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August 2018




Healthiness right Next Door

Your local Staycool organic how to defy HK’scommunity summer heat

How to stay cool Fishing in The Himalayas this summer


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Mid-levels magazine

The really useful magazine


August 2018



Mid-levels social life

Have fun and stay cool out there



Various happenings in August

Lamma Island’s food and beauty



Great things to win

Big fish in the Himalayas



Back-to-school essentials


Keeping dogs cool in hot weather



Mysterious windows on Queen’s Road West

Paul Zimmerman on pro-cycling policy



With relocation expert Shaila Gidwani



A chat with top hair stylist Alistair Rae

14 NEWS Really local news



Your organic community in Mid-levels




editor’s letter



rganic food used to be a strange new thing reserved for health nuts or people on a peculiar diet, but now it’s more mainstream. Mind you, organic food had long been the standard until some corporate minds decided that sprinkling chemicals on crops would be better than how Nature grows our food. We’re just going back to basics. In recent years, a growing number of organic food stores have sprung into being in Mid-levels and its surrounds, giving us a wider range of healthy and increasingly affordable choices. This month, we’ve brought together five enthusiastic members of this organic community and invited them to share with us their philosophy and proffer tips on smart organic shopping.



Managing editor Gemma Shaw, Editor Shirley Lau, Sub-editor Kay Ross, Editorial assistant Nicole Slater,


Graphic designer Mavis Wong, Sonia Khatwani,

Sales & Marketing

Sales director Hilda Chan,

In the spirit of healthy living, we’ve also compiled a list of things to do in the outdoors during the height of summer – things that take you out of air-conditioned spaces and keep you active without sweating profusely. Good times pass quickly. Enjoy every moment and have a good rest of the summer!

Sales & Marketing executive Isamonia Chui, Corrie Tang, Johnny Wong,


Assistant Operations Manager Charles Lau,


Digital co-ordinator Julianne Dionislo,


Tom Hilditch,


Thanks to

Jeramy Lee Gabrielle Tse Kaitlyn Lai Paul Zimmerman Ifat Kafry Hindes Chris Beale

Contact us Admin: 3568 3722 | Editorial: 2776 2773 | Advertising: 2776 2772 Published by Hong Kong Living Ltd, L1 Kai Wong Commercial Building, 222 Queens Road Central, Hong Kong

Chris Beale ...has lived and worked in Hong Kong for almost 25 years. His love of travel and adventure remains undimmed; in fact both loves are heightened considerably if an exotic fishing trip is thrown into the mix.

Kaitlyn Lai

Gabrielle Tse

…was born and raised in Hong Kong, she is a diehard fan of dai pai dongs and karaoke. She loves to explore the concrete jungle she calls home, whether it be unearthing aesthetic cafés and breathtaking galleries hidden in twisted alleys or simply discovering a trendy boutique.

…loves all things creative. Her blood is probably half-ink, half-boba tea by now. As well as writing, Gabby also loves painting, scrapbooking and volunteering. She’s passionate about cultural linguistics and dreams of publishing her poetry and short fiction someday.

Want to write for Mid-levels Magazine? Contact 2 |

Printer Apex Print Limited, 11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong

HONG KONG Mid-levels Magazine is published by Hong Kong Living Ltd. This magazine is published on the understanding that the publishers, advertisers, contributors and their employees are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors and omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication. The publisher, advertisers, contributors and their employees expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, whether a reader of this publication or not, in respect of any action or omission by this publication. Mid-levels Magazine cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies provided by advertisers or contributors. The views herein are not necessarily shared by the staff or pubishers. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

people Mid-levels snaps

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have your say

QUESTION OF THE MONTH “Where do you go to escape the rain?”

Run back to office on Hollywood Road (NEST Properties)

- Charlotte

ChomChom on Elgin Street or fly back to Australia!

- Greg

I either run back to my apartment in Sheung Wan or head to Picada on Wyndham Street

- Ghaleb | 5

what’s on

s What’ on this t Augus

Splashing fun

in the sun I’ m just a summer kind of calendar.

Illustration by Gabrielle Tse | 7

what’s on

Editor's pick

International Arts Carnival 2018 A fantastic line up of every artistic field you can think of: theatre, music, dance, film and magic. With workshops and backstage tours if you want a peek behind the aesthetics.



Ocean Park Summer “Carnimal” Get ready to be surrounded by Caribbean beats, traditional Brazilian acts, and most of all, prepare to be amazed by two animalthemed grand parades. Included with General Admission, Ocean Park Hong Kong.


Rock Climbing Summer Courses at Verm Scale rocks in Verm’s challenging and exciting summer bouldering and sports climbing courses. Available for kids aged 4-15 on weekdays and weekends. $1,300 for 4 classes. 4/F, Kodak House 1, 321 Java Road, Quarry Bay.


Johnnie Walker x LKF Presents International Cuisine Celebration Delve into world cuisine right in LKF! Restaurants are offering up to 50% off their menu, and you can win prizes with your accumulated spending. Make a reservation to receive a complimentary highball from Johnnie Walker to go with your meal. Lan Kwai Fong, Central.


“Bosshard in China” Take a trip back to one of the most critical decades of Chinese and world history. Walk through an exhibition of black-and-white photographs and documentary films of 1930s China by Swiss photo-journalist Walter Bosshard. Free. Free. The University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong.


AUG 4 - 19

Chinese Opera encapsulates the long history of traditional Chinese culture. Learn more about the roots of Hong Kong through the immaculately crafted movements that are unique to this traditional artform. Hong Kong City Hall in Central and the Hong Kong Space Museum in TST.

Winner of a Hong Kong Drama Award, this play tells the story of Hu Xueyan, who transformed himself from a penniless lad into China’s top merchant during the Qing Dynasty. In Cantonese, with Chinese and English surtitles. $180-$310. Shouson Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Wan Chai.

Chinese Opera Festival

AUG 3 - 8

International Baby/Children Products Expo With over 1,000 stalls selling more than 100,000 types of children’s products. And If you have a particularly active little tot, you can even enter them into the crawling contest! $30 for adults; $20 for children under 1. New Wing Hall 1, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai.


Bob Dylan Live Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam, because the critically acclaimed legend Bob Dylan is coming to perform in Hong Kong for the first time since his Nobel Prize win. $488-$1,288, 8.30pm. Hall 5BC (Expo Drive Entrance), Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai.


Yoga Class at Pier 10 Yoga-nna enjoy stretching by the sea. Free. 3.30-4.30pm. Pier 10 Central Pier.

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“Hu Xueyan, My Dear”


Birthday of Kwan Tai, the God of War The birthday of Kwan Tai, who is highly regarded by police and the secret “black societies” of Hong Kong, is celebrated on the 24th day of the 6th Lunar month. Stop by the Man Mo Temple and get a glimpse of a 19thcentury statue of Kwan Tai. Man Mo Temple, 124-130 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan.

Editor's pick

AUG 8 - SEPT 20

“The Voice of the Brush Part 2” Classical calligraphy in modern China is regarded as an art of exquisite refinement and, alongside poetry, the ultimate expression of Chinese culture. Get inspired by how internationally known artists such as Chu Chu, Hao Shiming and Fabienne Verdier revitalise this unique form of visual art in this exhibition. Alisan Fine Arts, 21/F Lyndhurst Tower, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central.

what’s on

Hong Kong Food Expo Hong Kong known as a “food heaven”, and for good reason! This leading food trade event gathers over 900 exhibitors, offering a selection of the finest delicacies from all over the world. $40. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai.

AUG 16-20 | 9

what’s on

Editor's pick

Summer Colour Splash @ Link Stanley Plaza

AUG 18-19

Feel revitalised with colour. The Summer Colour Splash festival has eight differently coloured zones: art, music, fitness, relaxation, environment, pets, gourmet and bazaar. Indulge in seaside massages, try detox yoga, shop for unique handcrafted pieces, and much more. 2pm-9pm. Stanley Plaza Amphitheatre. Shuttle buses to and from Admiralty will be provided.

AUG 18

South Island Art Discovery Walk Discover Hong Kong’s vibrant street art in this 2.5-hour walk organised by Accidental Art, as a specialist explains the goings-on of the local art market. $350, 2.30-4.30pm. Meet at the Circle K, Wong Chuk Hang Station Exit A.

AUG 23 - SEP 2 Restaurant Week

Back for the autumn season, Restaurant Week features a range of special offers throughout the week at restaurants around the city using the DiningCity App. Various restaurants.

