Soho House Interview: Chef May Chow and Little Bao (Hong Kong)


Soho House: 

Chef May Chow pairs traditional ingredients from Hong Kong with Western cooking techniques to create her stuffed, steamed buns – fans queue around the block for the slow-braised pork belly bao, served with leek and shiso red onion salad and hoisin ketchup.

We sat down with Chow to find out more:

Q: Where’s the best place to eat in Hong Kong right now and what is your favorite dish on the menu?

A: I love The Chairman because of my favourite dish, which is steamed crab with aged Shoaxing wine, chicken oil and flat rice noodles.

Q: How did you get to where you are today and who inspired you?

A: I had a very singular vision about the kind of food I wanted to cook and who I wanted to be very early on in my career. I have to thank Matt Abergel (owner of Hong Kong’s Yardbird) because without his guidance during my restaurant development, Little Bao wouldn’t have been possible. He was honest when he believed something wasn’t good enough and I trusted his opinion.

Q: Tell us about Little Bao and the inspiration behind it.

A: Little Bao is my life translated into a restaurant. It takes inspiration from the best of both Chinese and American culture but most importantly it’s a place to have fun – so expect good food; loud, upbeat music and great cocktails.


Q: How has your background influenced your cooking?

A: I grew up in a traditional Chinese family and I’m influenced by Chinese culture. When I moved to the US, I was influenced by the freedom of speech and, of course, the food. My cooking draws on both cultures and I love taking traditional ingredients and putting an original spin on them.

Q: What made you decide to open your own restaurant and how did you go about launching it, finding funding and finding the perfect venue?

A: I always knew that I wanted to be a restaurant owner because I felt I had a story to tell through food. The opportunity came when I was offered a booth at a market. The response was great and I started to daydream about opening a restaurant.

I developed a business plan and gained financial support from my family and friends. We scouted for a Hong Kong location for over six months and I ended up taking over a space that was occupied by a hideous Thai restaurant. That was the first right decision I made because it was in my favorite neighborhood in Hong Kong.

Q: Have you ever faced any sexism in the industry?

A: I’m such a positive and happy person that I don’t feel that I’ve ever felt discriminated against, especially in a city like Hong Kong. I am quite an empowered woman and I generally see sexism as ignorance but I don’t experience much of it.

Q: What advice would you give to other pop-ups who are looking to launch their own restaurant?

A: I started as a chef working in restaurants, so my story is slightly different because I already had a basic understanding of the DNA needed for a successful restaurant.

The first step is to develop a detailed business plan and have legitimate solutions for all the questions that crop up. How do you make sure there is consistency in your service, food and experience? Have you developed your service manual? How will you make sure food and drink cost is controlled? Where is the best location for your target market? Who is your target market? Who is your competitor? What is your PR and marketing strategy? What music should you play? How much funding do you need?

Most importantly, though, listen to the people who will provide you smart insight.

Q: How do you think the London food scene measures up to Hong Kong?

A: Both Hong Kong and London have great food scenes but I think while Hong Kong offers the best of every type of Chinese cuisine, London has a bigger array, from great modern British food like St. John and Gordon Ramsey to fantastic Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. London also has a wonderful farmer driven open market that Hong Kong doesn’t have.

Mimi Thorisson, the Chinese-French food blogger causing a stir

Mimi at home in Médoc: 'We are finally laying our foundation here'

Mimi at home in Médoc: ‘We are finally laying our foundation here’

An article about a person Team-Yellow founder knew in Hong Kong!

South China Morning Post:

For Hong Kong-born, global fame began simply, and sweetly – with a vanilla-cream iced cake. One spring evening, the mother of five walked out of her centuries-old farmhouse in France’s Médoc region to find a surprise.

Shaking off a long winter, dozens of miniature white daisies were blooming in the garden. Inspired, she hurried into the kitchen and whipped up a meringue cake, artfully decorating it with flowers, leaves and berries.

I wanted this cake to be a celebration of spring, of the garden, a fairy tale,” she says in a delicate accent that is equal parts Chinese, French and British. When it was ready, she posted a photo of her “Garden Cake” online.

