6 Trendy Hong Kong Highlights
Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan neighborhood is extending its hipster reach, with a cluster of funky cafés and stores around Tai Ping Shan Street. By Helen Dalley
Mini gallery and streetwear concept store Rat’s Cave, by Hong Kong street art crew Start From Zero, is a showcase for its darkly imagined graphic posters, juxtaposed with exposed brick and concrete floors for a tough, edgy feel. Here, you can pick up SFZ-designed T-shirts—alongside Californian labels Lucky 13 and Loser Machine—that would make a Hell’s angel proud. Other non-conformist must-haves include quirky illustration-laden bags from Hong Kong-based design duo Graphic Airlines, and Hawleywood’s hair pomade to hold those punky spikes or rockabilly quiff in place. One of the most eye-catching items is a silkscreen print of Kurt Cobain limited to 30 copies by local illustrator Little Thunder. 18A-B Tai Ping Shan St., +852 2858 9001; startfromzero.org.
Fashionistas will adore the daring heels on offer at Chum 5, which stocks towering acid-bright statement pieces from Italy’s Daniele Michetti and Taiwan’s Heavy Machine on translucent shelves for maximum effect. There are also elaborate handmade collars from local designer Kenny Li and sturdy leather notebooks, wallets and clutches from up-and-coming Icelandic designer Sruli Recht. 5 Tai Ping Shan St., +852 2548 2888; no website.
With low-slung wicker chairs and untamed potted plants casting a bohemian welcome, tiny café Homei (meaning “delicious” in Cantonese) has seating for less than a dozen. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in character, with primitive cat and floral murals illuminated by retro orange and white lamps. The latte menu has a distinctly Chinese influence that includes green tea, fresh ginger and osmanthus, the latter delivering a sweet floral aroma and flavor. The café also offers rustic home made soups such as leek and potato, and generously proportioned pasta specials such as prawn spaghetti. 22-24A Tai Ping Shan St., +852 2857 9991; no website.
Similarly diminutive and equally as charming is Teakha, where metal kettles, pastel teapots and oversized flasks line the shelves. There’s strong, sweet, Hong Kong milk tea and delicately flavored Masala Chai to sip and home-made ginger scones, filled with zingy pieces of crystalline ginger, to nibble at. Teakha also offers homemade preserves like roselle jam and kumquat paste, plus cups and saucers from Beijing ceramics designer Cui Rui to take home. 18 Tai Ping Shan St., +852 2858 9185; teakha.com.
Founded by local DJ and blogger Mini Choi, Haji Gallery only has room for around 12-15 pieces on its whitewashed walls, proving that space needn’t be a barrier to hosting exhibitions. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows present pieces in their best light, and Choi likes to champion the work of local artists such as Pattsing Chau and Matthias Woo. There is a retail element to Haji, with art books, T-shirts, belts and bags available for sale. 24 Tai Ping Shan St., +852 2891 1164; no website.
Tallensia Floral Art
Creative types looking for something different can book a flower jamming session at Tallensia Floral Art where pots of orchids, roses and other flowers spill out onto the street under the shadow of a banyan tree from the lime green–fronted store. Head designer Lowdi Kwan says everyone is welcome but she advises fledgling florists to arrange blooms in one of the larger ceramic or glass pots they offer for easier assembling. 6C Tai Ping Shan St., +852 2239 4300; no website; jamming session offered every Sun. and private time slots can also be arranged.