AUG 24 - 27

AUG 25 - 26

The largest exhibition for the IT industry in Hong Kong. Take advantage of the good deals and the digital expertise offered by the suppliers. $30. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Hall 1.

This irresistible fairytale opera is coming to Hong Kong! With Mozart’s musical genius and a story set in a Chinese cultural context, this creative fusion of East and West will impress seasoned aficionados and new audiences alike. Tickets from $100. 7.30pm. Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall, Central.

The Hong Kong Computer and Communications Festival

AUG 25

Big Band Night: “All That Swing” The Saturday Night Jazz Orchestra, led by Taka Hirohama, will swing you along! Tickets from $120. 9.30-11.30pm. Hong Kong Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central.

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“The Magic Flute”

AUG 25

Hong Kong International Reggae Ska Festival

Are you reggae for the city’s biggest celebration of Jamaican music? PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central.


“La Bohème” Puccini’s beautiful and tragic La Bohème graces Hong Kong in Franco Zeffirelli’s timeless production. Tickets start at $210. 5.30pm. Béthanie Theatre, HKAPA Béthanie Landmark Heritage Campus, Pok Fu Lam.

what’s on



SEPT 25 - 30

Shop ’til you drop at this lifestyle bazaar! Enjoy the lucky draw, freebies and wine tastings while you browse through highquality stalls selling anything you can imagine. 11am-8pm. Regal Kowloon Hotel, 71 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East.

Get ready to rock and roll! The Killers are back in town with their latest hits and timeless classics. $888. 8pm, Arena, AsiaWorld-Expo.

Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice and The Taming of the Shrew are coming to Hong Kong! Don’t miss out on the Bard’s very best. Tickets start at $395. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Amphitheatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Wan Chai.

GlamFest Kowloon Bazaar 2018

The Killers HK Tour

SEPT 5 - 9

"The Amazing Bubbleman" Be spellbound – no, be bubblebound – as Louis Pearl the Bubbleman demonstrates the science, art and sheer beauty of bubbles. See square bubbles, round bubbles, bubbles inside bubbles and even people inside bubbles! Mesmerising fun for your children (and your inner child). Tickets start at $395. Various times. Drama Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Wan Chai.

Shakespeare’s Globe


Jessie J The R.O.S.E. Tour World-famous singer-songwriter Jessie J is coming to Hong Kong to roll out her hotly anticipated fourth album, R.O.S.E. Tickets start at $698. 8pm. Hall 10, AsiaWorld-Expo.

Want to share your event with our readers? Email

GIVEAWAYS Back to School Special Set Up for grabs: Back to School Special Set: 1 Cover, 1 laptop sleeve and 1 silicone keyboard From: Make it COLOURFUL believes in the empowerment and expression of the personality of children and young adults by printing unique designs onto covers for their personal MacBooks. They’ve created a large collection of designs to suit all tastes. Their products also protect children against the harmful radiation from their devices.

win at

Massage treatment package Up for grabs: Five free “Meridian Neck & Shoulder Massage with Pistacia Lentiscus Gum” + “Hot Stone Stomach or Back Massage”. From: Swiss O. With over 30 years of beauty expertise in Hong Kong, Swiss O is proud to present one of its best-selling treatments, “Meridian Whole Body Massage with Pistacia Lentiscus Gum”. The Detox Soothing Oil with Pistacia Lentiscus Gum from Swiss Organic is well known for its anti-aging properties.

Sterling silver bracelet and necklace

Priority passes for Two

Up for grabs: Three bracelet-and-necklace sets in magical unicorn, sweet rose and precious key charm. From: Stella Rose. The brand was created by two Hong Kong-based mums to fill a gap in the market for high-quality, meaningful gifts for girls. Each collection set is handcrafted and uses real gemstones. In addition, the versatility of the designs lets girls get creative by styling their jewellery according to their own preferences.

Up for grabs: A Priority Pass for two at the 24-Hour Charity Dinghy Race at The Hebe Haven Yacht Club, Sai Kung. From: The Hebe Haven Yacht Club. Enjoy a one-time free trial of one water-sport activity for two people, and the Priority Pass Session is available from 9am to 10am on September 30. Photo by Herman Ng

Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get all our giveaways delivered straight to your inbox: | 11

must have this month

Pigeon Backpack $260 from Bookazine Shop 326-8, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central

Personalised Bento Box $349 from Stuck On You

Welcome back to the new term with these stylish essentials

Individual Power Combo Special  188 from Make it COLOURFUL $

Para’kito Wristbands  165 from Escapade $ Merlin Building, 30-34 Cochrane Street, Central

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S’well Water Bottle $250 from Thorn and Burrow

Maisy 12 Coloured Pencils $150 from Monster Kid Shop 324, 3/F, Landmark Prince’s, Central

must have this month

QuietControl 30 Wireless Headphones $2588 from Bose Shop 2011, International Finance Centre, Central

Crayola Scents Inspiration Art Kit $300 from Toys“R”Us 201-210, 2/F, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road, Central

Staple-Free Stapler $45 from Muji 3-4/F, Lee Theatre Plaza, 99 Percival Street, Causeway Bay Muji to Go, Hong Kong Station, Central

 rban Outfitters x Ohh Deer U Vintage Map Linen Notebook 12.65 GBP from Ohh Dear

Herschel Heritage Backpack $610 from Herschel Shop 410, Level 4, Hysan Place, Causeway Bay

Leather Personal Planner Large $590 from kikki.K Shop 220, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central | 13


Hello, art and books

Ways to cut waste Have you ever felt bad when chucking out some empty wine or beer bottles after a nice home party, and not being able to find one of those bottle-recycling bins that are thin on the ground in this city? Here’s some good news. Next year, a new glass bottle tax may take effect in Hong Kong. To cut down on bottle waste, the Environmental Protection Department will soon submit to the Legislative Council a bill requiring manufacturers of glass containers to pay a recycling fee, likely to be $1 for every one-litre bottle made for consumption. It remains to be seen whether bottle-makers will shift part of the tax onto consumers, making beverages a little more expensive.

Two newcomers have landed on Hollywood Road, one with a mission to spread the love of books and the other to democratise art.

founder, Benedikt Taschen, “Hong Kong’s international spirit and thriving art scene make it an ideal platform for Taschen.”

Taschen recently opening its first bookshop in Asia at Tai Kwun, as the German publishing house’s 14th flagship store. With a terrace overlooking Hollywood Road (Shop G02, Block 1, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road), the 1,700-square-foot space houses Mogen Koch bookshelves, Gio Ponti furniture pieces and a $250,000 book about Ferrari, alongside a variety of affordable books published by Taschen. According to Marlene Taschen, the eldest daughter of the company’s

A few blocks away, there’s Carré d’artistes (53-55 Hollywood Road), a new art gallery that believes art is for everyone and that contemporary art should be democratised. The three-storey shop is also the French brand’s first foray into Asia. Carré d’artistes represents over 600 artists from around the world and all works are sold according to a given size and format at a “fair but not extortionate price”, regardless of the names of the artists.

Meanwhile, another government initiative to reduce e-waste has already been set in motion in Hong Kong, which generates one of the highest rates of e-waste per capita in Asia. Under a “producer pays” scheme that took effect on August 1, all electronics sellers in Hong Kong must provide free and approved service plans for the removal of old electronic appliances for customers who buy new ones from them. The waste collected will then have to be sent to specific storage, treatment, reprocessing or recycling facilities. Individuals who want dispose of old TVs, air-cons, fridges, washing machines, computers and related devices can also ask German company Alba (, the government’s contracted operator for the city’s only large-scale e-waste recycling and reprocessing facility, to pick up the waste from their home for free. Call the company at 2676 8888 to arrange collection.

Goodbye, snakes Sheung Wan old-timer She Wong Lam, one of Hong Kong’s oldest snake restaurants, closed its doors for good in mid-July. With more than 110 years of history, the familyrun restaurant’s main business was selling snakes to other restaurants and so it only made 120 bowls of snake soup a day. She Wong Lam had its heyday in the 1960s and 70s, but as no-one from the family of fourth-generation owner Lo Tin-yam wants to continue the business, the family decided to call it quits. We may, however, see the snake cabinets, cages and other age-old items of the Hillier Street shop in a local museum later, as the family has contacted the Hong Kong Museum of History.