Her seasonal concoction was pinned, posted and tweeted all over the world. She started that night with 69 followers – “they were all my friends”, she says – but within a couple of weeks the numbers exploded, Martha Stewart Living and O magazines contacted her, as did a literary agent who suggested she write a book. That was when her blog, Manger, was born. “It was a gift from spring and I am forever grateful,” she says.

Thorisson has found much to be grateful for since she and her husband, Icelandic photographer Oddur, relocated their family to Médoc from Paris in 2010.

Manger, which features favourite classic recipes for coq au vin and slow-cooked lamb, and a few wildcards such as wonton soup, is followed by foodies worldwide. The photographs, snapped by Oddur, capture her friendship with farmers and villagers in Médoc, and life with their children.

Coq au vin

Thorisson has also been tapped to star in two cooking shows on French television.

It’s not hard to see the appeal. The 40-year-old lives the life many people fantasise about – one afternoon she is chopping vine tomatoes in her farmhouse kitchen and looking smashing in a floral sundress, on another she’s plucking peaches from the garden, chatting with a fishmonger about his secret bouillabaisse recipe, and so on.

No wonder many have described her as the most envied blogger in the world.

The year ended with even more success for the former Happy Valley resident. She published her first book, A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse, which soon topped the ranks of Amazon’s bestselling book in two categories: seasonal cooking and French cooking.

Today, life revolves around her family and her blog, which has become her family business.

Most days, she wakes early to walk the dogs – 14 and counting – and get her five young children off to school.

Then she makes her rounds of the markets, picking up the catch of the day from a fishmonger, or pears from a farmer.

I don’t plan,” she says. “I get my inspiration from what I find.”

Returning home, she writes her blog and catches up with fans and editors. Then she heads to her kitchen and, she says, laughing, “I simply cook all day. With so many children and dogs and cooking, you can imagine it’s quite busy. I don’t have time for a manicure.”

Some might see the endless chopping, measuring, mixing and frying as drudgery, but cooking is a joy for Thorisson.

Spending the whole day doing this never feels like work,” she says. “I want to do it. I wake up in the morning and tell Oddur, ‘I want artichokes today’. It is not a job. It is who we are. It is me expressing my soul.”

Food has always been a big part of Thorisson’s life. Growing up an only child, she and her Qingdao-born father would scour Hong Kong for the best noodles and dim sum.

My favourite dumpling restaurant was around the corner from our flat,” she says. “If my parents couldn’t find me around the house, they knew to look for me there.”

Her French mother didn’t cook much but during summer holidays in France her grandmother and aunt would make classic meals for her.

Mimi Thorisson and her five children.

Mimi Thorisson and her five children.

My parents taught me to enjoy life and food, but it was my grandmother and aunt who taught me about cooking,” she says. “My aunt can whip up anything from scratch. Give her tomatoes and leftover sausages and she will take the butter, garlic and wine she always has in her cupboards and make stuffed tomatoes. She is the kind of cook I want to be.”

Thorisson always looks forward to the New Year because it conjures up deep memories of the wonderful meals she has had in Hong Kong and France.

She and her husband typically start New Year’s Day with a glass of bubbly, before she prepares a huge seafood platter, with the freshest oysters, langoustine and crab. Or in a nod to her Hong Kong roots, she might make e-fu noodles with lobster, her favorite food. “I mix everything because of my heritage,” she says.

Everyone then changes into new clothes and the family then takes a long walk in the nearby forest. “In France, the first day of the year has to be impeccable,” she explains. “You must look your best and eat your favourite foods. The way you start the year inspires the rest of the year.”

She wistfully recalls Lunar New Years of her childhood, when her father would take her to visit her cousins in Qingdao. “We would make those amazing dumplings. My father always insisted that we stay in our cousins’ houses, and not in a hotel, so that I would be closer to them. It was so important to him that I was exposed to Chinese culture,” she says.

It was 1979 in Shandong, and it would feel like we had returned to a different century. Now, I have fond memories. It was a special time.

As it is with so many chefs and food writers, Thorisson connects to the beloved people and places in her life through food and cooking.

It has since also given her a chateau of her own. Earlier in 2014, she and Oddur were visiting friends in a village nearby, when one of them suggested they view a grand old house that was for sale.

As it turned out, the house had belonged to a famed female chef in Médoc. “She had been the mistress of the village mayor, and before he died he gave this house to her as a gift.”

