Designer Jeanine Hsu's collection is not only inspired by nature but strives to send a strong social and environmental message. Designer Jeanine Hsu's collection is not only inspired by nature but strives to send a strong social and environmental message. After graduating from London?s Central Saint Martin?s, and working for designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Temperley, Jeanine Hsu created Niin 2005, with the aim of designing jewellery...Read More
From buffets and fireworks dinner, enter the Year of the Dragon with our picks of the best Chinese New Year venues in town. From buffets and fireworks dinner, enter the Year of the Dragon with our picks of the best Chinese New Year venues in town. Bad news for those detoxing and trying to slim from their Christmas and New Year celebrations, as this year's Chinese New Year holiday...Read More
Hong Kong designer Nicholas Liu works with the beauty of stones and precious metals, making the most of their earthly qualities. After studying art and design at London?s Central Saint Martins, Liu went on to master metalwork and jewelry at Buckinghamshire and the Royal College of Art. After, Liu began working for iconic lines like Shanghai Tang, Blanc de Chine and Kotur. The Nicholas Liu line is marked by a...Read More
To welcome in the New Year, the streets of Hong Kong transform into Chinese New Year buzz, full of red, gold, and orange to signify happiness and wealth. Red and pink ceramic rabbits pop up in the shop windows to toast 2011 as the year of the rabbit, bright signs stating ?Gung hay fat choy? (meaning ?May you become prosperous? in Cantonese) are painted on billboards, pink and gold lanterns...Read More
There are numerous sweet shops scattered throughout the city that carry a plethora of savory and sweet treats, most dating back to the 1930s-1950s. Nougat, plum, orange and ginger candied prunes, and sesame/almond varieties are perhaps the most common ingredients and flavors. Not only are these candies nostalgic, as most locals have fond memories of eating the sweets as children, but their packaging and design is quite extraordinary.
Orange Jelly sticks (which are made of a jelly substance, soft and sweet, yet despite the name do not have much orange taste) and Smith Nougat (peanuts, egg white, sugar) are still made locally in Kwun Tong, Kowloon. White Rabbit may have the most fascinating history, with its routes from mainland China. Originally positioned as a healthy sweet (7 nougat candies = one cup of milk), the original packaging had a drawing of Mickey Mouse on the label. In the 1950s, the packaging was seemed as a symbol for worshipping foreign countries, so the current art deco design was developed. Is still the top selling sweet in China and the packaging has become synonymous worldwide.
Chan Yee Jai, originating 70 years ago, is perhaps the most famous sweet shop in Hong Kong. Located between Sheung Wan and Central, in addition to carrying the above sweets, it also includes lemon dried ginger, almond cookies and other sumptuous treats.
Chan Yee Jai located at 176 Queen?s Road Central, Central
In the land of shopping malls and outdoor markets, there?s a unique shopping experience in the Wan Chai area of Hong Kong entitled ?Star Street?. Sitting on a hillside, the area is still quite undiscovered, but is quickly is becoming the area for architects, designers and entrepreneurs to set up studios as well as host top dining, galleries, and unique shopping.
The streets, Sun, Star and Moon are named after the ?Three Luminaries? a Three-Character Chinese classic verse. With compelling architecture (these are the oldest streets in Wan Chai), quaint streets and a feel of community, many say it is their favorite area in Hong Kong to spend their free time.
Some of the highlights include O La La, perhaps one of the best Shanghai noodle restaurants in Shanghai, Classified, a European style bistro with artisanal cheese and boutique wines, and Spoil Caf?, where you can enjoy al fresco outdoor dining, but perhaps best known for their desserts such as four-layer carrot cake.
One of the most beloved shops in HK is Kapok. The clothing store and design shop showcases younger international designers with a focus on craftsmanship. Monocle recently moved into the area with both a shop and an editorial office, and Sonjia, is a local lifestyle store that carries clothing, accessories, shoes and jewelry. Top off your experience by visiting the Agnes b art gallery, showcasing local artists and exhibitions.
Unless you live in Australia or other parts of East Asia, it is unlikely that you have heard of the Palawan Islands. Situated west of Manila, there are approximately 1768 islands, total extreme length about 650 kilometers from north to south.
For the past two Christmas? I have traveled to these islands, predominately for the fact that they are one of Asia?s last ecological frontier. Most islands have beautiful white sand beaches, clear waters and immense rain forests. As an avid swimmer, snorkeler and scuba diver, there are unlimited choices of coral reefs (11,000 square feet) along with a plethora of fish. Some of the top hotels are on their own private island, so you have the exclusivity and privacy rarely offered in resort settings.