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Photo by Christina Yung (


Star resident Mid-levels has its fair share of celebrity residents. Now the star-studded list is getting longer and stronger. Award-winning Taiwanese actress Shu Qi, one of the highest-paid stars in Chinese-speaking cinema, recently bought a luxury home on Bonham Road for $127 million. The flat is reportedly a 2,499 square foot duplex at yoo 18 Bonham. That works out to more than $50,000 per square foot. Well, that could be just Shu’s hourly rate.

Maths stamps Whether your little ones love mathematics or struggle with it, get them some stamps! Hongkong Post has released a set of special stamps titled “Children Stamps – Fun with Numbers and Symbols”. It’s a collection of 16 bright and playful stamps, with each one showcasing a number from 0 to 9, or the symbol +, -, ×, ÷, % or =. The idea is to encourage children to enjoy the fun and vibrancy of numbers and to understand how maths is interconnected with their daily lives. If they’re feeling creative, children can also add a pop of colour to the stamps. | 15


In plain sight History buff Joshua Roberts discovers the story behind an interesting building Countless times I have been past them. I mean the sealed windows on the side of the ramp at 118 Queen’s Road West, one of perhaps the most intriguing blocks in Sai Ying Pun. After years glimpsing them only in passing, and wondering about the raison d’être of the windows (or were they windows?) and why they were sealed, I decided it was time to finally learn what exactly this mysterious architectural artefact is, or was. What I discovered was quite a fascinating and complex history. After a deep dive into historical archives and government records yielded limited results, I embarked on some old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting, hoping to gather facts on the ground. My first stops were a local coffee shop and the Chinese medicine shops directly across the road from the ramp. The conversation was friendly and helpful, but due to the rapidly changing and gentrifying nature of the area in the past few years, local historical knowledge is becoming increasingly rare. I ended up with very little in terms of substance or answers. Luckily, through sheer determination and a moment of

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serendipity, I encountered a local resident who explained it all to me. This opened up entire new avenues of investigation. Here’s the little-known fact: The ramp itself is the roof of a public toilet built in the 1890s. It was known locally as Cheuk Tsai Kiu, or Bird Bridge, due to the bird hawkers commonly found along the elevated portion, which also served as a seawall. It was closed in the 1980s as the tenement buildings were razed and high rises were built on top. Sometime afterwards, the iron grilles on the windows to the old toilet were sealed, resulting in what we see today. But this is only the beginning of the story. Just a few hundred metres away on New Street are the remains of Air Raid Shelter No. 4, built in the Second World War in advance of the Japanese occupation and bombings. Directly behind Bird Bridge is the Sai Ying Pun Jockey Club Clinic, built in Modernist style by Leigh & Orange in 1960, and the S.K.H. Primary School. Taken together, this cluster of buildings represents one of the most significant

sets of public works in Western District. Yet it did not happen by chance – it was part of a several-decades-long programme by the colonial government to modernise the health and safety of the area. The buildings, in plain sight, form part of the small and somewhat forgotten stories that should be remembered as the landscape of the neighbourhood changes. M

Ever noticed those sealed windows and wondered what they are?

five minutes with

Shaila Gidwani

The relocation expert on why understanding the local culture matters when expats move to a new place

Shaila Gidwani is a relocation expert at Crown World Mobility who specialises in cultural training for expats moving to Hong Kong

When I arrived in Hong Kong, the biggest challenge was the spatial awareness. It was kind of different from the UK, which is where I come from. I was not used to being squashed in the MTR. But mind you, the London Tube is terrible. It was more about having a little space in the lift and other public spaces. Now, I can navigate through crowded places really well. And when I first came here and I was driving, I was very polite, whereas now I can be a bit aggressive on the road! It’s not a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just that I understand how things work here. When you move to a new country, it’s important to build self-awareness about who you are as an individual, and understanding why someone from other country behaves differently. There’s no right or wrong; things are just different. That’s what my job is about – offering cultural training to expats moving to Hong Kong. I have a very long job title: Intercultural Training, Language Training and Partner Support Manager at Crown World Mobility. I

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moved to Hong Kong 16 years ago and joined Crown. My job gives me exposure to talk to people from all walks of life about their reallife situations, challenges and experiences. I enjoy the family side of relocation and providing support to all members of the family. Hong Kong’s delicious food is what puts a smile on my face. I missed it when I was out of town recently. I missed the dim sum. Hong Kong on the surface is very easy to adapt to, especially if you’re working and living in an international environment. Hong Kong has a fast pace of life, and housing sizes can be shocking at first. In our programmes we avoid talking too much about politics, but we do focus on the differences between Hong Kong Chinese and mainland Chinese people as this is a sensitive social issue and many Hongkongers have an opinion on this. Knowing a bit about the history of Hong Kong is also crucial in order to understand the culture, but again we just touch upon it.

It is critical that [Western executives] understand the importance of relationships and the nuances of Asian cultures. One of the most common situations that I deal with is Western executives moving into China. It is critical that they understand the importance of relationships and the nuances of Asian cultures. Teaching them a different way to communicate, request information and recognise employees is key to them being able to build strong and effective networks in their host country. No, we don’t teach expats to hand out business cards with both hands or anything like that. We go beyond tips and tricks to explain why things are done the way the way they are. Cultural training is

five minutes with about understanding the underlying cultural meaning. We look at the expatriation cycle from beginning to end. We offer intercultural training for employees and their spouses and then separate programmes for children aged eight and over. We cover everything from the values and mindset of Hong Kong people to what makes them tick. We don’t tell our people “Don’t do this and that”; instead, we try to help them integrate as much as possible and give them the skills to work effectively.

We don’t tell our people “Don’t do this and that”; instead, we try to help them integrate as much as possible. Relocating to another country is a very different experience, whether you’ve visited that country or travelled internationally before. When moving to a new place, people tend to think everything will be rosy and will work exactly the way they think, but that’s not always the case. In order to be successful, you have to integrate, and this is where cultural training comes in. By building self-awareness about how we, as individuals, behave because of our cultural values, you’re making the first step to understanding why someone from another country behaves differently. Cultural training enables people to understand the impact of culture in both personal and professional settings and how to shift their behaviours to be more effective.

“It’s important to give [children] a chance to express their concerns.” Moving to a new place with children can be tough. I’m a mother of two and I can relate to that. I’ve seen kids who cried when they arrived in Hong Kong and saw that their helper’s room was so small. That made me realise how children can be so observant. We provide support for children and teenagers. We focus on their concerns, using concrete topics relevant to them,

Gidwani moved to Hong Kong as a single woman 16 years ago and is now a happy mother-of-two.

such as school and friendship. It’s important to give them a chance to express their concerns - sometimes for the first time. Expat families tend to prefer Mid-levels and Southside for their first move due to the ease of getting around and the facilities in the area. We tell them Mid-levels is an expat-friendly area close to the central business district, and there’s the escalator and many bars and restaurants. Before they come here, many expats believe we don’t speak English in Hong Kong. Little do they realise that English is widely spoken. Also, they often hear that Kowloon is very far and would not consider living in the area until they arrive and see that Hong Kong is not that big and distances are short! Countries which appear to be the same on the surface are still very different when you dig deeper. That usually surprises a client. My colleagues in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and the Americas see this a lot when clients don’t initiate training for moves between the UK and the USA. Sharing pop culture is not the same as sharing cultural values! My motto in life? Live the life that you love!

Shaila Gidwani’s three tips for newly arrived expats in Hong Kong 1. “Food culture is very important in Hong Kong. It’s important to try the local delicacies with your colleagues and make an effort to integrate. You will often be asked if you have had breakfast or lunch as this is a main topic of conversation!” 2. “Taxi Cantonese is important. Know some keywords to help you get to one place from another.” 3. “Understand the importance of the Chinese New Year and how the Hong Kong Chinese celebrate.”

Crown World Mobility is part of the Crown Worldwide Group, established in 1965 and headquartered in Hong Kong. M | 19

cover story

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ORGANICALLY good for you

Where to find organic food in Mid-levels Mid-levels residents are spoilt for choice when looking for healthy organic food, as health-conscious, environmentally aware entrepreneurs have opened various stores around the neighbourhood.

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Read the logos Foods that meet given requirements can be certified organic, but the requirements vary from country to country and generally involve certain production standards for growing, storing and processing. These are the foreign organic logos often seen in organic products imported to Hong Kong:





And this is the Hong Kong Organic Research Centre logo accredited by IFOAM (The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements).

