Southside December 2020

Page 1


December 2020

Home for the holidays Staycation deals you don’t want to miss


Boxing day hike Explore Kai Kung Leng

designer Christmas

Meet the jewellery designers adding some sparkle to the festive season


CONTENTS — 12/20


Meet the jewellery designers bringing a sparkle to 2020











Meet the team

Christmas cocktails to sip in style

Southsiders out and about

Unwind with these fabulous staycations

Your ultimate guide to the festive season

What’s happening in our backyard


Paranormal activity at Wah Fu Estate


District Councillor Paul Zimmerman on the Kai Tak Approach Channel

Shop local this Christmas


Rory Mackay conquers Kai Kung Leng

Roger Chan, chairman of Metabev

Keeping pets out of mischief this Christmas






30 “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see”- The Polar Express


editor’s letter And just like that it’s Christmas again, I honestly don’t know where the time goes. This year’s festive season is going to look a little different. With planes grounded and social distancing regulations in place, most of us will be staying in the city. But don’t fret, this issue is your ultimate guide for a perfect Hong Kong Christmas. And what Christmas is complete without a little sparkle? Whether you’re looking for a loved one’s gift or feel like treating yourself after a tough year, I met some of Southside’s fabulous jewellery designers to get their tips for Christmas shopping in our cover story (page 14). If you’ve always wanted to experience some of Hong Kong’s five star lifestyle, now is the best time to check in. We’ve rounded up the best festive staycation deals to treat yourself this Christmas (page 24). And last but not least, let’s raise a glass to the end of 2020 in our round up of the best Christmas cocktails in town (page 19). Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season.

Editorial Editor-in-chief Nicole Slater, Senior Staff Writer Charmaine Ng, Contributing Editors Gemma Shaw, Digital Editor Apple Lee,

Design Graphic Designer Vicky Lam, Yankee Tsang,

Sales & Marketing Director of Content Hilda Chan, Head of Digital Content Isamonia Chui, Partnership Manager Elaine Li, Circulation Manager Pranali Gupta,

Things we love

Publisher Matt Eaton,

Founding Director Tom Hilditch,

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

Christmas caffeine

Festive staycations

While the holiday season is full of fun, it can be a little hectic. I’ve been sipping on some of Nespresso’s new Christmas coffees inspired by traditional Italian hazelnut cake and amaretti to get me through the festive season.

Last month I checked into Hotel ICON to experience their Foodcation package, which allows guests to enjoy a variety of exclusive dining options including buffet breakfast and afternoon tea at The Market along with special dinner discounts, perfect for a festive weekend.

Covid-19 update

As Southside Magazine goes to print we have done our best to keep our content as accurate and up-to-date as possible, but life under Covid-19 regulations means things tend to change, often from day-to-day. Please check with local businesses for operation hours and services available and remember, stay safe.



Photo : Karin Bremer

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

Southside 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. Southside 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 publishers. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.



Thank you to our contributors

Karin Bremer Dutch-Australian photographer Karin runs photography company Karin Bremer Photography offering a range of photography services including family portraits, events and commercial product services. This month she shot our glamourous cover image at the picturesque Murray House in Stanley.

Roger Chan As chairman of METABEV, Roger Chan knows how to enjoy a party. This month he shares his Christmas plans and favourite festive tipple recipe in our five minutes with interview.

Niyati Kapadia Founder and creative director of Niya K, Niyati Kapadia loves the finer things in life. Wellknown for producing some of Hong Kong finest engagement rings, Kapadia really believes diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Read all about her business and Christmas plans in our cover story.

Rory Mackay

Eric Fung Self-taught jewellery designer Eric Fung handcrafted his very first ring when he was just 12 years old. Now he is the co-founder of GINYU Design, a luxury jewellery brand focusing on traditional chinese elements. He shares his journey in this month’s cover story.

Avid hiker and thrill-seeker, Rory owns adventure company Wild Hong Kong. This month he takes us up the ranges in Kai Kung Leng for a fantastic Boxing day hike. Don’t forget the turkey sandwiches.

Paul Zimmerman Paul Zimmerman is the CEO of Designing Hong Kong, the co-convenor of Save Our Country Parks and Southern District Councillor of Pok Fu Lam. In his column this month, Zimmerman questions the quality of the water at the Kai Tak Approach Channel.

