of strange things, like the octopus on a skewer, fish balls, and all kinds of stuff l  have no idea what they are, but it is the busiest corner around with people lined up to buy.

This poor woman on the sidewalk has been there every time we've gone.  She just sits there and people give money l guess.

When you've done your shopping and want some down time, you can rent a room for two hours, or overnight! ( and cheap too! Only $11 Cand.)  In Mong Kok there is nothing you can't buy!!  (Unfortunately, for some things)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Flower Show

The Hong Kong Flower Show has been running since 1968, and lasts for 10 days, with hundreds of thousands of visitors coming each year.  This years theme flower was the Primula.  The title was a Symphony of Spring Flowers, with lots of musical accents.  There are lots of educational activities, including music and cultural performances, floral art demonstrations, cookery demonstrations, photography competitions,  children's games and workshops on plant care etc.  Blaine and l went on Sat. morning and it was a wet morning, but that was OK as there were less people about!!  It is held in Victoria Park which is on the island. Next year we will definitely try and go again.

 Heading into the grounds.
Love the pink grand piano!

Music and flowers, what a great combination!

These panda bears were part of the Macau exhibition.  They were made from flower seeds!

This avenue of eighth notes ran the length of the main area.

This is a music stage with fountains and apparently at night is beautiful when all the lights are on.  It is made up of around 30,000 primula's of 30 different species.

These fountains are on three sides of the stage.  Loved those pink flowers.

There was every kind of orchid you can imagine in a myriad of colors and designs.

This plant was the grand prize winner for orchids.   Gorgeous!  Orchids are used extensively here.  At one of the commercial stalls they were selling potted orchids for $10 HK.  Like a toonie Cd.  I should have bought the one l was looking at.  A beautiful magenta one with lots of buds.  Oh well next year!

A football field size plot of tulips.

These next few pictures are of the children's animal musical group.  Some were animated and l thought they were wonderful!

 The tents behind were filled with all kinds of gardening paraphernalia and commercial flower growers.
The daffodils in this one were incredible.   I think that's a keyboard above the daffodils, with a CD in front.

Other side of the picture above.   The note was made up of  hyacinths.  Smelled nice!  
Gorgeous harp.  Can't fathom the amount of flowers used in the sculptures, and then add all the planted ones.  Wonder what they do with all the plants after.

These were huge!!  Really unique.
This was one of the plot competition entries.

These two plots were of the western garden.  I'm not sure why the house has its curtains on the outside of the windows!  Lots of impatiens were used.

This one was a South African display.

This one was from Indonesia.

Pure white frilly tulips.

These rabbits  in the children's area were made totally from fruit!
Love hydrangeas!  Happy gardening to you all.  Hopefully the snow will soon be gone and you can get out and plant like crazy

Friday, March 18, 2011

Peking Duck

Peking Duck,or ba'k-ging ha'au nga'ap as the story goes began way back to the Yuan Dynasty and was prepared for the Emperor.  Of course it was not made for the masses, but over the centuries became a national dish which anyone can enjoy.  The ducks are bred for this, and are allowed to graze free range for the first 45 days of life and then are force fed every four hours for 15 - 20 days till they reach between 12 - 15 lbs.  They are cleaned and washed, then air is pumped in at the neck to separate the skin from the fat.  They are then soaked in boiling water and then hung to dry.  While hanging it is basted with a sugar solution and then roasted till a shiny dark brown.  They are roasted in either a closed oven or hung oven.  The hung ovens can roast up to 20 ducks at time and are hung above the open wood fire.  The close ovens have grills and the ducks are placed in them after the fire has burn down and only the coals are left.  Each oven uses its own type of wood.  The skin of the duck  is supposed to be very crispy and brown.  This dish comes from the Northern part of China.

One of the teachers from our school King Yu  invited Kylie, Jocelyn and us out for supper to try the Peking Duck.  The restaurant is down the stairs behind Blaine and is in the TST area.

On the table as appetizers were pickled cucumbers and carrots, peanuts and spears of fresh cucumbers.  Then they brought a dish of of some kind of greens, with shredded chicken and jelly fish on top.  It was in a light vinaigrette dressing.   I'm no good with chopsticks and wrapped it around the sticks to keep it from falling off!  Not something l'm dying to have again!

Kylie trying the jelly fish!  It didn't have much taste, wasn't slimy or rubbery but you had to chew it more than l thought!.  Sindy, Kings wife said she just swallows it!

The next thing to come were Shanghai noodles and they were good. 

There was also steamed pork buns.  They were good too.  You dip them in the vinegar sauce in the little bowl and eat them whole in one bite because they have a broth in the dumpling that spurts out everywhere if you try to bite them!  We also had fried rice that had shrimp, vegetables and pork.
The chef carving the duck.

The duck is sliced very thinly, and each piece has some skin as this is the prized part of the duck and has the most flavor. Sometimes the skin is served separately and dipped in sugar and  garlic vinegar and eaten by itself.  I think these bamboo steamers are rather neat.  Sindy said you can just put some chopsticks in the bottom of a dutch oven  and set these on top to steam things.

Sindy showing us how you eat the duck.  First you take one of the wrappers that are in the steamer.  They are very thin.  Then you  add hoisin sauce, some of the strips of spring onions, and slices of cucumber.
Then you wrap it up like an envelope and enjoy.  They were really good.

Blaine is getting much more adventurous in his eating, but we both still ask for forks!!
Rachel busy eating her white rice!

Adding the hoisin sauce to his duck wrap.  Of course you always get tea.  The red sauce in the other dishes is a hot spicy sauce if you want hotter.  There was one other dish l didn't get a picture of.  It was sort of like our egg rolls but the batter was more bread like and was filled with shrimp and vegetables.

  For dessert we had a  kind of a baked wrap with red bean paste in it.  We both rather liked that one.  Then we had the strangest little thing.  It had a coconut jelly bottom with red beans in another type of gelatin top.  I can't say l'd want that one again!!  I wish l'd taken a picture of it because it was quit different.
 Sindy has her masters in nursing from Australia and works in an orthopedic ward of one of the hospitals.  King teaches physics, at our school.  He was born in HK then lived in Japan for part of his growing up years, then went to the states for part of his university, and taught there and then came back to Hong Kong.  So many of the people we've met here have lived all over the world and are so interesting to talk to.  King loves to try new restaurants so we decided the next one would be a Brazilian one.  Should be fun!!