Today being our special day, hubby and I spilt up from the girls. We did quite a bit of research on alternate plans before this trip for this day. Some plans included a side trip to Tai-O if we didn’t make it there on Day 1, day trip to outlaying islands like Cheung Chau etc., and exploring further east of Hong Kong island. But we also thought of doing/visiting something that is not quite ‘popular’ or ‘must-visit’ places in Hong Kong, like Yuen Long. Hubby’s old impression of Yuen Long was that it was a really distant place (he took a bus to Yuen Long on his previous pre-1997 trip and it was a long, long journey). But the MTR map told us that it’s only a 40-minutes ride on West Rail Line. Seeing that its so accessible now, we decided that we should venture into this New Territory for the day!
We met hubby’s friend, Ms. F, for breakfast at Mui Kee Congee 妹記生滾粥品 that was quite near to our hotel. Great way to start the day!
As usual, I ordered the Congee with Grass Fish 魚腩粥 😛 Hubby tried the Congee with Pig’s Viscera 及第粥, while Ms. F had the Congee with Preserved Egg and Lean Meat 皮蛋瘦肉粥. We also shared some Fresh Fish Skin 生鱼皮 and Crispy Fried Fritters 油条. The fish skin was delightfully refreshing when eaten with soy sauce, plus some raw spring onions and ginger shreds. The porridge was of a good texture and not overly thick, and the ingredients were fresh but food got cold rather fast in the cooling weather. Ms. F felt that the preserved egg and lean meat were just so-so though. (Total damage: HKD123)
We had not met for quite a while and had plenty to catch up, so after breakfast, we continued on to Kam Wah Cafe 金華冰廳 for coffee/tea. Today’s milk tea was not as good as it was slightly too strong. Hubby and I shared yet another Po Lo Bun… haha! I think we always ate at Kam Wah Cafe at least twice in our trips 😛 (Total damage: HKD53)
This meant that it was past 11am when we finally got started on the Ping Shan Heritage Trail 元朗屏山文物徑.
We started from MTR Tin Shui Wai Station 天水圍站, Exit E, where we first went to see the Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda 聚星樓, which is the last remaining ancient pagoda in Hong Kong. There was a staff manning the place, and we were allowed to enter the ground floor of the pagoda, where there were some information on the history of the pagoda.
Next, the staff gave us some directions so we managed to move on to the Shrine of the Earth God 社壇, before reaching Sheung Cheung Wai 上璋圍, a walled village. Visitors were not supposed to enter the village, so we hung around near the entrance to admire the structure and ducked in for a quick peep. The gate was made up of wooden logs, which reminded us of the wooden gates at the temples in Bhutan, except that the gates in Bhutan were made up of 3 huge individual wooden logs, while the gate here was a fixture with around 10 wooden logs. Within the village, the houses appear to be built quite closely to one another.
On our way to Yeung Hau Temple 楊侯古廟, we passed by an old well 古井, which was currently no longer in use. The well was literally a hole in the ground 😮
The temple was on the left of the well, and was open-concept with no doors, which got us rather confused initially as it didn’t quite fit into our expectations of a temple 😛 It was divided into three sections, where the statues of Hau Wong 侯王, Kam Fa 金花娘娘 and the Earth God 土地公 each reside in.
As we continued along the trail, we chanced upon 華嫂冰室, which was highly recommended by OpenRice. However, as it was almost 1pm, the eatery was closing for lunch, so we decided to continue on the heritage trail and come back for lunch later. This meant that we managed to visit the 2 nearby ancestral halls before they were closed for lunch too. The Tang Ancestral Hall 鄧氏宗祠 and the Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall 愈喬二公祠 were located next to each other, and both had similar structures. However, the Tang Ancestral Hall seemed a bit more grand. With no one guarding the place, we were free to roam around the halls and courtyards.
