Eat. Sleep. Repeat. probably sums up my Easter weekend trip to Hong Kong the best. The 2 day itinerary below worked well for me and includes a good balance of trying the many restaurants unique to Hong Kong while taking in the sights (admittedly the former often took precedence over the latter). Hopefully you’ll find some of it to be of use for your own visit!
SATURDAY (DAY 1)
Egg tarts and milk tea @ Honolulu Coffee Shop
33 Stanley St, Wan Chai
Start the day and your trip like a local by hitting up a cha chaan teng where you’ll find ‘fusion’ food at its most rudimentary level. Dishes on offer at such joints are really Asian approaches to western cooking e.g. baked pork chop rice or soya sauce chicken spaghetti which were developed to meet the demand from locals seeking western cuisine but were priced out from expat-haunts. Unless you’re feeling particularly hungry this morning I’d recommend a light breakfast of the classic HK style milk tea and egg tarts – we’ve got a lot of eating ahead of us so you should pace yourself! Honolulu’s egg tarts are the flaky variety which I prefer to the shortcrust version made at other bakeries. Light and buttery, with melt in your mouth egg custard filling, it does require quite some discipline to restrict yourself to just one!
Now that we’ve got that metabolism going, a lap around Central is in order. Head towards Pottinger St and climb its iconic cobblestone steps which are flanked by all varieties of stalls up to Hollywood Rd. When you get to the top, take a right, head towards the mid-level escalators and keep climbing. Soon you’ll find yourself in Soho, a popular expat neighbourhood filled with boutiques, galleries and cafes. There should be plenty to see if you head in a north-westerly direction towards the bay and Man Mo temple on Hollywood Rd.
Roast Goose Noodles @ Yung Kee
32-40 Wellingston St, Central
By now you should have clocked up enough steps to have earnt a meal break so head back east towards Wellington St for a hit of the famous roast goose noodles at Yung Kee. While you can certainly get comparably good roast goose at other much cheaper places, if this is your first visit you’ll probably want to try it here due to Yung Kee’s status as a roast goose ‘institution’. The goose can be quite oily so I’d suggest ordering less than you usually would – more to experience the taste rather than a meal in itself. The other dishes on offer at Yung Kee are decent but somewhat overpriced so I’d recommend saving your calorie and monetary budger for later. When you’re ready to go, head towards the water and you’ll almost certainly pass through a multitude of shops and malls before arriving at central pier. Try to not get too caught up with the shopping for now as we’re targeting a 12.30ish departure from central pier. While we could have taken the MTR to our next stop, this is a good opportunity to ride the ferry across to Kowloon. Avenue of Stars Upon disembarking, follow the crowd east and you’ll find yourself on Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars. Unless you’re a fan of HK movies you might struggle to recognise many names but given this is one of the very few ‘tourist attractions’ in Hong Kong it’s worth a quick walkthrough. Be mindful of the time though, we’re targeting a 1.30 arrival at our next stop so make a beeline for Salisbury Rd once you’ve said ‘neih hou’ to Mr Lee!
Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula
Arriving early for afternoon tea at the Peninsula is crucial. While joining the queue at 1.30pm seems aggressive given a 2pm start, a 30 minute wait now can morph into hours even if you arrive ‘on time’ at 2pm. Also remember that a dress code applies so I hope you’ve left the shorts, singlets and thongs back in the hotel! While the food isn’t mind-blowing, we’re here more for the experience – a little bit of yesteryear luxury in very nice surrounds. There’s a live band in the alcove above so just sit back, have a spot of tea and trick yourself into feelin’ a little bit special.
If there’s a must-do on anybody’s HK itinerary it has to be the Peak. Ride the iconic tram to the top but remember to book your tickets online beforehand to save yourself the pain of very lengthy queues. The trick is to look up the what time the sun sets and aim to get up there about an hour beforehand. That way you get both the day view…
…and the night view. Better to be cautious and arrive too early than too late. There’s more than enough to keep you occupied on the peak if you arrive earlier than expected – walking trails abound and cafes to rehydrate at.
Dinner @ Tung Po followed by Drinks @ LKF
99 Java Rd, North Point
Catch the MTR to Northpoint and find your way to Tung Po Seafood Restaurant which is on the 2nd floor of a wet market. It’s not far from the exit of the MTR station but there isn’t clear signage so you might be best off asking a local to point you in the right direction. Once there it’s hard not to get caught up in the raucously good atmosphere as the place is jam packed with locals having a merry good time. Tung Po is known for its squid ink pasta but the jury’s still out on this one. I personally found the seafood dishes to be overpriced for what we got and the biggest hit was surprisingly a black pepper beef rib and beancurd claypot dish. No visit to Hong Kong would be complete without a night out in Lan Kwai Fong but here’s where you’re on your own – the rest of the night is what you make of it!
SUNDAY (DAY 2)
Dim Sum @ Tim Ho Wan
It’s not often you can start the morning after a big night out with a Michellin starred breakfast so make the most of it by smashing some dim sum at Tim Ho Wan. The signature item is the char siew pineapple bun which is simply #anotherlevel. The rest of the items on the menu are solid as well, I don’t think there was a single thing that was ordered that I didn’t like so go nuts – all items are very reasonably priced.
Catch the train out to Tung Chung and ride the cable car to Ngong Ping village. You’ll have plenty of time to appreciate the magnificent views of Lantau Island on the way up in the cable car cabin but try to sit facing forward as you won’t want to have to crane your neck once the world’s biggest statue of a seated Buddha comes into view. Apart from climbing the 268 steps to the base of the statue, there are some small shops and exhibits at the village but I was only here to see ‘Tian Tan’ (aka Big Buddha).
Dialogue in the Dark
2F, The Household Center, Mei Foo
Highly (but possibly over-)rated on Trip Advisor is the dialogue in the dark exhibition. It certainly is however an eye-opening (*wink) experience and worth a visit if you’ve got the time. It’s probably best if I don’t give anything away as you’ll derive greater enjoyment if you fly in blind (*wink *nudge). To get there you’ll need to catch the MTR out to Mei Foo and take a short walk to find the complex where it’s based. Making a booking beforehand is essential so make sure you do so well in advance especially if you need an English-speaking session as these are fewer and farther between.
Ozone Bar @ Ritz Carlton Make your way back towards the Ritz Carlton on the harbour and take the elevator up to the 118th floor to have a drink at the highest bar in the world. The views are spectacular and offer a nice contrast to those from the peak (similar to the views from the Empire State Building vs Top of the Rock in NYC). As with yesterday, aim to get there before sunset to score both the day and night view.
28 Minden Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui
When you’re ready for dinner catch a cab to Butao in Tsim Sha Tsui for arguably the best ramen in Hong Kong. Prior to opening newer branches such as this one, the queue for a bowl of carb-ey fatty goodness at Butao would be stuff of (even Singaporean) legend. In days gone by, you could apparently turn up well before the official closing time only to find out that the shop had shut early having sold out. The menu has the hallmarks of an authentic ramen joint – limited menu but with extensive options to specify e.g. how hard you like your noodles, how much oil, chilli etc. I tried both the tonkotsu and chilli versions and loved both.
Drinks @ Hullet House
2A Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
The last stop in Hong Kong is the site of the former Marine Police headquarters. Tastefully restored and converted into a boutique hotel and restaurant, one last cheeky drink at the bar offers a classy bookmark to a whirlwind weekend.