Friday, November 26, 2010

Pure bliss

I have resisted posting this for some time because I'm afraid they'll get so busy I will never be able to find a slot there anymore. But Thai Pailin Massage (Tel: 3114-0030) is so good I just have to give them a mention. They can do things to the knots in my neck you can't ever imagine.

We used to hike a lot in Lamma and I often thought it was such a waste that a hippie haven like that didn't have the one absolute necessity of boho-dom: A massage place. After all, what can be more inviting than having your feet tenderly kneaded after a long afternoon of hiking?

But I don't care anymore - because I have Thai Pailin Massage in Mui Wo. Owned by a Thai woman named Pailin (duh), it offers a good massage at good rates. Amenities are basic but who cares if the treatment works?

The traditional massage (HK$98 for 45 minutes) is good but my pick is always the customised head and shoulders treatment (HK$130 an hour).

As you see, I get my kicks above the waistline. So if you're looking for "happy endings" or a tug to go with that rub, take your dodgy self elsewhere, sunshine.

Thai Pailin Massage is at Shop No 1, Seaview Building, Ngan Wan Road.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mui Wo fun day

I was Googling Mui Wo, as you do, and came across this event in the government website :

Date: 5/12/2010

Detail : 活動詳情:


主 辦/協辦:

張 女士
2984 8473

As I don't read Chinese, I put the text into the trusty Google Translator and this is what it says:

Mui Wo Fun Day 2010
Date: 5/12/2010

Event details:
Games, traditional food stalls, stage performances

Organizer / Sponsor:
Mui Wo Rural Committee

Mui Wo Rural Committee

The venue, according to the Translator, is
Mui Wo Square, Mui Wo, Lantau.

I have no idea where the square is but when I find out, I will let you know.

Edit: Aha, I have found out. The Square is that concrete wasteland
adjacent to the wet market. Thank you, Web2.0 Test Runs!

Hotel food

The rule of the thumb when looking for a good restaurant when you're in a new place is to see where to locals go. Unfortunately, we decided to ignore this and strike out on our own. We had seen Thai food advertised in Silvermine Beach Hotel so thought we'd try the restaurant out for some variety.

Big mistake. The seafood linguini was on the menu as having clams and mussels and in a tomato wine sauce. Instead, we got spaghetti in an lumpy cream sauce with a handful of peppers thrown in (peppers being a "Western" sort of vegetable).

The pad Thai was another disappointment. The seafood was fresh and the scallops were plump, I grant it that. But it was all cooked into a soggy mess, more hor fun style than anything Thai I'd seen.

To add insult to injury, the bill came up to about the same as if we'd had a meal at China Beach Club... which would have been infinitely better.

It's a pity, really, as the location is great and the staff are friendly. If only they'd get a new chef or do away with dishes the existing one cannot cope with. A good hor fun cooked well would have pleased us more than an interesting dish cooked indifferently.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Luk Tei Tong

This village sits nestled in the hills with a wide swatch of abandoned paddy fields (with happily wallowing buffaloes) to mark its entrance. I wonder what took us so long to discover it. It's even got its own watchtower (sadly derelict now), a charming Tin Hau temple with annexes for clan tablets, and some lovely 70s-like balconies. There are some expat families living there but the place feels more local.

If Buffalo Wilbur and I didn't have such deep-seated inability to spring out of bed and get to the ferry pier on time, we'd be moving there in a shot. But living within two minutes of the pier is still more attractive than a charming village, I'm afraid.

Tofu fah uncle

I love tofu fah from Hong Kong. The really good beancurd has a silken texture and a smoky flavour from being made with firewood. I used to be addicted to the Ah Por tofu fah from Lamma but now that we have moved to Mui Wo, that seems such a long way away (two ferry rides is a bit too much just to have a dessert).

Then I found out about the uncle in Mui Wo who makes some just as good. He grows his own soybeans and makes everything from scratch. He sells them along Mui Wo Rural Committee Road. Because his is a one-man show, he only makes the tofu fah in small quantities so once they're gone, they're gone.

That's why , though I've been pass his spot so many times, it's only today that I was in time to catch him. So of course I had to get the supersized HK$10 bowl instead of the regular serving.

You can read more about the tofu fah uncle here. The photos are brilliant, but then what else would you expect of CNN?

Chung Hau old mansion

I've seen this wonderful old watchtower from River Silver quite a few times and made up my mind to explore it when I had more time as it looked quite Famous Five-ish.

After seeing it up close, I did some judicious Googling and found out that it's called the Chung Hau old mansion. It was built out of cut granite blocks sourced from the hills around the area in the 1920s by Yuen Kwan-yu as a guard tower as well as protection against pirates.

The old tower is still owned by the Yuen clan, which has modern houses in the family compound. There even is a cannon (stopped up with cement now) guarding one of the buildings.

