Hong Kong is a city of contrasts, towering skyscrapers and green spaces, islands and summit views, as well as Chinese and British culture. To help you experience all sides of the city, we asked Hamson Tsui, Chef Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, to share his top travel tips – from where to take in the best views to the restaurant’s serving the most authentic meals.
Where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner
There is good reason why this dining-crazed city has been called the “World’s Food Fair.” Start your day at Law Fu Kee for the best congee (rice porridge), the local’s breakfast. For lunch, tuck into an authentic Cantonese meal at a cha chaan teng (tea restaurant). Dotted throughout the city, cha chaan tengs are popular diners where the bustling atmosphere and indigenous food (think Hong Kong-style milk tea and noodles) carry on a distinct cultural tradition. Experience this popular dining style at Tsui Wah’s Wellington Street location, just a short walk from the Hotel. Hong Kong is renowned for its seafood; for an authentic dinner, reserve a table at Hee Kee.
Exercise, Hong Kong style
With all of the city’s great cuisine, exercise is a good idea. The Hotel offers an energizing start to your day with complimentary weekend tai chi classes conducted by master William Ng. Hong Kong’s best-kept secret is its hundreds of kilometres of fantastic hiking trails, including the 100-kilometre (62-mile) MacLehose Trail.
Shop Hong Kong
Every major designer can be found in this shopping paradise, but for authentic, unique objects try Blanc de Chine, which sells Chinese clothing and housewares. Shanghai Tang merges tradition with contemporary fashion, along with a selection of runway fashion accessories. Shanghai Street is the place for local kitchen items like steamers and handmade knives, while Hollywood Road offers quality Asian antiques.
Views to remember
For the best views of this bustling city, take a ride on the Star Ferry and the Peak Tram. The nine-minute trip on the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour from Central to Kowloon gives passengers one perspective by day and another, in the glow of neon lights, by night. To see all of Hong Kong and its islands at once, ride the Peak Tram to Victoria Peak, the city’s highest point, and enjoy the circular walk around the summit.
Hong Kong has no shortage of Chinese cuisine, but Lung King Heen, the traditional Cantonese restaurant at the Hotel, is the only one of its kind in the world to capture Michelin’s coveted three-star rating, and Executive Chef Chan Yan Tak is the first Chinese chef to gain this honour. Not to be outdone, the Hotel’s French restaurant, Caprice, serves renowned gourmet cuisine and is home to the city’s first artisanal French cheese cellar. Whichever you choose, start your meal with a signature martini and stunning views of Victoria Harbour courtesy of the Blue Bar, located just off the entrance lobby.
Old Hong Kong
Step back in time with a ferry ride to Cheung Chau (the Cantonese name means “long island”), where residents follow a traditional way of life and there is no motorized transport. Likewise, a tram ride from Central to Kennedy Town takes you to an earlier era as you venture through Dried Seafood Street in Sheung Wan.
For a different kind of nightlife, take a 15-minute helicopter ride to the former Portuguese colony of Macau for a night out at one of the city’s casinos. Enjoy stellar views both ways, with a dose of a completely different culture in between.
The Jade Treatment
In Chinese culture, jade traditionally symbolizes health, wisdom and prosperity. The stone is also believed to increase energy levels and boost immunity. This is the secret behind the Jade Stone Therapy, a full-body massage based on the ancient Chinese practice of gua sha, using a combination of hot and cool jade stones. Indulge in this treatment at the Hotel Spa.