Life, health, happiness, yoga, style, travel, sunshine and endless possibilities…
I have recently returned to London following a two week break in Hong Kong, my home town. As always, the trip opened up a treasure chest of memories, stirring up strong feelings of nostalgia with every twist and turn. The smells and sights of the city are powerful. At the same time, there’s always something new to discover in Hong Kong, especially on the food scene. It’s an exciting and innovative city of mixed cultures, mixed heritage, and plenty of food. Here are a few places I highly recommend (click on the photos to enlarge them):
MANA – Fast Slow Food
This is the place to come if you’re looking for wholesome, nourishing & globally inspired plant based food, hand-made from scratch every day. There are two MANA’s in Hong Kong, one on Wellington Street, Central and one on Pound Lane, Sheung Wan. I went to the one in Central and the portions were huge, they don’t hold back and neither should you! MANA encourages people to ‘Eat Like It Matters’ by serving food which doesn’t cost the earth (literally), because the café places a big emphasis on recycling in order to have as little waste as possible. I ate at a big communal table at the back of the café and tried one of the MANA signature Lebanese flatbreads (a half portion) crammed full with vegetables and Zataar (an ancient Lebanese mixture of herbs & olive oil), an Earth juice and shared a mixed vegetable salad. After I finished my flatbread, I have to be honest, there was very little room for the salad! It was so scrumptious and I couldn’t believe how full I was. Worth noting, the vibe at MANA was really chilled out and relaxing, it’s the kind of place I’d hangout at between teaching classes or catching up with friends.
HOME – Eat To Live
HOME is similar to MANA, although it has a bigger menu selection, and is a bigger café in general. Based in Central, the café aims to help you balance your mind and body by using only organic produce whenever possible. Most of their ingredients are sourced locally from a network of farms and all the food is made fresh daily. I was at the restaurant with my father and step-mother, so between the three of us, we managed to order a small feast. I must add at this point, my father is not one for plant-based meals, he’s always worried that he won’t like them or he won’t be full. I can tell you now that after his Polar Bear Burger (made with a beetroot & mushroom patty), he was very satisfied and very full – he didn’t even finish his sweet potato wedges, which is unlike him! I had a delicious Hawaiian Monk Seal Flatbread (packed full of roasted vegetables) followed by a surprisingly delightful raw mango cheesecake. HOME proves that taste doesn’t need to be compromised when it comes to vegetarian food.
SEVVA occupies the whole of the top floor of Princes Building (one of the city’s most iconic buildings) in Central and I went along to check out their Signature SEVVA Afternoon Tea (rumoured to be among the best in Hong Kong) with my two little sisters. It is split into two restaurants (a bank-side one and a harbour-side one), a bar, a lounge / afternoon tea area and a large wraparound outdoor terrace. The whole restaurant is gorgeous but the Afternoon Tea area was my favourite, it was light and airy, and stunningly designed. The SEVVA Afternoon Tea set was probably one of the prettiest afternoon teas that I’ve ever come across (honestly! Just look at those photos!), the menu encompasses the cultural diversity of Hong Kong’s rich tapestry of cosmopolitan chic and historical heritage. Best of all, it all tasted incredible! Sometimes, the cakes which look the best don’t necessarily taste the best. However, the bakers at SEVVA don’t have to worry about that! My favourite item by far was the Lollipop Rainbow Cake, which was perfectly light, fluffy and sweet! SEVVA is definitely in a class of its own.
Emack and Bolios
Emack and Bolios are the rock stars of the ice cream world, they originated in Boston, USA, and are now finally in Hong Kong; they have two shops, one in Central and one in Tsim Sha Tsui. I was introduced to them by my youngest sister who was keen to go. Not only do they make amazing ice cream, they make it look good! From popcorn and oreo cones, to over 100 flavours of lip-smacking ice cream, and toppings ranging from rainbow sprinkles to chocolate drops – Emacks have it all! One downside: you will most likely have a sugar crash afterwards!
Beef & Liberty
I love a good cheeseburger, so when I looked up the number one burger restaurant in Hong Kong, Beef & Liberty came up on lots of websites – I had to go! The restaurant has three locations in Hong Kong: Central, Wan Chai and Stanley, and with so many different sources singing its praises, I had high expectations. Beef & Liberty proudly serve hormone-free, grass-fed beef from Scottish Longhorn cattle. My expectations were exceeded, the cheeseburger I ordered was exactly as I had hoped; meaty, cheesy, juicy and moreish!
The Cupping Room
I went to The Cupping Room while having a girly catch up with a friend. They have a few locations across Hong Kong and are largely a coffee shop. We both ordered the spinach & pesto spaghetti and homemade lemonade. It was such a simple meal but so yummy and worth returning for.
The Parlour at Hullett House
The Parlour is a glamorous and grand chinoiserie lounge and terrace situated at Hullett House Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. Hullett House is a beautiful old colonial building dating back to 1881 and it holds special memories for me. For more than 100 years it was occupied by Hong Kong’s Royal Marine Police and my father used to work there before he retired. I remember visiting him when I was really young in the late 1980’s and feeding the pigeons in the courtyard there. Fast forward to today and I was back at the house for afternoon cocktails with my little sister. We sat on the outdoor terrace drinking champagne Berry Spritz cocktails with lovely views towards Victoria harbour. It was a refreshing little pit stop on what was a very busy day.
The American restaurant is an absolute institution in Hong Kong. Located on Lockhart Road in Wan Chai, contrary to its name it serves Peking cuisine and my family has been going there for over 40 years, since the early 1970’s. If you’re looking for mouth-wateringly good Chinese food, you must stop by. The restaurant hasn’t changed its menu, staff (the waiters are notoriously charmless) or décor (very basic) in the years my family have been going there, so to go back really felt like taking a step back in time and revisiting my past. The food is really something to look forward to and it’s the reason people return there year after year. As always, we ordered lots and lots of different dishes to share. Highlights include the sizzling beef, chicken & cashew nuts and of course, the Peking duck!
VilaVilla in Sai Kung is a small restaurant serving Hunan province Chinese food, it’s one of my most recent foodie discoveries and I went there with my father three times in the space of two weeks. We were both absolutely addicted to their crispy lemon chicken dish. It’s not the kind of place which is in tourist books, so I never saw it looking too busy, which was all the better for us!