Hong Kong

Monday / Jun 17 / 2013

Fig Central

Hong Kong is a cross between an anthill and a huge mall. You can spend all your time indoors or underground, shopping or walking. Coming from New York City, the land of one Gucci and three Burberry stores, I was couldn’t get over the sheer number of luxury retail stores. There is a Cartier and Ferragamo in ever shopping complex, which is in every mall, which also includes several restaurants and bars, which is often located on a floor higher than 99% of those in Manhattan.

Hong Kong street view
Fig Hong Kong street view

Traces of colonialism remain (English signs, driving on the left, impeccably clean subways) and an expat said it’s the safest city—if you’re white. The food is generally subpar compared to NY. “Everything’s flown in,” boasted another expat, oblivious to the local, slow food movement popular elsewhere. In May, when we went, rainy season had started early so the air was hot, heavy, and humid. Yet, despite these observations, I want to return again.

Fig Mana!

Hollywood Road and the streets above and below it are packed with boutiques and some of the city’s best restaurants, including…

Mana! (92 Wellington Street): this tiny lunch spot (barely two tables inside and a couple outside) refers to itself as slow fast food, which means delicious organic flatbreads, salads, hummus, and juices—the perfect antidote to heavy Chinese food.

View from Star Ferry
Fig View from Star Ferry

We stayed in Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side, but regardless of where you stay, be sure to take a ride, take a ride on the Star Ferry.

Loong Toh Yuen
Fig Loong Toh Yuen

Our hotel was walking distance from Loong Toh Yuen (Hullett House, 2A Canton Road): located in a former marine police headquarters (one of the four oldest surviving buildings in HK), choose the all you can eat dim sum option for elegant canto fare—they don’t look appetizing, but the “steamed rice rolls with dough stick” (above) are addictive!

view from Ozone
Fig view from Ozone

And you can’t visiting HK, without a stop at Ozone…

Ozone (118/f, 1 Austin Road West): Asia’s highest bar, located on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, offers incredible views of Hong Kong. The décor is a little schizophrenic, but the rooftop is open, so be sure to go on a clear night (or you’ll have raindrops in your photo like me).