I don't remember how I found it, but somehow I stumbled across the Hong Kong City Mall website. I think I was looking for somewhere "exotic" for us to eat and I found it. This mall is amazing and I generally avoid things called malls! Even before we walked into the actual mall there was something to check out. Just look at these lotus blossoms in the artificial pond out front!
Once inside there were many shops all geared towards Asians. It was fascinating! I walked around big-eyed and gawking, loving every minute. We decided to eat at a Vietnamese noodle house called Pho Dung. I am sure it means something much more wonderful than what it sounds like to an English speaker....
There were condiments on the table that I had never heard of and some of them with no labels. I recognized the soy sauce! One of the ladies I was with knew her way around a noodle house and explained what they all were. I didn't try any of the ones that were described as spicy, but I did try fish sauce and hoisin sauce. I liked them!
Here are the pictures of what we ordered. Too much time has passed for me to remember what they were called, unfortunately, but they were tasty! I do remember the egg rolls though. I plan on having more Vietnamese noodles in my near future!
After we eating we did one of my favorite things. We went to a grocery store! This was a HUGE Asian grocery store in the middle of the mall. I thought the other stores in the mall were fascinating but they paled in comparison to this place. There were so many things there I have never seen before! Let me share some.
Yum! Well, really, I am not sure how yummy they would actually be and I don't think I would buy a whole bag to find out. I did end up buying some things. Among them fish sauce and hoisin sauce, they were that good, and some coffee candy from Indonesia that was so very very delicious!
On the label it said that these could be sprinkled on salads or just eaten straight from the jar. Again, not so sure about that.
Red bananas! From the information I found online the red ones have a slight raspberry taste, but the texture is the same to the yellow ones that can be found in typical American stores. If we lived closer to a market like this I would buy some to try.
Have you ever heard of a jackfruit? I haven't, but that is what these are and they are not some little bitty fruit either! They are a little bigger than watermelons.
When not fully ripe the inside flesh has a texture similar to chicken and is often used as a meat replacement in vegetarian dishes. (Bless Google for answering all my, what-in-the-world-is-that questions!)
These winter melons (again, no clue) had a white powder on them. Not sure if that just how they are or if it is put on later for some reason. But what I do know, because I just looked it up, is that it is actually not a melon but a vegetable. It has a long shelf life (up to 12 months) and is called winter melon because they can grow it in the hot summer and it will keep all through winter.
When I go to Wal-Mart I have to search high and low to find the one little bitty tiny section of tofu. This store had a wide selection and there was some even just sitting out in water ready for you to pick out and use immediately. I actually thought that was sort of gross and I would never buy that kind just sitting out, but whatever.
All the soy milk I have ever seen is white. A quick search revealed that is because it is made from mature soybeans that are cream colored and this green soybean milk is made from young soybeans that are green. So there go and Bob's your uncle!
Look at how pretty these quail eggs are!
Here is yet another item I had to look up. I really live in a very sheltered food world! This coconut jelly is made through the process of fermenting coconut water. Doesn't that just make your mouth water? It is usually sweetened and eaten as candy or dessert. It originates from the Philippines although this one says it is produce of Taiwan. Of course, if you ask this geographically stupid American to point to either one on a map, well let's just say I know they are over on the China side of the world and I can (I think) point to China on a map!
Oh! Oh! I knew this one. It was fish in a bag. But that is all I got. Fish in bags.
I think that fish in bags sounds way better than fish in the can. I know we have fish in cans, tuna and salmon. But the actual words "fish in the can" make it sound disgusting. I don't know if that is suppose to be bamboo and mushroom or if there is such a thing of banboo mushroom. Seeing how there were already so many things I had never seen before, there is no telling!
At the checkout they had these beautiful things. Again, I had no clue what they were but thankfully they were labeled as dragon fruit. After looking them up, I found out they are a fruit and they taste like a cross between a kiwi and a pear. I have now put on my list of foods to try, dragon fruit! If you have never seen one I suggest you look at this website that shows how to cut one up and eat it. They are pretty on the inside too!
After dragging the other two ladies with me through what I thought was wonderful foreign playground we decided to head back to the hotel. It is early morning and early nights for these math conferences! They are exhausting and all we are doing is sitting and trying to absorb all this information being thrown at us in 1 to 2 hour chunks!
Before we left though, I had to make one more stop. There was a bubble tea place that was calling my name!
One more new experience for me this day, I wish Frankie had been with me. I finally had a bubble tea! I had heard about them online and on TV and wondered where I could find one without going to an Asian country. There were many flavors to choose from and I went with coconut. I wish now, that I had gone with a traditional one that actually had tea, but oh well. I don't know how authentic this was but here is what it had in it, the tapioca pearls (the black bubbles on the bottom), vanilla ice cream, milk, and coconut flavoring (the Torani brand, like what would go in coffee). It was good. It was high in calories. It was good. I didn't know about the tapioca pearls but they were ok, a little chewy, but generally flavorless and just a little sweet.
If you are ever in Houston, I highly suggest hunting down the Hong Kong City Mall. It is like leaving America without even leaving Texas, although you do have to go to Houston. Sorry there is no way around that. :)
I have more traveling from the summer to blog about so stay tuned!