When we were growing up, Hong Kong was our weekend getaway. At just an hour and a half flight, I can’t recall how many times we visited with my parents and grandparents over the years. When I moved to Paris in the early nineties, Hong Kong was too far away to visit but when I went back home in 1997, I visited again and even stayed there for longer periods while A was posted there in 1999. Since then, I hadn’t been back, and I had heard that the Hong Kong of my childhood had changed – it was bigger, brighter, more crowded – the New York of Southeast Asia.
Finally, in 2014 I went for a few days with my friend T. We lucked out on a promotion at the newish Mira Moon designed by Marcel Wanders and you Studio. In a slim modern tower, on the edge of Wan Chai (which used to be the infamous red light district of Hong Kong), it’s near the convention center and to several hip restaurants. With just 91 rooms, this boutique hotel was perfect for our girl’s mini-break. On each floor, there are only a few rooms. Our Full Moon Premier Room was much bigger than we expected and the bathroom was huge, with a separate rain shower and a large bathtub with a sliver view of the harbor. There was a pretty wooden Grey Goose box filled with everything for martinis, intricately-carved cabinet doors, and rabbits everywhere from the ceilings to the glass etchings and the lamp bases. Even the signs scattered around had rabbits including one that said “Good rabbits don’t smoke”. We enjoyed breakfast al fresco at their tiny but well-designed terrace and on one of the evenings, we also managed to have a few after-dinner cocktails.
On our first evening, we explored the little street and had dinner at the more casual and better-priced Hee Kee for their fried crab rather than at the fancier Under Bridge Spicy Crab which was two steps away. The fried crab was sweet and overloaded with crunchy garlic. We had it with their salt and pepper squid and a plate of stir-fried greens which was a tasty start for our Hong Kong holiday.
The next day, we wandered around Wan Chai and explored the area near Wing Fung street and had an early lunch at Classified before we crossed over to Pacific Place and some retail therapy. On another day, we explored the IFC mall and had lunch at Open Kitchen which had long queues at their large deli counter of salads, sandwiches, cakes and pastries. We continued our shopping at the Landmark were we stopped for a much-needed afternoon espresso at Fuel.
Our last lunch was at the traditional Maxim’s Palace City Hall – an old school classic dining room with large windows all along one side. We shared an assortment of dim sum – prawn filled cheong fun (rice paper rolls), flaky char-siu puffs, the usual siew mai and her gao, steamed pork ribs, custard buns, buchi (red bean paste-filled glutinous rice balls) and the standard dan tarts. As always, the dim sum in Hong Kong didn’t disappoint. I never made it to my childhood haunts – Spring Deer and Yung Kee but now that Hong Kong is just a few hours flight from Singapore, there’s no excuse not to visit more often.
388 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2643 8888 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hong KongHee Kee Fried Crab
Shop 1-4, G/F, 379 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai
Tel: +852 2893 7565, Open daily noon-4.30am