- Hong Kong
This is a personal trip that I'd like to undertake within the next year
The Conrad Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong, China
Tel: 852 2521 3838
Dumpling Shops, China
No matter how many McDonald's and KFC franchises open up in Hong Kong, savory dumplings are the city's fast-food staple. The ubiquitous dumpling shops offer the full range of regional variations.
Din Tai Fung, a branch of the famous Taiwan shop, is well known for its delicate xiaolongbao, little purses of meat and soup wrapped in dough and steamed in bamboo baskets. They are a meal unto themselves and are often washed down with Chinese tea (third floor, Whampoa Gourmet Place, Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom, Kowloon; 852-2330-4886; www.dintaifung.com.tw/eng).
Another variety, the half-moon-shaped jiaozi, is drier inside but just as filling and tasty. One of the best places to try it is the mom-and-pop shop Wang Fu, where you can choose from a variety of fillings, including the popular traditional pork-and-chives and special creations like tomato-and-egg. They are served alone or with noodles; each order comes with a complimentary glass of soy milk (Whampoa, Jade Center, 98-102 Wellington St., Central; 852-2121-8006).
Café Deco, China
Hong Kong, China
Tel: 852 2849 5111
Perched right on Victoria Peak, 1,355 feet above Hong Kong, Café Deco is best known for its spectacular views over the city and South China Sea. The menu here is eclectic—a little of this, a little of that—and is clearly designed to appeal to as wide a cross section of tourists as possible (crowds of them arrive every day to dine behind the restaurant's wall of glass windows). The sushi rolls, Indian and Thai curries, and pastas and pizzas are all decent, and there are some ambitious dishes like Australian Wagyu beef (otherwise known as Kobe) and tandoori ostrich filet. But it's the vistas—and the menu prices—that are the real jaw-droppers here.
Discount Shopping, China
Shoppers come from all over Asia—and the world—to take advantage of Hong Kong's legendary discount shops and outlets. Here are our favorites:
Clothing labels including Charles Jourdan, Brooks Brothers, Polo, and Kenneth Cole are reduced by up to 80 percent at this flagship Dickson Warehouse. There's another branch at Olympia Plaza (243–255 King's Rd., North Point; 852-2907-1068; www.dicksoncyber.com).
Fa Yuen Street
A slew of factory outlets lines Fa Yuen Street in Mongkok; you can bargain-hunt for items by Nicole Farhi, Ralph Lauren, Emanuel Ungaro, Calvin Klein, Jigsaw, and Banana Republic—all discounted up to 90 percent.
This glamorous department store stocks items by opulent designers like Martin Margiela, Comme des Garçons, Armani, YSL, and Costume National. Prices start at 50 percent of the original cost.
Lo Wu Commercial City
Stuffed to the gills with designer-copy shops, this locally famous mall is a perfect day trip for die-hard shopaholics. Ask your hotel to arrange for a visa (it takes about two days), and transport (by train, it's about about an hour from Central). All the big labels are represented, but prices vary dramatically, so shop around. Goods are divided into A, B, and C grades, depending on the standard of reproduction; A grades are the best and usually kept hidden; customers must ask to see them. Bring Hong Kong dollars, as there are no ATMs, and credit cards are not accepted.
Brand-savvy treasure hunters forgo the glitzy boutiques of Central and head over the Peak to Ap Lei Chau on the island's south side. Space is the place for last season's Prada, Miu Miu, and Helmut Lang. Bring plenty of patience and stamina to rummage through racks and stacks of these three ultradesirable labels. Long lines are proof of the fabulous finds.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 7 pm, Sundays noon to 6 pm.
The drab exterior of this warehouse on the island's industrial south side belies its designer-filled interior. Take the elevator straight up to the 21st floor, where Hong Kong's retail queen Joyce Ma regularly refills the Joyce Warehouse (852-2814-8313) with overstock from clothes that started their days on the floor of her Central megaboutique. Four flights up, Lane Crawford Warehouse (25th floor; 852-2118-3403) offers equally enticing designer frocks and shoes for brand-savvy men and women, plus a few fabulous homewares scattered into the mix.
Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10 am to 7 pm.
See + Do
Happy Valley Racing, China
Hong Kong, China
Tel: 852 2895 1523
Hong Kong locals are horse-racing fanatics—so it's no surprise that this track, an oasis of green lit by giant floodlights at night, sits right at the heart of the city. In fact, it's occupied its place since 1846; Hong Kong practically grew around it. Betting on horses is one of the oldest legally sanctioned forms of gambling here, and with all the money flying around the city these days, it's a big, big business.
The best time to experience the track is at night, when thousands of spectators fill the stands and watch from the balconies of surrounding high-rises. The stakes are huge, the bets are outrageous, and the crowds are appropriately enthused. Wednesday evenings (between September and May) are the liveliest.