I have joined several Eating Adventures tours around China and Hong Kong, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. They offer 3 tours in Hong Kong: Central, Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po. Last time I did the Mong Kok tour with my mother and this time I did the Sham Shui Po tour with my dear friend. I keep going back time and time again because I really love how they operate!
My friend Jessica was visiting from America, I was playing tour guide, showing her around Hong Kong and decided a great way to introduce her to the local culture would be with a food tour. Last time, I took my mom and she loved it, so I figured it was a recipe for success! It was.
We started the day off with a very notable bowl of cart noodles. I haven’t had something that made my head spin so much in a while. These noodles were orgasmic. I didn’t want to stop eating, even though I knew I shouldn’t get full this early in the tour. What a dilemma! I ate my favorite bits of this glorious bowl of noodles, and left the remaining, sadly.
We then began a short walk around a market and tried several smaller items along the way. As we wound through the streets, we learned about Sham Shui Po’s rich cultural history. Another very notable item we stopped for was an amazing garlic and chili duck. As we waited, the suspense was building! This was another explosion of very delightful flavor. Just the right amount of spiciness, insuring most will enjoy it, even the faint of heart.
I recognized one of the next stops from the Shanghai food tour, Sheng Jian Bao. These are soup-filled pan-fried dumplings. These offered a bit of a twist because one had truffle inside!
To finish off our three hour-long tour, we went to a local dim sum restaurant. This was Jessica’s first introduction to dim sum! She was especially excited about how they clean the utensils before the meal in tea. We went for a few common items to give her a proper introduction. I created a new dim sum fan!
Sadly, the tour was coming to a close. Eating Adventures tours goes way deeper than simply discussing food. The guides are very knowledgeable about the area they guide you through, teaching you about local culture and history as well as the cuisine. I will continue to support this amazing tour company because they are consistent at what they offer. The Sham Shui Po tour in Hong Kong helped introduce us to a lot, in a very short time. I highly-recommend you to go on an Eating Adventures tour as soon as possible!
Be sure to check out their other tours in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Mong Kok as well as TIFTA which is an organization of high-end food tours around Asia!
I have joined several Eating Adventures tours around China and Hong Kong, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. They offer 3 tours in Hong Kong: Central, Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po. Last time I did the Mong Kok tour with my mother and this time I did the Sham…
Exploring Hong Kong’s Best Food with Eating Adventures Tours
Exploring Hong Kong’s Best Food with Eating Adventures Tours
It’s true, I’ve had a love affair with Hong Kong for years. There’s something about the city that keeps bringing me back, time and time again. On my latest trip, I paid a visit to the Kerry Hotel, which is part of the Shangri-La group. The Kerry Hotel Hong Kong is located in a prominent part of Kowloon, overlooking the beautiful Victoria Harbor. I would imagine most people would be arriving by taxi, however it’s only a few minutes walk to the nearest MTR station.
I arrived in the early afternoon and was greeted by a lovely fragrance in the lobby of the Kerry Hong Kong. I’ve visited Shangri-La properties all around the world, but this was my first Kerry branded property. I could tell right away how well the contemporary style complimented the ultra-luxurious Shangri-La portfolio.
Veronica was kind enough to check us in and escort us up to The Club lounge on the eighth floor. The Club lounge is a place that I find my bliss. When a lounge is so beautifully designed, it’s hard not to enjoy. Lots of delicious food and an impeccable view of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Island.
The Club lounge offers an a la carte and buffet breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and canapes. The breakfast was lovely (including the above Lobster Eggs Benedict) but the lounge really shines bright in the afternoon and evening with its food and drink spread. I’d take a seat and a drink there any day.
I was then informed that my Premier Seaview room had become available and I headed down to the six floor to see what I was working with. The room was spacious and thoughtfully designed. I had lots of room with multiple seating areas, a large bed, lots of storage space and a giant bathroom.
The bathroom was equipped with a gargantuan bathtub, spacious shower and two sinks. The Shangri-La group is known for paying extra attention to detail. For example, I appreciated the small phone shelf next to the toilet. It’s obvious I enjoyed myself during the stay, look how happy I am in the bathtub, that’s pure joy.