You can read more about the history of the watchtower here.

Opera buff

We like going for a walk in the villages after Sunday lunch because there's usually something happening somewhere. Today, we heard strains of a Cantonese opera being played at the Mui Wo Rural Committee Hall so decided to take a peek.

There were stacks of plastic-bagged goodie bags at the entrance, which was a good indication of the crowd inside. These goodie bags are usually given away at the end of the show to the elderly. The smiling volunteers waved us in.

In the hall, there were loads of old folk (so THAT'S what they get up to when they're not playing mahjong). The performers were consummate professionals, togged up in heavily sequinned outfits to belt out old favourites to a rapt audience – who probably had their eyes on the main prize outside later.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sunny day

This is the view from our window today. The sun is out, the sea is blue and you can see all the detail on the hills. Is there any wonder we don't want to go out today?

Christmas light-up

Hong Kong really is beautiful when the smog clears and you can see all the lights up for the season. This is the view from the Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui, enroute to catching the Mui Wo ferry home.

Mui Wo celebrity II

Meet Maisie, the other mascot of Tom's Cafe. She's such a little lady and keeps herself so clean she's a walking advertisement for bleach.

China Beach... far away in time

Wonderful views and the smell of meats barbecuing on the grill makes for a perfect Saturday brunch at China Beach Club (Tel: 2983-8931). Our surf and turf (HK$205) was enough for two. I had all three tiger prawns with garlic aioli and Buffalo Wilbur had the steak. We were so full after that we didn't have space for their famous apple crumble. But we will try it soon and I'll post photos of that up!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Silver mining

Many day trippers come to Mui Wo, or Silvermine Bay, in search of the mine that gave the place its name. Problem is, the mine has been closed for more than a century and all there is to see is a spooky arched entryway that has been boarded up.

We've gone up there a few times, mainly to watch the disappointed looks on people's faces when they realise "this is IT?!" But the view from the top is worth the steep slope up.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chilling out at China Beach Club

What I like about China Beach Club (Tel: 2983-8931) is that the staff love pets. A friendly dog may come to greet you at the top of the stairs and, in the open-air kitchen, cats doze on the rocks above. The view is also amazing: huge sweeping sea view all the way to Hei Ling Chau and beyond.

The prices are more close to city prices (HK$195 for a rib-eye steak) but they do give value. My China Beach curry came with seven fat peeled prawns. And Buffalo Wilbur's kippers came in a mound of kippers. The drinks are also good value – HK$25 can get you almost a pint worth of Gunner or lemonade.

Pity the place is only open on weekends. I could get used to this.

Find your best friend

Got a village house with a huge garden? Or how about a nice little ground floor flat? Mui Wo and the surrounding areas are great for doggy walks. If you're feeling the need for a four-legged friend, looks like Cheung Sha's the place to be on Sunday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas Fair

Love the charming posters (kiddie misspelling and all) advertising the Lantau International School Christmas Fair on December 4. Makes you want to go there all the more, doesn't it?

More Delicious

I've been meaning to go to Pui O Delicious (Tel: 2984-2298) for lunch ever since we had that yummy dinner at the place a few weeks ago. So today, I grabbed Buffalo Wilbur for an early hike over to Pui O, to reach there in time for (sneaky me) a nice Japanese set lunch.

The lunch sets at Pui O Delicious are really good value. They cost around HK$35-HK$45 and include a main dish, chawanmushi, miso soup and a drink (the mandarin orange is especially good after a long hike). I had the kaetsu set and Buffalo Wilbur had the stir-fried beef, which came with generous portions of enoki.

It was so good that I ordered another set to take home for dinner figuring that, seeing as I have to make that hike to get there, I might as well get my hike's worth.

Btw, I found that the restaurant has their own facebook page too here

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lantau celebrity

Meet Ding Ding, de facto mascot of Tom's Cafe. Isn't that such a cute little face?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Please don't occupy extra seats....

Of course, we would all love to have all three seats to ourselves on the ferry. Especially if you, like me, get a little seasick so don't want to get into conversation with others because that means making eye contact and taking your sights off the horizon.

Even if you don't get seasick, it's nice not be be poked in the eye by a lethal stick of curry fish balls or chopsticks wielded by an instant-noodle chomper. Or be elbowed in the ribs by someone reading a broadsheet (Tip to the wise: Get The Standard, it's free and tabloid sized so you don't have to spread your arms out like a fisherman describing the one that got away).

But when the ferries are packed with commuters in the mornings and evenings, it is the height of selfishness to grab the middle of three seats and glare at people who want to get in on either side of you. Or take up the remaining two seats with a paper bag, a smelly coat and a wet umbrella.

We all pay the same fare. So unless you are going to pay two more fares for those seats you've selfishly taken, I am going to stomp on your feet when I squeeze into one of them.

You have been warned.