Hong Kong is an active city with loads of tourist attractions, but don’t limit yourself to just the hot spots. There are many interesting restaurants and shopping areas that are hidden away from the tourists. These are frequented by only the local people, but you can find them and share some local treasures with the people who live in Hong Kong.
Queen’s Road Mini Mall, a small unnamed mini mall at the corner of Queen’s Road across from 508 Queen’s Road West. The 4 floors of this small shopping complex are filled with discount clothing and jewelry. I could never find a name for it, so my friends just called it the Lucky Queen’s Mall. It is not large, and the small shops are crammed together, filling each floor. There are even a few vendors in the hallways selling jewelry, back-packs, and such. These change weekly.
Hollywood Road is a bit of a climb, but worth the effort. It winds up above Queen’s Road and Stanley Street, and requires some climbing stamina. Many hundreds of steps, and then the street itself is on an incline. Once you reach it, you’ll find a lot of little antique shops selling some very unique old Chinese antiques. Vases, jewelry and music boxes sit alongside old musical instruments and antique rugs. You can also find Buddha statues and antique furniture here. Most of these are too large for a tourist to ship, so it’s for people living in Hong Kong who wants to decorate their homes.
Yuk Yip Delights at 2 Hollywood Rd is my favorite dessert restaurant (more of a food stall) that sells red bean soup, sticky rice, and loads of fresh cakes. The chairs are folding style out on the sidewalk, and a bit rustic. The desserts are delicious and very inexpensive. For $4, two people can load up and get fat.
LochCha Tea House, hidden in a small tree grove near Cotton Tree Drive. It’s difficult to describe how to get there, just go to the corner of Cotton and Queensway, and ask someone. Soft music is played while you sip one of many hot teas and other hot drinks. It’s a quiet spot away from the bustle, even though you’re right in the city. The house also offers classes in tea drinking, similar to wine tasting classes we have in the west.
Xihuan Noodle Shop is on a narrow side-street off Shantung Street. There is no English at all. The signs are in Chinese and the people speak Cantonese. However, you can point to what you want on the menu which has some photos. They will laugh shyly, but are happy to help you. The noodles are delicious and filled with lots of fresh vegetables. The cost will be under $3 per person.
Food Stalls at Mong kok Ladies Market in Kowloon. Cross the harbor on the Star Ferry to Kowloon, and find the Mong Kok Ladies Market, great for cheap shopping of clothes and accessories. The hidden treasure is the line of food stalls just behind it. You’ll find very delicious local cuisine and a lot of fresh juice shops. The tables are small and crowded together, but you’ll enjoy the great food! $7 will get you dinner for two and a couple of fresh juice shakes.
Che Kung Temple. Spin the bronze windmill three time for good luck. Local people do it for good fortune each year. This is in the New Territories and easily accessed from Kowloon, but far from any tourist spot.
The Cavern in central Hong Kong at D’Aguilar Street is a club with live bands playing on weekends. There’s a bit of a 60’s feel to it. Beatles cover bands, in English and Chinese, seem to be common. It’s small and loud, but quite fun.
Bubble Tea. A favorite drink in Asia is called bubble tea. Small tapioca beads are dropped in a glass of green or black iced tea along with crushed ice and milk. Served with a thick straw, so you can suck up the beads as you drink, this is a delicious treat. Under $1 each, you should try it at least once if you’re in Hong Kong. They sell these on many street corners. There’s a small place on the end of Pok Fu Lam, near the University of Hong Kong. They offer 50 flavors, all delicious!