If there were one word I’d use to describe this city it would be hustle. To truly understand the essence of this word, you should try to navigate the malls in Hong Kong during the days leading up to Christmas. This, my friend, is character-building. But (I think) I mastered it like a pro, learning how to weave in and out of excited (crazed?), bargain-hunting shoppers, squeezing myself into the crevasses of the tightly packed MTR, dodging vendors selling fake gadgets and watches, eating myself through Hong Kong one dumpling at a time, all whilst having a laugh and enjoying the craziness of the vibrant city.
This time around, I stayed in Marco Polo Gateway Hotel, which was smack bang in the middle of Harbour City mall. You can literally walk out of the lobby and step right into the thick of it! Great for those who come to experience Hong Kong as a shopping destination (and a food destination, but we’ll get to that later). Also, much to the delight of those behind on their Christmas shopping, the sales actually start before the holidays.
Instead of doing a regular write up of my 3 short but sweet nights in Hong Kong, I’m presenting you with a ‘best of’. To kick it off, I’ll start with:
1. Best sunset
My favourite spot to view the sunset from the Kowloon side was right next to Epure restaurant. There’s a large viewing deck with a glass fence which boasts a beautiful view of the harbour. You can also grab a drink and lounge around on some deck chairs.
2. Best meal
This is practically an impossible question to answer when you’ve spent over than 24 hours in Hong Kong. It’s like picking a favourite child. You just can’t. So I’m going to give you a ‘best within a best’.
Best Japanese I tried on this trip was at a izakaya/yakitori restaurant called Yardbird. A super trendy joint with fantastic small bites, and as my friend Johan likes to describe the place: noisy, but in a good way. Best pasta I tried was at Cucina, where the linguine was cooked to al dente perfection and the seafood broth was made from unicorn tears (but mostly a tasty concoction of top end seafood which had been simmering for hours). Best cafe goes to Le Cafe de Joel Robuchon for their paper-thin galettes, as well as their dangerously tasty range of pastries too. Best name for a restaurant goes to Ho Lee Fook, which also had the most delectable brussels sprouts salad.
3. Best breakfast
You know I’m a sucker for berries. If I had to name the food I miss the most in Manila, it would most likely be something from the berry family (this is a contentious statement, considering my unwavering love for hass avocadoes). So any breakfast buffet with a berry free-for-all will have me keen as a jellybean. I revisited the Marco Polo HK Hotel one morning and probably had 3 servings of the fruit bowl pictured.
4. Best coffee
As a cosmopolitan city with incredibly high standards for all things food and beverage, I’m sure Hong Kong offers an array of quality coffee shops. However, I can sometimes be a creature of habit, and I wanted to drop by my favourite coffee shop that I used to frequent back in 2011. Fuel Espresso now has two branches, and let’s be honest – their price for a cup of coffee is akin to extortion. I think I paid around 9 Australian bucks for my cappuccino. I know what you’re thinking, I’m an idiot, or it better have been made out of liquid gold. I’m telling you – these baristas know how to steam milk. It was the creamiest coffee I’ve ever sipped on. So I went back for another two.
5. Best dessert
7. Best bar
The folks at Quinary take their mixology seriously. This small, dimly lit modern bar served incredible cocktails that play with flavours and textures that I’ve never tried before.
6. Best in beauty
For all things beauty I’d highly recommend you pay a visit to Facesss (Ocean Terminal in Harbour City). It’s pretty much a one stop shop for all your beauty needs.
There you have it, my Hong Kong experience in a nutshell. For me, Hong Kong is one of those cities with a never ending list of things to experience. Every time I visit, I always get a huge pang of nostalgia from the months I spent working there in 2011. It feels like nothing has changed, yet everything has changed, and I can hardly keep up with the trendy spots that this beast of a city keeps churning out day after day. I suppose that’s what makes it a destination that you can keep visiting again, and again, and again.