Why we love Yuen Long
To most Hong Kongers who live on Hong Kong Island or in Kowloon, Yuen Long in the New Territories seems impossibly remote. But as a resident of this neighborhood, I really want to defend Yuen Long's reputation -- this part of Hong Kong is so much fun and should be visited more often.
Yuen Long is home to Hong Kong's youngest population and a large community of ex-Gurkha Nepalese. Living in Yuen Long, residents have easy access to public transportation, proximity to shopping malls and markets, a distinct food culture, great space, an abundance of outdoor activities, fresh air and greenery.
Last Sunday, I took some visitors to see the Yuen Long that I love:
After dim sum at Authentic Yuen Long Family Restaurant, our group took a stroll through the old wet market.
Then we headed to Ping Shan Village by light rail to see the Tang Clan's ancestral home along the Ping Shan Heritage Trail. The Tangs were an important family back in the 1900s, and their descendants include famous Hong Kong fashion designer William Tang.
Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda on the Ping Shan Heritage Trail.
Then we went to have a traditional basin meal to get the full Yuen Long Hakkanese experience. The basin meal is a huge pile of seafood, poultry and root vegetables all cooked together in a savory, briny sauce. The dish is traditionally served at village banquets as a means to quickly feed a whole lot of people. We ordered the signature basin dish for six (HK$380), which I believe is really meant for sixty. Just staring at the pile of meat, I knew I would be eating the leftovers for several days after.
Slightly groggy from our feasting, we headed to Law's Organic Strawberry Farm to pick strawberries. The labor and the tart-sweet fruit was a much needed pick-me-up. The strawberries at Law's Organic Strawberry Farm were quite small but had an intense strawberry flavor.
Our backs were aching after crouching down for strawberries, so we decided we needed a sit-down activity. Dirt biking sounded like a perfect sedentary yet thrilling activity. We caught a cab to the nearby MX Club for some dirt biking. Our instructor Joe Tam recommended the four by four as we were all beginners. We went on a couple of trial runs before racing each other on the full track. The roads are rough and the bikes are constantly spewing fumes, but that’s part of the thrill.
The HK$240 we paid for our bikes includes an all-you-can-eat barbecue for four hours. It’s so much more spacious than barbecuing in the city. Even though it’s Sunday, there are only two other parties that have chosen to barbecue in the open grass area. It includes two drinks and all sorts of meat and vegetables. The only food we had to pay extra for was the marshmallows (HK$10).
Ho To Tai has been selling their egg noodles since 1948.
After dinner, we headed back downtown so the visitors could buy some souvenirs. Everyone stocks up on a few boxes of Hang Heung wife cakes and Ho To Tai egg noodles before heading home. We were very tempted to make a detour to Kei Kee Dessert for their monster-sized B boy grass jelly, but figured we should probably leave it for another time.
Authentic Yuen Long Family Restaurant: M/F, Transport Plaza, 2-6 Fung Cheung Road, Yuen Long, New Territories; tel: +852 2475 1333; open Monday–Sunday: 6am-12am; www.honoraryfamily.com.
Ping Shan Traditional Basin Meal: G/F., No. 36 Tong Fong Tsuen, Ping Shan, Yuen Long (next to Ping Shan Heritage Trail); tel.: +852 2617 8000 (telephone booking available); open 9am-9pm.
Yuen Long Old Market: Nam Pin Wai and Sai Pin Wai, Yuen Long.
Kai Bo Supermarket: Shop 2 & 3, G/F., Tung Yik Bldg., No. 8 Yu King Square, Yuen Long, N.T.; tel: +852 2470 9203; open Monday–Sunday: 7:30am–9pm; www.kaibo.com.hk.
Ping Shan Heritage Trail: Ping Shan, Yuen Long; tel:+852 2721 2326; Tang Ancestral Hall open 9am-1pm, 2-5pm, closed on the first three days of Chinese New Year; Tsui Shing Lau open 9am-1pm, 2-5pm, closed on Tuesdays, the first day of January, the first three days of Chinese New Year and December 26.
Ho To Tai Noodle Shop: No.67, Fau Tsoi St, Yuen Long; tel +852 2476 2495; open 8am-8pm; htt.com.hk.
Kei Kee Dessert: Kau Yuk Road, Yuen Long; tel: +852 2473 3148; open Monday–Sunday: 12:30pm-02:30am; www.yl.hk/b.
Hang Heung Cake Shop: 64 Castle Peak Road, Yuen Long; tel: +852 2479 2141; open Monday–Sunday: 6am-10pm.