Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hong Kong Food, Wine, Mid Autumn Festival, China National Day Holidays

Hong Kong is a busy city --there's really no best time of year to travel there. But that's good, too, because it means that there is always something cool to do!

That's one of the reasons Hong Kong is my favorite city to visit. But what this does mean is that you have to book your hotel well in advance or risk finding no room at the inn of your choice.

Like this fall: October 1 is China National Day, which means lots of Chinese travelers will be moving around the country. Another really busy travel time is the Mid-Autumn Festival (a movable feast also called Moon Festival or Chinese Thanksgiving).

Crabs for Sale Hong Kong Market - Mid Autumn Festival

In 2009, the Mid Autumn Festival is October 3, 2009, which means, with two major holidays so close together, that transportation systems as well as accommodations will be stretched to the limits.

If your travel times are flexible, you may want to time your trip for a bit earlier or a bit later, say, towards the end of October when holidayers will have gone back to work.

Hong Kong residents are embracing Halloween -- no trick or treat -- but many will dress up and go walkabout, which is really fun to see. And then the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival is scheduled for October 30 to November 8, and that will be a great event to take in.

Culinary Special Jasmine Restaurant Jardine House

I was in Hong Kong several times at this time -- Sept-Oct-Nov. The weather was still very warm and humid, but quite lovely for touring around. I was treated to some great meals (Jasmine Restaurant at Jardine House was one), as well as in the SoHo (south Hong Kong) area.

On weekends, the SoHo streets are given over to pedestrians and the place rocks! Festival events mean that some roads will be closed, and the streets decorated and filled with performers, with food booths and restaurants offering their wares.

Sai Kung Seafood a Specialty

Fresh, fresh, fresh is the hallmark of Cantonese cuisine, and Sai Kung is the place to be. Well, there and Lamma Island. Especially after a walking tour from one end of Lamma to the other, you deserve the reward of fabulous seafood!

Bird's Nest Soup ~ Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival food event is organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), and offers celebrity chefs, wine experts and food critics a chance to do their thing. Festival events go from the downtown area and beyond:
  • Victoria Harbour Pre-dinner Sunset Cocktail Cruises
  • Hong Kong Island Tour with a special dim sum lunch
  • Lamma Island seafood and wine buffets
  • Wan Chai’s Revolving 66 Restaurant special menus (only revolving restaurant in HK)

Prayer Tree Hong Kong New Territories

A lot of activities and events are centered around this festival, including
  • street carnivals
  • food-district promotions
  • Sai Kung Seafood Festival
  • a hotel dine-around program
  • an International Wine & Spirits Fair
  • wine appreciation classes and ‘walks’
  • cooking demonstrations by renowned Hong Kong chefs.
  • live entertainment: jazz, dance and rock music
  • mime artists, clowns and jugglers
  • multi-media sound and light show
If this is a little overwhelming, then you can take a tour to the New Territories and toss a prayer into this famous tree!

Hong Kong Wine and Dine Travel Specials
Two Canadian tour operators have Hong Kong’s outstanding food and wine in their plans. Silkway Travel (Vancouver, BC) is offering a five-night Hong Kong trip at prices from $1,160 CAD (Cathay Pacific from Vancouver, hotel package, Hong Kong's great Cultural Kaleidoscope program ). This is a really good price, IMHO.

For travel from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, Jade Tours has a five-night Culinary Tour, at prices from $999 CAS via United Airlines, which includes a half-day Hong Kong Island tour, a night harbour cruise with dinner at Lei Yue Mun Seafood Village, a Museum of History visit and – from 31 October to 8 November – a Wine Appreciation Class at the Hong Kong Food and Wine Festival. A bargain!

If I can swing it, I am SO there! (and No, I get no $ from any of these agencies, though I wouldn't say no to a free and fabulous meal when next I'm in Hong Kong!)

More Info
Silkway tour
Jade Tours
Hong Kong travel, visa, pics info on my travel site
Maps, brochures and online goodies see Hong Kong Tourism Board
Really cool 3D map of Hong Kong