Ever seen that cute Sex and the City episode where Carrie says she’s dating New York City? Well, I spent much of time in Hong Kong solo while my husband was traveling in Yunnan, and while the bulk of my time was spent in the libraries at CUHK and UHK, I did make sure to get out and make the most of my time off the mainland. Here are a couple of my Hong Kong highlights. What are yours??
Victoria Peak: Admittedly, I did explore this one with my husband (while he was still in town) and a friend, and the view was well worth the wait in line (we got there around 3:00, and the lines were nothing compared to the lines pre-sunset!). The steep trip up and down on the creaky cable car was gravity-defying and unique. And the 360-degree view from the deck atop the peak is staggering (although I have to say that the view out the administrative offices of the Anthro Department at CUHK rather rivals it!). It helps put Hong Kong, a place where I always lose my bearings, in bright perspective. We sat and enjoyed a coffee overlooking the towering skyscrapers, clouds, and blue waters at Pacific Coffee at the Peak, relaxing in the cool breeze. Most importantly, now my husband and I can say that we’ve been here, as it seems to be #1 on everyone’s “to do while in Hong Kong” list!
Classy Classified: Because I was mostly in work-mode while in HK, I was looking for good places to set up shop with my laptop, notes, and a good cup o’ joe. Free wireless is exceedingly hard to come by in Hong Kong (except in these weird, pretty inconvenient, outdoor or telephone-booth type hotspots set up throughout the city), and of course, I only found this article that gets right to that point (click to plan ahead and find cafes with wireless in Hong Kong), after I left!
Needless to say, I frequented quite a few on the article’s list, including the uppity Caffe HABITU, the crunchy Brunch Club, and finally, my personal favorite, Classified Cafe. Now, realistically the best deal on coffee was the Brunch Club, but they don’t actually let you read the magazines for free- you have to buy them. I also didn’t find the atmosphere all the comfortable, or the food worth the money, and the SOHO location was pretty inconveniently located. Caffe HABITU, although a great atmosphere to work in (the waiter actually went over and told a larger group to quiet down when I was there mid-afternoon!), was stupidly expensive, although if you have a sweet tooth, I recommend the sticky banana pudding. So, therefore, since it’s Hong Kong, and you’re just going to have to spend money, I recommend the wine, the cheese, the coffee, and the European cafe atmosphere at Classified for an afternoon work sesh!
Hot Lunch Spot–La Bodega: My husband and I stumbled upon this little gem in a downpour, and were glad we happened to stop in for their set lunch of soup/salad, three tapas, and dessert. I had such a hard time choosing just three tapas from the array of fish, olives, and general Spanish goodness. You may want to make a reservation, as the place was busy, even on a weekday, and we were lucky to get the last table, sheltered from the rain. This was just one of many SOHO restaurants I’ll have to return to!
Shop–Pantry Magic: I stopped into this pretty, little store to buy some spontaneous gifts for my culinarily-gifted husband. Although a bit pricey (really not too bad for Hong Kong), this pint-sized alcove had everything from packets of spices, to snazzy dish towels, knives, food mills, mandolins, and many items for bakers. Word to the wise- hours were sparse, 10:30-7:30 only, wish I’d checked that before I set out, myself!
Wine anyone? Nathan Wine Cellar: I’ve noted that there’s quite a few good wine buffets in Soho and throughout Hong Kong, but since this newly finished wine cellar was in the basement of our hotel (see here for the hotel and the Wine Cellar, and I would recommend both), and the price was right (138 HK dollars between 5pm and 9pm), not to mention the value supreme (all you can drink from the twelve featured tasting wines), we went two nights in a row! While many of the wines were not high quality, the atmosphere was cozy and intimate, and the experience of going into the cellar, tasting, and selecting, made for a fun evening. (You can do the wine buffet between 9pm and 2am for 188, too, I think.)