Everywhere you look in Hong Kong you see evidence of the new and the old—sometimes fighting, sometimes in peaceful coexistence. How very modern. How very old-fashioned. How very Hong Kong. Old: Cha Chaan Tengs of Then A time capsule filled with Hong-Kong-style French toast, Mido Cafe has been largely the same since opening its doors in 1950. Look out for the colorful mosaic tiles lining the walls: they may seem like an elaborate embellishment, but they’re actually recycled from other construction projects. Don’t leave without trying the baked pork chop rice and iced red bean drink—both have been on the menu since day one. 63 Temple St., Yau Ma Tei, 2384-6402. New: Cha Chaan Tengs of Now Opened last year, Deli-O might look like your regular Western cafe, but it’s actually a cha chaan teng in disguise. The restaurant retains a true Cantonese spirit, serving traditional dishes such as baked pork chop rice and French toast. If you’re not a fan of the traditional cha chaan teng’s badly lit interior, hardwood seating and sketchy tableware, the clean and cozy Deli-O will save you the trouble of choosing between comfort and good food. Try the classic combo of spaghetti with char siu and soup served with ham, fried egg and toast ($46). Shop 268A, 2/F, Shun Tak Centre, 168-200 Connaught Rd. Central, Sheung Wan, 2517-7696, www.maxims.com.hk . Old: Snip and Tuck Originally opened on High Street in the 1950s, Yau Kei Barber Shop moved to its present digs around 10 years ago. This living museum, however, would not be complete without Sifus Wu and Chan, aged 86 and 84—both have been in the business since their twenties. The sifus are most proud of their shaving techniques. “No one knows how to do a proper shave now,” Wu says. “You can hurt your customer easily, but I can do it even with my eyes closed.” Their shaving shears have been in use since the beginning, and the barber chairs date back more than 100 years. If you agree with Wu and Chan that trendy hipster hairstyles are “ugly” and “cut without technique,” then head over and get a haircut from these two masters—for only $30. G/F, 88 Second St., Sai Ying Pun. New: Future Hair At ultra-modern blowdry-only hair bar Airplay, which opened earlier this summer, you’ll find a team of hairdresser extraordinaires who can twirl your tresses into curls or twisted updos. Airplay names all of its do’s after cocktails— the “sea breeze” promises soft, silky waves and the “Long Island iced tea” leaves strands super sleek. It’s also a notable spot for sparties, thanks to the plush pink furniture and floor-to-ceiling views of Central. All of the blow dries cost $280 and use Moroccanoil products. The best part? Sparkling drinks and canapés are always within arm’s reach. 7/F, W Place, 52 Wyndham St., Central, 2641-9888, www.airplaybar.com . Old: Caffeine Then Established in 1918, Lin Heung Tea House is the oldest of its kind in town. And it really is a tea house: to enhance the flavor, the eatery uses tea jars, which are smaller and allow more control over the strength of the tea, instead of everyday Chinese pots. Before you make a fool of yourself, remember—don’t drink the first batch. It’s only for rinsing the leaves. Dim sum cart ladies also add to the old Hong Kong vibe. Don’t miss Lin Heung’s famous mai lai gou sponge cake, and the lotus seed paste buns. 160-164 Wellington St., Central, 2544-4556. New: Caffeine Now Taiwanese-born Ini Tsai opened the cozy Harbour Pearl tea house six months ago in an effort to share rare Taiwanese teas with Hongkongers. Chef Panther Kwok also prepares a custom-made menu of desserts to go with different teas. “This place is really about the Taiwanese tea, and I design recipes that won’t overpower the tea’s delicate flavors,” he says. Since every cup is unique, Kwok will even pick out one that he thinks goes with your clothes and personality. 38 Sai St., Sheung Wan, 2851-2886. Old: A Cheongsam Sculptor Linva Tailor may have been around for 40 years, but the cheongsam and the qipao have dominated the Chinese fashion scene since the late 19th century—and Sifu Fung Pui-chun is passionate about the historical art. “It is important for us to keep this Chinese tradition alive,” Leung says. “The qipao represents Chinese history and culture, just as the kimono represents the Japanese.” Still, Linva is changing with the times. Knowing that tourists usually don’t stay long enough for them to complete a piece from scratch, Linva now sells ready-made cheongsams as well. 38 Cochrane St., Central, 2544-2456. New: A Cheongsam Innovator Janko Lam of Mutt Museum is also a cheongsam maker, but she’s revolutionized the traditional clothing item in two ways. First, instead of using silk and elaborate embroidery, Lam creates her pieces from discarded denim. “I feel the fashion industry is a wasteful one, and I wanted to think of ways where I could reduce waste,” she says. She also hopes to free people from the idea that cheongsams are only for