For variety and competitive consumerism, Hong Kong wins
hands down. Local edibles, souvenirs, unusual gifts, period pieces – it’s all
here, and it’s all well worth your conspicuous consumption.
Lan Kwai Fong and
The stalls, stores and open-air canteens lining Graham St Market, south of
Queen’s Road Central to Hollywood Road, are positively heaving with
high-quality vegetables and fruit, as well as meat, seafood (wriggling or on
ice) and other comestibles. If you visit only one wet market in the city, make
it this one (Graham St; pounds of fruit around 50p).
Kowloon Soy Company
the best place in town for artisanal soy sauce and Chinese condiments. Hidden
away between other shops, this 95-year-old store’s a treasure trove of flavours
of the Orient: along with handmade, sun-dried soy and other sauces, it also
does a great line in pickled ginger and the Cantonese favourite pei dan –
preserved eggs, also known as century eggs (9 Graham St; closed Sun; quality
soy sauce £7).
On a street corner in the neighbourhood of Soho (an
abbreviation of ‘south of Hollywood Road’), this wonderful Armours Antiques stocks
rhinestone jewellery, frocks and a clutch of beaded and tapestry bags dating
from the early 20th century. There are also vases, candle holders, porcelain
sets and bronze Buddha figurines: ideal territory if you’re in need of
authentic gift-shopping inspiration (00 852 2803 7877; 45 Staunton St; gifts
Central and Sheung
Local favourite Lockcha Tea Shop sells
Chinese teas of more varieties than you possibly ever dreamed existed, as well
as tea sets, wooden tea boxes and gift packs of various cuppas. A great bonus
is that you can taste before you buy, and they host weekly tea classes: English
is widely spoken by the staff (Ground Flr, 290A Queen’s Rd Central; teas from
Head to Upper Lascar Row – the official name for what’s
become known as Cat Street – a pedestrian-only laneway with dozens of stalls
offering the singular and the strange: antiques, curios, cheap jewellery,
ornaments, carvings and newly minted ‘antique’ coins. It’s a fun place to trawl
through for a trinket or two, but expect some rough diamonds before you find
the good stuff (Upper Lascar Row; ornaments from £5).
The small Harbour City branch of Page One
bookstore chain holds one of Hong Kong’s best selections of art and design
magazines and books, and it’s also strong on photography, literature, film and
children’s titles. There is plenty in English here about Hong Kong and the wider
region (Shop 3002, Harbour City, Canton Rd; children’s books from £5).
Concept store and café Initial carries stylish urban wear
with Japanese and European influences. Clothes created by local designers are
complemented with imported shoes, bags and costume jewellery. The store itself
has the air of a 1940s curiosity shop about it, with its second-hand furniture,
sit-up bicycles and jazzy soundtrack (Shop 2, 48 Cameron Rd; jackets from £80).
Mong Kok Computer Centre:
Three floors of computer shops in the densely populated Mong Kok district. In
general, the shops are geared towards the Cantonese speaking market, so English
may not be widely spoken, but you can normally get better deals here than in
the more international shops of Tsim Sha Tsui (cnr Nelson St & Fa Yuen St;
laptops from £100).
Where to stay
Hop Inn on Carnarvon’s small but bright
rooms are designed by local artists. There are also foosball tables and a
rooftop terrace that allows for some impressive views (33–35 Carnarvon Rd; from
£45, excl breakfast).
on Hollywood is a boutique hotel that’s incredibly well priced for Hong Kong.
Its 142 design-conscious rooms have large windows, and staff can offer tour
assistance (263 Hollywood Rd; from £100).
The superb Lan
Kwai Fong Hotel is a high-rise in central Hong Kong. The Asian décor has a
cool contemporary edge and the rooms are reasonably sized (3 Kau U Fong;
Harbour View Suites from £260).
Hong Kong is served direct by Air
New Zealand, BA,
and Virgin Atlantic
from Heathrow (from £620). The trip from airport to city centre on the Airport
Express train takes 24 minutes (single tickets £8.20). Public transport is
the only way to get around quickly and with relative ease in Hong Kong: buses
and taxis can take you just about anywhere, while the MTR subway is
best for longer journeys (tourist day passes £4.50). Octopus smart cards are
recommended for reduced fares on public transport (deposit and initial value
The article 'Mini guide to shopping in Hong Kong' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Traveller.