Hong Kong

5 local experiences in Hong Kong

28 December 2013

I arrived in Hong Kong 4 days ahead of my family to spend some much-anticipated time with Carys! ♥

It’s my 4th visit to Hong Kong, but thanks to her, I still got to experience many interesting things, some of which is a glimpse into what living in Hong Kong is like!

Local experience #1: Live like one


The fastest way to feel like a local is to live amongst them!

Her apartment was 40 years old, had weird knocking sounds due to old pipes from day till night, couldn’t flush the toilet for 2 days, and didn’t ever have nearly sufficient water pressure for showering, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else! (Plus I’m a free-loader, so I’m not complaining!)

It is surrounded by many VERY good food stores though! Super love!

Local experience #2: Sharing tables

The first meal I had with her was during her lunch hour and she got us seats first. She picked me up from outside the restaurant and brought me to our table.

As we approached our table, I saw a guy sitting there and was confused. Carys didn’t mention anyone joining us, and from her body language and his, they are either pointedly ignoring each other, or they didn’t know each other.

So I just quietly sat down, deciding to observe first.

She never did introduce him, and shortly after, another unknown woman joined said unknown man!

I found out later that it’s common to share tables, especially during peak hours.


But you can’t blame me! This is a decent restaurant in a big mall like ION and Vivocity leh! Why got strangers sit at my table one?!

I really don’t remember having to share tables in my past visits. But then again, my last visit was many years back and Hong Kong probably got a lot more populated since then. #futureofsingapore

Local experience #3: Eating at a 茶餐厅

Having breakfast at a 茶餐厅 (Cha Chaan Teng) at one of the most famous Hong Kong cafes, Australian Dairy Co.:


It is typical to have long lines, but we arrived at 8+ am and managed to evade most of the crowd. Add in a dash of luck and we nailed seats after being in the queue for less than 5 minutes!

For the record, no. The owner is not Australian, neither do they use milk from Australia. It’s just named that way. *shrugs*

It was an eye-opener because the scrambled eggs were supposedly legendary, the sets cheap, and record-fast serving time. But service is zero.

It lived up well to expectations.

The scrambled eggs were sinfully delicious.


We suspect lots of cream or butter. Maybe both. Definitely not something to eat everyday.

I paid HKD $18 for eggs, toast and a cup of hot milk. Pretty reasonable.

Again, we had to share tables (refer to point #2). The guy sitting opposite me barely had time to take a single breath after he finished ordering when the waiter plunked his plate of food in front of him.


It’s really:

  • Waiter finish scribbling order
  • Waiter disappears
  • Waiter reappears in 5 seconds with food

But yes, the cafe is very busy and chaotic. Take a second longer to decide on what you want and the waiter will just dash away without a word.

Rude or efficient? You decide.

Local experience #4: Taking a mini bus


I’ve only seen it on TVB dramas and was ridiculously excited I was going to sit in one!


The tricky, but interesting things about taking a mini bus are that:

  • There are no fixed bus stops. You just shout out where you want to drop off along the route it covers. E.g. “Please stop ahead at XYZ Building”
  • You can flag for a mini bus anywhere along the road
  • The bus drivers are like playing a game of “Crazy Taxi”, bus-style. Minimal concern for speed and safety.



Speedometer installed so that passengers can report reckless driving (sign with contact info on top, but can’t be seen clearly in photo).

He’s driving at 23 km/h only because there’s a traffic jam! When he did a right turn, I can really feel he super anyhow turn. Full speed without slowing down!

We were embarrassed about having to call out our stop in our lousy Cantonese and even contemplated getting off at someone else’s stop but fortunately, someone was alighting at the place we wanted to alight! #chickenavoided

Local experience #5: Old-school mani/pedi

This is perhaps the most interesting experience of all. Or perhaps the correct adjective is terrifying

First, soaking our feet:


In a plastic bucket wrapped with a plastic bag. While sitting on someone’s home sofa.

Next, she trimmed my nails. WITH SCISSORS.

WTF, you know how scary that is?! Toes in particular are so meaty and I was so terrified she’ll snip bits of them off!

Then they brought out this vegetable peeler lookalike for removing the dead skin on the soles. NOT KIDDING. It really is the twin of vegetable peelers.

They said my feet didn’t require it, and Carys vehemently refused to have them do it. She worried she might not leave the place with any feet.

Then, picking colors:


Hahaha! Well, I suppose it’s quite refreshing from the modern color wheels we use!

But not a single OPI in sight. The only brand I recognized was Revlon.

The lady prepped my feet for painting…


… by lacing it with tissue paper o_O

Well… I suppose it’s actually more hygienic when you think about it.

toesepToe separators are so overrated.

I was busy taking photos and being amused that I failed to notice that she didn’t apply base coat.

… It had to be on the day when I am attempting RED nails for the first time. Thanks ah. Thanks.

Till now, I still haven’t removed them from the sheer horrific mental image of the staining damage.

To wrap off this happy occasion, we have the overzealous shopkeeper auntie, offering to take photos for us and even going on to wedge herself between us and forcing the other disgruntled auntie to take a photo:


I don’t know why she’s linking arms with me.


Well well, definitely interesting experiences to be had! But above all, I’m happiest about creating new memories with Carys!

We all lead our separate busy lives, but at times like these, it warms my heart to feel the closeness again :)


  • Reply yy 1 January 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Omg that pedi experience really does sound terrifying. And I legit lol-ed when I scrolled to that last photo.

    • Reply Rin 1 January 2014 at 9:54 pm

      IT WAS!!! It was a very real situation where any of us could have left with bleeding toes D:

      I imagine you would be smothered to death by the auntie’s in-your-face enthusiasm lol.

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