Illustrator Kitty Wong takes us around the edgy industrial district
An edgy industrial district on the southern side of Hong Kong Island, Wong Chuk Hang (15 minutes from Central on the recently opened South Island MTR line) has steadily become a hotbed of creativity, luring artists and entrepreneurs of all types to set up shop. Kitty Wong, an illustrator for top local and international fashion brands, and a regular at Wong Chuk Hang, shows us how to spend the weekend checking out hiking trails, restaurants, terrace bars, food markets and art galleries.
10am: Breakfast and specialty coffee at Sensory Zero
Just a block from the Wong Chuk Hang MTR station, Sensory Zero coffee shop and roastery offers a big breakfast menu with highlights like Japanese-style scrambled eggs, hefty servings of ramen, all-day English breakfast platters and freshly roasted coffee. Non-coffee drinkers will also be pleased with the silky-smooth rooibos tea latte, homemade ginger teas and fresh juices. “It’s a comfy and eclectically furnished space; the sensory aspect of the name comes through as well — take a whiff of the perfume bottles filled with coffee beans to decide which brew to go with.” sensoryzero.com
11AM: Art appreciation at de Sarthe Gallery
Contemporary art galleries have been moving to Wong Chuk Hang to take advantage of the area’s spacious warehouse lofts. Among the newcomers is de Sarthe Gallery, which relocated from Central last year, bringing with it surreal work from international artists. Currently on show: “Manolo Millares — Antoni Tàpies: An Informel Step” showcasing works by the two acclaimed Spanish artists. Desarthe.com
1PM: Lunch at Nam Long Shan Road Cooked Food Market
“The food market is pretty amazing; it’s one of the prettiest ones around, with gorgeous architecture, open-air balconies, huge windows and colorful tarps that block out the wind,” says Kitty. While there, sit down for a plate of unassuming but delicious Thai-style curry at Green Curry House (2/F, Shop 5). Then down a refreshing glass of frothy sugar cane juice or cendol ice (green rice jelly with coconut milk and shaved ice) at one of Hong Kong’s traditional dai pai dong, or open-air street stalls.
3PM: Bottoms up at Young Master Brewery
The brewery-slash-tasting-room hosts tours (book ahead online) and walk-in tasting sessions, and is open to the public on weekends. The offerings range from the Classic Pale Ale to adventurous numbers like the Orange is the New Black (a chocolate- and orange-infused porter). “It feels like a playground for adults,” says Kitty. “My favorite is the Cha Chaan Teng Gose (sour, top-fermented beer), inspired by the salted lime 7 Up, an old-school Hong Kong drink.” youngmasterales.com
5PM: Relax and unwind at Komune
As a weekend overnight spot, the Ovolo Southside Hotel has a lot going for it — its renovated rooftop bar, Above, offers great views of lush greenery. Inside you’ll find Komune, a newly opened two-story venue that offers a fusion of American, Spanish and European cuisines. The cocktail menu, created by drink consultancy the Cocktail Professor, includes items like the pretty but potent When it Rains Look for Rainbows (a mix of gin, pomelo peel, tequila and Champagne syrup) and the smoother, less heady Longevity Tree Sap (bourbon, black tea syrup, oregano and dandelion and burdock bitters). Komune.com.hk
8PM: Devour stone-oven-baked pizza at GCX
Among the very first restaurants to touch down in Wong Chuk Hang, Italian restaurant and gourmet shop GCX draws foodies with homemade pasta, freshly baked pizza and an impressive Italian wine collection at its onsite retail space. GCX charges a very reasonable 10% corkage fee for any label purchased and consumed in-house. “I love the New York-meets-Italy vibe,” says Kitty. “It’s the perfect place to wind down after a long day, with pizza and a glass of sparkling red Lambrusco.” elgrande.com.hk
7AM: Take a walk to see ancient stone carvings
History buffs will want to start the day with a short hike (or a five-minute cab ride) northeast of Wong Chuk Hang’s MTR station. Here you’ll find an ancient national treasure hiding in the hillside. Thought to date back 3,000 years, these Bronze Age stone carvings showcase tribal spiral patterns and barely discernible animal motifs. “In just a few minutes from the MTR, you can be surrounded by this peaceful wooded area,” says Kitty. “This proximity to nature and history makes Hong Kong special.” amo.gov.hk
8AM: Soak up the views along the Nam Long Shan trail
Just behind the cooked food center, Nam Long Shan Road winds around the southern mountains of Wong Chuk Hang. A 20-minute uphill walk to the trail passes by a scenic bridge, where you can stop to observe the marina below before turning left up a flight of stone steps. As you climb the well-maintained pathway, you’ll hear the screams of thrill-seekers on the roller coasters of Ocean Park. “The payoff on this hike is excellent, even if you don’t have time to do the full course,” adds Kitty. “In just 10 minutes, you’ll be rewarded with an almost 360-degree view of the ocean, outlying islands and Ocean Park.”
. . .
Q&A with Hong Mak (aka Hong), operations manager of Young Master Brewery
What’s the Hong Kong craft beer scene like?
Hong: When we opened in 2013, there was really only one other craft brewer. Since then, we’ve watched the scene grow — there are about four or five large operations and at least 20 smaller ones.
What does Young Master offer?
Hong: Our year-round beers such as the Classic Pale Ale and the Rye on Wood are rooted in traditional methods. But then we augment that list with experimental beers that could either resurrect a forgotten recipe, or reflect a play with fermentation, barrel-aging or interesting flavor combinations.
What should we try?
Hong: Definitely try the Fake Juice — it’s a citrusy New England-style IPA that’s made with fruity hops.
. . .
Where to stay
L’hotel Island South. Ocean Park’s affiliated hotel, located 15 minutes away by car from the theme park, offers 432 stylish rooms, plus a pool, bar and restaurant. lhotelgroup.com
Ovolo Southside. This warehouse-turned-boutique-hotel delivers artsy décor and a slew of treats such as breakfast, coffee and nightly happy hours. ovolohotels.com.hk
Mojo Nomad. Aimed at digital nomads, Mojo Nomad combines the social perks of co-living with the convenience of co-working in a smartly designed space. mojonomad.com
. . .
What to do
Accessed via a free shuttle ferry, Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant wows with over-the-top Chinese décor — jade-colored dragons, winged pavilions and gilded ceilings. Opened back in 1976, the memorable eatery is said to have hosted royalty and celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth II and Tom Cruise. jumbokingdom.com
This article first appeared in the April 2018 issue of Smile magazine.