Based in Malaysia, Lim Kok Kean is a culture marketeer and festival director for Urbanscapes, an annual arts festival in Kuala Lumpur. He’s best known by his DJ moniker, Bunga, covering everything from electro-punk-rock-and-roll-disco to indie guitar, Britpop and garage rock in the city’s party scene and beyond. The late-night regular also happens to be a well-travelled foodie during his free time. Here, he shares with us some of his favourite spots to eat and visit in Hong Kong.
“For the best polo bun in Hong Kong, Kam Wah is the spot. You’ll understand the queues once you’ve taken a bite out of this fluffy, flaky heavenly little piece of perfection. Go anytime but avoid peak periods if possible, as lines will probably be long. Service, as with other places in Hong Kong, is typically gruff but fast and efficient. What better to go with a polo bun than staples like iced milk tea or Ying Yong (half tea, half coffee)? If you like to experience the Hong Kong cha chaan teng [traditional Hong Kong-style café] by all means dine-in, but it’s noisy and busy—just like the pace in daily Hong Kong life.”
“A must for any first-time visitors to Hong Kong, the glistening rows and rows of towering skyscrapers is a testament to the city’s prosperity and progress from a fishing village to the financial powerhouse it is today. At 8pm nightly, catch A Symphony of Lights, one of the world’s most spectacular audiovisual light shows which has set the harbour ablaze every night since 2004. A favourite vantage point for viewing the show is from a boat on the harbour, so enjoy the breeze and climb aboard a cruise to see the city from its symbolic centre.”
“Malaysians should count ourselves lucky as the culture of dai pai dong (known as dai chow in Malaysia, or open-air eateries) is slowly dying in Hong Kong due to stiff regulations and the government’s refusal to issue any more hawker licenses; the current ones issued can only be passed down to family members. A well-loved haunt with locals since it opened in 1956, Oi Man Sang is a bit of an OG in the world of dai pai dongs. Must-try dishes here are the stir-fried beef fillet with potatoes in black pepper sauce, pork knuckle and black pepper shrimp. It’s located in the increasingly hip neighbourhood of Sham Sui Po, one of Hong Kong’s most quintessential neighbourhoods with a longstanding reputation as a blue collar, working class locale. Now, in its place, a new wave of artists, designers and entrepreneurs are setting up shop in Sham Shui Po.”
“This once-quiet neighborhood located west of Central is now home to many tiny little hipster-ish cafés, trendy vintage shops, and also PMQ, the repurposed police quarters that’s now home to over 100 creative, small business enterprises.
Sheung Wan does maintain some of its old Hong Kong vibes – for the best beef briskets in the city, the famous Kau Kee beef noodles is located here as well. After a bowl or two, make your way to the famous Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road, housing the gods of literature (Man Cheong) and martial arts (Mo Tai). For some of the most sensational, Insta-worthy shots in Hong Kong, Tank Ln in Sheung Wan pays tribute to local icon Bruce Lee and Rich View Terrace is painted in geometric rainbow patterns for that edgy headshot.”
“I was actually introduced to this place by a Malaysian friend currently living in Hong Kong; Lan Fong Yuen is literally downstairs from her place in Central. A must-visit for anyone in Hong Kong, the institution is said to be the inventor of the ‘silk stockings milk tea’, with a famously delicious pork chop bun and French toast to boot. Having been around since 1952, expect a no-frills, authentic Hong Kong cha chaan teng setting. Sharing tables is not a biggie here —we do that all the time in Malaysia anyway!”
“A stone’s throw away from Causeway Bay – the city’s most frenzied shopping district—Tai Hang is a charming, laid back alternative to all the buzz and bustle typically associated with Hong Kong. Slow-paced yet rapidly evolving, the enclave is home to a wellspring of artisanal coffee shops, restaurants, vintage stores, and a growing lineup of design-driven boutiques. You can easily lose an entire afternoon café-hopping in this neighbourhood, popping in-and-out of one of the city’s most beloved. high-voltage vintage shop Microwave; Journalize to stock up on cute stationery; Incredible Shop for menswear and gender-neutral fits; and loads of other boutique indie entreprises.
Spots to check out: the hole-in-the-wall Unar Coffee Company for exceptional Italian pours and flavoured coffee; the gastropub Second Draft for a great selection of locally brewed beers as well as bites from one of Asia’s top chefs, May Chow; Bond for European comfort food and a breezy terrace; and more. For a bit of culture, visit Fa Lin Temple and be greeted by a dragon-themed mural on the ceiling, a homage to the traditional Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance that takes place in the neighbourhood every Mid-Autumn Festival.”
“The original outlet is nestled away amongst preloved camera shops in a building named Champagne Court at Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui – but it’s not exactly a hidden gem, if the star-studded walls are anything to go by, with photos of Edison Chen, Grasshopper, and more on display (interestingly, the celebrity photos are mostly date-stamped 2008) endorsing its signature cheese instant noodles. This is the place to go to for pure, unadulterated comfort food; the noodles arrive swimming in cheese sauce, but don’t judge a book by its cover: the secret lies in the homemade cheese sauce, which coats every strand of noodles evenly, and the grilled pork neck is flavourful and tender. A hot tip: Ask for an extra egg, if you want to go all out. Another hot tip: the menu comes in English. There’s a second outlet in Wan Chai, but nothing beats the first.”
The Dragon’s Back is possibly the most popular hiking trail for all levels of hikers—it’s easily accessible from the city, easy to complete, and ends at a beautiful beach.Lim Kok Kean
“The Dragon’s Back is possibly the most popular hiking trail for all levels of hikers—it’s easily accessible from the city, easy to complete, and ends at a beautiful beach. This is a side of Hong Kong a tourist or a traveller might never see at all: one with no skyscrapers, one with trees, and views of blue skies meeting shimmering white waves in the horizon. The starting point of the Dragon’s Back Hike is located at To Tai Wan; take the Island Line MTR to Shau Kei Wan Station, hop on Bus No. 9 at the Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus, and then alight at the Dragon’s Back stop. The bus will take you high enough that it’s only a short, slight 20-minute ascent to reach the peak; it’s basically a walk along the mountain top—hence the name Dragon’s Back—where you’re rewarded with spectacular Instagrammable scenes of Stanley and Tai Tam Bay on one side, and the Shek O beach on the other. Long story short, if you have about two to three hours to spare, the 8km hike is a great way to get away from the busy city. Bring water and snacks with you on the trail; remember, you’re not you when you’re hungry.”
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