Want to write for Southside Magazine? Contact 4 | SOUTHSIDE



Snaps from Southside


say cheese

Hong Kong Dining Awards at The Grounds


planner businesses at this festive market. 12-8pm. Free. 33-35 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan.

DEC 19-20

Baby Shark Live Expect plenty of singing and dancing as the sharks take part in Reefville’s first annual treasure hunt. Multiple showtimes. From $280. Star Hall, 3/F, KITEC.

DEC 25

Christmas Day Sit back and enjoy the turkey, Christmas is finally here.

DEC 26

Three Islands Green Race

DEC 12-13

Hong Kong Living Christmas Getaway Celebrate the festive season in style with stunning views of Repulse Bay, as we proudly partner up The Pulse for a weekend of festive fun, with market stalls, workshops, rooftop lounge and festive cocktails. 12-6pm. Free. The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay.

in need this festive season. Free. 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai.


Discovery Bay holiday market

Burn off those Christmas calories and race across various islands including Lamma, Launtau and Hong Kong Island. Travelling time from one island to the other will not be accounted for. 7am6.30pm. From $400. Central Ferry Pier 4.

DEC 17-27

The Nutcracker Hong Kong Ballet had vowed to bring The Nutcracker back to the theatre for its ninth consecutive year. Suitable for ages three and above. From $180. Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.


Angels For Children Christmas Gift Donation Drive Donate much needed gifts to the children of Po Leung Kuk and Society for Community this festive season. Drop off locations include TREE and GFI Hong Kong.


Christmas Market at LANDMARK

DEC 16

Hong Kong Living Christmas Lunch Hong Kong Living is celebrating the festive season with a three-course meal and free-flow drinks at Ruam. The lunch will raise funds to support Feeding Hong Kong and Box of Hope, with all raffle proceeds donated. 12-3pm. $450. Ruam, J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai.

DEC 25-27

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in style at LANDMARK’s European inspired market. Shop at popular pop-ups including Senreve and Indigo Living. You can also enjoy tasty treats from LMO Freshly Baked by Richard Ekkebus. Free. 3/F, LANDMARK ATRIUM, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central.

The Last Dance Acclaimed choreographer Mui Cheuk Yin brings the classic tale of The Last Night of Madam Chin by Pai Hsien-yung to life in a dazzling performance. 7:45-9:15pm. From $220. Kwai Tsing Theatre Auditorium, 12 Hing Ning Road, Kwai Chung.

DEC 1-27

Grand Hyatt’s Santa’s Grotto Say hello to your favourite man in red on the Grand Hyatt’s Mezzanine floor for a Christmas meet and greet with Santa. The hotel will also provide a donation box to help give back to those


Credit: Conrad Dy-Liacco, courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet

A popular festive market hosted by Handmade Hong Kong. The market offers a range of gift ideas from homeware and clothing to jewellery. 11am-6pm. Free. Discovery Bay Plaza, Lantau Island.

DEC 18

The Hive Sheung Wan Christmas market

Shop for last minute gifts while supporting local

DEC 31

New Year’s Eve We’re all glad to see the back of 2020. Whether you’re celebrating at home or out partying, stay safe and have fun.

what’s on


JAN 23

Choose a 5km or 10km hike around Tai Tam Country Park to raise money for the Hong Kong Cancer Fund. 9am-2pm. Hong Kong International School, 1 Red Hill Road, Tai Tam.

Race three of the HK50 series covering distances of 6km, 10km, 25km or 54km. 7am5pm. $280. Shing Mun Reservoir Catchwater, Tsuen Wan.

Stride for a Cure


JAN 23-24

Long Ke Wan Camping Adventure Spend the night on one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful beaches, meet new people and enjoy an evening BBQ. Meet at Sai Kung Bus Terminus at 9am. $120.

JAN 19-24

Hong Kong Race Week Based out of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Middle Island facility, racing will be conducted across four race courses in the areas of Middle Island, Repulse Bay, Deep Water Bay, Stanley, Tai Tam and Beaufort. 9am-6.30pm. Free.

