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Hong Kong weather

Netflix and chill: how to beat winter when the polar vortex hits Hong Kong this weekend

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 January, 2016, 2:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 January, 2016, 3:03pm

A freak weather system is about to push icy conditions straight from the Arctic Circle to Hong Kong, so we’ve put together a guide to the best ways you can stand up to winter and experience the best warming fun this city can offer.

1. Hotpot

This steaming table-top cooking method is sure to banish cold. Here are some of Hong Kong’s best hotpot restaurants.

Dong Lai Shun at the basement of the Royal Garden Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui East offers its signature mutton hotpot, with the meat from Inner Mongolian black-headed mutton sliced so thinly it’s cooked in seconds and stays tender even when boiled for a long time. The restaurant also serves a mean ma po tofu.

B2/F, Royal Garden Hotel, 64 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East. Tel: 2733 2020

For the adventurous eaters out there, Megan’s Kitchen offers colourful dumplings and soup bases to keep your meal interesting, like Parma ham consommé hotpot soup base, anchovy pork balls and courgette and cherry tomatoes with Parma ham dumplings.

5/F, Lucky Centre, 165-171 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai. Tel: 2588 8305

Or head to where the hipsters are going to warm themselves up over in Tsim Sha Tsui to the newest hotpot place in town, The Drunken Pot. There the hotpots pack an alcoholic punch with “sake bombs”. Or spice it up with Szechuan Mala. Fill the hotpot with items from Angus beef to Alaskan King crab.

Restaurant 1, 2/F, No. 8 Observatory Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: 2321 9038

2. Go to Switzerland

Roll-neck sweaters used to be mandatory for fondue to fit with open fires and shag rugs, but they’re optional now.

The classiest fondue in Hong Kong is of course Chesa in The Peninsula Hong Kong. The interior makes diners feel like they’ve entered a Swiss chalet with the dark wood beams and cosy space. Be sure to order the cheese fondue (choose from two or three cheeses) or raclette.

1/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: 2696 6769

Also in Tsim Sha Tsui is the long standing restaurant Swiss Chalet. Many locals come to this place, where chef/owner Max Liechti presents a variety of fondue featuring such cheeses as Gruyere, Emmental, Lambdenberger and Vacherin. You can even finish the meal off with a chocolate fondue served with cookies, fruit and cake.

12-14 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: 2191 9197

Or if you want ice cream on a chilly day, why not head to your nearest Häagen-Dazs for the ice cream fondue. Dip small ice cream balls into a sinfully hot chocolate dip to feel simultaneously hot and cold. Even better, you can take the fondue kit home to enjoy.

Find it at various outlets

3. Head stateside

US-style comfort food is popping up everywhere, with sweet-salty mac n’ cheese the go-to dish.

Starting on Monday, fans of mac n’ cheese can have their favourite dish prepared by five different chefs. The Mac Attack, available from January 25 to February 29 features the American staple interpreted by Little Bao, NOM, Stone Nullah Tavern, Tiger Curry and Lily & Bloom. And the dishes will go head-to-head, with the best judged by sales numbers, as well as most instagrammed (#themacattack).

Lily & Bloom, 5/F-6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central. Tel: 2810 6166.

Now warm up the old fashioned way

4. Ice skating

Shed the pounds by hitting the rink. Bundle up and head to Hong Kong’s three skating rinks: Taikoo Shing, Megabox and Festival Walk.

Cityplaza Ice Palace on the first floor of Taikoo Shing has skate rental and opens from 9.30am to 10pm daily for HK$55. In Kowloon Tong, Glacier is the ice rink at Festival Walk, open daily from 10.30am to 9.30pm.

The city’s biggest ice rink is undoubtedly Mega Ice at Megabox in Kowloon Bay, which meets Olympic and international standards.

Check here for opening hours and prices.

5. Brave winter with a hike

The peaks of Hong Kong and Kowloon are ready to be conquered, and you might even see snow on Tai Mo Shan this weekend according to reports. A unique experience in usually steamy Hong Kong.

Check out hikes here.

6. Be really nuts and go for a swim

Yep, there are people out there who like to swim in the cold weather. Prepare for the HK Winter Swimming Association’s annual race on February 10 with a chilling but rewarding dip in the sea.

For info about the HKWSA click here.

7. Go to a sauna

It’s cold outside but it’s hot in the sauna. There are loads of hyper-hot rooms where barely a few minutes of scorching heat may just be too much for you. Then again, it could be the perfect way to relax after your hike.

8. Investigate television

‘Netflix and chill’ may not have entered common usage in Hong Kong yet but it’s only a matter of time since the streaming service launched here last year. So embrace your inner bear, hibernate and use the free month’s subscription to see what’s out there – perhaps even compare it to the other offerings like LeTV, NowTV and so on.

9. Do something else

Send us your best suggestions for winter survival techniques to onlinenews@scmp.com. We’d love to hear from you.