The fact that most people need to traverse the globe also makes it less of a tourist destination (although in high season many local families choose these islands as a holiday of choice). The journey takes you to Manila, where according to your arrival time, you most likely need to spend the evening. Most flights take off in the morning to Palawan with a two hotels offering direct flights to their island, including the Amanpulo (of the Oman resorts) or the El Nido. As with any Oman resort, the Amanpulo is a breathtaking and luxurious experience, but you will pay the price, hovering about $700 USD/night in the high season. For a lesser-pricier experience, I have also stayed at the El NIdo. It?s less exclusive and includes buffet style dining and perhaps a more child-friendly environment.
Instead of the typical beach holiday in Thailand, I would recommend the Philippines. It?s off the beaten track and the pristine beaches make it a destination unlike anything else experienced.
It is quite common to walk through the more traditional streets of Hong Kong and both see and smell the smoke of incense sticks as well as pass by dragon stone carved statues outside of shops and temples. Quite often at night, one also hears the sound of fireworks. All three things are widely and historically believed in China to ward off evil spirits. To further mark the significance of the superstition against evil, all major holidays, such as the Harvest Moon Festival, Chinese New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival, all market the celebration to protect from the evil spirit.
Unlike in the West, Asian dragons are regarded as wholesome and worthy of life. Many commerce shops and all temples have a carved dragon outside of the establishment/place of worship to bring in good luck. If you walk into any temple there are over 100 sticks burning, both as a method to ward off negative spirits and as an offering to god, as the smoke rises to the heavens.
As Chinese New Year approaches, many people believe that fireworks are meant to scare away the evil spirit and misfortunes at the start of the year, and keep the year free from evil. A parade takes place and all participants must through firecrackers at the feet of a dragon with the aim to keep them awake during the parade. The blowing up of fire-crackers is intended to scare off evil.
New York native, now Hong Kong based designer, Fiona Kotur Marin founded her eponymous line in 2004. The line began with one-of-a-kind limited edition vintage brocade clutches and soon expanded to include materials such as exotics, shells, lucite and metals. The line?s evolution also included new silhouettes such as minaudieres, totes and larger handbags. We sat down with the fabulous Fiona to get a glimpse into her design inspirations and her must-see spots in Hong Kong.
L-atitude: What was your design inspiration for KOTUR's collection?
Fiona Kotur Marin: For the Fall and Holiday collection I was feeling the 1940s and its sharp silhouettes, military themes and sense of glamour. By coincidence, I ended up on a film-noir spree, watching "Gilda" and "Maltese Falcon" among others. Their influence really styled the season. I created two color stories; one bold, comprising Campari red leather, leopard hair calf, and espresso snakeskin- the femme fatale. The other color palette is smokey tones and moody hues, mysterious textures and evocative shadings, referencing more the visual and abstract cinematic styling.
L: As a native New Yorker, what was the biggest change for you when you moved to Hong Kong? What about Hong Kong took the longest time to get used to?
FKM: We New Yorkers walk everywhere. In Hong Kong that is impossible. Though living on the side of Mount Victoria is stunning, with city views surrounded by lush greenery,I need to drive everywhere. That was the biggest shocker for me. Now I have to plan exercise into my routine, it doesn't naturally occur. The upside is that there?s no need for flats! The higher the better and completely manageable for the dash from car door to front door.
L: Can you please share your Hong Kong city secrets with our readers? What is your favorite restaurant, hotel bar and under the radar store in Hong Kong?
FKM: There are so many great places. My favorite district is SheungWan, near my office. It's the former Chinese "Central" district, so it has history and is very convenient. Fortunately, as the district becomes more developed, it remains interesting and diverse. A few of my favorite places in the area are Classified on Hollywood Road for the best espresso and cheese plate, 208 for the best pizza, Tazmania Ballroom has great after dinner drinks, Happy Foot for the best reflexolog, Cat Street market for great antiques, XTC on Ice for gelato, Kee Club for dim sum, Tim's Kitchen for dinner and Youmna in Baskerville House for her incredible jewelry designs.
L: On your trips abroad, what would you never leave home without packing?
FKM: All of my gadgets, their chargers and converters, photos of my four boys, my Hermes diary and journal (I write daily and have kept them for the past 8 years).
L: What is the coolest travel find in your closet?
FKM: My clutches in my closet made from Tinalak material. I sourced the material from the Tiboli tribe in the Southern Philippines and worked with them to make the patterns in custom colors like coral and teal, instead of their traditional black and browns.
To shop the Kotur Collection on L-atitude please here.