Natures Village

This long-standing establishment specialised in bodybuilding products before branching out into organic and health products. 36 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central; 2121 1637 Their Story Aman Dhillon, the (fit-looking) store manager, says: “We were founded in 1999. We were more into sports nutrition in the past, but a few years ago the organic food trend took off and people were getting more healthconscious, so we began to diversify into organic and eco-friendly products. Our staff have to go through months of training because there’s just so much to learn in this realm. Anyone who joins has to be passionate about these things.” Highlights • Known for their large selection of vitamins, supplements and protein powders.

Store manager Aman Dhillon, who has been in the health food retail industry for many years

• Seven branches spread across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. • The shop at Lyndhurst Terrace is not massive but it has more than meets the eye. You can find everything from organic protein powder to almond spread to ecofriendly washing powder. Is it worth paying more for organic stuff? Dhillon says: “Once there was a couple who came into our shop. The wife had just spent $2,000 on clothes at H&M. The husband brought to our till a big bunch of health products that came to about $1,000. The wife said: ‘That’s very expensive!’ The husband looked at her and went: ‘Honey, you’ve just spent $2,000 on clothes, which I’m sure you are not going to wear again in a few months’ time. And this health stuff can last much longer!’ That pretty much sums things up – no offence to ladies though.”

How to be a smart organic shopper? • “Read the label. Labels can be confusing. For example, there’s this cookie bar that tells you there are 190 calories for a serving size of two. What does that mean? It means you only have to eat half of the cookie to get those calories. If you don’t read the label and eat the whole thing, you end up with 380 calories.” • “Don’t be fooled by things with many logos. Some brands try to fool consumers by adding more logos even when they mean nothing. Coconut oil is gluten-free naturally, but there are companies out there who put ‘gluten-free’ logo on their coconut oil. I find that ridiculous!” • “Organic certification surely makes a difference. But bear in mind there are small companies whose products are practically organic, perhaps because nothing is added or modified, but they don’t have the money to get certification. Having no certification doesn’t make them less good.”

One of the staple items at natures Village | 21

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Organic Oasis

This organic food store with an emphasis on skin health has a mission to help busy urbandwellers live a healthier life. GF, Skylight Tower, 64 Bonham Road, Midlevels; 2547 8628 Their Story Jessie Cheung, the store manager (with almost flawless skin), shares: “When I was 10, I had serious eczema. My skin was like that of a hot sausage straight from the oven. I had to wear bandages and visit the doctor frequently and didn’t want to go to school. Some years later I started bathing with powdered ginger. Within two weeks, my skin improved significantly. The problem I’d been suffering for more than a decade eventually disappeared. When my friend opened Organic Oasis, he immediately thought of me, and here I am. We want to promote the idea of living a better life by eating well.” Highlights • A one-stop shop with organic and glutenfree food, pantry items, frozen organic meat and seafood, natural skincare items and more. • Staple item: Super-fine ginger powder,

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Store manager Jessie Cheung runs the organic shop with passion

developed by Baptist University, for bathing or drinking. • Discounts: Become a member by spending $500 within a month and you’ll get five per cent discount on subsequent purchases. Early bird deal: before 1pm, eight per cent off for a purchase of three items; 12 per cent off for six items.

bath and relax!” • “A hot bath helps blood circulation but that’s not enough. Superfoods such as spirulina remove heavy metals and toxins from your skin. If you don’t like the fishy smell of spirulina pills, try the powder format.” • “If you like tea, think rooibos tea. It’s great for skin as it has high antioxidants.”

Organic vs urban lifestyle? “Chronic fatigue, poor sleep quality, poor digestion and allergic skin are some of the common problems among urban-dwellers in a city like Hong Kong. We tend to ignore these issues because the doctor says they’re nothing serious. Then one day something really bad happens. That’s a scenario one should avoid. Start eating well. Don’t eat things based only on how delicious they are. Eating organic is good, but don’t blindly trust everything organic. Check the ingredients, as many healthfood products that aren’t certified organic are just as good.” Better skin • “Many of our expat clients who have allergic skin after moving to Hong Kong are busy people. Stress is a big culprit for unhealthy skin. Take a ginger-powered

Ginger powder is said to be effective for easing skin problems such as eczema

cover story

More organic food markets in town

Jeffrey Chan quit his bank job and opened a fresh organic food shop in Sai Ying Pun

A-Tao’s Vegetables

A small but popular shop inside the Sai Ying Pun wet market, A-Tao’s specialises in locally grown organic vegetables and fruits. Shop S18-19, Sai Ying Pun Market; 6381 4841. Their Story The owner, Jeffrey Chan, explains: “Five years ago, I decided I’d had enough of my bank job. I called it quits and decided to be my own boss. As my mother is a vegetable seller in Sai Ying Pun Market, I naturally got into vegetable retail. But I wanted to do something different from this family business. I noticed a growing interest in organic vegetables in Hong Kong, so I decided my mission would be to sell healthy vegetables and promote a healthier lifestyle. I set off to scout for local organic farmers in the New Territories.” Now A-Tao’s is one of the most popular vegetable stalls in the wet market on Centre Street. Highlights • A vast array of certified organic vegetables and fruits sourced from farmers in the New Territories, e.g., morning glory, red amaranth, red dragon fruits and fuzzy melons (the last two are in season now!). • Imported fresh items, such as fennel from Australia, cucumber from Australia and organic eggs from the US (the cheapest compared with imported organic eggs from at least three major supermarkets nearby). • Smiling faces! Chan and his friendly team

are always up for a chat with their local and expat customers, proffering tips on how to cook organic veggies. Why local organic produce? • They’re cheaper than imported veggies. • They taste noticeably better than their nonorganic counterparts. • Local produce travels less mileage to get to your kitchen, thereby reducing carbon emissions, cost and energy • You help support local farmers, who are nowadays facing rising rent for farmland as property developers and speculators are hoarding land in the New Territories for future development. When local organic farms disappear, we’ll be left with fewer choices and will have to spend more on imported produce. Tips on buying local organic produce • Chan says: “Season is key. In the summer, local beans and melons

Until a few years ago, locally grown produce – let alone organic – was very thin on the ground. Ask a wet market vegetable seller whether they sold any Hong Kong veggies and they were likely to look at you askance (“Only from mainland China!” you might be told). But things have changed. The number of certified organic farms has increased from 22 in 2007 to some 150 today. With that comes the growing popularity of organic farmers’ markets, which can be found in districts including Central, Quarry Bay and Sai Kung. The one in Central is held twice a week. Farmers come all the way from the New Territories to retail a variety of in-season organic fruits and vegetables. They also display their organic certification to prove their stuff is legit. The one on Sundays is organised by the Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden; the one on Wednesdays by SEED. Treat your tastebuds, support our farmers and enjoy the lively food market atmosphere! When: E  very Wednesday 12noon-6pm and every Sunday 11am-5pm Where: Central Ferry Pier No. 7

dominate; when the temperature drops, leafy greens such as spinach are in abundant supply.” • “Eat them quick. Don’t leave leafy greens in the fridge for more than two to three days. The limited or lack of chemicals and artificial fertilisers means organic veggies have a shorter lifespan.” • “Don’t worry about the ‘ugly’ looks of organic veggies. Organic fuzzy melons may look a bit misshapen and organic vegetables may contain more worm holes, simply because of the limited chemicals that can be applied when they are grown.”

A-Tao’s retails a variety of fresh veggies from Hong Kong and the West | 23

cover story

Easy organic recipes: almond milk Most organic community members featured in this article heap praise on almond milk for its rich nutrients. Almost every organic food shop sells it. But making your own organic almond milk is just as easy. Here’s how:

A vast array of spices and a small dining area are among the appealing features at SpiceBox Organics on Caine Road

SpiceBox Organics

From Indian spices to fresh food to health supplements, you can get almost everything for your household from SpiceBox. Shop 1, 137 Caine Road, Mid-levels; 2559 9887. Their Story The owner, Punam Chopra, says: “I practically ate organic growing up as that was the way of life in the hills of northeast India. The farmers grew their produce

Owner Punam Chopra is a health coach herself

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organically but there was no certification then. I’m a health coach certified by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York. I got into health and fitness more than 20 years ago and taught aerobics in India and yoga in New York. When I moved to Hong Kong in 2006, I wanted to bring a wide range of organic products to Hong Kong, including a variety of organic spices, hence the name SpiceBox.” Highlights • SpiceBox is an organic business certified by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). • Over 95 per cent of their 1,000plus products are organic, including SpiceBox’s branded Indian spices. Recently they’ve added Japanese pumpkins from Australia to their freshfood section. • Online shopping service. Free home delivery for purchases of $600 or more. • A dining area serving hot organic meals, coffee and tea. Why go organic? “Because that’s the healthier way to go. When you eat organic food, you already start working on preventing many potential health issues caused by chemicals and artificial stuff. Your health is strengthened and health span improved. Many people talk about lifespan but I think health span is more important. It’s not about how long but how well you live!”

