Mong Kok is located on the Kowloon Peninsula, a short subway ride from Central, Hong Kong. It is believed to be one of the most densely populated districts in the world. The only other city I’ve been to that is on the same level of human density is Dhaka City in Bangladesh.
To prepare myself for the “war zone”, I put on my most comfortable sneakers and wore loosely fitted clothes (that’s actually due to all the food I was going to eat in Mong Kok).
In Mong Kok, besides seeing A LOT of people, you will also find many interesting but semi-useless products. The infamous Ladies Street (the formal name is Tung Choi Street, translated as Chinese Watercress Street) is filled with things you really don’t need: stuffed animals, fake handbags, t-shirts, magnets and an array of different types of souvenirs. Then there is a mall made up of all kinds of cameras shops (ok this is not useless, I like cameras), where you can spend the entire afternoon just looking at all the lenses, cameras and accessories. There are also malls for toys, action figures, games and bb guns! If you are looking for any type of useless gadgets and electronics, you can most likely find them in Mong Kok!
My purpose of going to Mong Kok is for one thing ONLY, and that is FOOD. There are many food stands and restaurants on the street level as well as in malls and buildings. It is a chaotic scene. You see pigs hanging on the side street, waiting to be roasted and barbequed to be then served as Char Siu; or roasted and flash fried and served as crispy pork; roasted ducks and chickens are also easily spotted hanging from the windows of restaurants. I tried the Char Siu, it was pretty good, very oily but a little bit too sweet for my taste. FYI: it was cheap and it did not give me an upset stomach.
There are many street vendors selling Cantonese street food such as fishballs (only a small percentage of this is actual fish meat, the majority is made up of flour), your choice of spicy or non spicy, usually boiling in a curry based broth. Let me tell you, these are YUMMY! Maybe a little too much MSG, but I love them! You can also find many other snacks in these stands, such as fried eggplants, sausages, enoki mushroom wrapped in bacon, braised tripe and more. I don’t love them all, I usually stick with fishballs and sausages, but I do confess that I have tried them all!
Now onto one of my favorite fast food chains in Hong Kong: Mos Burger. It’s located in the food court of Langham Place. Mos Burger is actually a Japanese burger chain. When I was in Tokyo, I ate two Mos burgers for breakfast every morning. I couldn’t have been more excited when I first found out that they are in Hong Kong! The Mos Cheese burger is a must try. The gooey mess of the ketchup-y, onion sauce goes perfectly with the bun and the burger meat. It’s different from American fast food burgers, I am out of words to describe the difference, both are good, so you need to try it for yourself. They also offer the Yakiniku Rice Burger. The bun is actually made of rice, the meat is thinly-sliced beef marinated in Teriyaki sauce with onions. I can’t believe this is actually a fast food burger. Oh it’s delicious!!!
Located on the same level of the Mos Burger in Langham Place, is another Japanese fast food chain: Pepper Lunch. It is a “fast steak” chain. Order #1 on the menu, just say #1 when you go!!! The thinly-sliced beef is served fresh and raw along with rice, roasted black pepper, pepper butter, corn, cheese and eggs on a sizzling hot iron plate (the cheese and eggs are extra, but you MUST get it!!!). You then quickly mix everything with a sweet and spicy sauce, it’s kind of like you are stir-frying the dish yourself. It looks kind of messy after you mixed it, but once you take that first bite, you will not be able to stop and when you are done, you will want to eat another one. My stomach just roared, my mouth watery, just because I am writing about this!!!!
A few hours in Mong Kok and roughly a million people later, my stomach was filled with all sorts of food; I ate like if I’ve never eaten before. I felt dizzy partially from the food coma, and partially from looking at all the people walking in front, on the side and behind me, I started to hallucinate about people being everywhere, even in the air. And at this moment in the corner of my eye, I spotted these flowers, it’s like a breath of fresh air and a mother’s hug, they gave me comfort, clarity and energy, energy that made me jump into a taxi to get away from all the madness.
Peace out crazy Mong Kok!