Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Karen, 26
Lifestyle Writer & Third Culture Millennial
see her Hong Kong city guide

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asian food hole in the wall café boutiques cocktail bars viewpoints flea markets

What are the Hong Kong spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Well, these are cliches, but they are cliches for a reason. My picks are Mongkok (for the neon lights and street food), The Peak (for the iconic view), Star Ferry (a unique ride made for the golden hour), and Tai Kwun (for a look at heritage meets modernity).

How much do you spend on an average night out on the town?

If I'm having a big night out with friends on island side, around $500 to $800. But usually I lean towards just a cosy dinner with a close friend with a glass of wine and maybe board games somewhere near my house on Kowloon side, and that will round up to about $300 maximum.

Which neighborhood is it best to experience during the day / night?

I have a soft spot for Sham Shui Po and Mongkok - both amazing all day long and give off completely different vibes. Sham Shui Po during the night is very moody, and Mongkok has great neon lights. During the day, both are packed with great food picks and shopping, and offer great local flavours and sights.

What’s the area in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

To be quite honest, I absolutely detest the idea of going Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay. I think it's a very personal thing but they're both lesser versions of another neighbourhood? i.e. I'd rather go to Central than TST (better bars and restaurants) and Mongkok than Causeway Bay (more local and with cheaper offerings).

What’s the one place in Hong Kong you think is underrated?

Very much Sham Shui Po! It doesn't have particular touristy moments, but I think just wandering the streets, tasting snacks and just exploring the local retail is a great way to get a taste of what an average day is like for normies.

Where would you take a date for a romantic night out?

A nice dinner in Soho is the usual, but I always try to go to a new restaurant for new experiences. There's honestly always a new restaurant and cocktail bar concept around the corner, so it's perfect for date nights.

Drunk and hungry - where do you go in Hong Kong?

McWings from Mcdonalds is unbeatable. Many will say Tsui Wah but it's not my thing - simply because it's overrated and quite expensive for what it is - glorified cha chan teng food.

It's freeeeezing out - what should a visitor do?

Do a hike - HK doesn't really get that cold! A simple (and classic) one would be Dragon's Back. If you're looking for a challenge, try Sunset Peak.

Where do you take your guest when you want to impress?

Anywhere with a view - Hutong, Ce La Vi, Fofo el Willy, On Dining.

Your go-to brunch spots:

Black Salt for modern Indian, or Aberdeen Street Social for the classic lobster roll or steak + fries.

Your perfect night out in Hong Kong includes:

Good friends (no more than 2) and great cocktails. Plus Geronimo for shots.

Which local creators do you admire?

@samishome has AMAZING shots - seriously check her out on Instagram for breathtaking views and amazing editing skills.

Special views that mainstream tourists don't know about:

Go up to rooftops of random old buildings in Mongkok or Sham Shui Po (bonus points for doing it during the golden hour).

Best place for a cheap bite on-the-go:

Mongkok to "sweep the street" as we call it, i.e. eating street snacks and drinking some trendy bubble tea.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Hong Kong. How do you spend it?

Do an expensive free-flow brunch at Zuma (where everyone goes), shop at Mongkok and do local snacks at sham shui po. Head back to Central for a late dinner at La Vache (or wherever else is trendy) and polish off a few bottles of wine. Must have: a well-done whisky sour at 001.

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