F or Andrea Karg , Founder and Creative Director of Allude, Hong Kong was more like love at second sight. But one that lasts to this day!
“When I first came to Hong Kong in the early 1980s, I was overwhelmed – and almost a bit shocked: Everything about this city seemed a touch too much to me. This was mainly due to the unbelievable speed that this megacity shows then and now.
Once you've gotten used to it, you've sort of grooved in, you'll quickly fall in love with the wild, colorful hustle and bustle on the streets, in the restaurants and shops. Impossible to escape from this unique combination of British customs and the multi-faceted influences of Chinese tradition and culture. Pure magic, every time.
And the high speed with which Hong Kong is heading towards the future ensures that, even after many visits, I keep discovering, trying and marveling at something new. I love HK !"
In this first installment of our travel tips from Allude's big wide world, Andrea Karg flipped through her personal address book and shared some of her favorite locations in Hong Kong. They are supplemented by further ideas from their team. Happy travels !
Hong Kong offers an almost endless variety of delicacies from all corners of the world. Whatever cuisine you're craving, chances are you'll find one of the best restaurants just a few minutes away by taxi.
Andrea Karg: "In addition to the many ultra-modern gourmet temples with their fancy decor, I especially love the small cookery and soup kitchens on the right and left of Canton Road (Yau Tsim Mong District, Kowloon). The locals meet there for a few dim sum and wonderfully aromatic broths, and the food is as typical of the country as it is delicious.
Another highlight and a must-stop on every trip I take is Rainbow Seafood Restaurant on Lamma Island. It is only accessible by boat. Sitting on simple red stools, you eat the freshest shrimp and lobster from plastic dishes set on oilcloth tablecloths. Splendid!"
Another culinary hotspot for Andrea Karg is the Cantonese restaurant Mott 32 in the former Standard Chartered Bank vault, designed by award-winning architect Joyce Wenig. Here, the chefs give a modern twist to classics like Peking duck, and the bar mixes exciting cocktails to go with it. “My favorites on the menu are the Applewood Roast Peking Duck and the Australian Wagyu Beef Puffs. And be sure to order a Mott St. Cooler with Madagascar Vanilla and Szechuan Chili!”
Further recommendations from the Allude team:
Ho Lee Fook : In an ambience that combines the charm of traditional teahouses with that of New York's Chinatown in the 1960s, chef Jowett Vu cooks up offbeat, flavorful creations at affordable prices.
Lung King Heen in the Four Seasons Hotel: "Dragon's View" is the name of the only 3-star restaurant in China that not only scores with unique dishes, but also offers a spectacular view over the harbor. Extra tip: enjoy heavenly dim sum for a (cheaper) lunch and get up close and personal with stars and pop starlets.
Andrea Karg: “That may sound a bit touristy, but the Sevva Bar has been one of my travel highlights for over ten years. Every evening at 7.45 p.m. and 9 p.m. you can see from the roof terrace of the bar-restaurant how the “ Light and Music Show ” from the International Commerce Center bathes the surrounding skyscrapers in colorful light. In addition, there are cool DJs, the audience is interesting and decidedly chic, and the cocktails (the "Straight Margarita") are first class".
Another tip from the Allude team is the Cé la vi Skybar in the heart of the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife district. There, too, a 360-degree view of Hong Kong at night, artistic mixed drinks and Japanese-French specialties await.
A good start to your Hong Kong adventure, advises Andrea Karg, is the Escalator , a gigantic escalator through the city's so-called mid-levels up to Hollywood Road . “That makes the steep path easy, and once you get to the top you can just let yourself be carried away through the countless boutiques, cafés, galleries, cool shops and market stalls in the side streets. Everything you can imagine is offered there: dried fish and fake handbags, mysterious teas, colorful toys and much more. A real firework for all the senses!”
And even after dark, a walk along Hollywood Road is an experience, because that's when young Hong Kong plunges into nightlife in grandiose outfits and in a party mood, for example in the Tazmania Ballroom designed by Tom Dixon or the Dragon-I .
No city break would be complete for the Allude founder without an inspiring stroll through the top local galleries . Here are some addresses:
Extra tip: Art Basel Hong Kong , one of the most exciting fairs for modern art, will take place from March 24th to 26th, 2016.
If you want to explore and experience Hong Kong, you have to move - for example on a ride on the double-decker trams , which have been in operation since 1904 and are called "Ding Dings" by the locals. For the equivalent of just 20 cents you can hop on in Central and drive through Happy Valley to Kennedy Town. Andrea Karg: "Try to get one of the seats in the front of the upper compartment, from there you have the best view of the never-ending hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and its different neighbourhoods. And for all shopping fans, I recommend a detour from Times Square in the center of Causeway Bay to the Wan Chei district – ideal for a bargain or two in the many malls and shops.”
Although the landfill has significantly shortened the Hong Kong Island to Kowloon crossing, it is still spectacular to view the Hong Kong skyline from the Star Ferry to Kowloon with the regular light shows. Andrea Karg: “Every evening from 8pm you can watch the â€ ˜Symphony of Lightsâ €™ show from the waterfront, which involves over 40 sparkling and luminous high-rise buildings on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Upon arrival, walk a few minutes past Big Ben towards the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront (TST) and you can enjoy the spectacle around Victoria Harbour . For me it is and remains a must!”
In Chinese culture, jade has always stood for a long and healthy life - so it is very suitable as a souvenir for yourself or for family and friends. The Jade Market in Kowloon offers the best quality jade jewellery, keyrings, chopsticks and other pretty objects and accessories. Despite extensive renovation work, some buildings from the colonial era have survived in the surrounding district, such as the police station. A three-ton jade stone nearby gives Canton Road its unofficial name " Jade Street " and marks the beginning of the market with its more than 100 stalls. Don't forget to trade!
Also nice is the Night Market on Temple Street , a nighttime street bazaar that has served as a backdrop for many Hollywood films.
From the Chinese shops and malls of Wan Chai to the great boutiques around Hollywood Road, Hong Kong offers a never-ending supply of everything, everywhere! One mall follows the next, and most of them are connected by a system of tunnels. Andrea Karg: “The IFC Mall, for example, offers every brand in the world. Harvey Nichols and Lane Crawford , both top-notch department stores, have a huge selection of international designers. And thanks to the Chinese's love of experimentation, styles can be found here that often don't make it to the shops here. For me the perfect place to be inspired.”
"Because, as I said, everything happens much faster and wilder in Hong Kong than here in Germany, a visit to one of the many wellness and massage parlors or one of the brightly colored blow-dry and nail bars is a must for me. You hardly need to look at Google Maps for that, you can find them everywhere in Hong Kong – whether in SoHo, Wan Chai or Stanley.”
Andrea Karg: “The Peninsula Hong Kong is not only one of the most traditional large luxury hotels in the city. The Classic Afternoon Tea is also celebrated there in a more meticulously British and delicious way than anywhere else. They have the best types of tea, the most elaborate petits fours and the freshest scones!”
More hotel tips from the Allude team:
If you are traveling with children in Hong Kong, you cannot avoid at least one of these must-sees :
Photos: Allude/Andrea Karg, Mott 32, The Four Seasons Hong Kong, Sevva Bar, Cé la vi Skybar, The Peninsula Hong Kong