I moved from the San Francisco Bay Space to Hong Kong in 2014 and stayed for 5 years.
Residing in such a global metropolis launched me to completely different cultures and new views.
Nonetheless, I did not anticipate it to be so troublesome to search out the American meals that I beloved.
I moved from San Francisco to Hong Kong in 2014 to attend school.
Throughout the 5 years I spent abroad, I found an astonishing array of variations between my life within the sprawling Asian metropolis and my life in Northern California.
Now that I’ve settled again within the US, I made a decision to replicate on a few of the most shocking issues about my expertise residing overseas in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong was far more geographically various than I anticipated
Earlier than I moved, Hong Kong’s world-famous skyline gave me the impression that the town could be all skyscrapers.
There are definitely loads of colossal buildings, however there are additionally seashores, waterfalls, climbing trails, and islands to discover.
Uncooked nature and sky-high buildings do not usually go hand-in-hand, however Hong Kong has the perfect of each worlds. It is one of the geographically various cities I’ve ever been to.
The general public transportation system was impressively environment friendly
Town’s sturdy public transportation system may get me to most locations and not using a automobile, so I did not want one. Plus, parking is pricey in Hong Kong,
Land transportation contains the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), buses, and trams that may take you throughout the island for lower than $1.
Although the MTR is extraordinarily clear and manageable for English audio system, I feel the buses are harder to navigate in the event you aren’t conversant in the route.
Brick-and-mortar purchasing was extremely popular
Hong Kong holds the world file for the best business density. Regardless of the place you reside within the metropolis, you possibly can simply discover a corner-street comfort retailer stocked with groceries, family items, and personal-care merchandise.
Looking for garments is simple too. Since there’s one mall per sq. mile, you are often simply a few subway stops away from the closest one.
On-line purchasing has taken off in Mainland China because of the rise of e-commerce giants like Taobao, Alibaba, and JD.com However I discovered that Hong Kong has not skilled the identical cashless revolution, and brick-and-mortar purchasing appears far more widespread.
Many objects, like Chinese language New 12 months decorations and jade trinkets, can solely be discovered at particular mom-and-pop outlets.
Going for items in-person lends itself nicely to the town’s vibrant night-market scene, particularly in locations like Mongkok, a purchasing district the place you’ll find something from garments and electronics to snacks and souvenirs.
After years of residing in Hong Kong, I received used to doing most of my purchasing in individual. Now, I desire it to shopping for issues on-line.
Hong Kong could be very worldwide, however it was troublesome to search out genuine Mexican meals
I grew up within the San Francisco Bay Space, which has a ton of eating places that serve high-quality Cali-Mex, California’s spin on conventional Mexican delicacies. Burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas had been all staples of my food plan earlier than I moved.
That modified as quickly as I went abroad.
The flavorful dishes I recurrently devoured within the US had been harder to return by in Hong Kong than I anticipated.
Although the town is extraordinarily worldwide and has a flourishing expatriate group, its Mexican inhabitants is comparatively small compared to different teams, which could possibly be one of many causes I had such a tough time discovering the Mexican meals I craved.
Do not get me incorrect, I really like japonica rice and jasmine rice, however I don’t need them in my burrito.
After 5 years of looking for a spot with Mexican dishes harking back to those in California, the closest I received was Tequila On Davis, an expatriate bar and restaurant. And far to my aid, they used long-grain rice.
Most comfort shops did not carry American groceries
ParknShop, a grocery store chain in Hong Kong, and Circle Ok, a comfort retailer, did not promote widespread American meals like cheese, yogurt, granola, and cereals.
If I needed to search out them, I needed to go to Metropolis Tremendous, the worldwide grocery retailer. And after I may get my arms on the objects, they had been far more costly than my different groceries.
On American holidays, like Thanksgiving, I may simply break the financial institution searching for the components I wanted to make my recipes.
A pint of yogurt price me between $5 and $10. That may not appear very expensive in sure grocery shops within the US, however it felt comparatively costly in Hong Kong, the place I may get an area meal for considerably much less cash.
The grocery shops I visited in Hong Kong additionally did not carry a few of the produce that I recurrently purchased within the US, like contemporary berries and Brussels sprouts.
I received used to swapping them out for different vegatables and fruits. And over time, I began consuming extra dragon fruit, regionally grown taro root, bitter melon, and daikon.
I used to be stunned by how a lot I loved Hong Kong’s soy-sauce Western delicacies
Soy-sauce Western actually knocked my socks off.
Much like the best way Chinese language immigrants created Chinese language-American delicacies after transferring to the US, European immigrants made soy-sauce Western delicacies by fusing conventional dishes with Hong Kong’s native flavors.
I wasn’t conversant in these meals forward of my transfer, however I used to be blown away by their impeccable sweet-and-savory mix.
Fashionable plates embrace wok-fried spaghetti with meat sauce, Swiss-sauce hen wings, and Hong Kong-style borscht, a Ukrainian soup that is sweeter than the standard model.
My favourite soy-sauce Western dish is the Hong Kong-style macaroni soup, which usually consists of pasta, meat, and greens in hen broth. I beloved consuming it for breakfast with a aspect of Spam and eggs.
Each locals and expats file into cha chaan teng, Hong Kong-style cafés that serve this delicacies. After I was residing within the metropolis, a few of my favourite spots for soy-sauce Western had been Australia Dairy Firm and Café de Coral.
Rugby and horse racing are the preferred spectator sports activities
I used to be used to the Individuals’ adoration for sports activities like soccer and basketball, however I shortly discovered that Hong Kong’s expats had been much more dialed into rugby and horse racing. Earlier than my transfer, I knew nothing about these two sports activities.
In the identical manner that sports activities deliver Individuals collectively yr after yr, rugby and horse racing have united Hong Kong’s worldwide group.
Each week, folks guess on horse races within the Shatin and Pleased Valley neighborhoods.
Hong Kong Stadium within the Causeway Bay neighborhood additionally hosts the annual Hong Kong Sevens, a world-famous rugby match.
If you will get your arms on tickets, watching the matches in individual appears like an enormous occasion. Dressing up is a practice, so many spectators don their greatest group costumes.
Lots of the folks I met weren’t from Hong Kong both
After I met folks in Central, Hong Kong’s monetary district, lots of them had come to the town from elsewhere.
Hong Kong has one of many world’s largest expat populations, making it a preferred choice for individuals who want to work overseas for the primary time.
Town is a cultural melting pot, with a large variety of expats from Indonesia, the Philippines, China, France, South Korea, India, the UK, Canada, Japan, Pakistan, and lots of different nations.
Within the US, I used to be used to asking folks which state they had been from. However in Hong Kong, I routinely made pals from all around the world, which allowed me to broaden my horizons and find out about completely different cultures.
Generally I’d meet folks from locations that I knew nearly nothing about, so the expertise challenged me to grow to be a greater listener and ask extra considerate questions.
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