Hong Kong: Day 3

Over the first few days we had noticed an American-style retro diner near our apartment. It was named, imaginatively enough, "The Diner." We were a bit skeptical, but decided to grab brunch there on our third day in Hong Kong. Our skepticism was misplaced, as it was quite good (particularly the milkshakes!), though it definitely did not share its pricing with a traditional American diner.

After brunch we got ourselves to a nunnery (hardy har har). The Chi Lin Nunnery, in particular. While it would be interesting by itself, it is particularly fascinating in the context of such a modern, developed city like Hong Kong. It was built using traditional Tang Dynasty techniques utilizing interlocking wood with no metal nails. There were many beautiful Buddhist shrines inside but we weren't allowed to take pictures of those, so pictures of the buildings and grounds will have to suffice.

A panorama of the courtyard.

Right across the street from the nunnery is the Nan Lian Garden. This was a nice little oasis in the middle of the city, though there's not a whole lot to say that can't be better conveyed pictorially.

Later that evening we went to Victoria Peak, one of the more famous tourist attractions (for good reason!). From the peak, you get magnificent views of pretty much the entire city. Going up at night was particularly cool, as many of the more prominent buildings have interesting light displays. The tallest, the ICC, had by far the most elaborate, as you can see below.

Dinner that night occurred in multiple stages. For the second night in a row we tried to go to Ho Lee Fook. This time, we were determined to put up with the 60-90 minute wait to try it out. I mean, how hip is a restaurant whose only website is a tumblr page. Right? Anyway, we put our names down and went a few doors down to one of their sister restaurants, Chôm Chôm. This place was pretty good, and also unabashedly hip (meaning Grace and I were very much out of place). We got a couple rounds of drinks and some delicious roast corn and spring rolls. Yum.

Ho Lee Fook definitely stole the show, though, and was most certainly worth the wait. I can't recall the last time I had such terrific food. Wagyu tartare; perfectly stir-fried asparagus, broccoli, and sugar snap peas; grilled pork belly, and a really interesting Szechuan pepper whiskey sour to top it off. Szechuan pepper is really interesting (I had never tried it before - apparently all that Szechuan chicken I'd had in mall food courts was not quite legit): unlike "normal" pepper (to which it's not actually related) you get a distinct numbing, tingling sensation in your mouth. Neat.

Our long wait for dinner meant we didn't get home until around midnight (although we did grab a milkshake from The Diner as a delicious nightcap), so it was a very full, very enjoyable day.