The design was great and was complete with a giant window with an astonishing view of the pool, Victor Harbor and Hong Kong Island.
The Kerry Hotel Hong Kong offered a complimentary minibar! Having a few complimentary beverages and snacks puts everybody in a good mood. Well done Kerry Hong Kong!
As I’ve mentioned, you can have breakfast in The Club lounge but also at their Big Bay Café. Of course the main breakfast has a lot more selection and an outdoor seating area, but a less intimate setting than The Club. I also had a dinner there and ordered this wondrous bowl of curry laksa.
One of my favorite parts of this property would be on the fourth floor where they have their outdoor pool and incredibly extensive gym and relaxation facilities. The gym had it all! Not only could you enjoy the fantastic equipment but also could look over the harbor. Once you’re done, you can visit the relaxation areas which are equipped with a hot tub and sauna. Yet again, beautifully designed.
The Kerry Hotel Hong Kong has several food and beverage outlets including the Red Sugar bar on the seventh floor. Red Sugar is a great place to enjoy a cocktail and take in the view. Hong Kong is magical!
This was another great finish to another lovely trip to Hong Kong. I’m so happy the standards of the Shangri-La brand carryover to the beautiful Kerry Hotel Hong Kong. There were subtle differences between the brands, but if you’re familiar with Shangri-La’s high-quality standards, you will definitely not be disappointed. The service was great throughout the stay and I absolutely loved the design of the property. I enjoyed my time immensely at the Kerry Hotel Hong Kong and I can definitely recommend you to do the same! Happy travels.
It's true, I've had a love affair with Hong Kong for years. There's something about the city that keeps bringing me back, time and time again. On my latest trip, I paid a visit to the Kerry Hotel, which is part of the Shangri-La group. The Kerry Hotel Hong Kong…
Hong Kong has one of the most notorious skylines in the world. I love visiting this beautiful city and taking in the amazing views. On my most recent trip, I visited SKYE at the top of The Park Lane Hong Kong a Pullman Hotel, where I also was staying. You can read about the hotel stay here.
SKYE is located in Causeway Bay, just next to Victoria Park. For the evening, we went for the degustation menu. The menu consisted of six courses, but ended up being more like 8 or 10! Wahoo! I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to drink all of the alcohol that was paired with the courses, but in the heat of the moment, it was hard to resist such tasty drinks. Our sommelier stuck with Spanish and Portuguese wines for our culinary adventure. I knew the night would be good when we were served three glasses of Sherry, at once. Around the same time, we were served our an amuse bouche, the salmon with with wasabi mayo was my favorite!
Our first course for the evening and one of my favorites, the yellow fin tuna tartare with a purple rice cracker. You don’t see purple rice crackers everyday!
A course that I really need to take special note of, was the foie gras with abalone. I’m not typically a huge fan of foie gras, but this made me fall in love. Well done SKYE!
Next up were the Hokkaido scallops and Scottish langoutines. The langoustines were incredibly tender and sweet, served with cucumber jelly. An impressive dish to say the least.
Our main entrée was a 45 day in-house dry-aged sirloin of beef. With this there was a 2010 Herdade do Mouchao Tinto from Portugal and a 2013 Bodegas La Horra “Corimbo” from Spain. It was nice to have two different wines with steak to bounce back and forth between.
After the lovely main course, we moved on to the warm Camembert cheese with dried fruit, and then the final dessert, known as the Victoria sponge. The desserts were accompanied with a Tawny Port by W and J Graham’s aged for 20 years, which was my favorite drink of the evening.
After this feast that was fit for King Pierre, it was time to step out to the bar to have yet another alcoholic drink and a few snacks while we took in the amazing view. Whether you want to have a great drink or enjoy high-end food, or both, look no further than the SKYE restaurant and bar at The Park Lane Hong Kong a Pullman Hotel.
