It was an overcast day in Hong Kong when we had a few hours of free time to kill. So that afternoon, we set off for Quarry Bay on Hong Kong Island to find a cluster of buildings known as the Monster Buildings. Built in the 1960’s, these public housing blocks are like giant stacks of lego; several buildings claustrophobically cluttered together to make one enormous block. The overcast day was a perfect backdrop to photograph the estate and a perfect example of how ugly can also be beautiful.
I guess the local residents are used to strangers coming in to the central courtyard to snap pictures. Or maybe, this was just a particularly intense game of Mahjong- but as Robin snapped away at the architecture above, I had a nosy around the ground floor level.
People nipped in and out of the shops downstairs- the local barber shop, a cafe and bakery; even a few tiny offices were squeezed in between. Gangs of old ladies, setting up mahjong games, seemed to be the theme of the courtyard. I have vague memories of my Mum taking us along to her Mahjong games when I was small (or was it Bridge?) Whatever the game, I enjoyed watching them play and set up around me.
Hello husband- nailing next season’s tonal dressing already!
After a brief rain shower, we walked through the courtyard next door and started to make our way to Central and towards Soho just in time for the sun to come out again.
Every city in the world has it’s own version of Soho.
London has its famous (and beloved) creative square mile.
New York’s is a hub of cool shops and cobblestones (and flagship Alexander Wang mmmm)
Hong Kong’s is a hilly neighbourhood buzzing with bars and restaurants, south of Hollywood Road, and has all the cool boutiques (my favourite is a homeware store called Goods of Desire)
Central is only a short MTR journey away from Quarry Bay, and we were soon walking through Central and exploring the area between here and Sheung Wan.
Goods of Desire is my favourite shop in Hong Kong- I like their quirky Hong Kong themed accessories. Over the years, we’ve bought cushions covers, bedding and this time round, another cushion! (but hey, you can never have too many of those)
G/F & 1/F, 48 Hollywood Road
Central, Hong Kong
For dinner, we went to Yardbird…and it was so good. We got there bang on the dot at 6pm on a Friday night, and soon after the restaurant was heaving. Everyone is young, hip and tattooed and the food was delicious. Beyond worth the hype. It’s Izakaya style dining, so lots of grilled dishes with a twist.
Best menu item we tried? the meatball with tare and egg yolk and the sweetcorn tempura, simple but delicious. Arrive early to avoid queuing!
G/F, 33-35 Bridges Street
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Earlier in the day we also took a wander around PMQ, weaving in and out of the independent boutiques and shops, before stopping for an iced tea.
No.35 Aberdeen Street, Central
There’s a nice view on the top floor of PMQ, looking out onto pink buildings in contrast with old Hong Kong buildings- when nature meets urban city life. Fun fact alert; pink is the cheapest paint colour and is often why government buildings are painted in this pop of colour.
Eventually, as night drew in, we headed back to our hotel- the city at night time is at it’s prettiest.
And that was our one free day in Hong Kong! Spent in some of the most interesting neighbourhoods in town. Over the following weekend, we spent it at a wedding, followed by Disney and before we knew it, it was time to fly home.
I have never spent a week eating more dim sum and dumplings or buying the entire contents of every Asian bakery I came across- until the next time Hong Kong!