Hong Kong is fast. There’s always a new restaurant, a new bar or a new gallery trying to vie for your attention. It’s a place where the hedonistic indulge and excess is everywhere. Multiple Chanel, Gucci and Prada stores can be found a mere stone’s throw from each other and everything can start to look the same. But underneath the skyscrapers and behind the neon lights, there are some amazing places to eat, drink and shop for any budget.
Liger: Offering edgy and fun fashion from international and local designers, Liger is a shopper’s playground. They house major-players like Maison Kitsune, House of Holland and Petar Petrov, and they also stock a great range of Asian fashion houses. Look out for their in-house label, Oh My God which is full of frills, fun and colour. Accessories start from around US$50 and clothing from US$100. Think interesting cuts, dynamic fabrics and one-off looks.
55 Paterson Street,Causeway Bay. http://www.ligerstore.com/
Mee & Gee: If you are fan of vintage, then this will be your first point of call. The Mee & Gee stores are huge, so leave time to weed out the gold from the rubble. These guys source their clothes from all over Asia and, surprisingly, have a range of sizes. Located in most major districts from Mong Kok to Central, prices start from around US$20. Think denim everything, baseball jackets, tea dresses and jumpsuits.
Li Yuen Street West, Central (Look for the blue and red sign). https://zh-hk.facebook.com/meegeeco (All in Chinese).
Aland: One of the most popular stores in Seoul, the huge branch in Causeway Bay lives up to the hype. Get kit out in the coolest brands from well-known and emerging Korean designers. This place is quirk with a capital ‘Q’ and has to be checked out. Prices start from about US$5. Think fluorescent phone charms, over-sized neoprene dresses and hats that would make Pharell blush.
Lee Theatre Plaza, 99 Percival St. Causeway Bay. http://www.a-land.co.kr
Odd One Out: Not everyone wants to give their loved ones I <3 HK tee shirts as a memento of their trip. A better idea is totally affordable and awesome art! Odd One Out is one of the few places in town that supports local illustrators, printmakers and designers by giving them a place to show their work. They also house work from an eclectic bunch of international artists starting from about US$20. Think fun tote bags, brightly coloured ceramics and cool prints.
14 St. Francis Street, Wanchai. http://oddoneout.hk/
Mido Cafe: A cha chaan teng is a traditional, Hong Kong-style tea house, and if you are going to try one during your time here, then the Mido is the ultimate. Known for their baked pork chops and red bean shaved ice, this place is a regular setting for Hong Kong dramas due to its quintessential 60s charm. Food is cheap and cheerful from around US$10. Think retro coca-cola crates, old-school booths, tiled walls and Hong Kong-style milk tea.
63 Temple St. Yau Ma Tei (No website).
Dumpling Pro: These guys serve up AMAZING north-eastern Chinese food in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The staff are really friendly and helpful, and the interior is bright red with dark wooden benches and lanterns – giving it a uniquely ‘Chinese’ vibe. Prices start from around US$10. Think dumplings made with love, Kung Pao shrimp you won’t ever forget and local beer to wash it all down.
243 Jaffe Rd. Wanchai (No website).
DanDan Sichuan Noodles: Like it hot? Same! You have to try these guys for the freshest and most delicious Sichuan-style noodles in town. You can alter the heat so you can barely taste the spice or you can try it HOT, the way it was intended. These hand cut noodles start at around $US5. Think fresh ingredients, Sichuan peppercorns and Jasmine tea to take the edge off.
181 Queen’s Rd, Sheung Wan. http://www.dandanhk.com/
Tim Ho Wan: Ever wanted to eat at a Michelin Starred restaurant? Well after you’ve been here you can tick that off the list. With branches all over town, these guys really have the dim sum thing on fleek. To avoid queues, go after 2 p.m. on a weekday. Small plates start from about US$5. Think juicy prawn dumplings, world-famous crispy bbq pork bun and a totally delicate sweet selection.
Shop 12A, IFC Mall, Central. http://www.timhowan.com/
Fu Lu Shou: This bar is a little oasis amidst the busy city AND they have a terrace – a total coup in this town. Drinks here are Hong Kong inspired and fuse local herbs and spices with top quality spirits. Delicious cocktails alongside good music and swings on the deck = winning. Cocktails priced from around US$15 and up. Think friendly staff, unique flavour combinations and classic Asian bar snacks.
7th Floor. 31 Hollywood Rd. Central. https://www.facebook.com/FuLuShouHK
Ozu: A Japanese Hip Hop bar who really knows the meaning of excellent service, you could find yourself grooving to The Fugees, Notorious B.I.G. or Wyclef at this joint, and possibly even having a boogie. The mixologists here really know how to make a drink, so sake based cocktails are a must. Happy Hour drinks start from US$5 and regular prices are about double. Think drinks served in cool vessels, graffiti murals and the most amazing courgette fries ever.
1 Hollywood Rd. Central. http://ozubar.com/
Ping Pong 129: This little gem is hidden away in the quirky district of Sai Ying Pun. The owners overhauled an old ping pong hall and made it into an underground Spanish Gintoneria. Contemporary Chinese art lines the walls and delicious drinks are served in sturdy vessels under lofty ceilings. Drinks start from around US$10. Think gin for days, funky music and good vibes. 129 Second St. Sai Ying Pun. http://www.pingpong129.com/
Fringe Club: This is the ultimate Hong Kong live music venue, having been around for over 30 years. Set in a beautiful historic building, Fringe Club has been supporting local and international artists for years. Check out the latest rock ‘n’ roll, comedy or live art shows whilst sipping away on a tasty beverage. Prices vary according to performers. Think indie bands, jazz trios and album release parties. 2 Lower Albert Rd. Central. http://www.hkfringeclub.com/en
Premium Sofa Club: If you wanna check out some local theatre during your time in HK, this is a good place to start. This underground space hosts performances from different troupes in HK. They also host various gigs, art shows and dance events. Think BYO booze, indie crowds and underground entertainment. 212-216 Wing Lok St. Sheung Wan. https://www.facebook.com/premium.club.hk
XXX Gallery: This underground club in Sai Ying Pun hosts everything from international DJs to No Lights No Lycra events. The crowd is energetic and the vibe is always good. Think super-cheap drinks, ping-pong evenings and DJ battles.
353-363 Des Voeux Rd West, Sai Wan. http://xxxgallery.hk/
*All images supplied.