Hong Kong has one of the most notorious skylines in the world. I love visiting this beautiful city and taking in the amazing views. On my most recent trip, I visited SKYE at the top of The Park Lane Hong Kong a Pullman Hotel, where I also was staying. You…
SKYE Restaurant and Bar Hong Kong: Superb Food, Drinks and Views in Hong Kong
SKYE Restaurant and Bar Hong Kong: Superb Food, Drinks and Views in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a place that will always have a special spot in my heart. A few years back, I lived there for about 4 months, it was magical. I had lots of free time to explore and drink milk tea, my favorite. Recently, one of my dearest friends, that I know from living in Bangkok, informed me she was considering a move to Hong Kong, so I decided to go along and show her the area! Our first stop of the journey was at The Park Lane Hotel by Pullman next to Victoria Park.
The area where The Park Lane Hotel is located is known as Causeway Bay. I’m very familiar with area, including Victoria Park, which is what the property looks over. There are multiple ways to get to the hotel from the airport, and all of them are quite straightforward and fast. You can take the airport express train and then a free shuttle bus or you can go a more direct route, like I did, and book a transfer in advance. I was happy about the transfer because it was direct to the hotel. I used an app called Klook to find a discounted transfer ticket. Use code: 8QX5W to get $25 off your first purchase! I also used it to get a cheap SIM card for my trip. Convenient indeed.
My quaint room was located on the 11th floor of The Park Lane Hotel by Pullman. There was a sprawling piece of artwork above the headboard, which added a contemporary design element. The view from the room got me very excited! All times of day showcased beautiful views of the harbor and the park. I could tell that part of the room had undergone a fairly recent update.
The executive club lounge of The Park Lane Hotel is located on the 22nd floor. The views from the lounge look directly over Victoria Harbor. The lounge has plenty of very friendly staff to make sure you got what you need. Having breakfast in the lounge was a delight. In the lounge, you’ll have the option of a dozen or so a la carte options as well as a modest buffet. The first item I noticed on the breakfast menu, was the burger. Consider it done. This turned out to be a great choice. In the evening, they have a wide selection of beverages. Something about their bottled Guinness really put me in a great mood before dinner at their SKYE rooftop restaurant, which you can read about in a separate article. SKYE is a must visit!
There is a business and fitness center on the fifth floor of The Park Lane Hotel. The gym was medium-sized and had high-quality equipment. After my workout, I went to their changing and relaxation rooms, which also featured a very hot sauna. I know saunas are suppose to be hot, but I like it piping hot, and this was. The showers were spacious and included a place to change after getting out of the shower. The relaxation room connected to the changing rooms had super-comfortable furniture. I may have dozed off for a few minutes during my stay, don’t tell anyone.
The Park Lane Hotel Hong Kong by Pullman has a lot going for it. The location in Causeway Bay next to Victoria Park is one of my favorite places in the city, the SKYE restaurant and bar on the roof were incredible, the facilities were clean and modern, and the lounge had an excellent offering including great service. At the end of the day, I very much enjoyed my time at The Park Lane Pullman in Hong Kong!
Hong Kong is a place that will always have a special spot in my heart. A few years back, I lived there for about 4 months, it was magical. I had lots of free time to explore and drink milk tea, my favorite. Recently, one of my dearest friends, that…
I was excited to learn that Italian chef Franco Palandra was visiting the Namo restaurant in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. You’ll know Namo from my last visit I wrote about here. While visiting Vietnam, chef Palandra put together a special menu which was offered for a limited time at the restaurant. The menu consisted of four courses and was accompanied with an optional wine pairing. Of course I went for the wine pairing!
When we entered Namo, we were greeted by Max, our server who took care of us last time. He’s very attentive and a serious asset to Namo. After gobbling up some flavorful bread, we were served pan fried scallops with vegetables, puff pastry and fresh mozzarella. It’s appearance was stunning and matched well with a Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay. Max then introduced a fresh lobster tagliolini in a tomato sauce.
My favorite dish of the evening happened to be the main course, which were the mint crusted lamb chops served with chard pudding and pine nuts. The lamb was perfect, and if I’m not mistaken, one of chef Palandra’s first recipes as a teenager, which can be found in the Tuscookany cookbook. The other main course we tried was the sea bass with paprika crust, almonds and grilled asparagus. The sea bass was also a great dish, with perfectly crunchy, yet tender asparagus, but the lamb chops stole the spotlight.