Ingredients and tools 1.5 cups of organic raw almonds 4 cups of water cheese or muslin cloth nut pouch, blender and metal strainer Directions 1. Soak the raw almonds overnight. Wash them the next morning. 2. Put the almonds into a blender. Add 2 cups of water and blend until the almonds are well ground and blended with the water. It should be thick and porridge-like. Add the rest of the water and blend again for two minutes. 3. Place the cheese or muslin cloth or a nut pouch on the metal strainer that is sitting over a bowl. Pour the mixture through the cloth. Press firmly with a spoon until only the almond meal remains. The almond milk is ready! Store in the fridge and consume within three days. (Courtesy of SpiceBox)

Dos and don’ts of organic shopping • “Read the labels. Even some organic products have preservatives. Avoid carrageenan, an additive that be found in organic almond and coconut milk. Additives are just not good.” • “Look for certification. Hong Kong still has no legislation regulating the sale and labelling of organic products. So you can call your product organic when it has just a little organic content.” • “Go easy on your dairy-product intake. Try to have nut milk instead. Oat milk is great.” | 25

cover story

Live Zero has become a sensation since its opening on High Street.

Live Zero Bulk Foods At Hong Kong’s first zero-waste bulk-buy store, you can shop for organic stuff while helping to cut down waste by bringing your own containers or using donated containers. Opened in February, Live Zero quickly became a sensation with a large social media following. Shopping here means you are being kind not only to your health, but also our one precious Blue Planet. 24 High Street, Sai Ying Pun (email: Their story Founder Tamsin Thornborrow says: “I started the company after seeing the amount of waste

At Live Zero, you can buy things in bulk or in small amounts — it’s all up to you

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Hong Kong produces. Most of the waste in your rubbish bin is just packaging. If you go to the supermarket or even a healthfood store, yes it’s organic and healthy, but it’s covered in plastic, plastic, plastic.” Highlights • Over 200 products, with a range of organic produce, from spices and oats to pasta. Over 90% of all the food sold is organic. • Shopping in this bulk-buy store doesn’t mean you have to buy a lot. You can just buy a gram. “Hong Kong’s biggest waste is residential food waste. If you buy spices in the supermarket you have to buy like 100g, but do you really need that much?” Thornborrow says. • Timesaver: “We only stock one type of each product so it really helps to narrow down people’s choice and time.” Are organic shoppers environmentally conscious enough? • “In the last year and a half, I’ve noticed people are more aware of the BBC documentary Blue Planet. It really made people realise we are harming other things.” • We had a very positive reaction when we first opened; it was something that people really liked and needed. But in the first couple of months we needed to educate people about what we were doing and why

there was no packaging. Sometimes people even asked me for a plastic bag.” Little steps “The easiest steps to save on plastic are just to bring your own bag, or if you forget your coffee cup just stay in and have it. There is always a way around using plastic – people just need to say no!”



News from the dining scene

A home away from home

Dragon Noodle Academy

Amongst other new openings last month was Glasshouse in Cityplaza. The latest concept from Gaia Group offers a combination of Asian favourites and Western flavours. The building is light and airy, as is the food. Dishes include a Signature Caesar Salad and an “Up To You” sushi that allows you to build your own bespoke sushi rolls. Other options include Iberico Pork Belly Rice and lobster-topped Singapore noodles. Each of Gaia’s house concept restaurants is designed to offer customers a relaxed sense of home. Glasshouse, Shop 101A, Cityplaza, 18 Tai Koo Shing Road, Quarry Bay.

Based in the heart of Central, the retro Kung Fu-themed restaurant realised a range of new dishes for their “A tasting journey in nostalgic Guangzhou’ Menu. Many of the dishes featured are from the bygone era and include Siu Mai Pork Dumplings with Pork Liver, a favourite of Bruce Lees, and the popular Double-Boiled whole winter melon with lobster and crab meat in soup, which is served in a whole melon with enough portions for five. The menu is available until August 31. Man Yee Arcade Shop G04, G/F, Man Yee Building, 68 Des Voeux Road, Central.

Feather & Bone’s Summer BBQ Packs Get ready for BBQ season with delicious packs from pioneering butcher Feather & Bone. Their packs come in two sizes, a four person pack and a family pack, which includes the best-selling bone-in ribeye steak, beef patties and chipolata pork sausages, perfect for your summer feast! Each pack ranges from $950 to $1,400. 18 Gage Street, Central. | 27


BEAT THE HEAT How to feel cool in Hong Kong’s death-defyingly hot, humid August? Air-con isn’t the only answer. Here’s our stay-cool, AC-free guide to getting out there and having fun without sweating like a pig!

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outdoors | 29

outdoors FOR THE

ADVENTURE Wakesurfing Wakesurfing is a cool new water sport riding a wave of popularity in Hong Kong. It’s similar to surfing, except that the rider stays close behind a speedboat and surfs its wake without holding onto a rope. It’s easier than surfing, and without all that paddling it’s also less tiring. And because you surf the wake of the boat rather than natural waves, you’re less at the mercy of Nature. It’s also a literally cool thing to do. “We have a nice big cover to keep the sun out while you watch your friends wakesurf, and of course once you’re riding, it’s nice and cool in the water,” says Errol Bong, the founder of Wakesurfection (9402 2260, The Aberdeen-based company offers classes on weekends and public holidays at $1,400 for a one-hour session or $990 per hour for three hours or more. Wakeboard Hong Kong (9454 5772, has special weekday packages. A three-hour session costs $2,200.

Kitesurfing If you like speed, water, adrenaline and cool sea wind, this is the sport for you. A mixture of paragliding, wakeboarding, surfing and windsurfing, kitesurfing (also called kiteboarding) is a wind-powered water sport that combines paragliding, wakeboarding, surfing and windsurfing. It is relatively easy to pick up, compared with windsurfing, but the gear department might be a bit complicated.

Some call it kiteboarding, kitesurfing or kiting. We just call it awesome.

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Wakesurfing is riding a wave of popularity in Hong Kong

You’ll need a board, a kite that folds up to rucksack size, and a control bar and kite lines. But don’t fret. Join an IKO-approved programme offered by the Kiteboarding Association of Hong Kong (9288 4571,, kiteboarding. on Lantau. They’ll provide all the gear you need. A three-day beginner’s course, costing $4,500, covers all you need to know to get up and going on the board. For those who want to give kiteboarding a try before considering a formal course, Hong Kong Kiteboarding School (facebook. com/HongkongKiteboardingSchool) offers “discovery lessons” for $299 per person. The school also has IKO-approved private lessons at different levels. An eight-hour course costs $3,600, including all equipment.

Paragliding Want to fly up in the sky, rise above Hong Kong’s hills and soar like an eagle? Paragliding is for you! There’s some sweating before you fly but once you’re up in the air, you’ll feel as cool as a cucumber. As Emil Kaminski of Hongkong Hike’n’Fly (6153 1430, says: “The hike up can feel quite hot, but seeing that the takeoff locations are usually about 400 metres above the sea level, it definitely is much cooler and more breezy.” His company runs tandem flights that take off from Dragon’s Back, Ma On Shan or Lantau. Each flight costs $2,100. X-Fly Hong Kong Paragliding (6170 6615, offers tandem flights and also long-term courses at $8,000 to $12,000, excluding equipment.

Paragliding lets you soak in the breathtaking beauty of Hong Kong in a unique and cool way

outdoors FOR THE


Tram party If you’d prefer to stay in the city while having a cool party out in the open, riding an opentop tram is the way to go. Get on one of the only two vintage open-top trams in Hong Kong (choose the red or the green ding ding) and have a fun night out. Evening breeze, light music, fine wine and great city views. Bliss! Booking with Hong Kong Tramways (2118 6301, The rate is $1,550 per hour per tram on weekdays and $1,990 on weekends. The maximum number of passengers is 30.

cabs or buses. Get into a two-seater and go for a pleasure ride. Avis (2511 9338, offers two models of Porsche for hire: a Porsche Boxster at $8,000 for three days or $12,500 for a week, or a 718 Boxster at $8,300 for three days or $12,500 for a week.


