All photos taken with the Nikon D5500
Hong Kong and I go a short way back. My first trip to Hongkong was midway through first year of uni, and I was there with my family on tour. Now God knows why we decided to go on tour given that exactly 0 of us liked being shuttled into a bus at 6 in the morning and zipped off to irrelevant diamond factories, but that the fact remains that we did and hated it. Thus my first impression of HK was such: Mickey Mouse speaking to me in Cantonese in Disneyland HK, the musty inside of a bus, and a whole cluster of touristy things I would never voluntarily sign up for again.
When Skyscanner and Hong Kong Tourism Board approached me and proposed a trip to Hong Kong, I have to say, part of me was apprehensive. The other part jumped at the chance to change my impression of Hong Kong, to redo and blank over past transgressions. In this way we boarded our flight to Hong Kong at 6am one sleepy morning, excited at rediscovering a city half-familiar to us, ready for adventure, heart set on steering clear of all tour-bus attractions. And thus the 24hr Guide to Hipster HongKong was conceived.
We tried to cover Hipster HongKong over the span of one full day so as to jam-pack the itinerary in for people looking to get the most out of a really short weekend trip, so here goes:
We hit HK smack in the middle of their summer, which meant long, hot, days, and 5am sunrises. Start the day early if you want to tick off most of your HK bucket list items – and you’ll find that you’ll be limited more by stomach space than anything else.
We begun the day with breakfast at Australia Dairy Company. It’s one of the things that my friends swear by, and I was feeling left out, hearing Emmanuel rave about the best eggs he’s ever had nonstop, so ok, fine, eggs it is. ADC is walkable from the Jordan train station and looks nothing like the hipster cafe one would imagine it to be, given it’s westernised name. It’s more a old school coffee house, and it’s famous for great eggs and bad service. Perfect!
To be fair, the eggs really are fab. I dont know why they decided to put spaghetti in soup, and wasnt too keen on that myself, but it came in a set… so I suggest getting the eggs, the milk, the milk tea, and a milk pudding ala carte to share. The milk pudding is out of this world.
There’s usually a pretty long queue, but if you go in the afternoon you’ll get a seat almost immediately, so it’s up to you. An alternative is Yee Shun, which is ADC’s direct competitor shamelessly selling almost exactly the same things with friendlier service, but we tried both and agreed that ADC is still better.
Australia Dairy Company
G/F, 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan
Mon to Wed & Fri to Sun: 07:30-23:00
Closed on Thu
Share everything you buy, because..
Right next to ADC is Mak’s Noodles, a famous chain of legendary wonton mee stalls. Another must-try, but expensive for what you get, so split it.
The wanton mee you get in HK is done in a specific style unique to Hong Kong. I say this in the most neutral of terms because I haven’t decided if I like it or not yet. I do have friends who adore it though, so I’m not writing it off. The noodles are firmer and tangier than the ones I’m used to, which is what threw me off, but the broth was delicious and the prawns used in the wonton dumplings were fresh and very generous. Definitely worth a try is what I’m saying.
G/F 51 Parkes Street Jordan, Kowloon 佐敦白加士街51號地下 (MTR Jordan Exit C2)
Tel: +852 2736-5561
Opening Hours: 12:00pm-12:30am
After that, it’s time to walk it off. You’re near enough to the famous Tsim Tsa Tsui district, so just make the ten to fifteen minute walk over to digest your food. You can choose to explore the area, or take a train out – which is what we did – to the Central Train Station.
So here we go: most of the great things to do (read: eat) span the distance between Central and Sheung Wan train station. Get ready for a whole lot of walking uphill and cursing, and take comfort in the fact that it is at least a mild form of exercise..
All that walking is incredibly hot and tiring, so you can start by taking a break and charging up at the most old school starbucks in Hong Kong. This Starbucks outlet is famous for being done up in the traditional style of the old school bing sutt, which means coffee house. The coffee options are more or less the same, but the food has a local sort of twist to it. Worth it just to sit and take refuge from the heat for awhile though, because it’s so nice and cold and gorgeous.
This outlet is along Duddell Street, and is halfway up a long flight of stairs. Pretty soon you will find that most of Hong Kong consists stairs or 45 degree slopes, so leave your heels at home and come in sneakers or flats if you dont want a broken ankle. The reason for this is because Hong Kong Island itself is basically one huge mountain, which is why everything is sloped and you always feel slightly off balance..
Duddell Street Starbucks
號, 13 Duddell St, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2523 5685
After you feel sufficiently ready to leave Duddell bux, it’s only a few minutes walk to Tai Cheung Bakery, which is where you can get the best egg tarts in the world. Like seriously, these things are life changing. They cost about 7HKD a pop, and no, they dont get cheaper if you buy more of them, unlike most pastries in HK with bundle pricing. This shows you how confident they are that people will pay for boxes and boxes of them anyway – and we did.
