We Soothe Your Every Hong Kong Complaint
We’re fed up of people whining about all of the city’s shortcomings. You’re wrong, wrong wrong! And we’re going to prove it to you.
“I want to have sex but my flat’s too small!”
Calm your quivering loins, friend. The city has a wide selection of love hotels for all budgets and inclinations. One of the classiest is the Mingle at the Eden (148 Wellington St., Central, 2850-6289), which has rooms of varying sizes—including one with ceiling mirrors, and round beds—that are available in two- and three-hour blocks ($360 for two, $450 for three). You even get a free condom. Another location in the vicinity of Lan Kwai Fong is the Linn Hotel (3/F, Block B, Winner Building, Wing Wah Lane, Central, 2810-8166) which gets the job done at $450/two hours.
“The price of transport keeps going up!”
You can probably still afford it; Hong Kong has some of the cheapest public transport in the world. But if you’re a cross-harbor commuter then get an MTR City Saver card: it’s $415 per month, covering an area of pretty much everything south of Kowloon Tong. If you live in Kowloon and commute to Central, it pays for itself.
Not so, beer snob. The last few years have seen a flowering of the city’s craft breweries. Check out the brand new 65 Peel (65 Peel St., Central, 2342-2224), which specializes in Hong Kong craft beers, from breweries including Black Kite, Moonzen and the Hong Kong Beer Co.
“I can’t get my favorite American food here!”
Yes you can. Gateway (2/F, Unicorn Trade Centre, 131 Des Voeux Rd. Central, 2545-0338) and A&M (three locations including 12/F, Manning House, 38-48 Queen’s Rd. Central, 2548-8280) supermarkets stock all the Twinkies, Kraft Mac’n’Cheese and Fruit Roll-Ups that your heart could ever (inexplicably) desire.
Not all memberships. UTime Fitness (locations in Happy Valley, Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town, www.utimefitness.hk) and Anytime Fitness (locations in Sai Ying Pun, Kwai Chung and Kowloon City, www.anytimefitness.com) both run 24-hour gyms with no contract necessary: you just pay around $500 a month. Alternatively government-run gyms cost just $14/hour or $180/month, after a free three-hour induction session.
“Ugh, I can’t get Amazon delivery.”
Groceries: www.jousun.com does same-day delivery, sourced from wet market vendors, specialty stores and more: You can get everything from fresh fruit and meat to handmade shrimp noodles, kale chips or kombucha. Free delivery over $250.
Everything else: www.hktvmall.com has deals on groceries, fashion and more (free delivery over $400). China’s online shopping mecca taobao.com stocks pretty much everything known to man, from fashion to furniture to funny hats, but you’d better be a whiz with simplified Chinese (or extremely talented at Google Translate).
Yes, the average cocktail does seem to be ticking towards $150 per drink. But there are still places serving quality cocktails for less. In addition to looking like a Wong Kar-wai fever dream, Tai Lung Fung (5-9 Hing Wan St., Wan Chai, 2572-0055) serves mostly quality drinks in an unpretentious setting, for sub-$100 prices.
“There are no good museums!”
We’re not full of Picassos, but the city has some great museums:
Police Museum: Contains the stuffed head of a tiger which killed two policeman in 1915 before finally being taken down. 27 Coombe Rd., The Peak, 2849-7019.
Museum of Medical Sciences: Satisfyingly macabre displays of medical instruments and LOADS of information about the plague. 2 Caine Lane, Mid-Levels, 2549-5123.
Tao Heung Foods of Mankind Museum: Exhibits the food, kitchens and implements of cuisines from all around the world. Weird, right? 1/F, 13 Au Pui Wan St., Sha Tin, 3960-6213.
“Movie tickets are so pricy!”
They don’t have to be. On Tuesdays the city’s cinemas do discount tickets which will save you at least $20 off the usual price. The tickets at the art-house-style Broadway Cinematheque (Prosperous Garden, 3 Public Square St., Yau Ma Tei) are a little cheaper, and the films are better, too. Then there’s the Hong Kong Film Archive (50 Lei King Rd., Sai Wan Ho, 2739-2139), where you can catch screenings of Hong Kong classics for about $50. This weekend catch two Chow Yun-fat flicks, “City on Fire” (Apr 16, 2:30pm) and “A Better Tomorrow” (Apr 17, 7:30pm).
“I can’t cycle anywhere!”
The city has are some beautiful routes if you seek them out. One of the most popular is the Plover Cove Reservoir trail: Hire bikes at Tai Mei Tuk for a leisurely ride along the huge dam which separates the reservoir from Plover Cove and Tolo Harbour—or if you’re looking for a bit more exercise there’s the 20km path from Tai Wai up to the reservoir. Hire bikes from the shops near the MTR station including Cyclesport (Unit 3-4, 6/F, Kinglet Industrial Building, 21 Shing Wan Rd., Tai Wai, 9012-2301). Some will allow you to drop off your bikes in Tai Mei Tuk instead of cycling all the way back.
