Long layovers and small windows of free time while you’re travelling for work should not be spent napping in a hotel room or sauntering aimlessly around the airport. If you find yourself in an exciting city like Hong Kong, and you have the opportunity to explore it, even for like 24 hours, do it! But where to start?
We spoke Mandy Lee, the woman behind Lady & Pups, what she calls an “angry food blog.” One look at her Instagram feed will build up your appetite. A quick read of her blog tells you that she knows what ingredient to put into something basic, something you’ve probably had a thousand times, to elevate the flavour. Her dogs Sesame and SRB (short for sticky rice ball) are beautiful! Mandy was born in Taiwan, raised in Vancouver, and lived in New York for a big portion of her life until she moved to Beijing – that last shift sparked the birth of her blog – and she eventually settled down in Hong Kong in 2016. Here are her recommendations for a day well spent in the bustling city.
“Living in Happy Valley, I love going to a traditional tea cafe called Cheung Hing for a cup of milk tea and pineapple bun. It’s good for both breakfast and afternoon snack, but most of their signature items like egg tarts would be sold out by then, so go early.”
“If you want a real local experience on top-notch seafoods cooked Cantonese-style, Tung Po Kitchen inside a wet market is an infamous establishment in both expats and local communities.”
“Although, to be honest, I mostly do my cooking supplies shopping online (Taobao is a great source for people who can read Mandarin), there is a great, old-school porcelain/ceramic shops called Yuet Tung nested in Kowloon Bay. The shop is hidden inside an industrial building, and it is jam-packed with a dizzying array of their old-school, Hong Kong-style porcelains. Be patient while perusing and you’ll be rewarded.”
“I’m not big on sightseeing, but I would take a traditional Cantonese boat called a junk and cross the Victoria Harbour during the evening hours. It’s new world and old world in one spectacular view.”
Read also: 10 more hidden photo spots around Asia
“I think that along the highway from the airport to the city, there are areas lined with buildings I call the ‘bee hives’. They are basically buildings so narrow, tightly stacked, with several identical ones built so close to each other that you can’t possibly imagine a family of five can often times live inside a single unit. It’s quite a microcosm for all the social issues and structures that makes Hong Kong Hong Kong.”
Don’t leave without this
“I would go to Old San Yang in Causeway Bay, which is a one-stop shop for all things culinarily Cantonese. You’ll be able to get a jar of harvested crab roe that will transform your next spaghetti.”