Strange creatures. (Vegetarians, look away.)

Let me first start off by saying that I was right to feel anxious over something that isn’t confirmed yet—the apartment I was about to put a deposit on got sold this morning! The good news is, I was able to rent a newer, larger, and nicer looking flat. It was the first one I saw yesterday and I liked it a lot. The bad news is, it’s still under construction and won’t be available til March 1st. If you read my previous post, I mentioned this flat already,  which wasn’t supposed to available for another month but my agent managed to negotiate with the landlord to shorten the due date so it would be more convenient for me. Also, I’m getting it for $6,000 HKD, not including utilities. This is still reasonable at roughly $733 USD, but it doesn’t come with a washer or a fridge. I’m not too worried about the washer part because a lot of HK locals use a laundry service, which I recently learned was a common practice in New York, too. I guess it’s just a more convenient thing to do in a city packed with people living in tight quarters. I am bummed about the fridge, but it definitely confirms the fact that Hong Kongers eat out more than they eat in. I suppose it’s not a big deal. Several people have told me it’s cheaper to eat out than to cook meals at home.

I feel relieved now that I’ve settled on a place, but I have yet to feel the ultimate relief of settling in my new home. Until then, my tiny, temporary flat will have to do. (On top of that, my friend told me that when they say an apartment will be ready in however many weeks, it usually takes one to two weeks longer. But… we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.)

I spent the entire day out with my Dad. Usually, hanging out with Taiwanese relatives means running errands all day. It wasn’t the greatest, but I got to sit in a car and drive all over Hong Kong. We stopped by Tsim Sha Tsui to look for golf clubs (my dad is a golfing instructor). We didn’t spend too much time there, but it was nice to discover another pocket of Hong Kong. Tsim Sha Tsui is another shopping playground. I probably can’t afford anything there but I’d love to go back to explore again.

We had dinner at a seafood restaurant in New Territories. I don’t know where exactly as I had fallen asleep on the ride there, and only learned it was New Territories while driving back to HK Island. (I was really excited once I learned we were in the northern-most part of Hong Kong—it’s the closest I’ve ever been to Mainland China!)

View from the balcony.

This massive restaurant was located on a corner with a few other seafood restaurants. Within the center of the restaurants is an open area lined with several fish vendors. Here, restaurant-goers select the seafood they want to eat, carry it back to the restaurant, and the cooks will prepare it for you. For seafood lovers, this must be exciting!

These dogs were cute but unfriendly.

Strange things. I think they are called “sea tubes.” The white part is the living part. They were pulsating in and out of the tube. It was quite gross and I remember thinking, “I hope we don’t get this,” but we sure did!

Miniature sea tubes.

I’m not a big fan of seafood. In fact, seafood is ranked pretty low on my scale of things to eat. However, being in a new country somehow granted me the curiosity to eat anything. I nibbled on some pretty strange creatures and was also surprised that it wasn’t so bad.

But first, a transparent glass of some really, really strong alcohol:

This was a type of rice wine. The potency was over 40%. Reminded me of soju, but not quite. It was sweet and spicy. I liked it but I couldn’t even finish it. Also, when HK people make a toast, they tap the glass on the lazy susan first before taking a swig. At least that’s what everyone at the table did.

Remember those sea tubers from earlier? This is what they look like cooked:

I was hesitant when my dad’s friend insisted I be the first to pick up one of these, but it was quite good. The texture is chewier than a surf clam and the sauteed garlic and onions made it very flavorful. I would have gone back for seconds if there weren’t so many other things to try.

Strange creature #2. I felt like I was dissecting a primitive crustacean, and I probably was. This was some sort of small lobster. The shell was super hard so you had to use a pair of scissors to cut it open from the front of its body, where the legs are. Then you peel the shell off like a jacket and see this:

I think I frowned when I saw this. It looked a lot grosser in person. The flesh was purple and there was a shock of bright red down the spine, which I thought was blood. Also, it smelled kind of weird—like a foot.

So the red thing wasn’t blood. I don’t know what it was. I didn’t finish this as I didn’t particularly like it anyway. The meat was a lot tougher than “regular” lobster. Someone once told me that it’s a waste of money to take me out to eat seafood.

Prior to leaving for HK, I ate HK-style food nearly everyday. I love the stuff. But since being here for a week, I already crave American food. I actually craved a salad last night. And a burger. I never ate burgers back in L.A. What. I was really drawn to the super cheap food here in HK, but to be honest, the food isn’t the healthiest here. I know that they put MSG in everything, and even the baked goods that I love have become a bit too rich for me. What is happening?! Why did I suddenly become so health conscious in a place that’s known for cheap and fast food? I know there’s healthier alternatives out there, I just have to ask around and find them. I’m really looking forward to moving to North Point because there are more food options compared to Tin Hau where I’m staying now. After battling a cold all week and suffering from food poisoning the night before, I’ve quickly realized that my health is the most important thing.

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