The chef turned it into a restaurant and hotel for wine merchants visiting Bordeaux. Now Thorisson finds madame’s notebooks and recipes in the “weirdest” places.

As soon as I walked in, I felt the recipes I want to cook coming through to me. I already have the draft of my second book [scheduled for 2017]. I believe in destiny, and this house is magic. Médoc has truly become my home,” she says.


Watercress velouté recipe

Duck-confit Parmentier recipe

Mimi Thorisson’s garden cake recipe

Sweet fritters with orange and dark rum recipe

“A Kitchen in France” (Hardie Grant, £25), by Mimi Thorisson, is available from Telegraph Books

Hello Kitty-themed restaurant in Beijing is now serving up dim sum


Audrey Magazine:

In the last few years, we’ve been seeing Hello Kitty cafes and food trucks popping up to bring adorable desserts with Hello Kitty’s face or her signature red bow peeking up. With conventions and exhibits dedicated to our favorite Sanrio character, it’s obvious we just can’t get enough. Thankfully, it seems we keep getting more and more Hello Kitty everyday. In fact, now you can find Hello Kitty dim sum!

Before you get too excited, there’s one thing that may stand in your way. You’ll have to get a plane ticket to Hong Kong if you want to have dim sum in this Hello Kitty-themed restaurant. Although the very pink Hello Kitty Dreams Restaurant in Beijing was the first to bring savory foods inspired by the iconic character, this new dim sum restaurant is the first of its kind. Opening this month, it will also be serving noodle dishes, rice dishes and pretty much anything else you would typically find at a dim sum restaurant. Just much, much cuter to look at. We’ll just have to wait and see if they taste just as yummy as they look.





Hopefully there will be a Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant popping up in the U.S. But in the meantime, let’s take a short preview tour of the restaurant below:

First We Feast: 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

All photos by Clarissa Wei, unless noted otherwise 

All photos by Clarissa Wei, unless noted otherwise 

First We Feast:
From pierogis to samosas, dumplings are a universal dish, embraced by cultures around the globe. But no one values the seemingly endless variations of texture, size, and fillings quite like the Chinese.

In fact, the earliest recording of the dish can be traced back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 AD-220 AD) in China. The legend states that a man noticed that peoples’ ears were suffering from frost bite. He decided to make a dish in the shape of an ear to cure the cold—hence its current iteration. The first dumplings had lamb, chili, and herbs inside, and their soothing qualities quickly gained currency across the country.

Due to mass immigration waves, Los Angeles has continued to carry the torch for Chinese dumpling tradition. What sets the dumpling culture apart here is sheer variety—you can fine representatives from Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu, Tianjin, and beyond. There are even variations that were invented in Los Angeles, like the hui tou potsticker. If you’re going to judge the merits of Los Angeles’ Chinese cuisine, dumplings are a good place to start.

Broken down by region, here are First We Feast‘s 10 essential dumplings to understanding L.A.’s varied repertoire.


giantsoupdumpling Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel (626-307-1188)
Website: N/A
Region: Jiangsu

Wang Xing Ji (also known as Juicy Dumplings) makes food inspired from Wuxi in the Jiangsu province. Known affectionately throughout the country as the Land of Fish and Rice, the region is know for dumplings that are sweeter and commonly stuffed with fresh, pulverized crab because an abundance of crustaceans during certain months of the year. Wang Xing Ji is a soup dumpling specialist known for its softball-sized dumplings that require a boba straw to extract the liquid.


meatpie Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 846 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park (626-288-3818)
Website: N/A
Region: Beijing

The dumpling in question is called a xian bing—a pan-fried disc stuffed with heavily spiced pork and assorted aromatics. This is a Beijing meat pie and is arguably the most addictive stand-alone dish in greater Los Angeles area. Pies come flying out of the kitchen in plates of four. Pair the dish with their cucumber salad, and if you have a hankering for more carbs, Pie House does wonderful zhajiang noodles—cold noodles with thin cuts of cucumber and a dollop of fermented soy beans.


wontonchili Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 828 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra (626-588-2284)
Website: N/A
Region: Sichuan

