Our breakfasts in Hong Kong tended to be fairly quick affairs, given that we still didn't know what people ate in the mornings. On our way to Victoria Peak, we popped into another convenience eatery called Can:teen.
The char siew paus I had for breakfast were actually not bad; fluffy and filled with sweet barbecued meat.
Day Two was spent in search of some eateries recommended by my sister, who's an old hand at exploring Hong Kong.
One of these places is Sweet Dynasty, which is a really outrageous pun on the Chinese word 'Tang'. It's apparently famed among Singaporeans for its desserts, which are indeed various and sweet, but they also do regular meals.
Its popularity is fairly obvious - the place is packed with people, from grannies to kids; clearly Sweet Dynasty isn't just a marketing gimmick.
I had a double-steamed rice with pork ribs, though they weren't really ribs, more like assorted pieces of bony meat.
No meal in Hong Kong is complete without dim sum, so we decided to order a few items from Sweet Dynasty's (very limited) dim sum menu. The shrimp rice flour rolls weren't bad, sweet and delicate and smooth all at the same time.
The steamed rice flour balls filled with custard, though, were quite appalling. The custard filling was powdery and coarse, dry and tasteless. I was rather disappointed by this sad offering.
The char siew paus weren't much better; we agreed that the ones I had for breakfast were vastly superior, and given that they came from a convenience eatery, did not speak well of Sweet Dynasty.
Nicholas ordered us a ma la gau, which I'd never heard of before. Eventually we learned it's the same thing as what I call a thousand layer cake (qian cheng gau), but the one at Sweet Dynasty looked like a big sponge. Again, nothing particularly impressive.
The saving grace, thankfully, was dessert. I had the mango pudding, which came embedded with generous cubes of sweet mango fruit. The pudding was firm and creamy, a fairly uplifting finish to an otherwise uninspired meal. I'm not sure what makes Sweet Dynasty so popular, but it's probably not the food.
As we spent most of the evening in the vicinity of Ladies' Street and the Temple Street Night Market, we meandered our way into one of the ubiquitous restaurants bordering the road (after first being careful of avoiding any eatery that had any tourists or Westerners in it). It apparently served award-winning fishballs, and after tasting one, I could see why. Firm and fleshy, it was plump, succulent and bursting with intense flavours without being overpoweringly fishy.
I had a stir-fried sliced beef dish served over steamed rice. Simple and luxurious, the sauce was rather heavy on the cornstarch, but they were quite generous with the beef, and I was only too happy to get away from the numerous dodgy-looking seafood stalls that virtually screamed 'tourist trap' to complain about the food.