“There’s no easy recycling!”
While Hong Kong’s recycling system is baroque and ineffective, there are ways around it. HK Recycles collects your recyclables on a subscription basis, from $590 per month.
“There’s no cheap coffee!”
McCafé coffee won’t win any awards—but for $11, who’s complaining? He’s a little secret: Order anything from the McCafé menu and you can ALSO order from the regular McDonald’s menu. Double cheeseburger and a long black? Coming right up.
Admittedly, the city has always had a venue problem. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Here are some places for all kinds of tunes:
Jazz: Peel Fresco (49 Peel St., Central, 2540-2046, peel-fresco.com) hosts jazz nightly; check website for specifics.
Indie/metal: Hidden Agenda (2A, Winful Industrial Building, 15-17 Tai Yip St., Kwun Tong, 9088-8950) is the city’s go-to hipster gig venue.
Classical: The Cultural Centre can sound muddy, but the Hong Kong Chamber Music Society has recently discovered a new high-ceilinged performance space at the Ladies Recreation Club, 10 Old Peak Rd. www.chambermusic.homestead.com
“There’s just no cultural scene in the city!”
You are definitely not looking hard enough. The city’s cultural scene is thriving, with more galleries, exhibitions, art and culture than ever before. A good starting point is Cattle Depot Artist Village (63 Ma Tau Kok Rd, Ma Tau Wai), a former slaughterhouse that’s been transformed into a space for artists and art organizations. It’s been around for long enough that it’s almost mainstream these days—the younger artists tend to cluster around Fo Tan instead: Fotanian is a collective of some of the best.
“Cabs never go where I want them to go.”
There’s a way around the city’s increasingly intransigent cab drivers. If Uber’s stretching your budget, taxi hailing apps such as 快的Taxi (“fai dik taxi”) are easy to use, though knowing Cantonese helps. Alternatively brand new taxi-sharing app Hopsee allows you to share rides with other people going your way, cutting costs and getting you a queue jump or two as well.
We’re not saying you should go swimming in the harbor (although you can: the Sai Wan Swimming Shed at the far end of Kennedy Town, offers easy access to the harbor) but the city’s water quality is of a high standard: Last year 61 percent of the city’s 41 gazetted beaches got the top “good” ranking while the rest get the second “fair” categorization. Looks like it’s time to strip and dip.
“It’s so hard to find tampons!”
Hong Kong is pretty limited when it comes to feminine hygiene products: lots of pads and about two tampon brands in every other shop. In 1998, Tampax even announced that it had decided to stop stocking the city, saying that it wasn’t a “key market.” They soon had to relent, but for a brief moment it gave rise to a parallel trading industry of tampon-runners bringing them in from overseas. One option is to buy a Mooncup ($298) from Just Green (various locations including 52 Graham St., Central, 2801-5611). These menstrual cups are reusable, good for the environment and they’ll save you money too.
“There’s nowhere to buy clothes unless you’re tiny!”
It might be harder to find clothes in the city if you’re not the size of a toothpick, but it’s possible. The Fa Yuen Street Market can be rewarding if you have the patience, while the vintage threads at Mee & Gee (181 Fa Yuen St., Mong Kok, 2394-8057) can deliver some great looks. LoveIt (1/F, Shama Place, 30 Hollywood Rd., Central, 2545-2162, www.loveit.com.hk) also specializes in both plus-size and petite clothing. Big guy? Check out XSXXL (Three locations including Room 304, 3/F, Winning House, 10-16 Cochrane St., Central, 2910-1808, xsxxl.com)—or take advantage of Hong Kong’s tailors, where no size is too large.
Which crybaby are you?
1. What Hong Kong smell do you find most offensive?
- A. The reek of stinky tofu rising from the street stalls.
- B. BO from people who haven’t learned to use deodorant at rush hour.
- C. All the poor people.
- D. A poorly prepared beef brisket stock. What’s the point?
2. What Hong Kong habit irritates you the most?
- A. People clipping their nails on public transport.
- B. How everyone just assumes you should have perfect Cantonese.
- C. Everyone protesting all the time, which really gets in the way of cocktail hour.
- D. Why get annoyed? Let’s just take it easy.
3. What do you find most annoying about the Hong Kong summer?
- A. The sweltering, cloying, unbearable humidity.
- B. So many junk trips, so little time.
- C. Volar, D-i and Taz get uncomfortably full of models.
- D. Tourists from the mainland.
4. When you go to karaoke, you…
- A. Line up that one Beyond song you memorized.
- B. Line up hip-hop with disgusting lyrics.
- C. Wonder where the line of KTV girls is.
- D. Reach for the dice and the VSOP.