The Sichuan wonton is called hong you chao shou. Hong you means red chili oil, and chao shou means ”folded hands,” a reference to how the dumpling is formed, and how—during the cold months in Sichuan—folks would fold their hands across their chest for warmth. The wonton is usually served as an appetizer and the skin is delicate—bordering on translucent. Chengdu Taste, the Sichuanese king of Los Angeles, undoubtedly serves the best rendition in town. It’s stuffed with ground pork, and served over with a light chili oil infused with the potent Sichuan peppercorn—a notorious spice known for its lip-numbing after-effect.


shenjiangbao Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 800 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel (626-281-2777)
Website: N/A
Region: Shanghai

While Emperor Noodle is marketed as a noodle joint, their specialty is really the shenjianbao. Invented in the 1920s in Shanghai, the shenjianbao has become an iconic breakfast snack of the region, usually served outdoors on street carts. Stuffed with pork, it has a thicker skin than most dumplings. It is first steamed in a huge bamboo steamer and then pan-fried on the bottom before getting a sprinkling of sesame seeds.


wontonnoodle Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 937 E Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel (626-286-3118)
Website: N/A
Region: Guangdong and Hong Kong

Fragrance is the key to a good wonton noodle soup, and the fortified broth from Sam Woo—an institution that has been open for over three decades—takes days to make. You can ask them to throw a piece of roast duck on top if you’re extra hungry, but the dish by itself is enough to satisfy. The wonton, stuffed with pork and shrimp, is served with egg noodles imported straight from Hong Kong.


lunasia4hagow Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 239 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena (626-793-8822)
Region: Guangdong and Hong Kong

It is said that the xiajiao, or har gow (in Cantonese), makes or breaks a dim-sum chef. Traditionally, a har gow is supposed to have ten or more pleats. The wrapper is made with wheat and tapioca and worked until it becomes translucent. Lunasia’s version is epic—they manage to tuck in at least three large pieces of shrimp without breaking the chewy, delicate wrapper. We recommend dipping this in sweet soy sauce, mustard, or sambal chili.  (Photo:The Minty Musing)


huitou Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 704 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel (626-281-9888)
Region: California

Hui Tou Xiang takes the guo tie, a traditional potsticker, usually oblong in shape, and sealed both sides. They call it the hui tou—which means “to return” in Mandarin—to symbolize their desire for customers to return. The dish is pan-fried on all sides and meticulously fried to a juicy crisp. A single order will get you eight pot stickers. Be sure to pair it with chili sauce. (Photo:Hui Tou Xiang)


glutenfreedumpling Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 806 S Spring St, Los Angeles (213-988-8308)
Region: California

Dumplings are extremely difficult to make gluten-free, but the owners of Peking Tavern knew that if they wanted to open a dumpling house in the heart of Downtown, they needed to appeal to Angelenos’ finicky eating habits. Months of recipe testing paid off: You can barely taste the difference (though the gluten-free variations are a little bit gummier). We recommend getting them pan-fried and stuffed with beef. Pairing them with a small shot of the Chinese spirit baijiu. (Photo: Peking Tavern)


tangyuan Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 800 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel (626-281-2777)
Website: N/A
Region: All over China

These sweet rice balls (tang yuan in Southern China, yuan xiao in Northern China) are traditionally stuffed with sesame paste or ground peanuts. It’s a common dish on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. The roundness of the rice ball is indicative of a complete circle of harmony within the family. Emperor Noodle in San Gabriel serves a beautiful version spiked with sweet rice wine and dried osmanthus flowers.


tianjinbun Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 827 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel (626-284-8898)
Website: N/A
Region: Tianjin

Tianjin is a coastal city in northern China known for an abundance of seafood and dough. The Tianjin bao is a thick doughy bun, made with yeast so that it rises slightly. The remarkable quality about this dumpling is that it’s able to hold quite a bit of juice without turning soggy. Each bun fits perfectly in the palm of the hand. Pair it with a dash of black vinegar for an extra kick.

Pot-sticker paradise, hot-spring hotel just outside of Tokyo makes for a tasty retreat


RocketNews 24:

Ask a Japanese person to give some examples of Chinese food, and they’ll likely reply with things like chaahan (fried rice) and the quintessential gyoza (pot-stickers). With their crispy fried outsides and juicy, flavorful insides, you can’t go wrong with gyoza, and many would say that Chinese food chain GYOZANOMANSYU (餃子の満州), based in the Kanto region of Japan, is the leader of them all.