STYLE & LUXURY Junk trip - a must-do in the summer

Junk trip And of course there’s always the boat party. We’re now deep into the junk season, so jump on a boat and enjoy the ocean breeze. There are plenty of operators out there. Yacht Holimood (5406 3347, en.yacht.holimood. com), for example, has a variety of boat types. Prices start at $500. The rum brand Chalong Bay Rum is running the Chalong Bay Rum Summer Junk Boat Series, with three trips altogether (August’s event falls on the 19th). The departure point is Central Pier 9. Expect rum with fresh coconuts, party music and a boisterous atmosphere. $899 per person including food and drinks. Go to to book your ticket.

Car hire Driving or taking a ride in an open-topped sports car is a great way to stay cool, and look cool too! No more over-air-conditioned

Driving or taking a ride in an open-topped sports car is an easy way to stay cool and look cool

“Not-so-hot” picks The paradox of Hong Kong summers: out there you’re roasting, and indoors you’re freezing because of excessive air-conditioning in restaurants and bars. Dining in an icehouse is not pleasant, but alfresco dining under the sun is not fun either. How about somewhere between sizzling hot and freezing cold? Check out these places with half-open areas:

Elephant Grounds The sitting area in the front of this café is a magnet for hipsters, parents with toddlers and freelance workers. 61 Caine Road, Mid-levels, 2535 7155

Pici This pasta bar has a half-open, stylish area near the entrance with fans on the high ceiling. 24-26 Aberdeen Street, Soho, Hong Kong, 2755 5233.

Craft Brew & Co. Watch the world go by and enjoy a craft beer at this artisanal bar in the heart of Sai Ying Pun. 36 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, 2559 0498.


Evening breeze, city views and good times with friends on a vintage tram. Bliss.

Grab a seat near the entrance of this health-conscious restaurant, cool down next to the standing fan and savour the healthy dishes – 80 percent of the ingredients are organic. 9-13 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, 2547 7668 | 31

health & beauty

Sunny daze

Ifat Kafry Hindes rounds up the best suncare products available to buy locally Sun protection. It’s an issue that I often get into big debates about with family and friends. Protecting ourselves from the sun should be a year-round activity, yet we find ourselves only doing it on hot, sunny summer days. I remember that in my youth, even on cloudy days when I wasn’t using skin protection, I went bright-red, and I was baffled as to how that had happened.

Sunscreen is something we need to use daily. Our skin is our biggest organ and what we put on it gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream, so I always make sure the products I use are chemicalfree. Most of the time I make my own oil-based sunscreen. However if you don’t have time to make your own, it’s important to know what to look out for when you buy some sunscreen. There are many high-SPF (Sun Protection Factor) anti-aging creams for adult faces, and they also contain ingredients that help fight the free radicals that come in the form of pollution in the atmosphere. So sunscreen is not only important for its SPF value; it’s essential for your allround health.

Don’t forget your little ones need sunscreen too

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UVA penetrates deep into the skin. It ages the skin, but contributes much less towards sunburn.”

Sun Protection Factor SPF measures the amount of protection from the UVB rays, not the UVA rays. SPF starts as low as 2 and goes up into the 70+ region – the higher the number the greater the protection. People should generally be using an SPF 30 product, as some studies show that anything higher doesn’t really provide that much more protection. SPF is an indication of how long a person should be able to spend in the sun compared to if they had no sunscreen on. For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen in theory provides 30 times the protection of no sunscreen at all.

Ultraviolet rays (UVA/UVB)

So now that we know the basics, what are my favourite products?

Both UVA and UVB rays from the sun are harmful, and both are linked to cancer in some way. According to the Cancer Research UK organisation, “UVB is responsible of the majority of sunburns;

One brand I like is COOLA. Two products they offer for women who wear makeup are the Dawn Patrol Classic Primer, which goes under your skin cream and

health & beauty

Home-made Sunscreen Like to keep it home-made? Ifat swears by this recipe from Dr. Axe’s “Food is medicine”. Ingredients: •  10 drops lavender •  1 tbsp pomegranate oil •  3/4 cup coconut oil •  2 tbsp Zinc Oxide •  2 tbsp shea butter

makeup, and the Makeup Setting Spray. Both contain natural ingredients that your skin will love you for. Pair these with your favourite anti-aging protection such as the Immortal SPF 15 Skin-Brightening Face & Body Moisturiser or the Ananda Antioxidant-Rich Gentle Toner (before your primer) by Antipodes. The toner is great to use after you’ve been out in the sun or if you have sun-damaged skin, and it provides excellent protection.

Spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen is my go-to product. Great for sunny winter days and cloudy summer days! M

Directions: – Combine all ingredients except the Zinc Oxide in a glass jar. – Place a saucepan with 2 inches of water on stove over medium/low heat. – Place the jar in the saucepan and stir the contents until the ingredients start to melt. – Once the ingredients are combined, add in the Zinc Oxide and stir. – Store in a cool place.

For pool and beach days Badgers is my ultimate favourite brand for kids. I’ve been using it on my kids for eight years and it hasn’t failed me yet. Most of the good children’s sunscreen products with safe, natural ingredients are thick and creamy, so be sure to blend them in well or you’ll leave a thick white layer on your child’s skin. Badgers Sport Sunscreen SPF 35 and Baby Sunscreen SPF 30 are both good. A newcomer to Hong Kong is the Israeli brand Moraz, which I have been loving recently. They have a range to suit all ages. I especially like the Baby Sunsaver SPF 50, the Face and Neck Sun Saver SPF 50 and the Sun Saver SPF 50 for the body. I use all of them with the Polygonum Sun Protector & Skin Rehabilitation Cream, which is great for sensitive skin, and it’s hypoallergenic too.

UVB is responsible for most sunburns; UVA for ageing the skin.

Lastly, the California Baby brand is known for its natural ingredients and “Less is more” approach. I love using this on myself as well as on my kids. After all, it’s good for you! The every-day, year-round Broad | 33

big day out

Far from the madding crowd

Kaitlyn Lai explores the sights and culinary delights of Lamma


mere 20 minutes away from the hectic heart of Hong Kong’s business district is Lamma island. Crystal-clear blue waters, hills cloaked with lush greenery, colourful bohemian storefronts, tanks brimming with fresh seafood...the ultimate escape.

Catch the ferry from Central, hop off at Sok Kwu Wan pier and stroll along a narrow corridor of seafood restaurants, small local tuck shops, stores, stepping over the occasional sleepy stray dog (they look dead but they’re very much alive, believe me).

Tin Hau Temple At the end of this corridor is a clearing, where the Tin Hau Temple stands. This 150-year-old temple was and still is where local fishermen pray to Tin Hau, the goddess of the sea, for bountiful catches and a safe return. This temple is also home to a specimen of the world’s longest Regalecus glesne (Giant Oarfish), caught in Lamma Island Strait in 2001.

Take a hike Facing the temple, turn right and you’ll see the start of The Lamma Island Family Walk that will lead you (eventually) to Yung Shue Wan on the other side of the island. It’s quite an easy walk along a concrete path with clear directions and a few refreshment options along the way. After a few minutes you’ll reach The Kamikaze Cave. Once used to conceal speedboats that were deployed on suicide missions against Allied ships, the cave had strategic importance for the Japanese kamikaze teams during the Second World War, hence its name. Tin Hau Temple

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big day out

Insider tip If you’re a hardcore seafood enthusiast, you should start your hike in Yung Shue Wan, so you can end your day with a larger variety of seafood choices in Sok Kwu Wan!

About 30 minutes into your hike, you should have reached the hilltop, where a Chinese-styled pavilion offers wonderful views of Aberdeen, Repulse Bay and Ocean Park across the East Lamma Channel. Take a break and drink plenty of water, because you’ll need the strength.

Power nap Twenty or so minutes past the pavilion, on your far left you’ll see the Lamma Power Station. Powered by coal and gas, it is a distinct contrast to the Lamma Wind Power Station, which you can also see clearly if you turn right at the next crossroad. Take the path on the left, towards Yung Shue Wan, and you’ll soon arrive at Hung Shing Yeh Beach. Its clean waters and powdery white sands make it the perfect rest stop for hikers and visitors. Who wouldn’t want to jump into the sea after walking for two hours under the blazing-hot sun?

