The journey thus far is now over and planning begins for the next one…it is always nice to have something on the horizon in terms of holidays…as you know I love to travel and I take any opportunity that I can get to head off and explore and experience new and old places in my travels.
The last week of this past trip was spend mainly in Hong Kong with a side visit to Macau for a day and night staying at the wonderful Sofitel. It has been a several years since we last ventured to Hong Kong and having the cruise end there gave us the chance to acquaint ourselves with this bustling hub of fabulous dining, great shopping and some new sight-seeing to add to our memories of the city. For me Hong Kong stands above many of the other Asian destinations for me as the options in terms of dining and shopping are so great and the variety in pricing means that there is something for everyone and on a really grand scale.
Singapore has for many years been my shopping highlight but that has been now replaced by Hong Kong for a number of reasons. Firstly the prices are comparable on many levels but there are many more options and the local design talent in Hong Kong is really quite fresh, new and innovative which I really loved discovering. I am sure there are some great young designers in Singapore but I found the delight in Hong Kong wandering the many areas and stumbling across new designers creating a range of contrasting and interesting clothing options really refreshing.
Shopping, shopping and more shopping!
One of my favourites was Modele www.modeledeprudence.com.hk which is a label that started in 1995 by three young Hong Kong designers and now has 4 established stores in various locations in Hong Kong as well as exporting around Asia and now into Italy. They are also one of the key designer brands promoted each year by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. I stumbled across their store when my gorgeous friend Robbie who we were travelling with noticed some ‘drapey’ menswear in the window and knowing how much I love drapey he suggested I take a look – and from the first look through the racks I was hooked!
On that first visit I purchased 3 items from the current range and over the course of the rest of the week in Hong Kong I checked out two of their other stores, as they stock some different pieces in each store and I wanted to see what else they had on offer and in the end finished up with about 10 pieces from their current range to bring home with me. I think the thing that really appealed to me was that they were not bound by any trends but were intent on setting their own trends and experimenting with fabrics, embellishments, cut and flow in a really creative and fun way. Based around the theme that their customer is their role model they create fresh new ranges each season for both men and women and I loved them!
Of course there were the trips to the more established stores and lots of them to choose from and it was fun to window shop, explore and look at some of the wonderful upcoming designs that we can look forward to seeing here in Australia in the coming year!
And now to dining and experiencing the wonders of food in Hong Kong…the thing I love about Asia and the options on offer, no matter where you are is that there is everything from fine dining and high teas to mid range and street stalls to choose from and the chance to really indulge in all the local cuisine and its varieties. Hong Kong is no exception and over the course of the six days that we were there we indulged in some wonderful local cuisine. We had Cantonese traditional curries and dim sum meals as well as some of the more Avant guard options that can be found simply by wandering into the different areas in the city.
Fabulous local Dim Sum…
As I said in my last post getting around with our trusty Octopus cards on the MTR rail network meant that the whole of Hong Kong was open to us and it allowed us to head off in lots of directions and experience so much of the city and to dine in places that we perhaps would not have found. On our second last day we had been out shopping and decided that it was time to have dinner and we stumbled across a small café filled just with locals and so chose to have our last dinner in Hong Kong there and were not disappointed. The food was fresh, tasty and so cheap that it made for a great last dinner.
There are simply so many options to choose from that you would have to spend weeks to really experience the dining delights on offer and I could easily return and explore more areas of the city and find some other great little café and restaurants.
This time we did a side trip over to Macau on the high-speed ferry and had a great day and night staying at the Sofitel and this time upgraded to the club floor to have a bit more pampering for one of the last days of the trip and loved the attention we received from the moment we arrived at the hotel until we checked out the next day. One of the things that we all really wanted to do was to experience some of the local Portuguese food and Rodney checked out trip adviser and found that there was a place just down the road that was well rated and had a great reputation for doing traditional Portuguese food.
The Sofitel Macau – a dream destination!
After enjoying evening cocktails we headed out and found ALorcha and settled in for what would turn out to be one of the highlight meals of the trip! It was a bustling full restaurant and the food was just amazing. We all ordered a range of dishes and decided the best way to truly experience it was to share the dishes so we could all taste the different things that were on offer as the menu was really extensive. We started with a stunning tripe dish that was flavoured with traditional Portuguese spices and potatoes and was tasty and a real delight. I have always been hesitant with tripe as I remember it the English way of being served with white sauce but this was simply delightful from the first mouthful to the last.
We also ordered ox tongue casserole, clams and pork and the favourite dish of the night the seafood and bread stew. Each dish stood out in the complexity and richness of flavours but the balance of the seafood with the bread all joined to create a delightful dish that got us all raving. If I had to describe the flavours more fully it reminded of a savoury bread and butter pudding in the smoothness and texture but adding the fresh prawns, clams and fish added a complexity and all the flavours came through to create a memorable dish. We matched the meal with a traditional Portuguese red wine and it complemented the dishes and rounded out the meal for us.
Portuguese delights at ALorcha!
I think on reflection that if we did this trip again we would probably spend another day in Macau to do some more walking around the city and to experience more that it has to offer. It has certainly expanded greatly since we were last there a few years ago and was yet another highlight on a trip that had a number of them over the 3 weeks that we were away.
And so the holiday drew to a close and we headed back to our lives in Perth and to begin planning our next trip…which is already on the drawing board.