Those wishing to take the gyoza experience a bit further can visit the hot-spring hotel Toumeikan in Gunma Prefecture, managed by GYOZANOMANSYU, and for a mere 5,900 yen per night (roughly US$59) you can stay in one of their cozy Japanese-style rooms, take a relaxing soak in the onsen hot springs, and get your fill at their breakfast buffet. Located deep in the mountains of Gunma, yet within a two- to three-hour drive from Tokyo, makes this a great place for a weekend getaway. Albeit one involving lots of garlic and chives.

Being located in the mountains means the area gets a bit of snow in the winter, so a word of caution to those making the trip by car – you may need to bring chains. If you’re not confident enough driving in the snow, it might be best to opt for public transportation instead, or to wait for spring.




After the long drive, what better way to unwind than by taking a soak in the onsen? The water is beautifully clean and the temperature just right for relaxing, and you can move freely between the indoor tubs and the outdoor bath (called rotenburo). You’ll want to make sure to wash yourself down first before hopping in, though, as is custom before entering the baths in Japanese onsen.

You’ll probably be hungry once you’ve finished your soak, so it’s GYOZANOMASYU to the rescue with some piping-hot gyoza to fill your belly and a cold beer to cool you off. Of course, you’re not just limited to dumplings – there are other Chinese dishes aplenty to satiate your cravings, and you can eat and drink your fill for around 1,500 yen ($12.50).






The breakfast buffet, which is included in the cost of your stay, includes various Chinese-style side dishes, a salad bar, rice, soup, and more.




If you’re looking to get away for the weekend, relax, and eat some great food without breaking the bank, Toumeikan may be just the spot.












23 Food Things Only Chinese-American Kids Would Understand

Huffington Post:

The Chinese culture in the United States has a very unique food scene, and if you’re a kid who has grown up in a Chinese household, you know that things were kind of different for you growing up. Most families incorporate American traditions with longstanding Chinese ones to create a very interesting hybrid of customs.

However, there are some strong Chinese traditions that withstand. If you grew up in the U.S. with Chinese parents, you know that going out to banquet dinners is an experience only a seasoned Chinese-American could understand. And you know that you really just can’t be a picky eater if you want to gain any respect from your elders. For goodness sake, there are chicken feet on the table.

Here are the 23 food things that only Chinese-American kids would understand:

1. Baos make the best snack ever.

Char Siu Bao

Specifically baos (steamed buns with meat or vegetable filling) packed with char siu (Chinese roasted barbecue pork).

2. Or you could just snack on some char siu all on its own.

Char Siu

In fact, you could probably eat a whole carton if nobody stops you…

3. The best sweet indulgence is an egg tart.

egg custard tarts

You may know them as “dan tats.” Whatever you call them, these pastries filled with egg custard are baked to a creamy perfection.

4. Dim sum never ever ends.

dim sum

The fun doesn’t stop at this Chinese lunch until your family has grabbed every steamer basket full of every kind of dumplings ever.

5. You’ve had your tenth cup of tea already.

Chinese Tea

And don’t forget: You always pour it for everyone else at the table before you pour it for yourself.

6. Knowing how to use chopsticks is essential to earn family approval.

I can use chopsticks myself at age 18 months.

From the moment you are able to talk, you should also know how to use chopsticks perfectly. No excuses.

7. You can’t stop staring at the crazy fish tanks in the restaurant.


Yes, the lobster and eel you are eating right now were just in those tanks an hour ago…

8. You always have to sit at the kid’s table at the restaurant.

All ClearOne kids at dinner

Don’t worry, you’ll have more fun there… and you’ll get more food!

10. When you grow up, you know to bring your own Tsing Tao beer to dinner.


It’s BYOB at these restaurants.

10. It is very important to learn how to navigate the Lazy Susan.


Once the waiter brings the plate to the Lazy Susan, all hands are on deck. If you aren’t fast, you may have to wait a long time before that food hits your plate.

11. You always put red rice vinegar in your cream corn soup.


If you don’t, you’re just doing it all wrong.

12. This is the best taco in the whole world.

Peking Duck

Forget about Mexican tacos. You know that juicy Peking duck wrapped in a fluffy bun “taco shell” and doused with duck sauce is way better.