Next stop was the Kun Ting Study Hall 覲廷書室 and Ching Shu Hin 清暑軒, which was a guest house right next to the Study Hall. Alas, it was lunch time and both places were locked! So we moved on to the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitor Centre 屏山鄧族文物館暨文物徑訪客中心, which was right at the top of a hill. The building used to be the old Ping Shan Police Station, and it was a very informative exhibition on the history of the area. Very worth a visit, if you are up for the climbing… We huffed and puffed our way up, and rested at the benches at the Visitor Centre to enjoy the breeze and to catch our breathe 😛 Well, the little hike did warm us up 😀
It was closed to 2pm by the time we detoured back to 華嫂冰室 and there was a long queue! We were not really hungry yet, so we decided to go visit the Kun Ting Study Hall 覲廷書室 and Ching Shu Hin 清暑軒 first, which proved to be a mistake that we realised later on…
I think that the study hall and guest house was the highlight of the trail! We had lots of fun exploring the place and were very impressed by its beautiful designs and carvings.
Back to 華嫂冰室, and now the neat queue had become groups lingering around the eatery, and we had a bad feeling… LOL! It turned out that we should have queued earlier and gotten ourselves a queue number before doing more sight-seeing. Oh well, we took our queue number and then sat somewhere nearby to rest our tired legs. It was lucky that we had a heavy breakfast (porridge and Po Lo Bun) and that the weather was cooling and not rainy, so we were quite happy to be waiting. Unfortunately, this meant that we would not be able to make it in time to visit a friend working in Hong Kong island 😦 So we spent the waiting time reading reviews of this place, and also checked out Instagram to see what the girls were doing – having very delicious cute duckie dim sum at Jade Garden Chinese Restaurant 翠園 it seemed!
Finally, after almost an hour of waiting, we got our seats. We were able to order immediately since we had plenty of time to ponder on our choices and to research online on what to eat 😛
Rather hungry by now, we ordered the Signature Pineapple Bun 招牌菠蘿包 (HKD15), Signature Cheese and Corned Beef Bun with Egg 招牌芝士咸牛肉蛋豬仔包 (HKD17) and Macaroni with Braised Chicken Wings and Pork Chop in Tomato Soup Base 番茄豬排雞翼通心粉 (HKD39).
The pineapple bun had a very crumbly crust and came with butter and egg. Quite an interesting combination, but hubby felt that the Kam Wah version was still the best. The cheese and corned beef bun with egg was also quite flavourful! But what we really enjoyed was the very juicy OMG pork chop and braised chicken wings! The pork chop was just firm enough for us to enjoy tearing it apart but was not tough at all. The chicken wings were very tender and savoury sweet. Combined with the thick sweet-and-tangy tomato soup base, it was an excellent choice! But of course, the chicken wings at Tai Ping Koon was better 😉
We had shared tables with 2 other couples, and were chatting with one couple where the guy was an Indonesian staying in Hong Kong and he had made a comment that it was “just tomato soup, what’s so special?” Well, we think the soup went well with the meat stuff, but by itself, it was probably quite similar to what we could have gotten back home. In all, it was a satisfying meal, but we do not think it was worth waiting 1 hour for… maybe 30 minutes?
Next in the itinerary was to continue with the food trail which we had painstakingly researched 😀
We decided to take the LRT to Yuen Long 元朗! Yuen Long has a very famous Hang Heung Cake Shop 恆香老餅家, which is very well-known for its Wife Biscuit 老婆餅. We called the girls up to take their orders and it turned out that they were at Tai Cheong Bakery 泰昌餅家! Different places but doing the same thing… hehe. Bought a dozen of still-warm Wife Biscuits for Ms. Y and hubby insisted that I should try the Century Egg Pastry 皮蛋酥 (HKD7). Now, I’m not a fan of Wife Biscuit, and so was a bit apprehensive about this Century Egg Pastry…
First impression, the pastry was very thin and flaky! Second impression, the lotus paste 蓮蓉 was extremely smooth and creamy… in fact, I think this might be the smoothest and creamiest version of lotus paste that I had ever eaten in my entire life. But is was also super duper sweet (I don’t have a sweet tooth). Third impression,the piece of century egg was very tiny. Overall impression, the taste of century egg and lotus paste did not go well together 😮 It was a weird combination… and when I asked hubby why he was so insistent that I try it, he said it was because the taste was very interesting… *faintz*
Continuing on, we just roamed about the streets and chanced upon Ah Yuk Soy Bean Curd 亞玉豆腐花. Remembering that we had read good reviews about it in OpenRice, we just had to check it out 😛 There were 2-3 folding tables in front of this little humble shop, with a few plastic chairs available for seating. You could add as much sugar syrup and/or brown sugar as you desire.
