July 17, 2022

Diary of a Quarantined Boy, part 2, day 1

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We have a morning flight this morning, so we woke up bright and early to finish tidying up the apartment. This didn't leave me much time for breakfast, but fortunately I have just the answer:

I found this instant noodle from Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House (黃亞細肉骨茶餐室) at a Family Mart yesterday. Just had to get it since it's from my favorite bak kut teh (肉骨茶) joint in Singapore. The soup was a lot more dense and concentrated than I what I remembered from the shop, but the intense white pepper and garlic flavors were there alright. Not bad lah!

There was almost no one at Taoyuan International Airport when we arrived, and check-in was reasonably easy. Half the shops selling souvenirs outside the restricted areas were closed, so we went through security check and immigration quickly and looked for some coffee. Most of the high-end boutiques remain closed.

Not knowing how much it would take us to get through the process after landing in Hong Kong, I decided to have lunch onboard our China Airlines (中華航空) flight. This was chicken breast with hoisin sauce served with steamed rice and vegetables, along with salad and fruits. Pretty decent.

It took us 15 minutes of taxiing after landing at Hong Kong International Airport to reach our gate. Once we disembarked the process wasn't too bad - taking us 1 hour and 20 minutes before we had to line up to wait for the bus taking us to our quarantine hotel. After a 15-minute wait, our bus left the airport. It took us 45 minutes to reach Cordis Hong Kong - after stopping at 2 other hotels nearby - and we were in our room at 2:25 p.m. which is less than 3 hours after landing.

I saw that our lunch had been left on the designated chair for meal delivery, which meant that it was delivered during normal lunch service some 2 hours ago, and already cold. Just as we were resigned to reheating the lunch boxes in the microwave we had rented from the hotel, the doorbell rang. The hotel delivered us a duplicate set of lunch boxes that contained warm food. That was quite a nice touch.

We had pre-ordered every single one of our meals during our 7-day quarantine. To my surprise, we were able to choose the type of food (Chinese, Western, or Vegetarian) for each meal individually. This allowed for a lot of flexibility as we didn't have to stick to one type for all of our meals. We were also able to ask the hotel not to send us cutlery, as we happened to be bringing some back from our place in Taiwan. Finally, we were pretty happy that the hotel tried to cut down on the use of plastics and used cardboard boxes and cups for the most part.

Mixed green salad with balsamico ∙ spaghetti carbonara ∙ garlic bread ∙ Parmesan ∙ Vita Cold Brew No Sugar Dong Ding Oolong Tea Drink (維他冷泡無糖茶凍頂烏龍)
- the salad came with a tiny bit of balsamico at the bottom. Good to have the steamed broccoli for extra veg. The garlic bread was on the dry side but tasted fine. The spaghetti carbonara was, of course, not the authentic version... but it's the kind that one finds at Spaghetti House with cream, and I love, love, love this!

I decided to have an afternoon snack, and this pomelo cake (柚子酥) from Jiu Zhen Nan (舊振南) that I bought in Taichung (台中) was just nice. The filling was made with pomelo jam and candied peel of old tree wentan (老欉文旦) - the latter filling one's mouth with that lovely, citrus fragrance.

We actually get an "afternoon tea" service, which consists of a tea bag and a cookie. Today we got these chocolate cookies, which were pretty decent.

Dinner was delivered some time after 6pm. Here's what I got:

Mixed green salad with Japanese sesame dressing ∙ grilled ribeye with red wine gravy ∙ sautéed mushrooms and broccolini ∙ roasted new potatoes ∙ HealthWorks Rock Sugar with Pear Drink (健康工房冰糖雪梨飲料) - the mushroom and broccolini were decent. I didn't mind the potatoes.

The beef ribeye, though, was already cold. And it was well-done, so pretty chewy. And that 'red wine gravy' tasted more Chinese to me...

We started our first night in quarantine with a bottle of bongwater from Taiwan...

Weightstone WE Clairet W°3 - 61% Black Queen, 32% Kyoho, 5% Muzinn, 2% Mehone. This tasted more like fermented grape juice and not wine. Very much red fruits like cranberry, very thin on the palate, and very sweet. Honestly, who the fuck makes wine from Kyoho grapes?! It's not from the vitis vinifera family! This is pure bongwater, for sure.

Sankala was very, very unhappy with my choice of wine tonight. My life was spared only when we ordered some Corona Extra from the hotel. I ended up commenting on the wine to some friends, who promised to rescue us with a wine delivery. Let's see how many days I manage to live...

P.S. I heated up the extra box of lunch in the microwave late at night. Still pretty tasty, that fake carbonara!

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