Got an event? We can publish the details. Email



The Peninsula says goodbye to checkin and check-out times With the concept of travel having been turned on its head in 2020, hotel groups are using the time to review their core operations. From January next year, guests at the Peninsula can take advantage of Peninsula Time – a programme that allows for a fully flexible check-in and check-out experience. Guests can arrange to have their room ready as early as 6am on their arrival date and check out as late as 10pm on their departure date at no extra charge. The

change is part of its wide-ranging “Peninsula Promise”, a commitment it has made to providing guests with a premium luxury experience. “Especially now that travel has become somewhat more challenging, we understand that extra time is one of the most meaningful gifts we can provide to our guests,” said Gareth Roberts, group director of brand and operations support for The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, owner and operator of The Peninsula.

Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble bursts The much-lauded travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was grounded just hours before it was due to take off last month. The travel corridor was initially supposed to kick off on November 22, but will now be deferred, due to a surge in local Covid-19 cases. Edward Yau, secretary for commerce and economic development, said


the decision was made after a discussion between both governments. The formal launch will be announced in due course. “In light of the recent upsurge of local cases, we have decided together with the Singapore government that we will defer the launching of the Air Travel Bubble by two weeks.”

Winter wonderland Our favourite yakitori and sushi restaurant in Southside has recently undergone renovation to reveal a brand new look just in time for Christmas. Shoku’s revamped set-up includes a new eight-seater yakitori bar serving exclusive food and drinks available only to guests seated in that area. The restaurant will also be offering a special Christmas menu from December 18 to 27, featuring a festive dessert platter that will sure excite the entire family.

in your backyard

RARE SkinFuel opens its first store

DBX launches in Hong Kong

Australian-Made skincare brand RARE SkinFuel (RSF) has opened its first-ever concept store at LANDMARK Atrium. The beauty line’s concept store aims to create an intimate skincare shopping experience with tips and tricks provided for using and incorporating their signature products in your

daily skincare routine. The store also offers three facial services in its luxurious treatment rooms. Carrying the motto “Bare is RARE”, RSF is a 100% Australian-Made clean beauty skincare brand founded by Michelle Chen in 2018 to provide one-of-a-kind fuel for the skin.

The luxury car company featured in 007, Aston Martin has recently launched its fourth car of transformational Second Century Plan in the form of an SUV. The DBX is the first SUV style car for 106-year-old luxury British marque and brings the versatility and indulgence expected of aluxury SUV, with sports car levels of dynamic performance. The 5-seat model is versatile in terms of the terrain that it can tackle and adaptable to a variety of lifestyle needs. Drivers can enjoy luxurious touches throughout the car including, full grain leather seats, separate central armrests and headlining and electric roof blinds. The DBX is available to purchase in Hong Kong now for $2,980,000.



five minutes with

Five minutes with

Roger Chan

While lavish industry parties were in abundance during the anniversary celebration, this year has taken a different turn, with the dining and beverage industry taking the biggest hit during the pandemic. Chan wanted to make life a bit easier for those struggling during this time. “Instead of adding any extra pressure to our partners, we wanted to help them through this time. We’re all in this together, we’re one ecosystem.” This year Chan has worked closely with the Hong Kong Nightlife Industry Association (HKNIA) and is an active member of the SAVEHKFNB campaign to offer support to local businesses in the industry. METABEV also has initiated various ‘Industry Benevolence’ programs to support local bartenders. But there are some silver linings to the situation, with Covid opening up many opportunities for digital marketing, METABEV jumped on the social media bandwagon in June this year. “We are a little late to the social media party, if I had known how beneficial it is for business I would have joined when Instagram began.” With METABEV’s 31st anniversary and the festive season approaching Chan lets us in on the must have drink of the season, tequila. “It’s making a comeback and I expect it will become a global trend in the up-coming months.” Along with the popular drink with salt and lemon, the team behind METABEV are also preparing recipes for mulled Negroni, “we are big fans of a Negroni in this office, so a festive spin is to be expected.” While the glamorous world of cocktails and canapes is alluring, Chan will be spending his festive season with his family. “Spending quality time with family is the most important part of the holidays, especially this year.” With high hopes for a cure for Covid-19 in his stocking, Chan is ready to bring the party to any event this festive season.

Make the perfect Winter Negroni

Nicole Slater meets the chairman of METABEV in the lead up to the festive season Established in 1989, METABEV prides itself on bringing high quality beverage partners to the city. The face behind the brand is Roger Chan. Originally from England, Chan moved to Hong Kong as a child, attending Hong Kong Island School before studying finance abroad. Like many Hongkongers, Chan eventually found himself back in the city ready to make his mark.

