Hong Kong's Most Memorable Souvenir
Next time you’re in the city, take home an unexpected sweet treat with a local twist. Story and photographs by Christopher DeWolf
Published on Dec 6, 2011
It’s a surprise to many visitors that Hong Kong mostly consists not of neon signs and concrete canyons, but of hilly scrubland and dense forest. Another surprise: one of the SAR’s most memorable souvenirs is a bottle of locally produced honey. But this isn’t the honey you’ve tasted before. Harvested from the wild and bottled in small batches, Hong Kong honey carries the essence of local flora like lychee and longan flowers, varying in taste, texture and aroma from one season to the next. Winter honey is white and creamy, with a deep and complex sweetness; spring honey is amber-colored and vaguely medicinal in flavor.
These days, local honey is more popular than ever thanks to HK Honey (hkhoney.org), a project launched in 2010 by product designer Michael Leung. Under the guidance of local bee-masters, Leung has opened highrise bee farms on rooftops around Hong Kong. He packages his honey in beautiful glass jars sealed with beeswax left over from the honey-making process. There’s a price to pay for such a lovely object: each jar of HK Honey sells for a steep HK$250. But there are plenty of grassroots alternatives. Wing Wo Bee Farm (136 Pai Tau Village, Sha Tin; +852 2691 7917), run by life-long beekeeper Yip Ki-hok, is a bucolic 50-hive apiary in the hills of Sha Tin, right next to a Buddhist monastery. Often described as the best honey in Hong Kong, each bottle sells for HK$50 to $90.