Tai Cheung Bakery
G/F, 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
From Tai Cheung it is but a short stroll downhill the next street over to Pololi, a Hawaiian Poke Bowl Cafe. Pololi isn’t exactly traditional HK food, but it’s one of my favourite things in HK because SASHIMI, OKAY?
When you walk in, a cheerful tanned girl chimes Aloha! and then takes you through the ordering process if it’s your first time. A Poke Bowl is basically a salad/rice bowl topped with marinated sashimi, and it’s a type of Hawaiian dish. The owner herself isn’t Hawaiian, but has family in Hawaii and returns every single summer, and she said she loved Poke Bowls so much she had to bring them back to HK. Well good on her, because they’re freakin amazing! She lets you try the different flavours before deciding on what you want, and it’s about 90HKD for a 100g Poke Bowl, and 60HKD for just the Poke without the salad/rice.
I had a salad topped with both thai style and avocado marinated sashimi, and it was incredible.
If you’re not into raw fish you can get this wrap thing called Musubi – it’s like sushi, and has egg and spam in it. It’s warm and really freaking good. It’s 20HKD for that, and I 100% recommend both.
35-39 Graham St, Central, Hong Kong
Right up the slope from Pololi you have a wall which I presume is famous because people kept taking photos with it. Like, there was an actual queue. So yes, being tourists..
Walking on. The street is a straight walk down the most amazing alternative gastronomical experiences in Hong Kong, but more than that, it’s actually a really bustling and interesting street to be down. We popped into a bunch of strange looking shops, though we didn’t actually buy anything. Here’s what your route will be like if you follow what we did and walked from Central to Sheung Wan station, in geographical order:
Duddell Bux -> Tai Cheung -> Pololi -> PMQ -> Little Bao -> YardBird -> Teakha -> Kau Kee Beef Brisket Noodles.
This is the most convenient way of doing it, but it’s well worth noting that because Little Bao only opens at 6pm and Teakha closes at 7pm, you’re probably going to have to choose one or the other. Otherwise do them on two separate days. Of the two I prefer Little Bao, but ok, you’ll see.
We actually did Teakha on a separate day. Teakha is a new hipster teahouse which is all the rage on instagram right now, but it’s a bit of a hassle to find. The interior is pretty and reminds me of taiwanese cafes, which is strange given that I’ve never been to Taiwan. It’s also very popular – the entire time we were there, people were streaming in and out.
We had everything recommended, that is to say – their famous matcha cheese cake (good), the thai iced milk tea (just tasted like every thai milk tea ever honestly), and the hibiscus tea (which was refreshing and wonderful but tasted exactly like ribena).
Not bad, the entire experience, but unsure if I would return given the hassle and also the fact that I can get chilled ribena for fifty cents anywhere else anyway.
18 Tai Ping Shan St, Hong Kong
PS. One other thing we wanted to hit but couldnt was this drinks stall called Mum’s Not Home. It’s closed on Thursdays, which was the day we were doing the writeup for this feature, but you know it’s the ultimate hipster place because 1. it’s located in someone’s home 2. they only sell strange drink concoctions and no food, and 3. you can freaking get your hair cut there. Which I dont recommend, because Adrian went and said everyone who got their hair cut came out looking like they had an inverted bowl on their head. But hey, yeah, no one said hipster things had to make sense. In fact, they rarely do.
Mum’s Not Home
1/f, 302 shanghai st
Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong
You start your evening with digesting your food by browsing PMQ for a couple of hours. PMQ stands for the Police Married Quarters, which was what it was back in the day, but it’s since been refurbished and now it’s a complex full of pop up stores and exhibitions catering to local budding artists. Entry is free, and you get all sorts of stalls in there, ranging from really indie local artists to international ones like Vivienne Tam and Goods of Desire.
The entire complex is seven stories and divided into two wings, so trust me when I say you can spend a considerable amount of time in there. You can also get coffee and cake – they have cafes littering the lower levels. Pretty interesting.
No.35 Aberdeen Street, Central
Once it hits 5:45pm, I suggest going out to perch by the door of Little Bao. It opens at 6pm, and if you’re not one of the first people in, the wait can be quite awhile. It seems to be a thing in HK where really popular hipster places deliberately rent really tiny shop spaces, possibly to force the creation of a queue… or yknw, because of rent. Whichever.
