Stories From The Road

Sights to See

Restaurant Review #3 – Jumbo Kingdom – Top Deck

JUMBO KINGDOM, ABERDEEN HARBOR, Hong Kong, SAR, China – Situated in the middle of Aberdeen harbor is the world-famous floating restaurant known as Jumbo Kingdom. This boat is also one of the staples of Hong Kong. It has four different floors each housing a different restaurant. Upon arrival in Aberdeen this was my first stop. There are two ways of reaching the restaurant and both are by ferry service. One of the boats leaves from the Aberdeen Promenade and it is marked by a large archway that simply says “Jumbo” on it. The second ferry departs from the Shum Wan Pier near the Aberdeen Marina Club. The ferries are constantly shuttling people between the mainland and the restaurant and depart approximately every five minutes. After a quick five minute boat trip, you arrive at the restaurant. Along the way, make sure to take in the numerous fishing vessels that clutter the harbor and are reminiscent of Aberdeen’s past. The floating restaurant is extremely popular with both tourists and locals.

Each restaurant is fairly large and has a good number of seats available. The first three restaurants serve various types of Chinese food. One specializes in Dim Sum. The third restaurant is fairly expensive. The restaurant located on the top of the restaurant is called Top Deck, this is where I ate. Upon first entering the boat, I found the decorations within the floating restaurant to be extremely ornate. Yet the Top Deck restaurant had an extremely laid back feel. I went on a Sunday, which is when the Top Deck holds their brunch buffet. For $440 HKD (approximately $55 USD), you get all you can eat from the buffet until they close. You also receive your choice of sparkling wine, champagne, rosé, or various juices. Whichever drink you choose, you will receive unlimited refills, however, any other drink you order, you will be forced to pay additionally by the glass. While this may seem expensive for a student living on a budget, it is definitely worth checking out at least once.

The food available here ranged from various cuisines. I stuck with breakfast foods. I started with the eggs Benedict and ham with a side of naan bread, unlimited bacon, a Peking duck burrito, and the lamb. This food was unbelievable, it was also the first time that I have had eggs in four months, and bacon has never tasted so good. For my second helping, I again went with the eggs Benedict, but I also piled on some of the asian cuisine offered. They had fresh hand rolled sushi and sashimi, as well as all you could eat oysters on the half shell. There were many other aspects to the raw bar, including queen crab legs and New Zealand mussels. There was also a desert bar with fresh made crepes. Aside from the food, the Top Deck also had a full bar, serving jumbo sized drinks. I honestly cannot recommend this restaurant enough, everything I had was delicious and it was definitely worth the price.

The Top Deck operating hours:

Tuesday – Friday:

5PM-12AM

Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays:

11AM- til late

Monday:

CLOSED

You can find this restaurant by taking bus #70 from exchange square three in central (exit D out of the Hong Kong station). Get off of bus #70 at the Aberdeen promenade and walk along the water until you reach the archway that says Jumbo.

Location:

Middle of Aberdeen harbor

Jumbo Kingdom

Jumbo Kingdom #2

View from Top Deck Restaurant

Top Deck Restaurant

Interior of Jumbo Kingdom

Interior of Jumbo Kingdom #2

Jumbo drink

Round #1


Wild Monkeys

MONKEY MOUNTAIN, MONG KOK, Hong Kong, SAR, China – Monkey Mountain is small, but albeit  famous area in the new territories. It consists of a small reservoir, BBQ site, hiking trails, and of course wild monkeys. I am not sure where the monkeys originally came from, especially with this area being so close to the city, however, once they were fed they never left. There were signs all over the park asking visitors not to feed them, and of course everyone did. It was really cool to see their reactions with each other when we threw them food and to see the social hierarchy among them. They would attack each other for the food and when we hadn’t fed them, they would hold onto us, until they got more food. They would eat anything, from peanuts, to bananas, and even the trash.

Monkey Staring – this freaked out about 5 seconds later and started yelling at me

Monkey Eating

Baby Monkey

Monkey Watching

Monkey Eating

Monkeys Swarming

In the photo above the monkeys have swarmed a bag of peanuts that was dropped. The alpha male of the group holds onto them and keeps them for himself.

