Blog readers, meet Helen. Helen, meet my blog readers. Today, I’m interviewing Helen from Inspiring Passions – a blog that I just recently stumbled upon, after I was searching for some info on the coffee places that have opened on Swatow Street (not just The Cupping Room, but also Veygo Cafe and Manson’s Lot as Helen rightly points out).
Once I had stumbled upon her blog, I discovered a few hidden gems that I am keen to try – she blogged about AMMO which I’m keen to try (maybe not the afternoon tea but for lunch or dinner), Ocean private kitchen which sounds like a treat and Sawali Thai which is so close to my home that I’m surprised I’ve not been there.
What I love about her blog is the mix of different topics – new places to try that are slightly off the beaten track (and not just the new ‘hot’ places that everyone is going to), eateries in places such as Seoul or Taipei
, mixed with her own recipes and also ideas/comments on how to improve your health and enrich your life. All her comments are real (Helen will tell you if she was pleased with a dish or not) and I can testify, after meeting her in real life, that she is a totally integral blogger. She only blogs about what is important to her and places she wants to share with friends/family members (or warn them not to go there) – she’s not interested in following the mainstream approach of ‘new’ eateries and blogging for blogging’s sake.
So without much further ado, let me introduce Helen and her blog Inspiring Passions to you.
What made you start a blog?
I started blogging in 2005 at the height of Xanga. Yes back then. I started writing in Chinese in a local blog Hompy which was hosted by the main HK ISP Netvigator (where I was working). I became quite popular within Hompy (weekly top 20 hits) writing about things that interested me such as food, TV, movie, songs, places to go to (like exhibitions), inspirational or meaningful phrases etc. My tag line was “life can be interesting and meaningful”. Then I moved to yahoo blog and started writing more about food and trendy things. I sort of lost interest after a while cos yahoo was an open blog but I got less traffic than before even on an open platform.
Two and a half years ago, I was invited to be the page owner of a food & travel group in my previous company social/forum/ Intranet platform. This time I wrote in English and was still the biggest following of all social pages (of course some other pages/ groups were for work collaboration). Therefore when I left end last year, I started to write in WordPress to continue my posting on food (what I cook & where I have eaten), travel (where I have been & want to go) & positive thinking (part of my coaching journey).
What has been your highlight so far?
I guess you can pick up some from the above paragraph. I have made some friends via writing a blog: went to one’s wedding; had a meal when I visited Toronto etc. When I met my friends, they told me they followed and ate where I have been to; could I post some recipes that I was sure will work; where should I stay in the city they planned to go…. in a nutshell: met new friends and became a walking directory for old friends! :)
I love that your blog covers the unusual, off-the-beaten track places – is that on purpose? Where do you get your inspirations from?
You called those off-beat? Hummm…. I do go to mainstream places, but I don’t write about them unless they are good. Well I don’t go to expensive ones or the current most popular/must try unless there is a real purpose. Inspirations? I love trying new things/ places so I always opt for new places to go. But I am also a person of habits, e.g. when I visit Seoul, Myeongdong Kyoja is a MUST!
What upcoming blog posts have you planned? What restaurants/dishes are you going to cover?
No plans, just go with the flow. My new work place is still in Wan Chai, but nearer to Admiralty. The place I study coaching is in Sheung Wan. Plus I get to know Kennedy Town more since Occupy Central… maybe I will explore these areas more.
Which three cooks would you like to meet, and why?
Cooks: I don’t know maybe David Rocco because his TV series Dolce Vita is about Italian food and based in Florence. You can easily guess my favourite cuisine & city!!! Maybe I can think of more cooks later… Or perhaps meet Benedict Cumberbatch and ask him how he like being a cupcake! Hahaha see my post on Dec 5, 2014.
What three dishes (or restaurants) are must-tries for people visiting Hong Kong?
For visitors I would recommend:
1. The Peak Look Out – built from an old stone house, great view from the peak, good Asian fusion food – must try Thai red curry with roasted duck. That reminds me to write a post on my version of Thai red curry recipe per request from a friend…
2. Peking Garden Star House Tsim Sha Tsui – very tourist-like but good place to eat Peking duck, there is also a show on making hand-pulled noodles, of course great view of Victoria Harbour
3. Ho Hung Kee 何洪記粥麵專家 for wanton which I have featured on Sep 1, 2014 in my blog. A visitor can eat Cantonese street food in relative comfort.
What other blogs do you read – food or Hong Kong related?
Honestly I don’t have much time to read other blogs (my bad!). I do follow some blogs on WordPress which are mainly on food or travel. I read fashion blogs like sartorialist and interior design portals like everything coastal, architectural digest… plus TED talk etc. I guess these give me inspirations on latest trends, styles and day-dreaming time.
Thanks Helen, it was nice talking with you and learning more about your blog – especially over our Italian lunch (ok, now I really know your favourite food!).
I’m curious what you’ll experience in the next months, here in Hong Kong and on your next travels. Maybe there will be a Spanish or Portuguese food section on your blog soon? So do keep blogging and I’ll keep on reading!
[All pictures in this post belong to Helen at Inspiring Passions]
PS: Missed a previous interview with a Hong Kong blogger or expert? Check out my series here & contact me on bluebaluinHK at gmail.com if you want to participate.