Hong Kong — a city with distinctive cultural mixes, trending styles, avant garde art galleries, high fashion toting ladies, the most expensive and the cheapest Michelin star restaurants, the stunning contrasts of high rises and dingy alleys — seamlessly thriving together in this super packed city known as ‘Asia’s World City’.
Fast-moving city with 7 million people running to either get their bowl of noodles or to catch the ferry to start their work-day, this city is on an non-stop schedule. Just join the ride and enjoy the quick weekend trip, fg style!
Check-in at Hotel Pennington by Rhombus
Brand-spanking new hotel in the best location possible, Causeway Bay is where you want to be. The hotel has been recently named as one of the ‘Best New Hotels in Hong Kong’ by CNN Travel. The neighborhood has everything you need: Food (Best Dai Pai Dong, Best Cha Chan Tang), Entertainment (Maddening Happy Valley Race Course), Shopping (Fashion Walk, Times Square) and the best part is, it’s all right infront of the hotel. For a short trip, you have to be smart about choosing the location, and guys, this is it, Pennington as your base will do a lot of good.
Ofcourse we are not going to pick a hotel just for its location, Pennington has got style, a small boutique hotel owned by the folks behind Hotel LKF, their sister property, Pennington is the practical solution for a traveler who won’t compromise.
The futuristic bathroom dividers open in two sides – revealing the distinct right angle in your bedroom.
The wooden floors extend to the ceiling creating a feeling of living in a mod capsule.
The lobby bar that leads to the patio bar, where you can watch passers-by on the street right under your nose, while sipping on a well-deserved drink.
Playful artwork, sleek lines and cosy spaces make Pennington an easy choice. Perfect for someone like us, who loves to be in the middle of the hot-action.
Dinner at Megan’s Hot Pot
You might have just reached, either from a 12 hour plane ride or shorter. In either cases, hit up Megan’s Hot pot for some lip-smacking Hot pot, that will cure the worst case of jetlag or plane fatigue.
If you are a newbie to hotpot eating, (hmm just like us) you will be perplexed by the amount of stuff that is brought to your table. But, the awesomeness can only go up from here, there are lots and lots of uncooked meats, veggies, and noodles, simmering broths and hot sauces. Put one and two together and voila, you just got yourself the best meal in town!
Spicy, flavorful, and rich – when was the last time you had the thrill of cooking noodles hand held? And, the best part is learning the craft of picking the meat out at the right time. It’s a sure-slurp-fest!
Boisterious in LKF
To be honest LKF is not a pretty scene; beer bottles on the sidewalk, drunken men, traffic, music blaring from each bars, more men in khakis, but the scene sorta changes a bit when you start to understand who the people are, and what is going on there. Hong Kong is the business epicenter for Asia and a lot, LOT of expats live here; alone, single, needing a place to play when they have spent non-stop hours working and this is where they go, after that hard day. This is not just American/European expats, anybody that’s not from HK; Mainland China, Philippines, Indonesia and many other countries — and this is where you see a strange melange of people dancing to the same tunes that have one thing in common – life in HK!
Breakfast at Cafe Match box
We intuitively know that you are looking for some comfort food, start it right at this Cha Chan Tang (essentially a Tea House). Cafe Matchbox is an old school cafe that sits smack dab in the middle of Fashion walk, with all of its decor intact from the yesteryears.
The colonial vibe, time un-passed feeling, interesting people watching is all what you will get with the most AMAZING Sesame Toast. For starters, you would have not seen a morning toast in this color — creamy with a spread of condensed milk on top; make it even more unique by ordering the Coffee-Tea, this is not a typo, it is coffee and tea mixed together. Looks like someone made a mistake somewhere and invented one of the greatest things in the beverage department.
And another super-pro tip, if you are looking for your utensils, they are hidden in the drawers under your table.
DimSum at Maxims Palace
Do this city a justice and try atleast a couple of Dim Sum restaurants and Maxims is the first one I would recommend, get there early like a seasoned pro (right about 11.30am) to avoid the lines and have your game-face on to attack the many rolling carts.
It’s huge and still gets packed. All these mean only one thing, that it’s GOOOOD. It’s also located in the City Hall above the Marriage Registry division, so there is additional people watching points here. Newly wedded brides, families dressed to the nines and their traditions of clinking their tea cups before starting their meal are all your quick snippets of absorbing the culture around you.