Cool down Take a dip in the ocean or bask in the coolness of the public shower facilities. There are also a few local tuck shops and stores nearby and a barbeque site. The beach also makes a wonderful destination on its own without the hike – catch the ferry from Central Pier 4 to Yung Shue Wan

Kin Hing Ah Poh Tofu Dessert

Seafood epiphany in Sok Kwu Wan Here’s our top picks: •  Lamma Rainbow Seafood Restaurant 23-25 First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island, 2982 8100 •  Wai Kee Seafood Restaurant G/F, 3-4 First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island, 2982 8135 •  Tai Yuen Restaurant G/F, 15 First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island, 2982 8386

instead of Sok Kwu Wan, and Hung Shing Yeh is just a 20-minute walk from the pier. If you weren’t tempted by the shimmering sand and gentle waters, or you’re simply determined to get to the other side of Lamma Island, stay on the concrete path of the Family Walk until you reach a sign that points towards Yung Shue Wan. Before you know it you’ll be at the entrance of Yung Shue Wan Main Street. Yung Shue Wan, despite the encroaching development and commercialisation of Hong Kong’s islands, has managed to retain a local, rustic charm. Its main street is lined with veggie stalls, indie trinket stores, hipster boutiques, cosy cafés and busy bars, making it a vibrant finale to the hike.

Fisherfolk’s Village Step into the shoes of Hong Kong’s fisherfolk, whose culture and lifestyle have been forgotten in the transformation of a former fishing village into a thriving metropolis. •  Authentic fishing junk •  Traditional dragon boats •  Themed folklore booths •  Demonstrations of fisherfolk tricks •  Hands-on traditional fishing • Local dried and preserved marine products Open 10.15am-6pm, closed every Wednesday, $60 for children, $80 for adults. Pavilion with views across the East Lamma Channel | 35

big day out

Nibbles in Yung Shue Wan •  Kin Hing Ah Por Tofu Dessert 1, Yung Shue Wan, Tai Wan To, Lamma Island Family Walk •  Bookworm Cafe 79 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, 2982 4838 •  Andy’s Seafood Shau Kee Restaurant G/F, 43 Yung Shue Wan Main Street 2982 0210 •  Banyan Bay Cafe 67 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, 2982 1150 •  Lamma Grill 36 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, 2982 1447 •  Yardley Brothers Beer Shack Lamma Island Family Walk, 3705 3786

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Catching a Mahseer in the Himalayas in May was a defining moment for Hong Kong fishing enthusiast Chris Beale 38 |



n the early-morning light, the fish shimmered an amazing mix of yellows, oranges, blues and blacks. It was an astonishingly beautiful creature...

A fishing trip to the Himalayas is not just any old fishing trip, and the Mahseer is not just any old fish. It’s a legendary sporting fish that inhabits the turbid rivers that drain from the Himalayas, namely the Saryu and Mahakali Rivers at the border of northern India and Nepal. It has the largest scales of any freshwater fish and has an incredibly high fin-to-body ratio, which it needs in order to survive the freezing winters, when the rivers are in flood, and the boiling Indian summers. The Hindi word “Mahseer” translates as “River Tiger” for obvious reasons, given the fish’s colouring – “ma” means “river” and “seer” (pronounced “sheer”) means “tiger”.

On a quest to catch this almost-mythical fish, I enlisted the help of The Himalayan Outback, a company formed by the legendary Misty Dhillon and Mickey Sidhu. The company’s head guide is the equally famed Bobby Satpal, who knows the Mahakali River like the back of his hand and is proficient in no fewer than six languages. The journey there is an adventure in itself, requiring a five-hour flight from Hong Kong to

The record-breaking 75-pound Mahseer

Delhi followed by a five-hour drive up the first Himalayan peak. You overnight at a guest house, then it’s a gruelling six-hour drive down the other side of the peak, with hairpin bends and switchbacks every 20 yards, until finally you take a raft across the Saryu River to base camp. The fishing itself is not for the faint-hearted either, with daytime temperatures of 48°C, sandstorms most afternoons and violent thunderstorms every night.

hike down from the road, I noticed a long line of people snaking down the track, all carrying heavy bags, sacks and rucksacks. They sat down 50 yards to my left and started hacking at pieces of wood, building what looked like a raft. It transpired that it was a funeral pyre. Quite distracting casting your bait while a body is being cremated just yards away! The rationale is that the Mahakali River drains

On our first morning of the fishing trip we were taken to the local temple to visit a “Sadhu” which I believe translates as “Holy Man”. The temple is situated at the junction of the Saryu and Mahakali rivers in quite a beautiful spot. Sadhus commit their lives to a particular temple and are barred from shaving or cutting their hair. We said prayers and made offerings in the hope of good fortune on the fishing front. The Mahseer is a highly predatory but solitary fish, and many anglers fish for three days or so without so much as a bite. So I gave myself 10 days to track down my prize. My first couple of days were fishless, if not without incident. On the second day, even though we were fishing in an isolated spot that entailed a 30-minute A fan of fishing | 39

travel into The Ganges some 200 miles away, so by placing the ashes and what is left of the pyre into the river, all Hindus eventually “go home” to The Ganges, which for them is the holiest and most sacred of rivers. As for the fishing, it started slowly, but picked up. On the third day we were due to be picked

Intuition and premonition are peculiar things up at 7pm, but I had a gut feeling we were going to connect with something, and I was planning to ask the guide whether we could fish on until 9pm. He pre-empted me by saying he had exactly the same feeling and that we should carry on fishing for the entire night! So the porters brought us a curry dinner and we did indeed camp out and fish the entire night. Just before midnight I caught a beautiful

45-pound Mahseer, which took no little skill to land in the pitch dark from an extremely fast-flowing river. But just after dawn, at about 5.30am the next day, the fishing gods truly smiled upon me. My rod buckled over and I struck into what was obviously an extremely heavy fish. It bored up and down in the heavy current for 100 yards in both directions before circling the pool in which I’d hooked it. At the end of this pool, the river narrowed to a sharp gorge where the water gathered pace and fairly tore through rapids with boulders the size of cars. I knew that if the fish made it there I would lose it for sure. Luckily I managed to stop its runs just short of this danger and gradually coaxed it back to shore, whereupon both its size and beauty became apparent. In the early-morning light, the fish shimmered an amazing mix of yellows, oranges, blues and blacks. It was an astonishingly beautiful creature. We couldn’t get an accurate weight, but we estimated that it was between 75 and 80 pounds, so we selected 75 pounds

Chris’s top 10 fishing tips for beginners 1.

Get your gear ready the day before


Dress for the weather


Keep your hooks sharp

4. Use the appropriate equipment for your quarry 5.

Use a keep net, never a stringer


Fish at the right time of day


Rig your bait properly


Take good care of your equipment


Always have First Aid items to hand

10. Always be aware of your surroundings

Two guides with the Sadhu

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travel out of modesty, and to err on the side of conservatism. This figure in itself was irrelevant as the current river record stood at 71 pounds so, incredibly, I had caught a record fish. This is currently being ratified by the International Game Fishing Association. Of course there’s always an element of luck in catching a record fish, but it’s also down to the skill of the guides, and I would like to think some perseverance and persistence on my part too. This was always going to be the highlight of my trip, and although I caught other fish in the remaining few days, including a stunningly marked 46-pound Golden Mahseer, I relaxed a little and took in the breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife, including eagles and vultures overhead and jackals and deer on the ground.

Broken line - the one that got away

Magical India, majestic Himalayas, mythical Mahseer. For anyone with a love of fishing deep in the core of their being, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Himalayan Outback company organises Mahseer fishing trips. Call them on +91 981 560 5847 or visit

Chris Beale’s fishing bucket list 1. Utterakhand, India – The subject of this article, offering spectacular fishing for a legendary species in truly spectacular surroundings! 2. Chilliwak, Canada – One of the very few places in the world where you have a genuine chance of catching a 400-poundplus Sturgeon, a true dinosaur amongst fish. 3. Rompin, Malaysia – A magnet for huge schools of Sailfish that follow the bait fish into this part of the world each September. 4. Nova Scotia, Canada – Scene of the world’s largest run of epic-sized Tuna each June – October. 5. Alaska, USA – Jaw-dropping scenery and wild, wild fishing in every sense of the word. 6. Murchison Falls, Uganda – Breathtaking waterfalls and home of enormous Nile Perch. Sunset on the Saryu river | 41

my mid-levels

Alistair Rae The creative director of top hair salon Paul Gerrard talks to Shirley Lau about the joy of cutting people’s hair, AI and the nightmarish hair dye in a box.