special occasions. “Our designs are worn in more casual instances, such as shopping or going to work.” Cheongsams are $1,000-$1,700. P212, Casey International Ltd., 38 Lok Ku Rd., Sheung Wan, 9275-7059, www.muttmuseum.com . Old: 7-Eleven No. 1 Do you remember when 7-Eleven wasn’t ubiquitous? Us neither. But once upon a time, Hong Kong had only one single 7-Eleven outlet. Ok, so it wasn’t exactly the first 7-Eleven to ever grace the planet—that happened way back in 1927, in Dallas, Texas—but the omnipresent chain first touched down in Hong Kong on April 3, 1981. The folks in Happy Valley were the first to taste the celebrated sweetness of the chain’s Slurpees… and that wonderful microwaved dim sum. G/F, Winner House,15 Wong Nai Chung Rd., Happy Valley, 2299-1110. New: 7-Eleven No. 901 Joining the more than 900 7-Elevens dotting the territory is a new “concept” store at the Harbour Centre in Wan Chai. It has all the convenience store staples—Octopus card top-ups, bill payments, EPS EasyCash, stamp vending, Wi-Fi access, the list goes on—as well as the city’s first-ever cafe-like seating area, to slurp up those noodles and fish balls. Shop G6, G/F, Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Rd., Wan Chai, 2299-1110. Old: Claiming Possession On January 26, 1841, Commodore James Bremer planted a flag on Possession Mount marking Britain’s claim to Hong Kong. This celebratory spot eventually turned into a public space, known as Tai Tat Tei, where hawkers sold goods from street stalls. With the land reclamation, however, the point has disappeared. Now the closest mark is considered Hollywood Road Park, which sits on a hill above the old coast. Hollywood Park, Sheung Wan. New: Hillwood Rising Sheung Wan? Kennedy Town? Tin Hau? Those neighborhoods are so over. Strut your Squarestreet shoes over to the Hillwood Triangle instead. Jordan’s quaint Tak Shing Street is full of an unexpected bunch of mellow diners and sleek spas tucked away behind roaring Nathan Road. The main drive is the food, with a hip mix of restaurants popping up over the past year. Look for the likes of organic restaurant Sam’s Cook, Sichuan resto Sang Chuan Kong and a new branch of Castro’s bar. Hillwood Road, Austin Road and Tak Shing Street, Jordan. Old: Aged Meat A hands-down Hong Kong favorite, Joy Hing Roasted Meat has been carving up Cantonese char siu since the end of the Qing Dynasty. For real—the Chow family started the restaurant in Guangdong, and then moved the business to Causeway Bay when the Communists took control of mainland China. Later, the resto moved to Heard Street in Wan Chai. Over the years, the eatery has stuck with its pre-war style of cooking, which uses a special oven for rich barbecue flavors. The offerings haven’t changed much either—you can find everything from roasted duck to barbecued pork—all in a lip-smacking delicious sauce made from soy sauce, rice wine and honey. A plate of cha siu rice? $25. G/F, Block C, 265-267 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai, 2519-6639. New: Aged Meat (Part 2) The Butchers Club is a carnivore’s paradise, complete with a butchery, private kitchen and sausage-making classes. “Beef is becoming really popular here, but we wanted to take it a step further with this old-fashioned way of aging,” says founder Jonathan Glover. This is how it works: you buy a whole piece of beef (usually 7-11kg), and the butcher dry ages it for 30 to 60 days to develop the flavor. When it’s all dried and delicious, you can have the shop vacuum-pack it for you, or you can invite nine friends to a private dinner. But be warned: this isn’t going to be a 25-buck meal. Prices start at $1,100 per person—plus the price of your meat. 13C, Sun Ying Industrial Centre, 9 Tin Wan Close, Aberdeen, 2552-8281, www.butchersclub.com.hk . Old: First Last Stand Not only is Ned Kelly’s Last Stand the oldest bar in Hong Kong—it was also the first jazz bar in Asia. It’s been in the same spot on Ashley Road since it opened on December 18 1972, when TST was full of “rough-and-ready girly bars for the sailors and soldiers,” says Colin Aitchison, who leads house band Colin Aitchison & The China Coast Jazzmen. “We’ve been able to stay open because we are the only place with a live Dixie band every night.” Part-retro, part-kitsch, and all live jazz, this classic haunt has earned its reputation as one of Hong Kong’s best boozers. 11A Ashley Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2376-0562. New: Sense of Self Hong Kong’s iconic hipster hangout Sense 99 reopened its “secret” doors earlier this summer. It’s got some some touched-up tiles, refurbished balconies, a fresh lick of paint—oh, and a whole new floor—and the same iconically cool vibes. The upgraded space has a lot in the pipeline, including a greater emphasis on gallery exhibitions, private parties and music collaborations. It’s members-only, but you can score access to the super cheap drinks, live jamming and arts for just $200 a year. That’s worth it for the top floor balcony alone. 