For me, the best way to see a city is to get out onto street level and explore, and that couldn’t be more true in a place like Hong Kong. To celebrate the official arrival of J Crew in Hong Kong, we recently got together to create an insiders guide to the Central District, my favourite part of the city and one full of culture and colour. Over the course of a few days I worked with the J Crew team and lovely Marion to document all my hidden gems in this hectic part of town. Enjoy!
Take a tour of Central
Market hop the Wet Markets
One of the last outdoor produce markets left in Hong Kong where vendors sell fresh food, such as fruits and veggies, live seafood, meat and all manner of other things (toads, live birds for eating etc). Not for the faint hearted, these markets are definitely a place to get in touch with the local flavour of HK.
Address: Downhill on Graham Street between Hollywood Road and Queens Road Central
Hours: 10am – 6pm
Load up on Chinese porcelain
Shop to your heart’s content at my favourite porcelain shop on Staunton Street. Be ready to pay for excess luggage on your way home!
Address: 17 Staunton Street Soho
Hours: 11am – 7pm
Nab a few antiques
Bypass the tourist shops in Central and have a rummage at the Cat Street Markets, where you’ll find (mostly) replica communist era antiques, furniture and the odd bit of vintage clothing. My favourite cave-like store is tucked down the end of Upper Lascar Row on the corner of Lok Ku Road.
Cat Street Markets
Address: Cat Street (Upper Lascar Row)
Hours: 11am til 6pm
Rummage for vintage
One of the few vintage stores in Hong Kong and truly a hidden gem. A huge selection of floral prints, silk dresses and pleated skirts as well as genuine retro pieces upstairs – all at bargain basement prices.
Mee & Gee
Address: 9 Li Yuen Street West (the alleyway across Queens Road from H&M in Central).
Hours: 11am – 8/9pm
Horde some buttons and ribbons
My go to spot for last minute DIY supplies, this set of stalls lining the stairs of atmospheric Pottinger Street are a great place to sample the delights of ribbon heaven.
Address: Pottinger Street in Central and 323 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan (Western Markets)
Hours: both around 10am – 7pm
Try a traditional noodle soup
Noodle soup cafes are an institution in Hong Kong, and none so much as Mak’s Noodles. Pop in for a lunchtime wonton soup, but be prepared to wait because the locals love it as much as you will.
Address: 麥奀記 Wellington Street
Hours:11 a.m.–8 p.m.
Go for dumplings in the park
Hong Kong is well known for its dumpling houses, but none is more atmospheric than this traditional colonial style tea house in Hong Kong Park.
Lok Cha Tea House
Address: Ground Floor, The K.S Low Gallery, Hong Kong Park, Admiralty
Hours: 10am – 8pm
Cross the harbour
Take in a view of both the island and Kowloon on this vintage style commuter ferry, to me it’s a touch of Wes Anderson in Asia. Avoid rush hours for a more pleasant (virtually empty) trip.
Address: Star Ferry Pier
And while you’re at it, make sure to pop into the new J Crew stores –
J Crew Women’s:
Podium Level 1 Central
Open all week 10am – 9pm
J Crew Men’s:
9 On Lan Street Central
open all week 11am – 9pm
My favourite banana lady in the wet markets
Gage Street’s resident kitty.
All the greenery in the wet markets.
I’ve been shopping with this lady for going on three years and she’s yet to crack a smile. Any day now! 🙂
My absolute favourite shop in Central.
Pottinger Street stairs.
The Star Ferry
Photos by Marion Tessier.