English menu on the carts, and few of them also had a slideshow displaying the dishes in the cart, talk about technology!
Delicate coconut pudding that is almost a sin to destroy
Best for Dim Sum Desserts : Coconut pudding, Mango soup, Sesame ball, Sugar cake, Sesame cake, Mango custard, and (not to rule out the most amazing) Custard buns.
Traditional Dishes: Rice rolls, char siu bao, dumplings
Work off the calories consumed in a short trip provided by the city itself in this narrow quirky tram that can take you anywhere you want to go, just hop and you know what you have to do, hop off!
By late-afternoon, you are hitting another tradition — Tea time is sacred in HK and for the perfect Egg-tarts and milk tea, go to this traditional cafe Tai Cheong.
You say, ‘No, I want Ice Cream’. We scream Lab Made. Located in Causeway Bay, this joint uses Liquid Nitrogen to make ice cream-made-to-order. How fancy, schmancy!
Dai Pai Dong
DPDs are roadside food stalls that once were super popular but now are a dying tradition and mostly are being moved to an enclosed food center. Here is one that we recommend to follow, even though its in a food center.
Squid Ink Pasta cc: strippedpixel.com
Tung Po Seafood Restaurant
Once featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and seemingly the default destination for those seeking to show their friends just how local they really are, Tung Po Seafood Restaurant at Java Road Cooked Food Centre, has a deserved reputation for cooked food excellence. Famed, among other things, for its squid ink pasta, Tung Po does a fine line in Cantonese-cuisine-with-a-twist.
Tummy full? Head to a roofop to breathe or to the see the breathtaking skyline views.
Sevva – beautiful view, beautiful people, beautiful looking Mojitos. They got all three in plenty of varieties for every taste.
The Wanch – End the day at this music institution causing raucous in the city since the 80s.
This day is all about checking out what’s across the island. In just under 15 mins from Causeway Bay (CWB), you reach Kowloon, the neighborhood synonymous with Night Markets, Culinary Excellence and the Crowd.
Start with a Breakfast at this Kowloon institution.
Always packed and hungry people waiting in line — do not be turned off. The lines move as fast as a checkout counter line. People here are there to eat, and to eat fast. You will be sharing a table with these hungry people, sitting in a stool that fits only half your butt-cheek.
And, all of them and you are here for three things: Eggs, Milk Tea and Pudding.
Scrambled Eggs and Toast: Simple but they rival the excellence of French cooking with their creamy soft eggs and double-sized slices of soft white bread.
And Milk Pudding, two words that will keep humming in your head for the rest of time when you think of HK. Silky smooth, and unbelievably tasty.
Walk it off in the Ladies Market – the busiest roadside shopping you would have ever seen.
This will be one of the cheapest Michelin star restaurants you will ever go to.
Fried Egg Stick cc: That Food Cray
Fried Egg Stick with condensed milk or Dan San is why you go here. Crispy, airy, dusted with crushed peanuts, sprinkled with coconut flakes and drizzled with sticky sweet condensed milk. YUM!
Best for: Steamed Rice Sheet Rolls, Steamed Shrimp & Veggie Dumplings, Glutinous Rice Steamed in Lotus Leaf, Fried Egg Sticks with Condensed Milk, and Malaysian Sponge Cakes
Culture tour of Kowloon
An academic bookstore, to provide the room and space for communication and discussion, that is unassumingly located in the most busiest streets of Mongkok.
Some of Kowloon’s most unexpected cultural venues can be found in the heart of Mong Kok. C&G Artpartment, run by artists Gum Cheng and Clara Cheung, hosts occasional exhibitions and regular art workshops.
Shop for vintage cameras and one-of-a-find electronics here. There are Flea markets on the neighboring streets if you want to score well-priced cameras, phones and plenty of things you never knew you needed.
Stroll through the Temple Market – the night market that has an intersting mix of people. Good for fresh lobsters and pepper crabs.
End with Drinks at Ozone Bar
The world’s highest bar (2014) with a panoramic view of Hong Kong island, Victoria Harbor and everything plain sight can capture.
Sunday night never felt so blue. Bid farewell to one of the most amazing cities you have stepped foot on and wish to come back to see her soon.