13. You get nervous when the whole fish arrives…


Because someone is going to eat the eye.

14. If you’re a vegetarian, this bean curd roll is your best friend.

Bean Curd Roll

You gobble these up like your life depended on it. After all — aside from rice — there’s not much else you can eat on the menu.

15. Someone always feels the need to order the sweet and sour pork…


And you then feel the need to roll your eyes (even though you’ll definitely take a bite).

16. Bok choy is always an acceptable replacement for any green vegetable.

garlic ginger bok choy

Have fun with your Brussels sprouts and kale, we’ll take this delicious cabbage over those any day.

17. Orange slices make the best palate cleanser.

China Star in West View

There’s nothing more refreshing than a few fresh slices after a big dinner.

18. If someone in your family just gave birth, she may have been told to eat pig’s feet soup.

Pig's Feet

The Chinese believe pig’s feet soup warms the body from the inside out and that the iron and calcium from the pig’s feet mixed with the vinegar helps to purify a new mother’s blood.

19. White rice serves as the main starch for most of your meals.


This is eaten instead of pasta, bread or any other carb. Always.

20. Oyster sauce can be used on anything.

Oyster sauce, Premium Brand (Lee Kum Kee)

You definitely know the simple pleasure of eating white rice and oyster sauce.

21. Your grandmother knows how to make the best jook.

meaty congee

No food ever goes to waste. In fact, your grandma used the Thanksgiving turkey to make the most delicious congee or jook (rice porridge).

22. If it’s September, you’re eating mooncakes.


These red-bean cakes are imprinted with the Chinese symbols for “longevity” and “harmony.”

23. When someone thinks Chinese food is the same thing as takeout, you just shake your head.


They have a lot of learning to do. General Tso’s chicken and beef and broccoli are NOT real Chinese dishes, thank you very much.

Check out this link:

23 Food Things Only Chinese-American Kids Would Understand


Dim Sum for Breakfast at Hong Kong’s Lin Heung Restaurant

For a look at how many Hong Kong residents start their day, Fuchsia Dunlop shows us a popular breakfast spot of long standing. No sign of cappuccino and croissants here. The patrons of the historical Lin Heung restaurant break their fast with strong tea and dim sum.


10 unforgettable Hong Kong experiences…

Check out this list of the best of Hong Kong, compiled by a contributor on CNN who happens to be a Hong Konger.

Whether you have a week or a day, mix and match these top city experiences for an unforgettable trip. 

1. Victoria Harbour, up close

Sit back, relax, stare.The Hong Kong skyline is stunning and there are many ways to take in the view, from a rooftop bar or the touristy Peak Galleria.

But the best way to take it all in is from a Star Ferry.

The green-bottomed ferries have been taking passengers across the harbor since the late 1800s. The ride between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui takes less than 10 minutes, but it’s what many visitors remember most fondly about their trip to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Central/Tsim Sha Tsui service runs daily from 6:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Fares from HK$2.50 (US 30 cents). MTR: Central

2. Temple Street market

Temple Street fortune tellers usually charge around HKD$100 (US$13) to read a palm and face.This is the place to go fulfill all your exotic fantasies of Hong Kong. Everything here looks old, filthy and somewhat threatening — in other words, perfect.

A spread of laneways is filled with all manners of trinkets, the more useless they are the more we seem to desire them.

In another section of the market, a community of fortune tellers and tarot card readers gather. Most are swindlers; a handful are the real thing.

A public toilet in a Temple Street market corner is known for gathering junkies. Around another bend, vendors are selling cartloads of cheap sex toys.

Street food — hot, fresh, of questionable hygiene and totally irresistible — beckons. Neighboring the eateries are old school karaoke parlors where HK$100 (US$13) gets you access to center stage, a live band and an audience of geriatric regulars who have been attending nightly for decades.

Getting there: Take the MTR to Jordan and take exit A. Turn right onto Jordan Road and walk three blocks to Temple Street. The market is open from around 4 p.m. till midnight.  

3. Food challenges

No family Sunday dim sum meal is complete without the sight of grandma carefully working her mouth around a chicken foot.There comes a point when every visitor to Hong Kong has to confront his or her food phobias. Whether it’s bones, heads of animals or food that smells like garbage, it’s likely that you’ll find it on your plate and you won’t know what to do with it.

