Lazy, hazy summer days | Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

I had a low-key, but pleasant, Labour Day long weekend spent with my parents. This was the first Labour Day in a while that I hadn’t had a big moving experience, since I was living in the same place in Toronto as I had been for the last couple of months (and past year). This also made me realize that this is my second last first day of school… ever? As I see more friends entering the workforce, I am feeling a little old, which I know sounds silly, but that’s reality as well.

It was fruitful and rewarding summer. Hong Kong was just amazing. July and August flew by, probably because I working on job applications. Even though I am totally improving my time management skills, I still have one more big Hong Kong blog left to post: my trip to Cheung Chau!

On my last full day in Hong Kong, I went with a fellow student friend from work to one of the outlying islands, Cheung Chau, southwest of Hong Kong Island. I boarded the ferry late morning from Pier 5 where all the other ferry piers are located to go to the other islands such as Lamma and Lantau. We had the choice of either a fast ferry which was either a 35-40 minute trip or the ordinary ferry for 55-60 minutes. We chose the latter to enjoy the view.

Bikes by the pier.

What a beautiful, perfect day. It was a Tuesday so there were not as many people. What I didn’t realize, though, was that Cheung Chau had an established residential population. There were banks, grocery stores and restaurants/cafes oriented to locals. Cheung Chau is also the location of the Bun Festival, where people used to clammer up a tall vertical tower covered in buns to grab a bun for good luck. Some vendors sold little bun souvenirs, but I thought it would only be appropriate to buy them if I were actually there for the bun festival.

“City Centre,” and ongoing revitalization project

We didn’t plan on our trip very well, so by the time we got to Cheung Chau it was around noon. While it was sunny and gorgeous outside, it was also super hot. We attempted to avoid the sun by having lunch first. Somehow we got lost in this little town, and ended up at a local cafe. I had pork chop and salad. This was a Hong Kong style salad which meant some canned fruit and potato covered in Miracle Whip. This lunch was totally comforting, in a weird sorta way!

And so, we hit the beach. We settled down at Tung Wan Beach.

You can see the coal-fired power station on Lamma Island.

Looking back on Tung Wan Beach

We then walked towards Kwun Yam Beach just beside Tung Wan Beach where there were fewer people.

Hong Kong’s first Olympic gold medallist trained here for the windsurfing event.

We took a short hike along the “Mini Great Wall,” which is a path that goes around the coast, to look at the interesting rock formations.

“Vase rock.” This reminded me of the Hopewell (Flower Pot) Rocks in New Brunswick.

“Elephant Rock”

“Human Head Rock”

By this time the sun was beating down on us, so we decided to cut our hike short and go back to the beach. We unfortunately missed seeing the cave where a famous pirate supposedly hid his treasure, as well as the beach my dad went to when he was a child. Hope I can go again some time.

We had quite a few tasty treats on our day to Cheung Chau.

Curry fish balls. These were so large relative to a normal fish balls; they were at least larger than a golf ball! These were so tender and yet still had some bite and elasticity.

Some red bean cake: fresh and hot from Hometown Tea House. These were written about in Frommer’s travel guide, apparently.

I tried this crazy fried potato, which I later learned was called a tornado potato in North America and was quite popular at festivals in Toronto including the Night Market and Buskerfest. It was a bit thicker cut than a chip and deep fried. Yummy, but well, it was still just a potato.

Mango mochi. Mochi is a sticky rice flour paste cake. Traditional Cantonese mochi is filled with peanuts and sugar, but sometimes it is plain. This was my first mango mochi and I loved it. So squishy and soft, and very fresh.

My friend found out about Wan Shing Dessert Shop (允升甜品) in the town centre, near the ferry pier. What a refreshing end to a sweaty day. I had mango rice flour rolls (“cheong fun”), one sesame flavoured (the darker one) and the other plain. Cheong fun is usually a savoury dish. Usually shrimp or beef are rolled between thin sheets (noodles) made out of rice flour. This time it was mango wrapped in rice flour sheets, a dish I did not even know existed. It was served cool. The roll was “springy” when bitten and smooth. I had to slurp up the mango and roll in one go or else the mango would slide out!  This was fresh and utterly delightful, to say the least. It was also only HKD 20, less than CAD 3!

We were both so tired from a day out in the sun, but it was the best way to spend my last day in HK: out of the city, in nature and on a beach. If you have a day to spare when you’re visiting Hong Kong, I recommend going to Cheung Chau.

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