Hong Kong: The Birthday


My mom’s birthday and mine fall about a week apart, so this year we decided to combine the celebrations and spend a week in Hong Kong. We landed in the “Fragrant Harbour” at about 10AM (we live in the same time zone, so no jet lag to contend with) and things were immediately awesome.

We got a card very like this

Traveling is so much better when you can always look things up on your phone, so we grabbed a couple of one2free prepaid SIM cards at the airport 1010 store, and got a 7-day unlimited data pass to last the length of our stay. Unlimited data when you’re abroad is like having the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe in your hand.


We then traveled to the Grand Hyatt, our hotel, and were received like royalty. Seriously, I wondered a bit why they were so nice to us. It turns out that Grand Hyatt preserves the old-school notion of hospitality, and they will seriously go the extra mile to make sure your stay in Hong Kong is the best. It was to the point that I felt bad if any activities (all outside the Grand Hyatt’s control, I might add) were not up to par, because they were so anxious about our enjoying ourselves that I felt more worried about disappointing them than about being disappointed.


We then went to Pacific Place, looking for dim sum. My mom, being the veteran traveler, led the way. We promptly got lost. Finally, starving and tired, we opted for lunch at an Italian place.

Back to the Grand Hyatt for a spa day. I was led into a room with the most awesome bath tub I have ever seen.

The tub has a glass side. And is, like, a whole tiny little room with gently sculpted contours.


After the spa treatment, we went to the executive lounge for cocktails, but were pulled out to the tree-lined outdoor path leading to the Waterfall Bar, where they shocked us all with a magnificent cake of the sort that I had imagined lived only in television shows like Ace of Cakes.


the bottles are made of cake, the ice cubes of champagne jelly, the pictures are edible and the ice-bucket was chocolate.

For dinner, Jake Mchugh from the Grand Hyatt pulled on his vast and intricate web of contacts across Hong Kong and got us (me, mom, and Tita Peachie who is a peach) a table at Aberdeen Street Social, where we dined on food that looked like art installations, I cracked a chocolate egg to symbolize my birth, and I inhaled the most scrumptious risotto (cepes, crispy shallots, and truffle mascarpone cheese) I have ever had.

My birthday risotto!
the downstairs of the painfully hip Aberdeen Street Social
Appetizer: heirloom tomato salad with burrata

The server set this down in front of me and solemnly explained the birthday significance of the chocolate egg, (you crack it open to signify your birth into the world) then requested I not attempt to eat the hammer, the bowl, or the little ceramic plate with the engraved characters, as they were not edible (unlike the very delicious egg, which happened to be filled with sweet crumble). I wondered at the circumstances that had led Aberdeen Street Social to have to specify the dangers of eating the hardware.


Chocolate truffles served like an abstract musing on the nature of time and space.

And finally, filled with good food and pleasantly sleepy, we headed back to our room, to rest for the next day. Which is a whole other story.