Exploring The Local Delicacies & Streets Of Hong Kong Like A Local! 

Tripoto
8th Dec 2016

In the crowded cosmopolitan city of the east, new offerings—even neighbourhoods—have recently accommodated the cultural needs of its growing population. By Anwesha Sanyal & Apeksha Bhateja.

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Jumbo Restaurant. Credit: Peter Bischoff

Extra Cravings!

Dig beyond the usual fish curry balls on stick and gorge on Hong Kong’s favourite street food delicacies.

CANTONESE BEEF BRISKET NOODLE SOUP

A light broth made of beef tendon, fresh veggies, and flat noodles swirling in oyster and soy sauce, delivers a subtle taste on the palate and is best had when hot. If you don’t mind a fatty meal, head to Kau Kee (21 Gough St, Central, +852/2850-5967).

EGG WAFFLES

Arguably the city’s favourite snack time sweet, these delicious egg-shaped waffles are served hot and pair well with tea or hot chocolate. The best ones come from Lee Keung Kee North Point Egg Waffles (178 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui).

CHICKEN FEET

In any other part of the world, you may not imagine yourself munching on chicken feet. But here, the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in the world, Tim Ho Wan (timhowan.com) in Mongkok District, serves fiery chicken feet that are all but unnatural.

MILK TEA, WANTONS, SHRIMP BALLS

Because the Cantonese love their milk tea, steamed wontons, and shrimp balls, you’ll find them in abundance at street side shops at different spots around town.

ARTSY CAFE'S

THE ALCHEMIST CAFÉ BISTRO

If you’re going to the HK Heritage Museum, make a pit stop at the cosy café on Poplar Street for brunch. The café has a postcard mailing service for its visitors. Find your corner and write one as you sip on one of their flavourful teas. Ka On Building, 27-29 Poplar St, Sham Shui Po; +852/2779-0559

LES ARTISTES CAFÉ & GALLERY

Art and literature enthusiasts can check out this quirky café in Tin Hau. Besides a collection of books at its library and modern artwork on its walls (that quite take the cake), it has a great finger food menu. lesartistes.com.hk

FULL CUP CAFÉ

The hip three-floor café in Mongkok has a different theme on each floor—the third being a music room that brings in its share of indie gigs to the cool neighbourhood every weekened. fullcupcafé.com.hk

LUXURY SHOPPING

Hong Kong's staple Noodles and Steamed Chicken. Credit: King Lee

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While local markets like Stanley and Ladies Market give you scope to spend a few quick bucks, for luxury shopping, there’s no better bet than Causeway Bay. Let Sogo (sogo.com.hk), the famous Japanese department store be your landmark here. Sprawled in every direction are the fanciest luxury brands—from Ferragamo to Brietling and Tiffany & Co. Further down on Hennessy Road, look for the Sony Style flagship store for the latest gadgets, or head north for the Excelsior Hotel (another landmark) around which are Time Silver (for crystal and silver jewellery) and Sweet Poison (for stilettos).

WHEN YOU WANT SPACE!

Space is an ever desirable commodity in Hong Kong. When you need fresh air, take a trip to the old part of town.

JUMBO RESTAURANT

In all probability, your parents have dined here. An institution in Hong Kong, this 40-year-old floating restaurant (part of a complex called Jumbo Kingdom) recently underwent a multi-million-dollar face lift, but its flamed drunken shrimp is still a champion. Designed as a royal court of the Ming Dynasty, it has hosted Tom Cruise and Queen Elizabeth II and has earned its place in movies. Book a table at night when it’s aglow with lights and get a picture clicked at the royal throne.

For more details check: jumbo.com.hk

Foreign to HK

HK has one of the largest population of expats in the world. We get a lowdown on the best spots that give you the feel of being in an international city.

SAI KUNG AND CLEARWATER BAY: Expats looking for slightly larger homes are at ease in this sparsely populated area of the city that offers gorgeous views of a warm sandy beach and rolling hills. Tee up at the Clearwater Golf and Country Club (cwbgolf.org); nearby in Sai Kung, there are surfing and diving schools as well.

Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay. Credit: Ian Trower

Photo of Sai Kung, Hong Kong by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

TAI PO: Although a little away from the main districts of HK, this neighbourhood is popular with expats for its spacious condos with clubhouses. This is also the quiet part of the city where you can get a real slice of traditional life: open-air markets and post-war walk ups included.

TUEN MUN: Beach houses with private gardens or high rise buildings with rooftop terraces, you’re at one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Hong Kong. International eateries line the French-themed market or Piazza where you can buy local artworks, too. Hiking trails are only minutes from the MTR while the Tuen Mun Public Riding School (campaign.hkjc.com), Hong Kong’s largest horse-riding school is also close.

Photo of Tuen Mun, Hong Kong by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

STATE OF THE ART!

The city produces an array of cutting-edge artists who contribute to the performance and creative arts, and cinema. Dirty Paper (dirtypaper.hk), an art collective formed by Lap and Keung in 2010, exposes the dark side of HK, Ko Shan Theatre and New Wing (lcsd.gov.hk), an award-winning opera house, is an excellent venue to catch a Cantonese opera show.

Address: Art house Broadway Cinematheque (3 Public Square St, Yau Ma Tei; +852-2388/0002) showcases international Indie movies—a hit with the locals.