To finish off the evening was a dark chocolate raspberry tartlet, accompanied with Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Brut. After we finished this, we were offered Namo’s absolutely amazing tiramisu and a glass of lemoncello to give us a proper send-off! The tiramisu is an absolute must. You can thank me later!
I enjoy that the Namo team do special events, such as this, to spice up the restaurant’s offering. This helps set the restaurant apart from the competition, putting it in a truly special space. It was a pleasure to meet chef Franco Palandra and try some of his creations. His limited-edition menu at Namo only lasts for a few more weeks so make sure to get in and try it before it’s too late!
I had a good run in the stock market after the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. This was a time when you could buy almost any stock and easily make money. I gained lots of false confidence during the following few years. This led to me deciding to dive in balls-deep, and learn to day-trade full-time. Long story short, I ended up losing $14,000, which was most of my gains from the years before (click here if you want to read the full story.)
After that, I gave up on day-trading and dabbled in more conservative investments. I knew real estate was generally less-risky than the stock market, but I didn’t think I could afford a house until I was at least middle-aged.
Luckily, after a bit of research, I learned I was wrong.
My savings were modest, and my income wasn’t steady enough to qualify for a mortgage, so I had to go a different route. My research made me realize I could buy a house outright, without a loan. When I first found houses I could afford, it was exhilarating! Even though my friends and family were weary about my idea, I showed them who was boss when I purchased my first rental house about a month later.
Along the way, I learned a lot through research and trial and error. I’ve decided to put together the guide below so you can streamline the home buying process, and hopefully avoid common mistakes and become profitable faster. Happy home buying!
Location is incredibly important for all businesses, including investment properties. The first city I tried had lots of options that were in my price range, but they were just too far of a drive. Luckily I found an alternative city that was more conveniently located.
Take the time to learn about the area, know where you should buy and where you shouldn’t. It’s important that your tenants have a safe place to live, which I need to remind you is your responsibility as a landlord.
The second part of the research, apart from location, comes down price. I often use Zillow.com for my research, but there are other tools available as well. With Zillow, you can find previous sale prices of houses in the neighborhood to figure out if you’re getting a deal or not. This way you’ll be able to make sure you’ll profit in the future when you decide to sell.
Now that you know how much a comparable home can sell for in your area, you’ll need to start viewing homes to estimate how much work the investment property will require. Before buying my first house, I didn’t know anything about how much repairs would cost. Luckily, through reaching out to people around me, I was able to establish a pretty decent idea of what each major repair would run.
Repair costs change greatly based on location, so ask around in your prospective area. Feel free to call professionals for free quotes. Knowing your repair costs will allow you to estimate if you’ll be able to make money or not.
Heating and cooling (furnace/air conditioning)
Other cosmetic issues
I recommend over estimating all of your expenses, that way you’ll account for unexpected costs that I guarantee are sure to arise. Also, remember to look for evidence of termites, mold, toxic contamination, etc, which can completely destroy a house’s value. Be sure you have hired a trusted home inspector. I wasted my time with an inspector who was very biased before finding one who was more level-headed.
In the end, I looked at around 20 homes before I made my decision. Don’t get emotionally attached to any property, or rush into a purchase. I would also recommend seeing several homes in one day so you don’t waste time. Be sure to take excellent photos and detailed notes of each property and what repairs are required so you don’t confused them later (I made this mistake, oops.)
Once you have inspected all the properties on your list, and decided what repairs are needed, you’ll be able to combine this with your other data to decide whether you can profit from purchasing or not.
3. Expect the Unexpected
I never would’ve imagined how many fees stack up after purchasing a house. When you hear someone is making a certain amount of rent per month, without prior knowledge, it’s easy to be overly-optimistic on profit forecasts. For example, if someone tells you they charge $1,000 per month for their rental property, it’s easy to overlook that they might be spending half of that or more on expenses.
