A walking tour of Hong Kong that doesn’t involve “shopping till you drop”? That takes in the hidden sights of this old colonial city, with snippets of history interwoven with favorite food haunts of the locals? That’s what was in store when our walking tour guide for the day, Dora Choi, met us at the 7-Eleven store inside the Sheung Wan MRT station.
Our friendly and very knowledgeable guide, Dora, is actually a co-founder of Walk-in Hong Kong, which offers walking tours of the lesser-seen parts of Hong Kong, with excellent guides who delve into its history and culture, sharing insider stories one won’t usually find in guidebooks. Walk-in Hong Kong offers tours of Central and Sheung Wan, Mong Kok Market and its street life, Yau Ma Tei and Jordan in Kowloon, and even a visit to the home and neighborhood of a friendly local.
Today, Dora is guiding us through Sheung Wan, just one MTR stop east of Central. This quaint neighborhood is fast becoming one of the city’s trendiest spots. Filled with art galleries, hipster cafés, antique shops as well as glimpses of old Hong Kong slowly gentrifying, our tour was a welcome respite from the usual frenzy of more tourist-heavy Tsim Sha Tsui, Central or Causeway Bay.
For our afternoon stroll through Sheung Wan, Dora took us to her favorite food and drink spots, all unique glimpses into a city that continues to cling to its past as it remains open to the new. So, on your next trip to Hong Kong, yes, visit your usual haunts: whether it’s shopping in Kowloon or carousing in Lan Kwai Fong. But, make sure to spend an afternoon, or a full day, in the quieter, but certainly quirkier, part of town known as Sheung Wan.
To get you excited about your next trip to Hong Kong, catch The Crawl Hong Kong on Lifestyle TV where hosts Atom Araullo and Chef Edward Bugia go on a mouthwateringly fun eating tour of the city. The Crawl Hong Kong airs on Lifestyle TV (channel 52 on SkyCable) on Wednesday, September 20 at 7:30 pm. Visit lifestyletvph on Facebook for more details.
For walking tours of Hong Kong, visit www.walkin.hk or Facebook: WalkInHongKong. Special thanks to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Visit www.discoverhongkong.com
Craftissimo is a cool beer shop that offers a wide range of craft beers from all over the world. 22-24A Tai Ping Shan Street
What makes Craftissimo unique is its dedication to local craft beers like Young Master and Moonzen, all brewed in Hong Kong.
Kung Lee Sugar Cane has been selling freshly squeezed sugar cane juice since 1948. Sugar cane is steamed first, then crushed in a mill at the store, to deliver a sweet, refreshing, all-natural treat. 60 Hollywood Road
Open since 1954, Tai Cheong Bakery is famous for its egg tarts—best when eaten piping hot, with its rich and silky filling on a flaky crust. 35 Lyndhurst Terrace
For old school Hong Kong milk tea, Lan Fong Yuen is one of the more popular spots for a taste. Tea is strained through a sackcloth bag resembling a stocking, then mixed with evaporated milk and sugar for a lovely afternoon refresher. 2 Gage Street
Graham Street Market extends down a narrow street with vendors selling fruits, vegetables, noodles, spices and condiments.
Kowloon Soy Sauce is that rare store that still makes soy sauce using traditional sun-drying fermentation methods. Aside from light and dark soy sauce, it also sells other Cantonese condiments and pickles, perfect as souvenirs. 9 Graham Street
It’s called PMQ, named for the historical Police Married Quarters. The place has since been revitalized into a creative and design hub for artists. We only had time for a quick visit but we vowed to return to explore its two seven-storey buildings filled with exquisite arts and crafts stores and galleries. 35 Aberdeen Street
At PMQ, we had a bit of time to pop into the store of fashion designer Chailie Ho, who personally showed her beautiful silk screened scarves and dresses, many of them with the Hong Kong skyline as her theme. She excitedly showed us prototypes of her upcoming line of tableware, all with her distinct aesthetic. www.chailieho.com
Also found in PMQ, Hong Kong OAPES specializes in quality jewelry that celebrates Hong Kong tradition and culture. Notably, it has a food-inspired line with necklaces, earrings, bracelets, for example, sporting Hong Kong’s ubiquitous waffle cones, pineapples and egg tarts. www.hkoapes.com
ALSO READ: In Focus: 5 Ways To Deal With Manila Traffic While Commuting