Hong Kong is emerging, not just literally from its infamous pandemic-era lockdowns, but metaphorically, as it rethinks its identity as a Chinese city and global financial centre. The cultural front has been given a substantial boost in the form of the much-lauded birth of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), one of the world's largest arts districts anywhere in the world. The impact of WKCD is expected to not only rejig the ranking of Asia's most important art cities in Hong Kong's favour but will also force other governments to relook arts and cultural urban planning. But the ultimate beauty of Hong Kong must like in its indefatigable spirit and its unyielding pride in its embrace of its Cantonese heritage, sitting ever so comfortable alongside its ultra-modern side. Hong Kong island is where expats get comfortable and the cuisines represented here manifest that. Kowloon is the tourist-poster Hong Kong where the neon lights illuminate the chaos and vibe that makes Hong Kong Hong Kong. It is a city staunchly proud of her heritage but always accepting the future and the world with open arms. We want to say "be mesmerized "but we suspect you already are.
wee black book : HONG KONG EDITION
D I S H
YU MAN FANG 譽滿坊
The interiors is a throwback to colonial times but its traditional dim sum definitely is not reminiscent of any hangovers (maybe to cure it). If you want to have the best experience with Hong Kong's national food, we think you cannot go wrong with a specialist like Yu Man Fang.
63 Sing Woo Rd, Happy Valley 跑馬地成和道63號地下 | 2834 8893
LUNG KING HEEN 龍景軒
This veritable 3-Michelin starred Cantonese institution doesn't rest on its laurels. Its continuously innovative and consistently superb Cantonese cuisine gives it its rightful place at the apogee of the temple of this complex cuisine. Come for yum cha or dinner.
Podium 4, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central | website
An apogee of modern Cantonese fine dining with absolute panache and refined fastidiousness, Vicky Cheng has sealed his place as one of Hong Kong's most innovate chefs. With his also-acclaimed Vea just a floor above, he has made this one veritable destination for foodies scooping out the best in the Chinese territory.
29F The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street | wingrestaurant.hk
S N O O Z E
THE UPPER HOUSE
Andre Fu does it again. The Upper House has quickly become the doyen of sophistication, the benchmark of minimalist chic- and these are tags not flippantly attached to this property. Its delectable sleekness and oh-so-cool understated surroundings attract the super-discerning and leave them wanting more. They also usually retreat to the restaurant-on-property, Cafe Gray Deluxe, which serves food jazzed-up continental cuisine as delicious as its views.
Although not strictly a boutique hotel, the measures that this hotel has gone to, to ensure that it rips up the rulebook of luxury and style in a city that is already crammed with high-luxe offerings, definitely is worthy of more than a mention in our books. It also crucially looks set to invigorate the tired Victoria Dockside area and will surely up the ante for those seeking a truly luxurious hospitality experience on this "dark side" of the Harbour.
Housed in a 1969 Ron Phillips building, the modernist structure was Hong Kong's tallest government building. Painstaking restoration and refurbishment works led by Foster + Partners finished in 2018 and reveals a reinvention of this abandoned urban quarter by stitching together the urban fabric through the linkage of the large green spaces flanking the site to the east and west but still keeping intact access to incredible vistas of The Peak to the south and Victoria Harbour to the north.
D I S C O V E R
WEST KOWLOON CULTURAL DISTRICT
The newly unveiled cultural precinct, now the largest of its kind in the world, houses 17 venues that spans the performance and visual arts spectrum, which ultimately includes the veritable M+ Museum, a contemporary art museum housing the Sigg collection of contemporary Chinese art, amongst other collections, in a Herzog & de Meuron building. Come marvel at this Foster + Partner-conceived district, even if it means a midsummer picnic in the Art Park.
M+ at 38 Museum Drive, WKCD | website
Welcome to Hong Kong's temple to contemporary art in the form of a gleaming 24-storey building which some of the world's most prestigious commercial art galleries call home, including David Zwirner's only Asian outpost. Rest your weary feet after at one of the several trendy restaurants here, including Arbor with Eric Räty at the helm.
80 Queen's Road Central | website