The Chinese University of Hong Kong has the most beautiful campus among the city’s universities. The following are some snapshots taken not long ago at its Chung Chi College, just a stone’s throw away from University MTR Station, at the base of a hill. The College is no doubt the most accessible place of the university and attracts visitors for its peaceful and scenic environment. There is a canteen at the lake side which remains open during the summer. So you can have a stroll around the college before unwinding here with some drinks and snacks.
Category: Where to Visit
Century-old fruit market
It is very likely that you will not notice the existence of Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market even if you pass by Yau Ma Tei. For the market is bustling with activity only from midnight. It is not a retail market, as you can image. It is a wholesale market with lots of trading and transportation activity going on when the city sleeps.
Having been designated as a heritage place, the market enters its centennial year this year. It has long been Hong Kong’s major fruit trading place and its peak time fell in the 1980s and 1990s when the market was thriving with more than 330 stores. Now the number has dwindled to about 230 facing stiff competition from mainland China as well as supermarkets.
It is a typical scene that hourly workers, shirtless, transport cartoons of fruit across the area. It is said the market is embodiment of Hong Kong’s can-do spirit, as you have a sense here that people diligently do menial jobs and rigorous trading just to make a living.
During the day time, while the place is largely quiet, a few stores are open and sell fruit in bulk. I was told that these buildings are the oldest in the whole market dating back 100 years.
How to get there:
Take Exit B2 of Yau Ma Tei MTR Station; Walk along Waterloo Street toward the direction of Potland Street. Turn left at Reclamation Street. Continue along the Reclamation Street and the market is at your right hand side.
An inflatable sculpture exhibition is being held in the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, the site of the forthcoming park of the West Kowloon Cultural District. This “complex pile” by American artist Paul McCarthy is provocative. Against the backdrop of Ritz Carlton Hotel (Hong Kong’s highest hotel), a very much luxurious residential complex and a very much high-end shopping mall Elements, the pile makes you pause. It is an unwitting weird juxtaposition.
The “sacrilege” sculpture by UK-based artist Jeremy Deller has an unwitting effect too. His life-size bouncy castle in the shape of Stonehenge captures his interest in the spirit of public participation. And public interest and participation is obvious. It was a Saturday. People had to queue and wait for their turn to jump inside in the “castle”. Yet, just a stone’s throw away, lies a five-star hotel, a luxurious residential building and shopping mall, which ordinary people cannot use.
This is another exhibit I like:
Hong Kong can be beautiful if the divide between the rich and poor is no more discernible. The exhibition curated by M+, Hong Kong’s new museum for visual arts at West Kowloon Cultural District, lasts until 9 June 2013. For details, please check out its website.
Nearly century-old snack shop
This shop has been around for over 85 years. It was established in Foshan(佛山) in Guangdong in1927, then its founder moved to Hong Kong and so was the shop. Chan Yee Jai（陳意齋）sells traditional snack food and biscuits such as almond cakes, sesame cakes, dry plumes and ginger candy.
The shop prides itself on still making traditional snacks that is made in Hong Kong and in the old way, that is hand made. It is most busy before the Chinese New Year when locals shop for new year traditional snacks. So if you want to savor Chinese new year snacks and it is not new year time, Chan Yee Jai must be the place to be.
The most delicious snack of the shop, according to an expert in Hong Kong history, is its shrimp beancurd rolls (蝦子扎蹄). It is also the only cooked food sold in the shop. So when you visit the shop, you won’t miss it. And I did try. Indeed very delicious. Highly recommend it.
Chan Yee Jai has two branches, one in Central, and one in APM, Kwun Tong.
Address in Central: G/F, 176B, Queen’s Road Central.
The village way to celebrate CNY
It is not allowed to set off firecrackers or fireworks in Hong Kong. This is understandable as it would be very dangerous to allow this in a city with high population density. Yet, in the villages in New Territories, this prohibition is ignored and firecrackers are set off on festive occasions, particularly during Lunar New Year.
Today, the first day of 2013 Lunar New Year, when I passed by Ho Pui Village (河背村) in Yuen Long, a sea of amazing red caught my eye. It is what has been left behind after firecrackers were set off in front of a temple. And this is a colorful billboard celebrating Chinese New Year in the traditional village way. It hangs high over the village’s communal building.