2/F, 99F Wellington St., Central, 9466-4695, www.sense99.com . Old: Threads of History One of the oldest clothing brands in Hong Kong, Lee Kung Man Knitting Factory actually got its start in Guangzhou in 1923. LKM uses 1950s-era machinery to keep the past alive, selling its signature underwear and no-frills cotton tees from several outlets around town. Surprise, surprise: hipsters go nuts for this stuff. But who can blame them? Shirts are super affordable, running between $80 and $280. Moustaches, you have to supply yourself. G/F, 224 Johnston Rd., Wan Chai, 2572-8840, leekungman.com. Also branches in Sheung Wan, Shek Kip Mei and Yau Ma Tei. New: Hong Kong on your Back If you want to keep with the Hong Kong heritage but white isn’t your best color, check out indie brand Momantai. Started by Elody Vincent in April 2012, the brand sells clothes with a Hong Kong twist. We especially love the 852 T-shirt, which comes in a bright blue hue, as well as the “Foot Paradise” tee, inspired by all of the massage parlors around town. Check out Momantai at stockists such as Dymocks IFC, Petit Bazaar, Babushka and Emmanuel F., or order online for free delivery. www.momantai.com.hk . Old: Subterranean Urination In need of relief? Next time don’t duck into a coffee shop: visit this 100-year-old underground toilet at the bottom of Wellington Street. Sure, it doesn’t sound like the most tempting of invitations, but these conveniences were renovated in 2002 and we assure you that they look a lot cleaner than most public pit-stops. More importantly, this is Hong Kong’s last surviving underground toilet. It is an important chunk of our social history, seeing as toilets saved the population from the Bubonic plague that haunted the city. Sorry, ladies—this one’s men only. Junction of Wellington Street and Queen’s Road Central. New: Toilet Humor Still giggling at the idea of a historically significant underground toilet? Head to the 7th Annual Hong Kong International Comedy Festival for a touch more potty humor. The festival runs nearly every night through September and early October. “We still make fun of traditional squat toilets. That’s why the Chinese have strong muscles and legs,” explains Jami Gong, festival founder and owner of SoHo’s TakeOut Comedy. But the potty humor may be mostly us. “We try to move away from crude and sexual jokes,” Gong reassures. “We try to encourage more clever comedy.” Teeheehee. Sexual jokes. Check out the program at www.hkcomedyfestival.com or call 6220-4436 for more details. Old: Bambnoodled Though Kwan Kee only opened its Sham Shui Po store in 2010, its Guangzhou branch has been making bamboo noodles for more than 70 years. Sifu Lee, grandson of the original founder of Kwan Kee, came up with the idea of a noodle place with an open kitchen to showcase the traditional noodle-making technique, which involves riding a large bamboo stick to knead the dough. Noodles and wontons are made fresh every day, with Sifu performing the bamboo-bouncing act roughly five times a day to make 500 fresh bowls. “There aren’t many good noodles in Hong Kong anymore,” says Sifu’s wife Maggie Wong. “Most are mass-produced. We don’t want people to forget the taste of real noodles.” Shop E, 1 Wing Lung St., Cheung Sha Wan, 3484-9126. New: Come On, Maureen Thanks to its innovative fusion of Chinese and Western culinary approaches, noodle joint Maureen caused quite a stir when it opened in early 2012. “I take Chinese recipes but switch the cooking techniques to Western and modern ones,” says founder Maureen Loh. “Slow cooking allows me to control the temperature and time precisely, hence the texture.” The noodles are custom-made to retain the great eggy flavor of Sichuan dan dan noodles, and the firm texture of thin Guangdong noodles. Though Loh thinks most of the dishes on her menu work better than traditional ones, she admits that sometimes the old methods are irreplaceable. “Nothing trumps just boiling shrimps the old-school Guangdong way,” she says. G/F, 11 Hing Wan St., Wan Chai, 2915-2261, www.maureen.com.hk . Old: Marketing Execs Though Graham Street Market is actually the oldest street market in Hong Kong, Western Market lays claim to the title of the oldest surviving market building. Built in 1906, the Edwardian brick facade sticks out like a sore thumb among Sheung Wan’s quotidian office buildings. And while the ground floor florists and cafes are way too touristy, we keep going back for the fantastic fabric market and dim sum restaurant The Grand Stage, which perches at the top of the building. 