Food + Beverage
MTR Tasty Treats are widely available at supermarkets in Hong Kong, but they are pricey. For a much larger selection at less than half the price head to Chungking Mansions in Kowloon.
I’m heading to Sweden, where I will spend 28 days. I have rented a studio flat in the heart of Stockholm, and it has a small kitchen.
I’ve heard that food in Sweden is very expensive and a bit bland. Since I've got a generous baggage allowance, I’ve decided to stock up on non-perishable foods that are tasty and easy to prepare.
I can complement the non-perishable foods I bring with locally purchased perishables such as fruit, meat, and vegetables.
MTR Tasty Delights
A few years ago I discovered an Indian brand called MTR Tasty Delights. Many of the dishes come in pouches, which can be heated in the microwave or boiling water.
About four of their products are sold at mass market supermarkets, priced at HK$32 (US$4.16) apiece.
They make a quick and easy meal. They are also highly nutritious as they are not only vegetarian, they also have no preservatives or added MSG.
Browsing through Chungking Mansions a couple of years ago, I discovered the Chahil Indian Store, which sells a large number of packaged foods imported from India.
Included are numerous MTR products, and the dishes selling for HK$32 at the supermarkets are priced at just HK$15 (US$1.95).
Not only are the prices much, much lower, there is also a much, much broader selection.
I once counted nearly 20 types of curry on the shelves.
Three days before leaving for Sweden, I took the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui to stock up on curries and other tasty delights.
While in Chungking Mansions, I had dinner with a friend (I won't mention the restaurant because the food was a bit disappointing).
Then we stopped at an African lounge next to the Chahil Indian Store at Shop 102 for a couple of beers before I returned home to start the arduous task of packing.
The lounge, by the way, had a very cool vibe, and I really liked the melodious, rhythmic music.
Is this my new hangout? You can't beat it for an inexpensive beer in the heart of TST!
Chungking Mansions 101
Chungking Mansions is located in the heart of Kowloon’s touristy Tsim Sha Tsui district on Nathan Road. It is right next door to the Holiday Inn and across the street from the Peninsula Hotel.
There are three low-end shopping malls in the building with roughly 360 small retail outlets spread across two floors. There are numerous other small grocery stores such as Chahil, where you can stock up on all manner of herbs and spices.
There are also shops selling electronics products, clothing, CDs, and DVDs. Many of the goods are imported.
There are numerous money changers and travel agencies. Many of the businesses engage in parallel trading.
Dozens of family run restaurants populate the malls on the ground and first floors as well as in upper floors of the building.
These eateries serve mostly African, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Southeast Asian food. Curry houses are especially popular.
The 17-storey structure has a three storey base with five towers, each with two elevators. One serves even floors. The other serves odd floors.
Chungking Mansions has an estimated 80 guest houses with a total of 1,980 rooms.
Because these hostels offer some of the cheapest accommodation in Hong Kong, they are popular with backpackers and other budget minded travelers.
While facilities tend to be modest, almost all rooms have air conditioning and private toilets.
About 4,000 people call the building home. Most of them are from Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Chahil Indian Store, Shop 103, Chungking Mansions, 36-44 Nathan Road, Kowloon,Hong Kong. Telephone: (852) 2367 7400. Facebook
Chungking Mansions is a short walk from the Tsim Sha Tsui and East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR stations. It is close to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Canton Road, and the Star Ferry.