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Do you remember that scene in Pinocchio, when our favourite lying doll is convinced by honest John to take a vacation and then placed on a stage coach on its way to Pleasure Island where other misfit kids can do smoke cigars, drink and break things without any thought of consequences but are then turned into terrifying mini donkeys, the thought of which still sometime haunts my dreams, by the way.
Well, Hong Kong is Pleasure Island.
Surrounded by people with boundless energy, appetite, and the taste for the good things in life, I could easily give in to my hedonist desires. But after a weekend, I realize I can never keep up with the city. But I’d still do it all over again.
Hong Kong consists of multiple islands: Hong Kong Islands, Kowloon, The New Territories and a number of smaller islands. It still remains quite small and is packed to the brim with more than 7 million people, making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
Somewhat independent from China, Hong Kong has benefited greatly from development by its British colonizers and the industrious economy of the Chinese. It’s a stellar financial, arts and culture, and food center in Asia and has one of the freest economies. But in a total contrast, you can also find yourself in situations where you can pretend that you are in an old fishing/opium port.
But if you’ve only got a more than a day, like I do, you can stay in and around Central—there’s no better place to experience the city in all its glory.
The city is packed with so many dining and drinking options—from high-end Michelin stars to that one place behind the hardware store and up a hundred steps and down a fishing alley. You’ll never get tired of eating and drinking here.
Try Yat Lok for their famous one Michelin star roasted goose. You could also go to Yung Kee, Kam’s, Sham Tseng Chan Kee for similar sweet, umami, oily satisfaction.
For breakfast you’ll have a choice of heading to either a great western style place like the Papillon Cafe, Café Deadend, Nosh, Green Waffle Dinner or the Flying Pan or going to a Cantonese dimsum spot or traditional tea house café like the Australian Dairy Company, Café Hoi On or Tsui Wah like we did.
While Hong Kong is also teeming with foreign-style restaurants, you should also get your fill of local joints that serve authentic or modernized Chinese cuisine like Mott 32, Duddell, Chuen Cheung Kui, Xi Yan, Tim Ho Wan, Loyal Dining, Sun Hing, Tsim Chai Kee Noodles, or Bistro Manchu to name a few.
But one of my favorites in the city is Ronin—a hidden gem that understands my needs to serious and fresh deliciousness. Come here for wave after wave of uni, crab, fresh fish from Japan.
There are more than enough forward thinking food concepts to go around and at the top of my list are:
Hoo Lee Fook
Le Garcon Saigon
Fight, scratch and scream your way through the noise and throng of hungry eaters to get your hands undescriptive baskets where only your nose can guide you. Pick blindly, you’ll never be far from something delicious, just be open to eating whatever you pick up.
We ended up in Lin Heung Tea House but Other great places to get your dim sum fix include:
Dim Dim Sum
One Dim Sum
Lung King Heen
Fook Lam Moon
Man Mo Cafe
Dim Sum Square
For your fill of alcohol, head out to Pontiac where you can get shots from friendly tattooed bartenders—some of which are women who reminds me of attractive suicide girls. Other hangouts you should also check out are:
Liily and Bloom
But if you want a taste of the local bar scene, head down to the areas surrounding Lang Kwai Fong, the popular, surreal bar street, filled with clubs and drinking holes you’ll always wonder how you ended up in and talk to locals or people just passing through. Some of your most interesting conversations can be sparked up this way.
If you manage to still be functional by the end of the night, cap things off, like a regular with a wrap at Kebab House or Ebenezer’s.
Surrounded by people with boundless energy, appetite, and the taste for the good things in life, I could easily give in to my hedonist desires in Hong Kong. But after a weekend, I realize I can never keep up with the city. But I’d still do it all over again.
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