Having celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, METABEV has become a household name, increasing its industry ecosystem over the years. “We work with people and brands we like, doing what we like, life is short and we want to enjoy what we do instead of just thinking about revenue,” says Chan proudly referring to his passionate team.

30ml Bulldog Gin 30ml Campari 30ml Caffe Borghetti Coffee Liqueur 2x dash Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters Garnish with Cinnamon Stick


cover story


glamorous Christmas

Meet Southsides jewellery designers sparking joy this festive season. By Nicole Slater, photography by Karin Bremer

Niyati Kapadia Founder and creative director, Niya K Attending the Parsons School of Design in New York, Niyati Kapadia’s career started in the fashion industry. After the arrival of her children, she steered her passions towards fine jewellery and in 2015 established her own brand, Niya K. “My husband is a second generation diamantaire and about 10 years ago he encouraged me to use my design skills to create diamond jewellery for our friends and close network,” says Kapadia. As many Hong Kong entrepreneurial stories go, her business grew and Niya K soon became a popular choice for engagement rings and fine jewellery. Between researching and designing her products, Niyati enjoys getting to know the clients who wear her jewellery. “I am a people person and love getting to know my customers,


give them the right advice and build their jewellery collection together.” While the economy has suffered this year, Niyati believes there is no better time to invest in jewellery. “For us we see the world going in two ways. People who want to make bigger and more meaningful purchases, such as upgrading their engagement ring or those who have had a slightly rough year, buying more fashionable pieces as a pick me up for a special occasion.” As someone who designs her own jewellery, it can be difficult to gift Kapadia any pieces, but her most sentimental gift was a gemstone initial bangle, designed by her sons (with a little help from dad). But what Kapadia is wishing for most this Christmas is a flight… to anywhere.

christmas sparkle

Parmila Gurung Christensen Founder, Pure Elegance With a Nepalese background, Singaporean upbringing and Danish husband, Parmila Gurung Christensen has experienced a wide range of countries and cultures, providing inspiration for her unique and elegant designs. After going through a challenging period 13 years ago, Gurung Christensen used design as a channel for her anger and frustration. “Surrounding myself with gemstones made me feel powerful and at peace,” says Gurung Christensen. After attending a business jewellery course in London she went on to create her own brand, Pure Elegance. With Danish inspiration at the centre of her designs, Gurung Christensen’s jewellery is a fusion of East meets West and includes her Bauhinia Sterling

Silver Collection, which pays tribute to her 16 years in Hong Kong. Since working from home, Gurung Christensen has been able to plan her days as she pleases. “I normally go with the flow and see what I need in the sense of creating something new or checking my stock. I do enjoy reading about stones and the myths and sometimes get a bit carried away,” she says. “I love the Labradorite, the myth behind the stone touches my heart. In Eskimo culture it is believed that Labradorite fell from the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) and the lights were trapped in stones. If you look at a Labradorite you can see hues of greens, yellows and blues like the Northern Lights.” While this year’s festive season is a bit different, Gurung Christensen hopes her jewellery can help put a smile on someone’s face. “The best part of making jewellery is that it is very rewarding in every sense. I feel that I can give someone a bit of joy.” Facebook: Pure Elegance


cover story

Eric Fung Co-founder, GINYU Design As a self-taught jewellery designer, Eric Fung handcrafted his very first ring at the age of 12, which you can still find pride-ofplace on his desk today. After studying architecture in school, Fung and his sister Rosanna founded GINYU in 2018. The company started out as an heirloom homeware brand selling golden bowls and chopsticks, but the pair soon found their passion for jewellery and rebranded. “The GIN in our name stands for ‘present’ and implies modern day presentation applied to oriental elegance. “The ‘YU’ means ‘hard metal or treasure’ and resonates with the brands provenance and philosophy,” says Fung. By featuring traditional and natural elements like bamboo and spring blossom in his designs, Fung aims to capture and preserve time-honored family traditions from

his grandfather, which are sadly being erased. “We design products based on what we like first and foremost and find a balance between our brand values, style and market trends. We want to share these happy and memorable moments in our designs,” says Fung. With work from home and Zoom meetings planned for the foreseeable future, Fung believes that keyboard dressing will be the next big thing. “Next year will be all about headwear, statement earrings and chunky necklaces. Fine jewellery is reserved for outside of the house.” While 2020 has been a tough year for everyone, especially those with loved-ones abroad, Eric and Rosanna are looking forward to spending some quality time with family and friends this festive season.

