Most of my explorations so far have been on Hong Kong Island where I live and work. Although I am by no means an expert on Central, I can find my way around. However, I’m still unfamiliar with Kowloon. I was able to change that a bit when I went to the Hong Kong Museum of History in Kowloon last Saturday. Afterwards, I walked around the surrounding streets and once again, it was wonderful just to walk and soak up the city.
My morning started off in Central. I had breakfast at Lan Fong Yuen, a famous cha chaan teng. Cha chaan teng means tea restaurant. They serve HK-style, casual and homey foods. I hope to write more detailed posts on the restaurants I go to so I won’t describe too much right now. I have to mention though that their silky smooth milk tea gave me a much needed caffeine boost to kickstart the day!
My mom brought me and my siblings to the History Museum when it opened about ten years ago. I vaguely remembered the visit, but I was glad I went again. The museum was split into two parts: first, the natural history of Hong Kong and then each of the Chinese dynasties’ influences on South China and Hong Kong. There was also a feature on folk culture in HK. I was pleasantly surprised that I was familiar with some of the traditions mentioned such as writing marriage proposals, which is carried on today more or less.
Bun tower–this is continued in a modified form. Traditionally, people would race up the tower made of buns and try to get a “lucky” bun, but on one occasion it collapsed and some people died. Now they do a safer version of this tower.
The second part picked up from the Opium War and the cessation of Hong Kong to Great Britain. The exhibits continued through World War II and modern HK up to the handover to China.
Cute British mail boxes, many of which were removed from the streets just before the handover.
I loved seeing the museum’s pictures of places in Hong Kong that I was familiar with but also saddened by how many beautiful buildings were torn down in the last half century.
When I was younger, I felt that the whole museum was about “history” or a “long time ago.” During this visit I soon made the connection that the exhibits in the second half were within my grandparents’ and parents’ lifetimes. I felt touched to learn more about my parents’ lives. My parents were always open about their childhood and I was eager to listen, but unfortunately never took it to heart.
It was never my intention to find my “roots” during my two months here, but that was partly out of ignorance and fear of too intangible a goal. The museum and my trip here so far have made me more interested in learning more.
After the museum, I made my way to get some wonton mein (noodles) for late lunch, and then I popped into one of my favourite places in Hong Kong, Australian Dairy, for dessert, milk tea and a scrambled egg sandwich, a fan favourite on the internet. I definitely overate, but I chalked it up to not being in Kowloon enough. Pictures to come!
Sights in Kowloon: Bowring Street Market
From Kowloon side, looking across Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island.
In the evening, I had a lovely dinner with my mom’s cousins. My grandmother is the oldest of ten children, and my mom is the oldest of her generation. To put things in perspective, my mom’s youngest cousin is the same age as my sister. Now I have second cousins about twenty years younger than me, yet we are in the same generation! It was a great day thinking about my family.