Monkey Begging

Baby Monkey Eating

Monkey taking food

Monkey’s Huddling Together


Cheung Chau Island

January, 29, 2012

CHEUNG CHAU ISLAND, Hong Kong, SAR, China – The tables were scattered about and an old woman walked back and forth screaming orders to her chef.

“This place is extremely famous for its homemade fishballs and noodles. But it is one of the last ones and it will close at the end of the month”

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Today was an early day, awoke at 7:00 AM after a long night out and boarded the MTR to Central. Once in central a short walk brought us to the harbor piers and our journey to Cheung Chau Island was under way.

Located off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong island and in between both Hong Kong island and Lantau island, Cheung Chau island is a small fishing island. Its name, when translated, means “long island and rightfully, so, stretching farther than it is wide. At its narrowest, Cheung Chau is only a few meters wide. Historically and to this day, this island has been inhabited my fishing families, which becomes apparent when one views the numerous fishing boats that crowd the harbor. The harbor is polluted with trash and visitors are often greeted by the robust smell of rotting fish. There are also no cars on the island.

The Harbor

Street Vendor Selling Dried Fish

The streets are narrow, lined with shops and restaurants. Many of these shops sell fresh seafood or dried seafood for cooking and health benefits. Many visitors are encouraged to buy their fresh choice of fish and to bring it to a local market and have it cooked. It is the stalls selling the dried seafood that smell the worst.

Crowded Streets

Our guide for the day Chris, a student at Lingnan University told us that we are going to go to lunch at a famous restaurant. We walk down the main street and turn into what looks like nothing more than a hole in the wall. Instead it was small single roomed restaurant called Lun’s Ice House. Ice Houses were once a common type of restaurant on Cheung Chau serving traditional Chinese noodle dishes.

Lun’s Ice House

“This place is extremely famous for its homemade fishballs and noodles. But it is one of the last ones and it will close at the end of the month” said Chris.

It turns out that with increases in globalization and the influx of companies such as McDonalds, small business such as this cannot afford to stay in business. Its the same story everywhere, and a shame since the food was extremely good. By the time that this blog is posted, Lun’s Ice house will be closed for good. We enjoyed a hearty meal of noodles mixed with various types of meat. During the meal the god of wealth entered the establishment and gave everyone gold coins as a part of the new year celebration. On this day, the Chinese believe that it is everyones birthday.

Pork and Rice Noodles – Lunch

*     *    *

With lunch finished, we began our tour. Our first stop was the pirate Cheung Po-tsai’s cave. Po was as pirate during the eigteenth century and is said to have stored his treasure in the cave. Today the cave is still accessible even though there is no treasure, its makes a nice little adventure. It is located on the northern tip of the island and overlooks the ocean.

View from Cheung Po-tsai’s Cave

After everyone climbed through the cave we headed back toward the town center for a stop at a famous desert restaurant (note: it seems that the chinese refer to everything as being famous). Located at 12 Kin San Lane, Katie Desert is a small establishment selling a variety of homemade deserts. I had their Baked Alaska, which they are famous for and a black cow. The Baked Alaska was delicious although very different from a real Backed Alaska, the difference being that this one lacked cake. For those reading this that have not had a Baked Alaska, it is Neapolitan ice cream surrounded by cake and frosting and doused in rum and lit on fire. The black cow was a drink that consisted of coke and chocolate ice cream mixed together.

Baked Alaska

Our day continued by visiting Pak Tai temple on the other end of the island. The temple was fully decorated for the new year and it was great to see locals going inside and praying. One feature at this temple is the ability to have your fortune read for 15 HKD ($1-2 USD). To do this , one kneels down at the altar and takes a cup, which is filled with sticks. You are to hold this cup at an angle and shake it up and down until one of the sticks falls out. The stick that falls is matched up to a piece of paper with your fortune and then it is interpreted by the fortune teller. He interprets it in terms of either your love life, your career or your future. I had my future read and it did not sound good. he told me that this year would be tough for me with the fall being the worst part.

Pak Tai Temple

Altar

Offerings

Fortune Teller

When we finished at the temple we cut our trip short and returned home due to the weather. On a nice day, the other side of the island is full of pristine beaches and even a wind surfing clinic, which I definitely plan to return and take part in.