We shared a bowl of warm soy beancurd (HKD7) and it was silky smooth with a hint of tofu taste, quite yummy! I also tried adding the brown sugar and watch it melt… haha! It was quite delicious with the sugar too.. and we saw people adding a mountain of it 😮
A few steps ahead, the signboard Yuen Long Siew Mai Queen 元朗燒賣皇后妙舒 caught our attention. At around HKD10 for 4 Siew Mai 燒賣, it was not worth the money as the entire siew mai basically tasted very dense with flour/corn starch. 😦
There were also other BBQ items for sale, but we felt that since siew mai is part of the signage, surely it should be one of the signature items? We wondered why there were so many people queuing for the food…
After this, we really had to rest our stomachs, so we just went walking around aimlessly, taking in the local sights. All these walking was to attempt to release a tiny bit of space so that hubby could try Victory Beef Ball 勝利牛丸 😛 Note that there are 2 branches nearby each other. Because we were so full, we shared a Mixed Beef Ball with Brisket without Noodles 淨牛丸牛筋 (HKD30). We loved the bouncy beef balls!
Finally, we dragged our too-heavy bodies in search of the MTR station to return to our hotel. Took us quite a while, and we were so tired that we fell asleep on the MTR ride back. Upon reaching the hotel, we took our time to soak in the bath-tub before going over to find the girls to exchange items (Hang Heung’s Wife biscuits with Cured Goose Liver Sausages 鵝肝腸 and Century Eggs 子薑皮蛋 from Yung Kee Restaurant 鏞記酒家). Did we mention that we found Yung Kee’s Chinese sausages and century eggs more worthwhile than their roasted goose?
The girls were very good at eating too! After an entire day of eating and shopping, they still managed to tabao 牛雜, 魚蛋 and 燒賣 from 龍津美食, and cakes from Lucullus Gourmet Shop 龍島美食店 back to the hotel to continue their makan session 😮 Oh, they were also nibbling biscuits along the way… Very impressed! They also got us some presents for our special day 😉 Very 感动!! Thank you, gals! *big hugz*
We made some quick plans for tomorrow and returned to our room to collapse into our comfy bed, while the gals continued on with their feasting and soaking of legs in the bath-tub…
- Mui Kee Congee 妹記生滾粥品 – Shop11-12,4/F, Fa Yuen St Market, Mong Kok 旺角花園街市政大廈4樓熟食中心11-12舖 Daily 06:30-15:00
- Ping Shan Heritage Trail 元朗屏山文物徑 – http://www.amo.gov.hk/en/monuments_75.php
- 華嫂冰室 – Hang Tau Tsuen, Ping Shan, Yuen Long 元朗屏山坑頭村 Mon to Sat 08:00-13:00；14:00-17:00
- Hang Heung Cake Shop 恆香老餅家 – G/F, 64 Castle Peak Road,, Yuen Long 元朗青山公路64號地下 Daily 10:00-22:00
- Ah Yuk Soy Bean Curd 亞玉豆腐花 – Shop 12, Wang Fung Building, 2 Fau Tsoi Street, Yuen Long 元朗阜財街2號宏豐大廈地下12號舖 Daily 13:00 – 01:00
- Victory Beef Ball 勝利牛丸 – Shop 1, G/F, Kit Man House, Kuk Ting Street, Yuen Long 元朗谷亭街傑文樓地下1號舖
- Jade Garden Chinese Restaurant 翠園 – Shop 603, 6/F, Grand Century Place, 193 Prince Edward Road, Mong Kok 旺角太子道西193號新世紀廣場6樓603號舖 Daily 07:30-23:30
- Yung Kee Restaurant 鏞記酒家 – 32-40 Wellington Street, Central 中環威靈頓街32-40號 Daily 11:00-23:00
- 龍津美食 – 旺角旺角道32號