SPEAKEASIES SPECIAL

FOXGLOVE: If cocktails were described as classy, this would be the place to enjoy them. One of the city’s most exclusive speakeasies is hidden behind an umbrella shop front and hosts the most elite crowd who come looking for highbrow jazz artists and film screenings. foxglovehk.com

001: The most hard-to-find speakeasy on our list, the entry to 001 is an unmarked black door lurking behind a market stall between Graham Street and Queen’s Road Central. A sophisticated ambiance and a finely crafted drinks menu attracts a suave crowd. 97, Wellington Street, Central; +852/2810-6969

DRAGON I: Get your glam on at the legendary speakeasy which has turned into quite the stylish hotspot for a niche crowd which likes to get high on innovative drinks. Travellers dig the spacious bar enclave and a fantastic outdoor terrace to complement its Chinese chic décor. dragon-i.com.hk

NOCTURNE: While the two-storey intimate bar, accessible through a back alley on Peel Street welcomes a jazz playlist and a 150-strong selection of premium whisky from Japan Kentucky and Taiwan, they also boast 250 labels of wine and champagne. Central; +852/2884-9566

FISHING VILLAGES

For the most authentic and unassuming Cantonese seafood, head straight to Lantau Island. A huge contrast to the skyscrapers, The Tai O village here has traditional stilt houses and a thriving fishing culture. Gorge on seafood and walk along the river to find a peaceful spot on the banks to sit and sketch the horizon. Other options are Lamma Island and Cheung Chau, both accessible from the ferry terminal on Hong Kong Island.

HOLE IN THE WALL

Tiny restaurants in fancy neighbourhoods are crammed with crowds from all over owing to their remarkable food.

TSIM CHAI KEE

Locals swear by the wonton noodle soup at this little joint on Wellington Street. If you don’t mind the limited choice on the menu or sharing the table with other customers (there really is a lot of crowd at peak hours), order the king prawn wanton noodle soup, or go for the beef version. 98, Wellington Street, Central; +852/2850-6471

ONE DIM SUM

You’ll be pretty stoked when you find this tiny Michelin star dim sum restaurant on Prince Edward. The dumplings are to die for, but go during non-peak hours (3pm to 5pm) for a seat—the crowd usually flows onto the street. Prince Edward; +852/2789-2280

A Mall of Surprises

You need a map to navigate through the largest mall in Hong Kong, Harbour City. Drop your bags in a locker at the tourist help centre and spend a day taking a peep inside quirky restaurants and stores.

CHINA TANG

Someone has squirted this newly-opened fine dining Chinese restaurant with floral patterns. Try their glazed chicken, roasted duck, and dimsums, or take your wine glass to the outdoor terrace for harbour views. It also features five decorated private rooms. chinatang.hk

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD CAFÉ

The world’s second Vivienne Westwood Café opened in Harbour City in October last year, and it’s just as elegant as its Shanghai predecessor. One side conjures the image of an 18th-century French tearoom and the other takes you backstage of a fashion show with a photo shooting panel. +852/3188-2646

HOMIE COOKIES

Singer Joyce Cheng sells drool-worthy cookies at this pop-up store. Try John Lemon (lemon and poppy seeds), Keyser Soze (chocolate chip), Rude Boy (oatmeal rum raisin), and cookie of the month. homiecookies.com

CHA LING

This is the latest line of cosmetics launched by the French luxury brand Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH). Ancient Chinese Pu-er tea is the key ingredient in its creams, fragrances, and serums. While you take a look around, they will also serve you the tea to taste. cha-ling.com

MOOMIN CAFÉ

This whimsical cafe may look like a toy store from the outside, but it’s an honest-to-God Nordic cuisine café where solo diners can share a table with fluffy, stuffed toys called Moomins. benelic.com

TONY MOLY

Why not skip the more common, even though fabulous international beauty brands such as M.A.C or Bobbi Brown, and try this Korean cosmetic line? The brand name literally translates to ‘putting style into packaging’. Pick up panda-shaped lipsticks and wine bottle glosses to add some kitsch on your dresser. tonymoly.com

WATCH YOURSTEP

You may get lost inside Hong Kong’s largest mall, or outside it, for that matter. Harbour City has quite a few entrances, so if you’re meeting someone, tell them to find you under the five flagpoles at Tsim Sha Tsui.

Southside Story

Dotted with gritty industrial buildings and old freight elevators—Wong Chuk Hang is the last place you’d expect to find a designer boutique, a quirky café, or an artsy hotel.

Stay: Warehouse-turned-hotel, Ovolo Southside epitomises industrial chic with pipes protruding in rooms, retro music and Kung Fu movies in Instagram-worthy elevators. ovolohotels.com

Shop: The airy Lane Crawford showroom in the One Island South complex features designer furniture and stylish lighting. Stop at Sensory Zero, a café tucked in the corner at the store. lanecrawford.com

Eat: Look for a building with bright yellow graffiti, and step right in. The Factory houses a funky, spacious café and restaurant Elephant Grounds that has great coffee. elephantgrounds.com

Visit: A 7,000-square-foot art gallery, Blindspot Annex displays photographs and image-based works in its warehouse space. Art Statements is another interesting gallery that showcases works of international contemporary artists. blindspotgallery.com; artstatements.com

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