Hong Kong Exchange, Travel

Victoria Harbour Light Show & Delicious Hot Pot

So, it’s cold here in Hong Kong. I thought I was leaving cold weather behind, but it followed me. Fantastic.

It’s been in the 40s (Fahrenheit) for several days now, and the temperature won’t be ticking up for almost another week. I know it’s colder than that back in Ohio, but there’s a major difference: In Ohio, you get to go indoors to heated homes. Buildings here don’t have heating units because they’re almost never needed. Temperatures rarely dip this low, and when they do, it’s usually only for a couple days. But, for the past several days, everywhere from classrooms to the dining halls to my dorm room have all been a brisk 40-50 degrees, and I’ve been bundled in my hoodie 24/7. I’m not going to go buy a heavier jacket, since I know it’ll be useless by next weekend; I’ll just tough it out until then.

But the cold weather makes a warm meal even better, making it a perfect time to go to a hot pot restaurant, a common activity in spells like this. Hot pot is a meal where a pot of broth is placed on a burner in the middle of the table. Then, the diners add whatever meats, vegetables and other food items they’d like and start cooking, eating as they go. It’s not like adding items to make a soup, its about using the broth as a way to cook food items you then take you and eat individually. The staple is sliced beef or pork that cooks within a few seconds, but the opportunities for hot pot are endless: shrimp, beef balls, corn on the cob, leafy greens, sausages, noodles, and so on. There’s really no “right” method to cooking hot pot, other than to make sure that the items you put in the pot are thoroughly cooked before you pull them out.

Sam, Kelsi (one of the other students who visited Ohio in the fall) and I got a pot with a center divider that let us have two broths: one spicy and one mild. I preferred the spicy broth, but Sam and Kelsi found it too hot once the peppers cooked down. The restaurant was basically all-you-can-eat. Servers brought out the raw meat slices, but the rest of the food items were in the middle of the restaurant, free for you to choose from. Along the walls were coolers continually stocked with juices, beers, sodas, ice creams and other desserts. As I mentioned in my last article, this is where I accidentally grabbed a fruity alcoholic drink because I thought the packaging looked like soda. I was wrong, and I didn’t enjoy the taste. Oops.

All in all, the food was fantastic, and the spiciness of the broth really hit the spot. If this weather keeps up, I wouldn’t mind going back again this weekend.

We also visited Victoria Harbour that evening to see the nightly light show. Hong Kong is home to the largest permanent light show installation in the world (though I don’t think it has many competitors). A couple dozen buildings on both sides of the harbor synchronize their billboards, LED panels, and other installed lights to match some background music pumped int0 nearby loudspeakers. The music had a sort of futuristic vibe, which matches well with the motif of the city. But honestly, the finished product was a little underwhelming. It was cool, but it didn’t blow me away. Maybe it didn’t help that there were hundreds of tourists blocking my view, many of whom had selfie sticks flung right in front of my face (seriously, I thought that fad died years ago), but I digress. It was worth checking off the list of things to see while I’m here, though.

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The harbor itself was beautiful, and I’d much prefer to go back when there are fewer people, just to take in the skyline. This is such a beautiful city, and the designs of some of the buildings in that area are awesome. Their beauty is, in my opinion, amplified in the evening when they’re all illuminated.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll go to Festival Walk and catch The Post, since it seems to be worth a watch. With any luck, the movie theater might not be as cold as my dorm room. Fingers crossed.

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