But the thing about these foods that initially makes a person recoil is that there’s nothing challenging about their flavors.

The gateway “weird food” is chicken feet dim sum. The claws are typically chopped up so they heap into a neat little pile and are served in a cute bamboo steam basket. It’s all very civilized.

Even the name is euphemized to “phoenix talons.” Get past the idea of it being feet and you’ve got one of the most delicious things to eat on the planet.

Highly recommended are the abalone sauce chicken feet at Lei Gardens.

Lei Gardens, Shop 2068-70, 2/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 2196 8133,


4. Nature shock

Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung. One of the biggest surprises about Hong Kong is that pristine nature exists just minutes away from the most crowded parts of the city.

It’s possible to do a daytrip — even a half-day trip — to a beach or mountain for a verdant time out.

The best journey is the one-hour hike from the entrance of Sai Kung Country Park to a string of isolated beaches, inaccessible except by boat or by foot.

Tai Long Wan is our favorite for the large expanse of clean sand, building-free sea view and a small eatery serving cold beer and fried things.

Walk Hong Kong runs organized walking tours that depart from Hong Kong’s General Post Office, 2 Connaught Place, Central. See Hong Kong Tourism Board for more info.

5. Nightly Mardi Gras

We recently took an American visitor to Lan Kwai Fong on a Monday night. The crowds floored him. “This is like Mardi Gras,” he said.

He was saying it for dramatic effect, but Lan Kwai Fong really is the place to go to see Hong Kong’s work-hard-play-hard ethos stemming from the high-pressure-big-money lifestyle of investment bankers, stock brokers and entrepreneurs, of which the city has plenty.

The weekends, of course, are completely mad. Bypass the cover-charging, velvet-roped nightclubs and head to the dance bars along Wyndham Street and D’Aguilar Street. (MTR: Central, exit D2)

You’ll find that roadside binge drinking is the norm, people really like to dance and that you do know the words to all the songs. It’s mainstream nightlife at its best.

6. Learn the meaning of “density”

Mong Kok. Not for the claustrophobic. Mong Kok. Saturday afternoon. Shopping. Brace yourself for one of the most overwhelming examples of population density.

Literally meaning “prosperous and crowded corner,” Mong Kok (MTR: Mong Kok) is where everyone goes to buy stuff and feel the energy of hundreds of thousands of people going about their business.

A look at the various markets in Mong Kok is also telling of Hong Kong people’s passions. There’s the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street, east of Nathan Road. Cheap fashion, knock-offs and trinkets dominate here.

Then there’s the Mongkok Computer Centre as well as Sneakers Street on Fa Yuen Street and Goldfish market on Tung Choi Street and Bute Street. For trendy junk food, there’s Dundas Street.

7. Prodigal floating restaurant

Shun Kee diners are picked up at the Causeway Bay pier in a private boat and rowed out to the floating kitchen.Shun Kee is a floating restaurant made up of wooden boats in Causeway Bay’s typhoon shelter, a protective area for vessels during a storm.

There used to be thousands of boat dwellers settled in the typhoon shelter. The community was tight and developed its own subculture.

From the early 1960s to end of the 1980s, the shelter thrived as a floating nightlife hub. Then it disappeared due to hygiene problems and changing consumer trends.

Shun Kee is the first floating restaurant to return. It opened last year and serves the same tasty, rustic recipes from decades ago, showcasing the chef’s wok skills. It’s unchanged from the glory days of the shelter.

Located at the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter, near the pedestrian footbridge connected to Victoria Park, +852 8112 0075.


8. Strange fruit

A fruit market sounds innocuous enough, but the wholesale fruit market in Yau Ma Tei is the opposite of sweet and fresh. Known as disputed territory between triad groups, the market has been witness to gang fighting and has an unsavory rep. But it’s OK for tourists to visit.

Coming alive at four in the morning daily, the market is populated by tough-looking big guys with lots of tattoos, each holding a stern expression as they charge down the corridors pushing small mountains of fruit boxes.

The market building itself is a historic landmark. The two-story structure dates to 1913 and looks it. Weathered signboards and crumbling Chinese architectural flourishes abound, with plenty of darkly lit corners, rusty folding gates from the 1950s and a pervasive smell of fresh and rotting fruit.

