Allude’s Hongkong: Travel Guide from Andrea Karg and Team
For Andrea Karg, founder and creative director of ALLUDE, Hong Kong was rather a love at second sight. But one that continues to this day!
“When I first came to Hong Kong in the early eighties, I was blown away – and almost a bit shocked: Everything about this city seemed a tad too much. This was mainly due to the incredible pace that governs this mega-city – then and now.
Once you’ve grown used to the fast pace and are in the groove, so to speak, you’ll fall in love very quickly with the wild hustle and bustle on the streets, in the restaurants and shops. It’s impossible not to be drawn in by this unique combination of British traditions and the diverse influences of Chinese customs and culture. It’s pure magic, time and again.
And the high speed at which Hong Kong hurtles itself toward the future ensures that even after many visits I still discover, try, and marvel at new things every time I’m there. I love HK!“
For this first episode of travel tips from the big wide world of Allude, Andrea Karg has leafed through her personal address book and shares some of her favourite Hong Kong locations, with additional ideas coming from her team. Happy travels!
Like few other metropolises Hong Kong offers an endless variety of delicacies from all corners of the globe. No matter what cuisine you happen to fancy at a particular moment, chances are good that one of its best restaurants is only a short taxi ride away.
Andrea Karg: “In addition to the many ultra-modern gourmet restaurants with their fancy decor I especially love the small eateries right and left of Canton Road (Yau Tsim Mong District, Kowloon). Here the locals meet to enjoy a few dim sum dishes and wonderfully aromatic broths, and the food is as typical of the country as it is tasty.“
“Another highlight and a definite stop on each of my trips to Hong Kong is the seafood restaurant Rainbow on Lamma Island. It is only accessible by boat, you sit on simple red bar stools and eat the freshest shrimp and lobster from plastic plates and vinyl tablecloths. Magnificent!
Another culinary hotspot is the Cantonese restaurant Mott 32, located in the former vault of the Standard Charter Bank and designed by the award-winning architect Joyce Wenig. Its chefs interpret classic dishes such as Peking Duck in a modern way, and the bar mixes exciting cocktails to go with them. Andrea Karg: “My favourites on the menu are the apple-wood-roasted Peking Duck and the Australian Wagyu beef rolls. And make sure to order a Mott St. Cooler with Madagascar vanilla and Szechuan chilli!“
Additional recommendations by the Allude team:
Ho Lee Fook: In an ambience that combines the atmosphere of traditional teahouses with New York’s Chinatown in the 1960s, chef Jowett Vu cooks fancy, aromatic creations at affordable prices.
Lung King Heen: “Glance of the Dragon” is the name of the only 3-star restaurant in China, which offers visitors not only a variety of unique dishes but also a spectacular view over the harbour. Special tip: Enjoy heavenly Dim Sum for (a more affordable) lunch and for an opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities and pop starlets.
Andrea Karg: “It may seem a bit tourist-y, but for more than ten years now the Sevva Bar has been one of my travel highlights, because its rooftop terrace provides a view of the Light and Music Show of the International Commerce Centre, which takes place every evening at 7:45 and 9pm and bathes the surrounding skyscrapers in bright light. In addition there’s music by cool DJs, the crowd is interesting and chic, and the cocktails (especially the “Straight Margarita”) are top notch.”
Another tip by the Allude team is Cé la vi Skybar in the heart of the nightlife district Lan Kwai Fong. It too tempts with a 360-degree view of Hong Kong at night, artful cocktails and Japanese-French specialties.
According to Andrea Karg a good start into the adventure that is Hong Kong is the Escalator, a giant escalator through the so-called midlevels of the city up to Hollywood Road. “It makes a comfortable journey of the steep path, and once you’ve arrived at the top, you can simply drift through the countless boutiques, cafés, galleries, cool shops and market stalls in the side streets. Here everything imaginable is on sale, from dried fish and fake designer handbags to mysterious teas, brightly coloured toys and much more. A real firework for the senses!” A stroll along Hollywood Road is an amazing experience after dark as well – when young Hong Kongers throw themselves into nightlife, dressed in fabulous outfits and in party mood, on their way to the Tom Dixon–designed Tazmania Ballroom, for example, or the Dragon-I.
For the Allude founder no city trip would be complete without an inspiring stroll through the top local galleries. Here are some addresses:
Special tip: From 24 to 26 March 2016 the Art Basel Hong Kong will take place, one of the most exciting modern art fairs.
If you want to experience and explore Hong Kong, you have to move around – for example by riding the double-decker streetcars or trams, which have been operating since 1904 and are called “Ding Dings” by the locals. For the equivalent of just 20 cents you can jump on in Hong Kong Central and drive through Happy Valley to Kennedy Town. Andrea Karg: “Try to get one of the front seats in the upper compartment; from there you have the best view of the never-ending bustle of Hong Kong and its different quarters. And for all shopping lovers, I recommend a detour from Times Square in the heart of Causeway Bay to Wan Chei, which is the ideal place to find a bargain or two in the district’s many malls and shops. “
Even though the crossing from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon has been considerably shortened by land reclamation, a ride on the Star Ferry Kowloon is still spectacular, especially at night when Hong Kong’s skyline is lit up by light shows. Andrea Karg: “From the waterfront you can watch the Symphony of Lights, which takes place at 8pm every night and involves more than 40 sparkling and shining skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. After you’ve arrived, walk for a few minutes towards Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront (TST), passing Big Ben, and you’ll have a great view of the spectacle around Victoria Harbour. For me this remains a must-see!“
In Chinese culture, jade has always stood for a long and healthy life. So it’s a great souvenir for yourself or family and friends. The Jade Market in Kowloon offers jewellery, key chains, chopsticks and other pretty objects and accessories made of high-quality jade. Despite extensive renovations in the area, a few buildings from the colonial period still stand in the surrounding neighbourhood, such as the police station. A three-ton jade stone close to the latter gives Canton Road its unofficial name, “Jade Street,” and marks the beginning of the market with its more than 100 booths. Don’t forget to haggle!
Another market well worth a visit is the Night Market in der Temple Street, a night street bazaar that has served as a backdrop in many Hollywood movies.
Apart from the Chinese shops and shopping centres in Wan Chai and the great boutiques around Hollywood Road, Hong Kong offers a never-ending supply of everything, everywhere! There’s one mall after another, and most of them are interconnected by a system of tunnels. Andrea Karg: “The IFC Mall, for example, features every brand in the world. At Harvey Nichols and Lane Crawford, both top-notch department stores, there is a huge selection of international designers. And thanks to Chinese people’s love for experimentation you can find styles here that often don’t make it into the shops back home. For me this is the perfect place to get inspired.”
“Because everything in Hong Kong is, like I said, much faster and wilder than here in beautiful Bavaria, a visit to one of the many spa and massage salons or one of the brightly coloured Blow-Dry and Nail bars is almost mandatory for me. You hardly need to look at Google Maps for this, because they can be found everywhere in Hong Kong – whether in SoHo, Wan Chai or Stanley.
Andrea Karg: “The Peninsula Hong Kong is not only one of the most iconic big luxury hotels of the city. It also celebrates the classic afternoon tea in such a painstakingly British and delicious way as nowhere else. The best kinds of tea, the most elaborate petit fours and the freshest scones …!“
Other hotel tips by the Allude team:
Anyone travelling with children in Hong Kong won’t want to miss one of these must-sees. Or both:
Photos: Allude/Andrea Karg, Mott 32, The Four Seasons Hong Kong, Sevva Bar, Cé la vi Skybar, The Peninsula Hong Kong