Confession time: the “geek” section of this post is going to be relatively short, sorry guys. None of us had any plans to seek out particularly geeky thing in Hong Kong since we knew that we’d be stopping in Japan and South Korea later in the trip. As such, the recommendations in this post are only from what we discovered when exploring.
If you’re travelling to Hong Kong and still want to pick up some sweet Studio Ghibli merchandise, then don’t fret! Harbour City, a huge shopping complex on the Kowloon side of the harbour, has a Donguri Republic shop! If you’ve never heard of Donguri Republic, it’s basically a merchandise shop for Studio Ghibli. You can find them in practically every city in Japan (but more on that later), and also in a couple of other countries. The range is pretty impressive, given the shop is not the largest, and not badly priced either. Feel free to go crazy!
The other place that might of interest to the otaku-minded community is the Avenue of Comic Stars in Kowloon Park. Although it features local comic characters (and information about local artists) from manhua (“Chinese manga”), and so may not be as well known to fans of Japanese manga, it’s pretty interesting to see and easily comparable to manga and manhwa (“Korean manga”). It’s also in the beautiful Kowloon Park, so there’s more than one reason for visiting!
It’s also relatively easy to get your hands on anime merchandise (particularly figurines), especially in the Mong Kok area, but you’ll need to further investigate this yourself, since we didn’t venture up there 🙂
ASIAN POP CULTURE
Unfortunately I’m pretty unfamiliar with Hong Kong dramas and Cantopop, so if I accidentally visited anywhere related to either of these things I’d have no idea. To be sure, Hong Kong’s skyline is featured in a lot of the movies produced there, so I guess that’s something?
I did want to visit the Avenue of Stars, a promenade that outlines Hong Kong’s rich history in film-making and includes statues of some of its most famous stars, including Bruce Lee, but had read that it was under construction until the end of 2018. However, I didn’t realised until it was too late that some of the most recognised statues and hand prints had been moved to the temporary ‘Garden of the Stars’ along the waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui. Oh well, next time I go, the avenue might be open again!
I wouldn’t be surprised if K-Poppers and J-Poppers could get their hands on merchandise in Hong Kong either, probably in the Mong Kok area as well.
Sadly, we didn’t actually visit any museums or any particularly historical attractions in Hong Kong itself. I had wanted to visit Tai O (oldest fishing village in Hong Kong) and the Buddhist Po Lin Monastery, but because we ultimately ended up with one day less in Hong Kong than what had been originally planned (thanks to flight delays), it was one of the things cut out.
However, visiting the historical centre of Macau, only an hour’s ferry ride from Hong Kong, is a must for any self-respecting history nerd (or anyone else interested, for that matter!). Having been controlled by the Portuguese from the mid-1500s to 1999, there exists a large number of Catholic churches and other European buildings mixed in with older Chinese architecture. There’s information outlining the history of the buildings when you visit them, and also the Macau Museum, next door to the Ruins of St. Paul’s and Mount Fortress. There’s maps readily available for exploring the area, and we managed the 2km distance between the ruins and A-Ma Temple easily, passing by a number of attractions including Senado Square, Cathedral Square, Na Tcha Temple, Luisde Camōes Garden and Grotto, St. Augustine’s Square, Lilau Square, and Barra Square, just to name a few!
As I’ve already mentioned, Hong Kong is the place to eat. Out of all the places we ate, there’s three that I would recommend to anyone heading over to Hong Kong who loves food.
The first, of course, is dim sum! For those of you who aren’t aware, dim sum (alternatively known as yum cha) is a style Cantonese cooking where small portions of food such as steamed buns and steamed or fried dumplings are served in steamer baskets. Usually you go to dim sum in groups and order several different types of dishes to be shared around the table. There is usually a trolley service in the restaurant, where waiters push around trolleys with food already prepared, and offer you their dishes as you sit at the table. Dim sum is very popular in Hong Kong, since it’s a Cantonese area, and we were really excited to compare it to dim sum in Australia! The place we went to was called “Dimdimsum Dim Sum” in Jordan, Kowloon (I believe they have another stores somewhere else). It was very crowded and didn’t have trolley service, but the food more than made up for it. We got to try dishes we hadn’t had before, including wasabi buns, pineapple buns, steamed squid in garlic sauce, dried octopus and pork rice, and traditional siu mai with quail eggs. Everything was delicious, and I highly recommend it!
Secondly, if you venture up to the Temple Street Night Markets, you will find a number of small window-front or limited seating restaurants in the area that offer a range of different foods. All of them looked really interesting! We settled on a place offering various types of skewers and fried balls. We had skewered duck, lobster balls, beef balls, octopus, steamed dumplings, and rice rolls. All of it was excellent, and surprisingly filling!
Finally, if you decide to check out Macau, there are plenty of options for street food there as well! We had lunch in between Cathedral Square and the Ruins of St. Paul’s. Basically you walk down a little alleyway to get to Lou Kau Mansion, and then keep following the alley. We had a lot of different types of skewers, and there was one, sausage wrapped in bacon, that was particularly amazing. Try not to eat too much, though, because when you continue to the mansions you go past a lot of stalls selling sweet jerky and almond cookies. Almost all of them offer free samples to the crowds passing by- be sure to try it!
Alright, my lovely teacups, that completes my advice for geeking and eating out in Hong Kong. Please note that this is post is only based on my own experiences, and in no way pretends to be an extensive list for all the cool things in Hong Kong. Which is why I would like to ask you if you’ve been to Hong Kong? If so, what would you recommend to others in terms of geeking or eating out? I’m happy to take notes for my next trip 😉