Little Bao is one of the places that lived up to it’s hype for me. Little Bao does western favourites with an Asian twist – think truffle fries with shallots, burgers with bao instead of buns. It’s not cheap, and even borders on expensive – a bao the sized of your palm, which is organically sourced and made in front of you, is slightly under 78HKD, which is approx 15SGD. And it’s tiny. But it’s good.
We had the pork belly bao, and it was pretty good IMHO.
The fried ice cream bao was 48HKD. Would not order this again because it was confusing, rock hard (read: hard to eat), and also hurt Cindy’s braces. Plus tiny.
Truffle fries were approx 98HKD. These were amazing – and the serving was huge. Even before they set it down in front of us we could smell the truffle wafting over, and when we actually saw it my first thought was that they gave us the wrong order. Because this mountain of stuff looked nothing like fries – but ok, they turned out to be buried under the pile of truffle, mushrooms, and shallots. Very interesting and delish, but definitely a dish to be shared.
66 Staunton St, Central, Hong Kong
Sat,Sun: 12:00-16:00, 18:00-23:00
Because Cinch and I shared everything, we still had space for small bites, so we walked down to Yardbird, which is known for serving legendary Yakitori sticks. You’ll know it’s good because the place was overflowing with people – and the rest of the stalls on the street with similar dining concepts were half empty. The wait for Yardbird can be quite crazy but we were blessed enough to be seated within ten minutes because there were only two of us and we were both there – they dont let you sit unless all members of your dinner party is present, which is why we could bypass so many people waiting in line.
I think everything we had at Yardbird was good. We ordered four items to share – Chicken Thigh Skewer, Chicken Wing Skewer, Korean Fried Cauliflower, and the seasonal item: Scotch Eggs.
The Korean Fried Cauliflower deserves some kind of special mention. It’s not pretty but it was mind-blowing – I never knew cauliflower could taste like that! I don’t even know how to describe it, which is just as well since I dont identify as a food blogger anyway, but lets just agree to call it intense. 10/10 would recommend.
Everything was done to perfection and I just have zero issues with anything at Yardbird – the staff were polite, friendly, and I suspect they only hire good-looking people. Ah well.
33-35 Bridges Street
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
6pm to 12am
Walking down from Yardbird we tried to route our way back to the train station, and the nearest was Sheung Wan. By this time it was nightfall, which meant half the shops were closed, but the ones which remained open were really quite interesting. There are a lot of lifestyle shops down that route, and there’s even a Superga Spin Shop, where you can buy a pair of supergas, pick your ink colors, and then put them in this machine which spins and splashes ink artistically onto your brand new sneakers. Yeah, don’t look at me. Apparently it’s a cool thing to do. Clean sneakers aren’t in anymore. Whatever.
It was about 9pm when we passed by Kau Kee Beef Brisket Noodles. Now, I’m not sure if that’s the actual name of the shop, but there are the words Kau Kee in it somewhere and it is famous for beef brisket noodles, so there you go. I read online that the queue for this place can stretch up to an hour, but we were seated immediately because we were there during supper-timing. The trade off is, some items will be out of stock if you choose to go late. But I didn’t mind because I hate queuing and whatever that was in stock was very good anyway.
We shared a bowl of Beef Brisket Soup Flat Noodles. I think that’s what it’s called. There’s an english menu, which they offered us after seeing us majorly struggle with the HK one, so ask for that immediately. The beef was incredibly tender and the broth was great – we didn’t finish the noodles, but those were good too.
We also got iced lemon tea which was legit ice lemon tea. I really adore iced lemon tea in HK because they take the drink at face value and really whack all the lemon in the tea, not like the sugary syrup nonsense you get elsewhere. I actually think I prefer HK iced lemon tea to HK iced milk tea because it’s lighter and more refreshing, which is very necessary when all you do is eat in HK..
Kau Kee Restaurant
G/F, 21 Gough Street, Central
Mon – Sat 12:30-22:30
From Kau Kee it’s a really short walk to the train station, where you can conclude your day.
If it seemed like the whole day was just walking from food place to food place it’s because it was true. HK for us really was a case of too many things to try, too little stomach space. In Hong Kong, the meal doesn’t stop when you’re full, the meal stops when you hate yourself. Still, I preferred this way of seeing HK much more than the tour-bus route I tried the last time I was here – much, much more. So make your peace with that, try everything, then work out pre/post trip accordingly.
Alright then, I hope this guide was helpful to those of you who are planning trips to HK in the near future! And for those of you who identify as hipster and take offence at this guide because it’s not actually hipster enough for your tastes, take it easy. We had a great time, and at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters? Trust me, you will too.
A more general guide to Hong Kong is to come, but till then, thank you for sending us on this trip, HKTB x Skyscanner! Thank you for the opportunity to rediscover Hong Kong in a much lovelier way – it was entirely too enjoyable. x