In Hong Kong, officially there are approximately 28 dai pai dongs left in the city. It’s well on its way towards extinction.

Shopping for Salt and Seasoning

Watch out, the Asian countries are panic-stricken and stocking up. For the past week, the forward-thinking housewives have been battling for the remaining “uncontaminated” everyday essentials like Japanese powered milk, soy sauce, sake, and rice. Others are fighting for sea salt and other seasoning. Most Hong Kong families fear faked ingredients within mainland China’s products, so they trust the Japanese for being honest producers of certain consumer goods - like soy sauce.

This morning, I was free to check out the local big-box with Tina. For the sake of not being creepy at photographing people’s crazy shopping behavior, I took pictures of the missing (Japanese) goods…

On a more serious note, local Japanese restaurants (especially sushi/sashimi-based) are soon going to be facing their equivalent of the September 2008 financial crisis aftermath: consumer mistrust.

Others Like Me

Last night, I attended my first Meetup event which was an informal happy hour of “overseas Chinese” of 20-something and 30-something-year-olds in the city. I was curious for some insight about establishing a future career and social network as a banana in the city. Although I know a few other college alums in the city, I decided to venture the event alone so that I could weave in and out of conversations as needed.

The event was hosted at an American billiards bar with American domestic beers, pool and beer pong tables. The first group of people that I met were in their mid-to-late-20s with fairly established careers which involve traveling, investment banking, online media, etc. And they all had really complicated, privileged backgrounds: Raised in [location], moved to [location] as a teen, college at [location], work in [location] and eventually called Hong Kong home.

Consequently, they speak, read and write several languages fluently. Forget about China’s rising power; these global latchkey third-culture kids are the rising power players.

I was thankful that a group of giggling immature girls disrupted our table, so that I could meet others. These local girls attended Utah State and were having a girls’ night out. I suppose that if you’re already married or in a serious relationship, guanxi with foreign and overseas friends is on par to an expat boyfriend for a single gal.

Towards the end of the night, I started hanging out with the other overseas Chinese who were in their early 20s. It was easier to relate to the British Born Chinese (BBCs), Canadian Born Chinese (CBCs) or Singaporeans. One girl was even from my hometown and it made the world feel a little smaller. We all shared similar backgrounds: kids who were born/raised elsewhere in middle class settings and made it here. We get by with speaking, but not necessarily the reading and writing. All of them found entry-level jobs in their fields too, which is reassuring to know that it’s possible to find something other than teaching English.

At the end of the night, I gained a lot of insight about being a banana expat. If the right opportunity came along in the future and I was prepared to establish a new life in another city, I may consider taking it. But at this point in my life, returning home to D.C. is the best choice for me.

Everyone’s talking about it. Excitedly. I don’t really understand why the motion passed because from a high school economics class, you learn that something like this basically leads to inflation. Personally, I’d rather not accept the money. Put it back towards diversifying the local economy. There’s too much dependency on China.

When my mom grew up around Lan Kwai Fung, it was one of the poorest neighborhoods in Central. Today, this is the city’s premier financial and shopping district. 

When my mom grew up around Lan Kwai Fung, it was one of the poorest neighborhoods in Central. Today, this is the city’s premier financial and shopping district. 

A solid photograph of the city is difficult because of pollution and fog. This view of Aberdeen was taken from Lantau Island.

A solid photograph of the city is difficult because of pollution and fog. This view of Aberdeen was taken from Lantau Island.

Initial Fashion seems to be a small chain that specializes on edgy/urban vintage-inspired clothes. It reminds me of Anthropologie; the store’s decor is so pretty and I’d love to splurge but a lot of the clothes aren’t really D.C.-appropriate. Maybe if I were a Manhattanite…

Initial Fashion seems to be a small chain that specializes on edgy/urban vintage-inspired clothes. It reminds me of Anthropologie; the store’s decor is so pretty and I’d love to splurge but a lot of the clothes aren’t really D.C.-appropriate. Maybe if I were a Manhattanite…

Trip to Cheung Chau Island

Compared to Lantau Island, Cheung Chau felt more busy - most likely because it still retains its identity as a fishing village.

For lunch, we ate here (dai pai dong style). Always pick the busiest with a diverse population of locals and tourists - that’s a good sign.

And then we headed to check out the beach/shop scene.

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