Hong Kong…Manhattan on Crack
Hong Kong is a hedonistic engine room of cultural fusion: East meets West in high style with a unique identity due to its British and Portuguese influence. We were fortunate to have our friend, Harry Pang, show us around both nights we were in town.
- Currency: Hong Kong Dollar
- Tipping: Not necessary, but 10% appreciated
- Respect the Food:
- Dim Sum: Felicia and Shendi Lu, thanks for the prep!
- Cha Siu: HK National dish – pork, honey, spices
- Moon cake: Revolutionaries in imperial China used to smuggle messages to each other hidden in a moon cake’s dense filling (I wish my mail was wrapped in food!)
- Eggettes: Egg waffles are a HK classic…it’s an iconic twist on waffles
- Misc: HK is grouped into islands, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island being the two main ones. Main tourist sights and eats are divided up between the two. They are just a 10 min cab/5 min subway ride away. Star Ferry travels between them and takes around 10 minutes (costs around $1 US).
- Transport Recos:
- MTR: Best way around is Metro – quick, cost effective and efficient
- Aiport Express Link: 24 minutes from airport to Kowloon / Hong Kong. Charging stations and TVs, comfortable seats, air conditioning…what more could you ask for? They will also check in your luggage on the return trip and send it to airline. Easy, breezy service.
- Taxis: Cabbies are as psychotic as any big city cabbie. Hold on for dear life!
- W Hotel (Bruce Starr, thanks for reco)
- Site: http://www.w-hongkong.com
- The hotel is in West Kowloon. Fly into Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and travel to the hotel by Airport Express, the most direct and quickest route. It takes 24 minutes, has charging outlets and is the most efficient way to get to the W, which is a 5 minute walk from the station, and it’s through a lovely indoor mall.
- The concierge, Billie, was the most enthusiastic person I met on this trip. His energy and knowledge of where to go / how to get there was fantastic. Jasper, the bellboy, that greeted us upon arrival was incredibly helpful and just genuiniely kind. It was a nice way to start our experience in Hong Kong.
- Tung Kee Seafood: Point at what you want and eat it.
- Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine: Super cute eatery featuring the world’s most celebrated cartoon in the form of dim sum, rice and motif teapots. Yes, we had to go…
- The Kitchen (W Hotel): This is fat Brielle speaking. This was a buffet like no other (Mel Mao – you know what I’m talking about!). All types of cuisine. I literally sampled everything from the lobster, to meats, to soups, to donuts, to pasta… nothing went to waste and it was a glorious morning breakfast to fuel up for the day’s activity.
- Mad for Garlic: An Italian restaurant that originated in Korea. Garlic is in every dish. You will smell awesome after this…
- J&G Fried Chicken: Taiwanese-style chicken bites are peppery and sizzing hot on the outside and moist on the inside. Different spice levels available! (After Thailand, I couldn’t stop eating spicy food!)
- Yung Kee in Central: Our last night and some traditional Chinese. They also had Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc for $30USD. What a deal! Harry ordered and we went to town…but I distinctly remember the lemon chicken…
- Din Tai Fung: Dim Sum and Chinese Buns and then some…
- Mammy Pancake: Michelin Star rated streetfood. Advice from Harry: Get the chocolate chip pancake and follow it with the Everything Waffle – this was dessert heaven.
- Sohofama: Slow cooked 48 hour natural short rib pancake sliders and crab with sticky rice
- Ozone @ The Ritz Carlton: This takes the honors as the highest bar in the world. 118th Floor with outdoor seating and exquisite views. Sadly, there was a rain storm when we went so we were limited to the inside space. The cocktails were brilliant – check out this Ritz Carlton Signature. Now if only they would use Caliche Rum!
- Dada Bar & Lounge: Think Alice in Wonderland
- J Boroski: Named after owner, Joseph Boroski, this hidden spot in central is a bespoke creative cocktail space. There is no menu so everything is customized. The bartenders are not only true creatives, but they exhibit such a passion for their craft. Watching them make the cocktails was mesmerizing. I have been lucky enough to have drank at amazing bars but the food-cocktail blew my mind. I LOVE soup, and that was the base. It’s a food – drink blend. I was blown away. After Harry, Keith and I enjoyed 3 cocktails a piece, the rhinoceros beetles that adorn the curved ceiling started to look more appealing. If you are in HK, request an invitation (call 2603 6020).
- Quinary: Craft cocktails (Earl Grey tea foam!) that are a true sensory experience
- Lily & Bloom: An immaculate yet industrial bar. Expect vintage spirits and well-executed textbook cocktails.
- Lan Kwai Fong (party zone): Bars all over – tons of ex-pats.
- The Peak: Spectacular views, wooded walks and exclusive properties (it houses the world’s most expensive street, Pollock’s Path). Take the Metro to the Peak Tram and in under 10 minutes you will arrive to Victoria Gap. *If it’s misty / cloudy, do not go. You won’t be able to see much.
- The Star Ferry / Harbour City: One of HK’s most beloved institutions, the Star Ferries have plied between Kowloon and HK Island since 1888. If you take the evening voyage, you will witness the harbour’s neon spectacle, The Symphony of Lights – 45 harbour buildings put on a light and sound show.
- Temple Street Night Market: Fortune tellers, opera street performers, clothes, knick knacks, food! What more could you want? Accessible by Metro, the overwhelming array of cheap goods and unbeatable lively atmosphere is a must see.
- Tsim Sha Tsui area: great dim sum spots, musesums, ritzy arcades – fun destaination to walk around in.
- Heritage Plaza and Avenue of the Stars
- Ladies Market: Flea market like Temple but not at night, lots of cheap goods.
- Elements: more than 1 million square feet of pure shopping bliss themed after the five Chinse elements.
- Pet Street: Here’s one for our 4-legged furry friends. Mong Kok’s Tung Choi Street is disarmingly charming. Full of pups, kittens, rabbits, goldfish, turtles and frogs, it’s difficult not to say ‘awww’ in adoration of these cute little creatures.
- Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery: Take the metro, and get there by 10am so it’s not too hot. Once a humble house built by 3 monks, Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island is an important temple and the giant Buddha facing the monastery is an object of veneration for devotees and tourists alike. 260 steps lead you to the base, and you can go inside (the museum) and see Buddha’s tooth (no pictures allowed). For me, this was a very spiritual spot. I not only left Rambo’s hair, but one of the crosses I had blessed in Jerusalem at the base. Buddha and Jesus – that’s a righteous combo.
Well…our 2016 travel adventure is complete, and it was everything I hoped for. Seeing the world, meeting new people, and educating myself on other cultures/way of living is a passion of mine & Keith’s. I hope these recaps/guides are not only entertaining, but informative should you travel to any of these amazing cities.
So Hong Kong in summary? It transcends cultural and culinary borders in an accessible way so that nothing feels truly foreign and nothing doesn’t belong, yet it’s wrapped in a mist of exoticism and opulence.
Oh! When we got home, the first thing we did was order pizza. Nothing says home like good old Italian food, haha! Now, where should we go next year??? Cheers to the new adventures.
#stayinspired we are always #3QT