All of this makes the Yau Ma Tei fruit market one of the most atmospheric and photogenic places in Hong Kong.

Getting there: Take the MTR to Yau Ma Tei Station and head out exit A2. 

9. Pig out

Tasty, but high in saturated fat. Char siu is best consumed in moderation.We love pork. It’s estimated that Hong Kong people consume10,000 pigs a day. That kind of makes us a city of pork experts.

Bacon? Too greasy and too easy. The kind of pork that we love here can’t be cooked at home. You need huge ovens, you need generations of expertise, you need days of prep and you need secret ingredients.

There are two kinds of pork dishes to check out in Hong Kong.

Barbecue pork, called char siu, is a tender and moist piece of meat with a honeyed red-colored glaze. The best can be found at Joy Hing Roasted Meats in Wanchai. We recommend the half-fatty, half-skinny char siu. Joy Hing is closed on Sundays.

The second kind is roast pork. When done right, this dish will change your life. Layers of flavorful, briny pork are chopped into bite-sized pieces. The skin is crisped — perfect pork crackling. Most Cantonese restaurants have a version of it.

Joy Hing, 265-267 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, +852 2519 6639

10. Bet on fun

Happy Valley. Happy endings not guaranteed.Whether it’s at the Sunday afternoon mahjong table with grandma or in the luxury property market, gambling is a big pastime in Hong Kong.

The best place to witness the passion of punters is at the Happy Valley horse race nights. We have another track at Shatin, but the Happy Valley one is the original and most picturesque.

Races take place from September to June every Wednesday night from about 7-11 p.m. The track is lit up and ringed by residential building tower blocks. Dark hills loom beyond. It’s so Hong Kong.

While there are plenty of hard core gamblers here, there’s also a younger crowd that comes to enjoy the beer garden. All are none the wiser at picking a winner.

Happy Valley Race Course: 2 Sports Road, Happy Valley, Hong Kong Island 

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Eat Like A Local: Hong Kong


Hong Kong is a jungle gym of big business, haute cuisine and culture. This East meets West destination offers a unique blend of Chinese traditions and modern stimulants to keep you on your toes at every moment of your trip.

As one of the busiest hubs for business travelers in Asia, Hong Kong is at the top of it’s game for shopping, restaurants and nightlife.


1.) Vietnamese At Nha Trang


Nha Trang – Central
88-90 Wellington Street
Hong Kong

2.) Late Night Dim Sum At San Hing


San Hing
Shop C, G/F,
8 Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town
Western District, Hong Kong

3.) The Meat Bible At Shore


3/F & 4/F, The L Place,
139 Queen’s Rd Central
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

4.) Peruvian Invasion At Chicha


G/F, 26 Peel Street
Hong Kong

5.) High Style At Hutong


28/F, One Peking Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong

6.) Get That Yakitori Yardbird


33 Bridges St
Hong Kong

7.) Get Me To The Greek At Souvla


1/F, Ho Lee Comm Bld
40 D’aguilar Street

Central, Hong Kong

8.) Meet Joe – Tokio JoeHongKong-TokioJoe1

Tokio Joe
16 Lan Kwai Fong
Central, Hong Kong

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Eat Like A Local: Hong Kong


This Noodle Shop Has a Michelin Star but Its Most Expensive Dish is Just $5.40

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Michelin stars are awarded to the crème de la crème, top tier restaurants of the world. More often than not, this translates to expensive establishments. However, the cheapest Michelin Star restaurant is a dim sum joint named Tim Ho Wan.

Located in Hong Kong, Tim Ho Wan defies Michelin stereotypes. It’s a hole-in-the-wall experience that offers most dishes for $1.50 and under without sacrificing taste, from crispy pork buns to steamed rice noodle rolls. As for the restaurant’s most expensive dish, diners will have to shell out a cool $5.40 for noodles that (we can only assume) are superb.

Even though the joint has been much busier ever since their star was awarded, they don’t plan on racking up prices anytime soon. Sure the decor might be lacking, but that’s not what Tim Ho Wan is about. The restaurant’s focus on simply excellent dim sum speaks for itself.

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This Noodle Shop Has a Michelin Star but Its Most Expensive Dish is Just $5.40