Cheung Chau is quite possibly Hong Kong teenagers’ most favourite resort island. Like Lamma Island, one can reach it from Central Pier by 45-minute boats that ply the route every half hour. It’s also home to many villagers and fishermen.
Unlike Lamma Island, it’s Chinese-oriented. While the signs are still bilingual and everything’s nicely paved, I was hard-pressed to find a gwailo in the thronging masses of lovey-dovey trishaws,
causal weekenders in the marketplace,
and meandering corridors flanked by close-knit buildings.
Part of Cheung Chau’s charm is its throwback feel to a village stuck in ‘70s where the pace of life is much slower,
where bicycles – not flashy cars – are the main mode of transport,
and sea-wise folk eschew brightly coloured boats for a surfboard and paddles when fishing for seafood.
When night falls, hunger pangs drive us to search for food. There are many stalls along the main stretch. They’re just right to feed a platoon of emaciated soldiers with its mounds of fried rice, heaps of clams and mussels, and tangles of vegetables. Everything fresh, hopefully.
But if you’re just one – like me – then try the stall at the very very end, past the main strip. It’s run by a family where the women deep fry stuffed vegetables, blanch che zhai mian, and bake egg rolls under a canvas awning. Enough for a modest and quiet meal next to the sea.
Regardless, Cheng Chau’s best feature is the sea. A wide expanse of green against grey fog and relentless splashing. Enough to lull a wide-eyed insomniac into slumber.