323 Des Voeux Rd., Sheung Wan, 6029-2675, westernmarket.com.hk. New: Farmers Markets Founded last September, Island East Markets has become a favorite weekend spot for local produce, art, baked goods, handicrafts, family-friendly activities and artisanal creations. After a summer hiatus, the market starts up again on September 15. Head to Quarry Bay every Sunday from 11am to 6pm for all kinds of guilt-free local shopping, as well as a growing lineup of outdoor performances—and don’t hesitate to bring your pooch along too. Tong Chong Street, Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay, www.hkmarkets.org . Old: The Mail Trail The oldest surviving post office building in Hong Kong, the Old Wan Chai Post Office sits on the intersection of Wan Chai Gap Road and Queen’s Road East. It was erected way back in 1912, but after 77 years of sorting mail, the post office closed its doors in 1992—but not before it was declared a historical monument in 1990. Shortly thereafter, the Environmental Protection Department converted the old post office into a resource center where Hongkongers can learn more about the city’s green initiatives. Wondering what the Chinese couplet on either side of the door means? If we foul our world that sustains us, what then shall we eat? Scorn hygiene that protects life, where then shall we live? 221 Queen’s Rd. East, Wan Chai, 2893-2856, www.epd.gov.hk . New: Stamp Appy Who says snail mail is history? Hongkong Post mailmen are still running off their feet to deliver 3.6 million pieces of mail every day. Even if you mislabel your envelopes, it’s almost certain that your mail will get to its destination thanks to a) the sleuth-like postmen who manage to descramble your cryptic abbreviations, and b) the helpful Hongkong Post app that does everything from track your package to check estimated shipping costs. 2921-2222, www.hongkongpost.hk . Old: Light Artist At nearly 100 years old, Leung Yau-kam is one of Hong Kong’s oldest lantern makers—and sadly, he’s one of the remaining few. The proud artisan is a respected master, and his 7-meter-tall paper lantern made it into the Guinness World Records in 1984—although it’s been broken since (the record, not the lantern). Even tycoon Li Ka-shing used to order from Leung. The sifu retired several years ago, due to competition. “Most lanterns are made by mainland factories now. It’s much cheaper,” he says. But he jokingly brushes off the idea of ever missing the old days. “It is painful bending the wood sticks,” he adds. “Who’d miss it?” Later though, he proudly shows us a poster of his younger self with a huge dragon lantern. His shop now sells incense and decorative papers used for worship. Sang Woon Long, G/F, 28 Western St., Sai Ying Pun, 2540-1369. New: Paper Creator A handmade book specialist, Percy So believes her paper craft belongs in the 21st century. “Right now, it’s a lot better in Hong Kong in terms of creativity and the creative industries than 10 years ago,” she says. In her Causeway Bay studio, So handcrafts all kinds of books, from practical notebooks to avant-garde pieces that are more like sculptures. One of the coolest parts of her job, however, is helping customers restore old books and photo albums. “There are people who have books that have been passed down for generations, and they want those restored.” Keep paper crafts going by signing up for her bookbinding classes, taught through four three-hour sessions ($2,000). Contact So for a commission, studio visit or to enroll in a class, 9191-4687, www.percyso.com . There’s No News Like Old News A look back at HK Magazine covers shows that maybe we’re not quite as innovative as we like to think. Still drumming away Love in a humid climate Rent woes: when's that bubble gonna burst? No issue is an island Holding our breath for years Thoreau would be proud Now & Then Christopher Cheung compares Hong Kong’s past and present. The Tram: Trams have run along the northern side of Hong Kong Island for more than 100 years. In the beginning, all trams were single-deckers and seats were separated into three classes. But as demand grew, double-decker trams started to roll out—in a style that’s very similar to today’s ding dings. Pedder Street: The Hong Kong Hotel (top, on left), Hong Kong’s first deluxe hotel, opened its doors in 1866 on Pedder Street. The hotel has since closed, but you can still see an inkling of the neighborhood’s past with a look at the iconic Pedder Building, which was built in 1924. Ignore the Abercrombie & Fitch models, who are probably an anachronism. Happy Valley Racecourse: In 1845, homesick British people built a racecourse in Wong Nai Chung Valley (now known as Happy Valley) so that they could enjoy losing money in the Far East like they used to do at home. Nothing much has changed: the horse races still attract crowds every Wednesday during race season... and they’re still full of expats. Man Mo Temple: For several decades after opening in 1847, Man Mo Temple served as the meeting point of the local Chinese community on Hong Kong Island, to settle disputes and conduct elections. Western-style institutions have long since replaced the temple for these community functions, but people still come to pray to deities Man Tai and Mo Tai for good fortune.