How did you get into hair-styling? And why Hong Kong? I’ve loved watching hair stylists cut hair since I was a child. I’m originally from Scotland. I opened my own salon when I was 19. Then 12 years later I felt the need for new challenges – and some sunshine! So I moved to Cyprus to manage a Toni & Guy salon. In 2016 I was ready for more challenges and adventures and up-to-the-minute training. That brought me to Paul Gerrard in Hong Kong. I work with an amazing team of the most talented stylists I’ve ever worked with.

Who are your clients? An eclectic mix of expats and local people of all ages. I recently flew to Manila and Bangkok to style Drew Barrymore’s hair for her Netflix promotional tour. Drew was everything you’d hope and imagine she would be like in real life. She was lovely to work with and very funny.

So do you love what you’re doing? The best thing about my job is to be able to transform someone’s look and make them happier! I love my job.

Do you like talking when cutting people’s hair? I always like to talk with my clients. You build a better relationship with them and also find out more about their needs for their hair.

To have healthy hair, what are the dos and don’ts?

I’m lucky to work with a super-talented group of stylists. I can trust any of them to cut my hair! I like to trim it every two weeks.

Do try to trim your hair every six weeks. Always use professional shampoo, conditioner and masks. Don’t use box dye! It’s a hairdresser’s worst nightmare to correct, and perhaps a common mistake people in Hong Kong do to their hair. I love hair oil to calm and smooth the hair. Something that contains roucou oil is great. Use anti-humidity products. I’m a big fan of dry shampoo for volume and absorbing oils after the gym.

All the skills, creativity and ways of understanding individual needs can’t be done by any robot. A good consultation, communication, patience and understanding are key to a great haircut and colour. Although artificial intelligence has come a very long way, it can’t replicate human interaction.

What do you love about the Mid-levels? Being able to work up a sweat on Bowen Road and the morning trail, and the Edward Youde Aviary in Hong Kong Park. And I recently discovered Café Lavande, a cute French café on Prince’s Terrace – super-friendly people and great cakes!

What puts a smile on your face in the Mid-levels?

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Walking up is a chore, walking down a joy. The escalator is pretty amazing and unique though!

You cut people’s hair, but who cuts yours?

Hair stylists will never be replaced by AI, right?

Rae and his client, Drew Barrymore

Is walking up and down the hilly streets of the Mid-levels a chore or a joy?

The little laneways and unexpected public gardens and squares.

What do you think about those 10-minute haircut shops? It’s not possible to cut hair properly in 10 minutes! We work with 60-minute appointments for haircuts.

What’s your motto in life? I have two! “Life’s an adventure” and “Make it happen!” Alistair Rae can be found at Paul Gerrard salon, 1/F and 2/F, Wah Hing House, 33-35 Pottinger Street, Central. 2869 4408. M


Hot dogs Hong Kong Dog Rescue’s Sally Andersen advises on heatstroke in dogs Keeping cool in the Hong Kong summer months is enough of a challenge for human residents battling the heat and humidity between airconditioned homes and offices, but at least we can sweat and don’t have to wear all-yearround fur coats. Dogs sweat through their paws rather than their pores, and pant to cool down, but heatstroke is all too common and it can happen very quickly, especially in flat-faced breeds such as pugs and bulldogs, whose breathing is restricted at the best of times.

a good idea, and dogs generally love it, but remember the sand gets extremely hot and there is also the danger of your dog swallowing too much sea water, so you still need to be careful. Even though most dog owners in Hong Kong don’t exercise their dogs enough, at this time of year it’s sensible to reduce the hiking time if

If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, getting it to a vet as soon as possible is vital, because early treatment can mean the difference between life and death. Signs to look out for are very heavy panting and bright-red gums, so by that stage you should already be on your way to the nearest vet clinic. If possible, soak the dog in cool, not cold and certainly not iced, water to bring its body temperature down. However, the best way to avoid heatstroke in dogs is to stay out of the sun in the middle of the day. Instead, walk early in the morning or in the evening. By choice, dogs will find shade to rest under when it gets too hot, so forcing them to go out in the sun for walks isn’t fun for either side. Even going to the beach might sound like

Walkies Walkies with A.C.F. CEO Alexandra Cooper


r. Cooper is a six-year-old purebred English Golden Retriever. He used to be the main breeding stud at a puppy farm, but thankfully he was rescued by the SPCA. We adopted him three years ago, so now he lives a chill, relaxed life with his Mom and Dad. We’re really happy to have found each each other. Mr Cooper is very curious, and loves to go out and about. He always comes to work with me so he can get pats from everyone! Dogs make work a lot more fun. When he’s not exploring my office or the streets, he’s snoozing fitfully. He loves to nap and cuddle with us.

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We usually walk around Tai Ping Shan Street, because that’s where we live. Mr. Cooper knows all the shops and shop owners, and loves greeting everybody. Every morning when we walk past Teakha, he sticks his head through the window to say “hi” to all the ladies! Then he goes inside another store to roll around on the carpets. He’s also a big fan of the craft beer shop. Unfortunately he can’t drink beer, but I’m sure that if he could, he would! Mr. Cooper also happens to be an Instagram celebrity! He has over 15,000 followers, who love seeing his silly and happy antics. Mr Cooper’s smile brightens up everyone’s day.

Instagram celebrity

@mrcoopersantics 15.3 K followers

you usually head for the hills at weekends, and try to choose routes that will provide shade, and swimming if possible. Spending time at home just playing with your dog will help to use up some of that extra energy, or try teaching it tricks and practising obedience training. Brain work is as tiring for a dog as it is for humans, and it’s a safe way to keep your dogs happy until the cooler weather arrives.



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zim city

Tseung Kwan O cycling track


Ideas for promoting cycling


ride bikes. Born in Holland, I have been doing so since I was four. When I’m visiting family there, the bicycle continues to be the best way to get groceries and enjoy the city and countryside. In Hong Kong, the range of my day-to-day transport is more efficiently covered using my motorcycle. Here I ride a foldable bicycle once in a while for leisure, or to check out where improvements can be made to the cycling infrastructure. It should be no surprise that Designing Hong Kong has long promoted cycling. We are pleased to see that it is now the Government’s policy to promote cycling as a green mode for short-distance commuting, where road safety permits, in new towns and new development areas. Using bicycles for the “first-mile” and “last-mile” connection to public transport services expands the catchment areas of train stations and minimises the need for mechanised transport. With this pro-cycling policy we see tracks and parking added – albeit slowly – throughout the New Territories. Factors affecting the safe increase in cycling are the availability of existing cycling facilities, the width of the road reserve relative to the amount of vehicular traffic,

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and the presence of other cyclists. Safe sharing of village roads is a problem yet to be recognised. The official cycling policy is different for older urban areas, where the Government does not encourage the use of bicycles as a mode of transport. For this reason it is not adding facilities. This gets silly, with the absence of bicycle parking spaces at the new Ocean Park and Wong Chuk Hang MTR stations leading to illegal parking. We regularly see bicycles being used for short-distance delivery of all type of goods – from fresh chicken and pork to cooked lunches and gas bottles. But the demand for cycling by commuters in older urban areas is likely to remain limited to a hardy few. It’s different for sports and recreational riders. The West Kowloon Cultural District is preparing for cyclists, and the Development Bureau is keen to incorporate cycling facilities in designs for the harbourfront. Kai Tak will have an extensive network of separate tracks and the shared use of footpaths through parks and, hopefully, housing estates. A pilot test is now underway at the Kwun Tong Waterfront Promenade, whereby cyclists and pedestrians can share

footpaths branded “greenway”. Cycling will continue to grow as a localised activity. Given the challenge of transporting bicycles, this provides opportunities for rental businesses like those in Tai Po and Sha Tin, the end points of popular routes around Tolo Harbour. Experiments with dockless shared bikes rented through smartphone apps started in 2016. But these are proving expensive to maintain and cause concerns over random parking. The solution is to change to a system of docked shared bikes and a dense network of parking docks that trigger the start and end of payment. As a start, rental bikes should be made available at MTR stations. In Holland, the rail company offers rental services of high-quality bicycles. The OV-fiets (in Dutch, OV is short for public transport and fiets is bicycle) is a quick and healthy way to complete your rail journey. How about it, MTRC? Paul Zimmerman is the CEO of Designing Hong Kong, a Southern District Councillor and the co-convenor of Save Our Country Parks alliance.


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Mid-levels August 2018  
Mid-levels August 2018