Whether you’re making Hong Kong your home or moving to a new land, these gifts are sure to impress.
Even if you’ve had a love-hate relationship with the 852, leaving the capital of convenience (with its vertical structures, packed trains, and mesmerising pulse) can never be easy. So, whether a dear friend is about to head off on his or her own adventure or another is about to call the dizzying heights of Hong Kong home, we’ve curated a list of Hong Kong-themed gifts that evoke a tiny piece of the big city.
Best Quirky Gifts
Tongue-in-cheek stuff at G.O.D. (Goods Of Desire)
This sanctuary of cool, quirky and quintessentially Hong Kong needs no introduction. From pop culture patches, to “I Love HK’ memorabilia, T-shirts with puns on Cantonese profanity, letterbox bags, to HK themed playing cards, bath mats, file folders, mugs, cushion covers – think kitsch, G.O.D. has got the aesthetics covered. Checkout the list of locations where pop-ups and stores are located and take plenty of time to go through the assortment of trendy stuff.
Goods of Desire, 48 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2805 1876 www.god.com.hk
Travel Umbrellas at Shanghai Tang
Gift this and your friend is sure to get compliments every time it rains. The beautiful, sturdy and lively umbrellas from Shanghai Tang may a bit pricey ($500) but are so Hong Kong and worth every penny.
Shanghai Tang, various locations, www.shanghaitang.com
Customised Name Seals
Chinese seal carving is a 3,000-year-old art used in mainland China in lieu of signatures. Today this craft is pretty much still alive in the heart of Hong Kong on the bustling Ma Wan Lane in Sheung Wan. Less than half a kilometre long, this lane is a trip down the ancient Chinese culture in itself. Step into any chop-maker’s shop, get your friend’s name, date of leaving or any other details translated in Chinese and see the craftsman bring tradition and history alive in beautiful calligraphy on wood, stone, jade or any crystal of your choice. Prices start from upwards of $80.
BeCandle in Sai Kung is known for its delicately handcrafted, exquisite candles. Its dim sum candle is cute as a button, packed to perfection in none other than a bamboo steaming box and sure to flood everyone’s mind with sensory images of Hong Kong. What’s more, you can order this box of Cantonese gourmet delight online ($180 for two) and save yourself the trek to Sai Kung.
For more variety, take a look at the iconic HK skyline candle or the willow candle available at the The Lion Rock Press website for $250.
BeCandle, 8 Wang Street, Sai Kung, NT, Hong Kong, 3586 0320 www.becandle.com.hk
Sassy Mama Tip: While you’re cruising The Lion Rock Press’s website, you’ll no doubt stumble upon its incredible assortment of Hong Kong-themed cards (pack of five for just $100), adorable ornaments, mugs (like the one above), totes and even a Hong Kong peg puzzle for kids ($100). With incredibly reasonable prices and unique items for every day, it’s no wondering The Lion Rock Press is a Sassy Mama fave.
What better way to celebrate the great adventures of travel than to collect fridge magnets! Scour the streets of the Ladies Market in Mong Kok or visit any touristy spot such as the Peak, Ngong Ping, the Disneyland stores or the Stanley Market for an epic collection of fridge magnets which speak of all things Hong Kong ($30 to $80).
Best For The Art Lover
HK Themed Prints
If you’re looking for something distinctive and engaging, it’s hard to ignore Belinda Bath’s works. This uniquely talented artist works magic with the lens to create a riot of colours in her photomontages which are sure to catch everyone’s attention. For individual prices, check out the website.
Biscuit Moon Designs offers a range of beautifully done text art designs which can be altered in colour and texture to suit your taste. Price range is around $980 for a 30cm x 60cm stretched canvas.
The gorgeous keepsakes from Louise Hill have us taking note. The British-born mama of two is one of the most sought after artists in Asia today – her work conveys the brightness, eclectic influences and the uniqueness of Asian metropolises. The sentiment in Hong Kong art lovers is often, “You don’t leave Hong Kong without buying a ‘Louise Hill’”, so logon to her website and place an order of the most vibrant and alive piece of Hong Kong art you will ever gift. (Available at Louise Hill)
Alternately, spend a day in the many galleries along Hollywood Road and pick out a piece by a local artist which oozes culture, colour and true Hong Kong style flavour.
If your budget is constrained, then look no further than Etsy and Art.com for some beautiful prints online. Think the iconic skyline, trams, the junk, HK map, word cloud or stylish typographic prints; these websites have it all and deliver in a easy-to-carry package.
Best For Kids
Art on a Rug
Parents love to show their kids’ artwork and what better way to display it than to turn it into a truly memorable gift? Remember, Angelina Jolie got her wedding gown illustrated with her children’s doodles, Kim K carried a Hermes bag with cutesy North’s painting and now you can design a rug from your little’s drawing and show it off like a masterpiece. Rug Your Life is this amazing venture which will transform your kid’s imagination into an incredible bespoke handmade rug just for you. Fabulous, isn’t it? And (kind of!) beats the monotony of sticking up art on the fridge!
Leaving the manic pace of the 852 is not easy for anyone but especially hard on kids who called this city “home”. You can’t carry the frenzy and the adventures of Hong Kong with you, but little treasure troves from the Lion Rock Press, such as these colouring cards of the Star Ferry, the ding dings, and the red taxis will make for an amazing going away gift for the kids and bring a sense of history to their curious little minds. At $55, these are perfect party favours, too!