Remember to budget in a cushion for other potential expenses that may arise. I’m really glad I did this, because within a week of buying my house, I ended up spending a few thousand dollars because the furnace broke which led to the house freezing and having to do major work on the plumbing system.
I was also happy I listened to my father who told me not to over extend myself financially. Always leave a decent amount of money in the bank so you still have money to live on. No need to add extra stress to your life because you’ve spread yourself too thin.
4. Proper Negotiation
Even though you may be excited about a house, don’t get emotionally attached, no matter how perfect it seems. Remember that the one who cares least in negotiation, has the most leverage. Remind yourself that this an investment, spending too much on the purchase price decimates profit margins.
It’s always better to offer a low price and then negotiate back up to a middle ground. This was the technique I used to get my first house for 32% off the sale price!
If an owner won’t move on the price and it’s too expensive, move on.
5. Property Management
This has less to do with how to purchase a rental property and more on how to save money and time with tenants. For me, it’s pretty much impossible to manage a rental property from abroad. For this reason, I decided to hire a property management company. Management companies take the hassle out of a lot of the process, or they should.
The first big hassle would be doing a proper background check on an applicant. My management company informed me of their screening process and I was amazed at how thorough they are. Getting a deadbeat renter can absolutely destroy yearly profits. It doesn’t matter if they paid all of their rent, if they destroy something or you have to evict them, say goodbye to that year of profit.
Other major benefits of property managers include:
Creates a barrier between the landlord and tenant so the landlord can’t be taken advantage of as easily
The tenant cannot contact you directly and annoy you with the problems
Management companies are often harder on the tenants than an individual, which leaves you less chance to lose money
After you’ve purchased your property, be sure to remember to immediately have the utilities changed over to the tenants name. Whether you are managing the property yourself or a property management company, be sure to understand the lease terms completely. If you don’t like part of the contract, change it.
I walked into this home buying process and knew absolutely nothing and after about 1.5 months, I bought my first rental property. Over weeks of constant research, I feel like I got a pretty good understanding of how the process worked but learned a lot from unexpected situations. Now I’m making another passive income and building the PIERREBLAKE real estate empire! I hope that my tips will help you save money and time when you purchase your first rental property!
There are multiple L’Usine restaurant and cafe locations around Ho Chi Minh city, read about their Dong Khoi and their flagship Le Thanh Ton location in this article. Recently, I heard that they were trying out a new dinner concept which features a multiple course menu, accompanied with live acoustic music. I had to check it out!
Once we arrived at L’Usine Le Thanh Ton, we went up a few floors to enter the dining room. The restaurant has several floors, all with a slightly different feel. The dining room featured intimate lighting, a great spot for a date. The music that was played was popular music from a variety of decades.
We were served a glass of wine to start and then we dove into the first course which were the Chicken Caesar Salad Rolls. This was the most Vietnamese twist you could put on a Caesar salad. A salad wrapped in rice paper rolls, similar looking to many Vietnamese rolls, but quite a different taste.
It was a three course set menu, and we had a variety of options for the main course. We chose the Piri Piri Chicken and the grilled Black Angus rib-eye with fries. As I cut easily through the steak, I noticed how tender it was. I then loaded up my fork with a bite to dip into the salt before sinking my teeth into pure bliss. The accompanying French fries were perfect, crisp on the outside, while moist on the in. The only thing missing was hollandaise sauce, but salt did the trick for me. The chicken was flavorful and tasty as well, but no match for the incredible steak!
There were three options for dessert, we chose the coconut fluffy cheesecake and the passion fruit crème brûlée. Both of our desserts came beautifully presented. Little works of art that would soon be in our stomachs. The cheesecake was quite light, like biting into a cloud, not thick like New York cheesecake. The crème brûlée was a bit heavier with the perfect crust on top. Both well-executed desserts.
The evening was a comfortable one, with a great atmosphere and lovely food. As with my previous meals, the restaurant’s service was also quite good. I’d easily be able to recommend you to enjoy a meal at L’Usine to enjoy the music and fantastic food. Enjoy!