What's in store: Hong Kong
Chic shopping options, by Grant Thatcher from LUXE City Guides
Saturday 19 March 2011
Dear hearts, welcome to Hong Kong, LUXE City Guides' hometown! Mainland siblings Beijing and Shanghai had the Olympics the Expo respectively, but this mile-a-minute harbour metropolis has everything else, and dim sum.
Asia's capital of shopping, dining and style boasts Michelin stars and alleyway bars, horse-racing stables and designer labels, but skip the mall trawl and let us take you by the hand through one of our fave nabes, NoHo.
The area north of Hollywood Road between Central and Sheung Wan is a tiny pocket of funky indie design stores, art galleries, old print shops and noodle stalls. Start at the corner of Hollywood Road and Aberdeen Street and carefully totter down the steep hill to Moustache at 31 Aberdeen St (00 852 2541 1955; moustachehongkong.com) – Alex and Ellis's flamboyant menswear boutique. These two charming New Yorkers create tropics-friendly, geek-chic gear and offer a smart tailoring service – they'll know whether you wear it left or right in a trice. This season's look riffs on the Beat Generation: Burroughs and Kerouac on a hazy HK trip en route to Nirvana.
Down at No. 15, Magnan & Tse (00 852 2544 8188; magnan-tse.com) is the love-child of a French and local designer, rocking the 1980s with its red, white and black, beaded and bedazzled womenswear.
Now, if you want the fish guts and hanging meat wet-market experience, head into Gage Street, opposite Magnan and Tse. Sane people should instead swing left into sweet little Gough Street for Ecols (00 852 3106 4918) at Nos. 8-10: clean, green and on the scene, where trash is treasure. Think newspaper lamps, bags made from drinks can tabs and rubber tyres, film and vinyl records transformed into bowls and vases, and furniture crafted from recycled timber.
OMG, squeal! Petit Bazaar (00 852 2544 2255; petitbazaar.canalblog.com) at No. 9 is the most darling nursery loft in town, packed with the cutest, chicest, handmade and mostly French clothing, furniture, toys and gifts for tots. Oh to be a kid again.
Time to grow up, because next up is Addiction (00 852 2581 2779) at 15 Gough St that stocks kicky furniture and accessories with a clean-yet-fun Scandi-esque aesthetic. There's new and vintage gear here that you'll want to keep the brats away from.
Lifestyle chain Homeless (00 852 2581 1880, homeless.hk) at Nos. 28 and 29 (and No. 7) is crammed with the latest UK, European and international furniture, design, décor and gewgaws, plus the works of local artist Carrie Chau, though a little judicious editing would go a long way.
Look, sparkles ahead! At Nos. 49-51, Kim Lai (00 852 2545 6388; kimlai.net) crafts sleek, minimalist and refined jewellery. He uses gold, silver, pearls and enamel, as well as precious and semi-precious stones – and he's rather ring-a-ding-ding himself.
Want culture? Two of the city's best contemporary art galleries are up the stone stairs of Shin Hing Street, off Gough Street. Darling Amelia Johnson (00 852 2548 2286; ajc-art.com) at Nos. 6-10 shows consistently collectable international and Asian emerging and established artists, including Macanese-Russian star Konstantin Bessmertny, while relative newcomer Gallery Exit at No. 1 (00 852 2541 1299; galleryexit.com) has made an impact with edgy exhibitions of young Chinese artists.
For a local dining experience, try no-frills institution Kau Kee (00 852 2850 5967) at 21 Gough St, which serves up steaming bowls of beef brisket and curry beef noodles the equivalent of about £2. We draw the line, however, at the infamous macaroni, spam and tinned tomato soup of Sing Heung Yuen (00 852 2544 8368), opposite Kau Kee at 2 Mei Lun St. The queues for it beggar belief, though it's one of the last remaining outdoor dai pai dongs (hawker stalls) in Hong Kong.
Better yet, book into Cantonese The Chairman (00 852 2555 2202, thechairmangroup.com), off Gough St at 18 Kau U Fong. It's as close to locavore slow food as you'll find in this city – and the steamed crab in rice wine and caramelised pork spare ribs are better than Jake Gyllenhall dancing naked on your tongue. Almost.
Grant Thatcher is the editor of LUXE City Guides, the cult pocket city guides and mobile apps for the busy, fun-loving, sophisticated luxury traveller. For more information, see www.luxecityguides.com
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