Thinking of something uber cool for the littlest Hong Konger you know? It’s never too early to start romancing the city and with Ganas Kids the teeny weeny ones can totally rock their HK style! This emerging brand has funky onesies, bodysuits, tees with Chinese prints in premium cotton fabric.
Ganas Kids, Fuk Tsun Industrial Bldg, 2F Unit B Rm 305, 66-68 Fuk Tsun Street, Tai Kok Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.ganaskids.com
Hong Kong Books
What better way to celebrate a child’s time spent in Hong Kong than to gift them books based on the city. Bookazine in Prince’s Building on the Chater Road in Central and The Lion Rock Press have a stellar collection of Hong Kong books and sticker books like the “Hong Kong ABC book”, “This Is Hong Kong”, and even exciting memory games to brush up the child’s Cantonese in a fun way.
Bookazine, Prince’s Building, 326-328, 10 Chater Rd, Central, Hong Kong, 2555 0431 www.bookazine.com.hk
Best For the Foodie
Nothing opens the floodgates of nostalgia like the sights, smell and taste of food from back home. While you can’t parcel dim sum, fish balls or noodles in your suitcase, dried seafood makes for an excellent souvenir for a foodie friend. Go up to the Des Voeux Road West or Tai O to make a assorted box of dried shiitake mushrooms, scallops, oysters and squid. Priced between $70 to $200.
Snacks from KeeWah Bakery
Does your friend have a penchant for red bean pastries or shortcake? There’s no shortage of amazing food souvenirs in Hong Kong to remind someone of their time spent in the Pearl of the Orient. KeeWah bakery, a household name for delightful handmade traditional goodies has outlets sprinkled all over Hong Kong. Its super cute gift boxes of panda, Star Ferry and junk boat cookies are a huge hit with kids and adults alike. Sponge rolls, rice crispies and assorted shortcakes are the other best sellers, all perfectly wrapped in HK inspired art boxes.
KeeWah, Aberdeen, Shop G03, Port Centre, Hong Kong, 2580 9688
KeeWah, Shop E19, Central MTR Station, Central, Hong Kong, 2602 2501
KeeWah, Shop 91, Level 1, Uptown Plaza, 9 Nam Wan Road, Wan Tau Tong, Hong Kong 2658 9833 www.keewah.com
As the saying goes, there’s no trouble so great that cannot be diminished by a nice cup of tea. The Leaf Tea Boutique has crafted a stunning selection of over 30 blends from quality transplantations across the world. Packed in elegant jars, these smooth, fragrant and intense concoctions are an ideal gift for every tea lover.
Best for the Fashionista
Custom Made Cheongsams- If you don’t mind shelling a couple grand for your chum to look like a million bucks then take them to W.W. Chan & Sons or to Linva Tailors for a classy, bespoke, form- fitting cheongsam. Word on the street is these two are the best Shanghainese tailors in town. Custom-made cheongsams at these tailors will begin at $2,500.
W.W. Chan & Sons, Unit B, 8/F, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, 2366 9738 wwchan.com
Linva Tailors, G/F 38 Cochrane St Central, Hong Kong, 2544 2456, www.facebook.com/linvatailor
If you don’t have the time for a custom made cheongsam and have the money to spare then head straight to any Shanghai Tang outlet for elegant and exquisite ready-to-wear cheongsam in fine silks and imported laces. Prices are upwards of $4000. Alternatively, you can splurge at the luxe range of handcrafted cheongsams sold by the Blanc de Chine. Paired-down palettes, traditional designs infused with Western cuts, these contemporary outfits are sure to win over any fashionistas heart!
Blanc de Chine, Shop 123, Landmark Prince’s, Central, Hong Kong, 2104 7934, www.blancdechine.com
HK Inspired Jewellery
G.O.D. has a lovely selection of eccentric HK charm necklaces for both men and women. Prices start at $250. But if you want something a bit more fancy, try heading to PMQ, where there are a variety of boutiques and shops featuring everything from rings to necklaces to earrings and more.
PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong
Louella Odie Bags and Scarves
The fun, colourful gift for your accessory-obsessed bestie! No matter where your friend travels, Louella Odie’s HK cityscape and nautical prints will always conjure up images of the coastal Oriental living. Check the website for price details, scarves are roughly priced at $300 and bags range upwards of $650.
Keep Hong Kong close to your heart (erm, sleeves?) with classic cufflinks in solid sterling silver by Patinova. Patinova has a sense of history, using imagery of old Chinese coins, zodiac signs, Qing dynasty figurines and other historical objects that have a story to tell and cast stunning cufflinks out of them. We gifted a friend a pair of vintage coin cufflinks with his birth year engraved – nothing beats this as a HK memento for men!
Add a personal farewell card, a bunch of flowers and spend a last evening with your friend in the gritty streets of Hong Kong before they depart for their next adventure. Take a trip on a junk boat or just hang out at a rooftop bar. No matter where you go or what you do, they’ll still miss this fabulous city.
Embroidered Shoes, Slippers or Handbags
Famous for its beautiful, hand-embroidered shoes, slippers and handbags, Sindart will personally design items for you (or your friends!). Owner Miru Wong has take this time-learned tradition and continues to create bespoke items meant to last for years. Designs often include Chinese symbols of good luck – is there better wish to send a friend off?
Sindart, Shop 16-17, 1/F, Bowring Centre 150-164 Woosung Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 6623 3015 www.facebook.com/Sindart1958