Tips on Traveling to Hong Kong

Recently, I took a trip to Hong Kong and there were a few things I would have liked to know about before going:

  1. 1The MTR (Main trains) are fantastic, and fairly cheap. The Hong Kong dollar is about about $7 HKD to 1 USD and many of the rides that you’ll need are around $15HKD each. What you’ll need to do is to get an Octopus card (It’s a value store system) at the airport after you leave customs. (Along with a SIM card) Make sure to put at least $250 on the card so that you can leave the airport express train.
  2. You have to wave down the bus that you intend to get on.
  3. Most places accept Visa cards, this is good, but make sure to bring cash.
  4. The food in Hong Kong is fantastic, and comparatively cheap. (You can get out of Bread Street by Gordon Ramsey paying less than 100$ USD.)
  5. See the Tian Tan Buddha on top of Nong Ping. Also, if you have the money, get the clear bottom cable cars. They tend to have less of a line to get on.
  6. Go to the markets and haggle. Never use your CC and bring a diverse amount of bills. Most of the places will give you a price and another “special price.” Always make sure that you counter, and meet in the middle. If you’re looking to buy multiple items, settle on a low single unit price, then ask for a discount for multiple. See the Youtuber Colin Abroadcast for examples on some of the bargaining.
  7. Stay in Kowloon. There’s no need to be in Hong Kong City. The train runs all night and it’s very fast.
  8. Connecting through the airport: The airport is a pretty efficient airport for transferring you though. Getting through security shouldn’t be a problem. (There is a special area for transiting and you don’t have to go through customs if you’re flying from one country to another in the airport).
  9. See the Peak Tram/Victorias Peak. But check before hand on the best times to go. This can be a very busy place.

 

German Food In Chicago

Going to Germany has a lot of great things about: it’s people, the sights/architecture, Christkindlmarket, and it’s food. One of the best things about Germany is the Gemuctchliket and Schtnzelhauses. The good Schnitzelhaus’ are hard to find in Germany, for good reason. Any place in Germany that serves schnitzel is promptly compared how the patron’s mother would make it. I’ve found them under train stations (Check out the schnitzel shop under Warshauer Strasse), or hidden by forests (as in the case in Heidelberg and Hassloch).

For the most part, the schnitzel is a very simple dish (pork chop that is flatten, breaded, and deep fried), but it’s treated as a rare dish in the United States. I’m not sure whether it’s due to an unflattering/”boring” reputation or if it hasn’t been marketed well. It’s a little strange as that Americans’ love 2 things in food: 1. Pork chops and 2. deep fried foods.

It’s hard to find a German Restaurant that does a good job at this. It’s even more rare to find one that is a bit more affordable. In Austria outside of the Westbahnhof you can get a huge schnitzel as big as your head and chips for ~8e. In Chicago, you have a few options for German food, and you have an entire German neighborhood. Some of the places include: Resi’s Bierstube, Lachet Inn, Gene’s Sausage shop, Prost, the Radler, and the Berghoff.

So starting with the bad and the ugly.  My criteria is based on getting a schnitzel and hoping for at least the tasty sides that you would get in Germany. (I.e. Spaetzle) In a short manner here are some of the issues:

  1. Berghoff: This is the “Chicago traditional” type of place. It also claims to be Geman. From my experience the only thing it has going for it’s self is that it’s big and that it’s been there for quite a while. The food was bad and over cooked. Even the airport versions at O’Hare aren’t so great.
  2. Lachet Inn – This place is good, but not a comfortable Schnitzel restaurant in Germany good.
  3. Gene’s Sausage Shop – This is a great grocer and European shop. However they open up the rooftop as a beer garden in the warmer months. Unfortunately the food isn’t so great.
  4. Proost- I’ve had nothing but bad service here. They attempt to reproduce a beer hall, but run it like a distrusting club. (I’ve even had the door person demand that I take my license out of the clear portion of my wallet [Like one would when showing a TSA person])
  5. The Radler- The Radler is a great bar. Unfortunately it considers German cuisine to be extremely high class and attempts to price itself in the same category as Sarah’s Weiner. (An upscale and pricey German restaurant in Berlin) Their Schnitzel is decent and they attempt to try to over door all of the sides. The sides that come with the dish are bacon braised lentils, pickled beets, and figs. For ordering a schnitzel this seems like overkill. Additionally a meal here will set you back $24+18% mandatory tip/service charge before tax.  The only upside to this place is that they have a good set of taps at the bar. (I wouldn’t come back here for food)

We’ll I lied, that isn’t all of the German places in Chicago, and not all of them are less than stellar. There is one so far that has impressed me quite a bit. Unfortunately they’re closing soon. The place is “The Mirabell.” It is conveniently located a block or two off of the Addison blue line, and since their “reopening” after nearly closing in May they’re open Thursday-Sunday every week. The food is great, the Spaetzle is a bit different but still delicious, and the prices are great. They charge somewhere around $15 for a Schnitzel, and their drinks are typically $7 for a large beer.

Restaurant Review: The Thai House of Charlotte

The Thai House is a great example of how a restaurant should be run. The food is memorable, tasty, and is unique from the competition of the area. I ordered an appetizer of beef Satay, and a main entrée of Red Curry. The appetizer came with small chunks of cucumber, shreds of carrot and peanut sauce. My main entrée consisted of very thin chicken, peas, bamboo shoots, and curry ingredients. The appetizer, although very flat, was tasty and had a smoky grilled taste to it. The main entry was flavorful, just a tad under spicy, and plentiful. Additionally, it came with rice.

To those who have been to the Thai House with me before know, I liked this place. This review is nothing new. I believe this is the fifth time that I have been to the Thai House restaurant. The Thai House restaurant is a small group of restaurants owned by a family in Charlotte. They have places open in South Charlotte, the University, and Gastonia. According to their website, they are currently looking into opening a new restaurant in the Epicenter. I would love to see a proper Thai restaurant in downtown Charlotte. A good Thai restaurant in the area of average Chinese and Japanese places stands out. It’s the difference between spring and winter.

The bad: There isn’t much to say for this section. However, I was a little disappointed after consuming 90% of the curry. After eating all the bamboo shoots, peas, and chicken there was some gritty edible substance in the bottom. It could have been larger spices, parts of bamboo shoots, etc. I found this to be a little disappointing, but it did not take away from the meal. If the restaurant wishes go for fine dining a quick filtering of the liquid in the curry would be essential before serving.

For those who are interested in their website or visiting.