Can having the right space and equipment turn you into the chef you’ve always wanted to be?
I don’t know about you, but I love watching cooking programmes (anything from Masterchef to Come Dine With Me) – especially before dinner! All of those inspiring tips and tricks make me want to dive into making a range of delicious dishes all beautifully presented. But then I open my cupboards and all hope fades… So how can we stop our less than adequate kitchens from making our culinary dreams dematerialise?
After all, we spend so much of our lives eating, cooking, preparing and thinking about food. Is there a way to become a better cook and provide our family with beautifully presented, well thought out healthy dishes? It stands to reason, that if we love our surroundings, have a place for everything and the necessary gadgets and kitchenware, the time we spend in the kitchen preparing food for our growing families will be easier and more fun! And with that, we can make sure our little ones are not only getting the right nourishment for their growing bodies but also learning to love food.
It all comes back to the environment you are in. Having the right equipment on hand and an inviting yet functional place to cook in means that the kitchen will become a place you will love. Read on to find out where you can create the kitchen of your dreams here in Hong Kong, from kitchenware to tableware, cupboards and even worktops!
Are You Due For A Kitchen Upgrade?
Is walking into your kitchen a feeling of mind over matter? Are the cracks starting to crack you up? How about a facelift? It’s possible to make changes whether you own your property or rent it. Landlords are often willing to allow long term tenants to upgrade their kitchens (which can make all the difference to your sanity!). Upgrades can be inexpensive, freshen up the look of your place and more importantly, make your kitchen a place you love to spend time in. A quick replacement of the worktop or doors can make all the difference, or even if it’s just replacing the handles. So why not grab the bull by the horns, design it yourself and order what you need from a supplier?
Where To Get A New Kitchen In Hong Kong
For probably the most affordable option, try Ikea (Causeway Bay, Megabox, Kowloon Bay or Sha Tin branches). Book an appointment in advance or be prepared to be very patient and go armed with accurate measurements (if you don’t trust your own measurements, you can arrange for them to come and measure for you). Take a look at their showroom or catalogue while you wait.
For alternative ideas, wander up Lockhart Road or Gloucester Road in Wan Chai or Portland Street in Mong Kok to get some inspiration. Kohler divides the kitchen sections in the stores across the city according to pricing, with luxury, premium and basic ranges. You can also order sinks, worktops direct from suppliers like Pro Kitchen. Or ask around your own area depending on where you stay.
If you live in a village, there are usually builders who handle kitchen installation or alternatively, ask in your local kitchen supply shop for recommendations. If you head to Wan Chai or Mong Kok to the kitchen/bathroom streets, you can arrange for someone to come and measure, deliver and fit a new kitchen or choose your styles and order and fit yourself.
Choose new tiles or a whole one-piece backsplash to make a dramatic change to your space. For assistance in English, Helen and her team at Hop Hung Lung Material Ltd. (in Wan Chai, see address below) are very helpful. They have a great range of tiles at very reasonable prices and can also sort you out with tile cement and grout and will arrange delivery with drivers or the guido if you live on an outlying island.
Sassy Mama tip: Make sure you are at home to oversee the installation and arrange for the job to be completed within a set time frame to avoid you having to go without a kitchen for days or even weeks on end. You can also negotiate a 10% discount in most supply shops in the above-mentioned areas if you pay by EPS.
Kohler, various store locations across Hong Kong
Pro Kitchen, Allied Kajima Building, shop A1 G/F, 138 Gloucester Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2838 1871
Hop Hung Lung Material Ltd., 235 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2511 3013
Read more: DIY: How To Make Your Own Succulent Planters
Where To Get Kitchenware In Hong Kong
Top TV chefs claim that you only need a few good quality basics to do most of what you need in the kitchen and in Hong Kong, Shanghai Street is the place to go to. Lined with shops packed with every stainless steel utensil imaginable hanging from the rafters, you can pick up everything from graters to salad spinners to spiralisers.
Sometimes the old traditions are the best. Hong Kong has long been a place popular with chefs for sourcing wooden chopping boards and where better than the original Man Kee Chopping Board on Shanghai Street (address below). He has since expanded to include a range of other gadgets like handheld waffle irons.
Heatproof dishes are versatile for both cooker top and the oven. They are great for browning meat before popping it in to roast or even with the lid for baking bread. The number one original brand is Le Creuset, available in a range of bright colours to match your kitchen.
If you’re after a temporary fix, there are pop up shops on many a street corner selling seconds or end of line plates, cookware and utensils. Have a rummage and you may just find the perfect ceramic to compliment your kitchen.
Teaching our little ones a love of food and an appreciation of where it comes from is key. Baking is a wonderful way of having fun in the kitchen. I still love to bake the same cookies that I used to bake with my mum as a child (though then, we called them biscuits)! As any serious baker will tell you, I Love Cake is the go-to place for all of your bakery tools. This baker’s haven is filled with everything you could ever need to make your cupcakes, gateaux, cookies and eclairs turn out beautifully, from wipe clean hardware to edible glitter!
I Love Cake, Shop H2, 188 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2671 2644
Where To Get Tableware In Hong Kong
Growing up, we would set the table for every meal with care and we still do. Now even my husband has adopted the habit (after much protesting though!). Make your table beautiful with colourful plates and linens (not just on special occasions), to make eating all the more enjoyable.
Here in Kong Kong, there is a wide range of tableware available to suit every pocket. It is easy to make your table become the place everyone wants to gather at mealtimes! H&M Home, Franc Franc and Zara Home change their stock every season and are great for an inexpensive way to add interest and the latest trends to your table. Their best purchases are their plates and candlesticks and paper napkins. Try mixing and matching colours and patterns to bring life to your table.
At the very top of the range is the luxury brand Heather & March which is by appointment only. The founder, Wendy Siu, aims to bring some of France’s finest tableware as well as the French “art de vivre” to Hong Kong.
The Kitchen Is The Heart Of The Home
Taking the time to sit down together with our kids teaches them social graces and instils in them wonderful family traditions that they will take with them through life. This is increasingly important as more screen time inevitably means less and less face to face interaction. How about having a “no phone” rule at the table at home to focus on sharing experiences together? Let your kitchenware and tableware weave a story through your family’s traditions and memories, as home (or more accurately, the kitchen!) is where the heart is after all.