Kim Chung & Kathy Mak Directors, Tukka With combined degrees in fashion and graphic design, Kim Chung and Kathy Mak share a love for jewellery and all the finer things in life. The two friends decided to start their own company, Tukka in 2014 after continuously being asked where they brought their accessories. “We both have a good eye and feel for what the market needs, having a background as buyers in the fashion industry has helped us a lot in that area,” says Chung and Mak. The brand takes its inspiration from ancient Indian jewellery. “We were inspired by the craftsmanship of old Indian traditions, many of which are also featured across a wide range of large scale jewellery houses,” says Chung. “Our bead bracelets are the most


precious piece in our collection. They are each made by hand and hold much sentimental value to us.” When it comes to fashion and accessories, Chung and Mak recommend people not to follow the trend. “Buy a piece that is suitable for your lifestyle and personality - respect your individuality,” says Mak. Tukka features three collections Art Deco, Victorian and Trible, all based around old glam, making each piece a statement item to pair with any outfit. “Personalisation and thinking outside the box is very important to us, we create what we believe our friends and customers will like and encourage them to wear our pieces with different styles at various occasions to create one’s own identity.”

christmas sparkle

Flora Chan Founder, FLO JEWELLERY With a passion for art, science and maths, Flora Chan’s unique set of skills has helped her captivate the wellness industry with her delicate designs and products. Growing up with her grandfather working in a pawn shop, Chan has been around jewellery from a very young age. “I used to make jewellery with gemstones, beads and silver to give to my friends as gifts,” she says. During a trip to India in 2010, Chan helped immunise children in the slums and decided to make a more positive impact in the world, she went on to become a certified life coach and mentor youth from less privileged families in Hong Kong. Taking on a more mindful approach to jewellery, FLO JEWELLERY is a combination of Chan’s two passions, holistic healing and jewellery design. Founded in 2015, the brand aims to empower and enlighten people through jewellery which is inspired by ancient symbols and wisdom. “Each piece of jewellery carries a

unique significance in the wearer’s journey and serves as a reminder to always be the best version of yourself,” says Chan. Having seen the challenges faced by the pandemic FLO JEWELLERY launched its FLO DiffuserTM, an elegant accessory and diffuser that one can clip to their mask with a strong magnet. “Wearing a mask is not enjoyable for me, I feel suffocated by it. I wished to put essential oils on my mask to keep it fresh so I didn’t have to smell my own breath all the time. That’s how I came up with the idea for the diffuser,” she says. The unique functional jewellery takes on a Flower of Life design, inspired by an ancient symbol of creation that brings harmony, joy and vitality. Chan’s collections are all sourced and manufactured to high ethical standards with a focus on treating the environment and their workers as best as they can, making them the perfect gift to give back this holiday season.




Photo: Aqua Spirit






sip sip hooray

Christmas cocktails

Where to enjoy a festive tipple in town this holiday season. By Katrina Lau Terrible Baby


While a white Christmas isn’t exactly possible here, you can enjoy a sweet and fluffy cocktail concoction that looks the part. Gettinginto the holiday spirit, the Kowloon based rooftop bar, Terrible Baby has whipped up two festive cocktails. Snuggle up with its woodfire cocktail for a sweet contrast of coffee, marshmallow and housemade chilli syrup or head to the tropics with the coquito, a rum based cocktail with coconut milk and cream spiced with cinnamon and cloves.

Who says piña colada’s are just for summer? The LANDMARK based Japanese restaurant Zuma has added a festive spin to the classic cocktail. Inspired by the glimmer and shimmer of Christmas, the Christmas piña is an icy blue refreshing fusion of white rum, coconut cream, pineapple and a dash of yuzu.

Christmas hampers The Peninsula

The Dispensary


Tucked away in Tai Kwan’s historic police headquarters block, The Dispensary is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. The White Christmas cocktail will certainly add a spring to your step with a blend of bulleit bourbon, passion fruit, lemon, pineapple, candy syrup and egg white.

Rooftop restaurant and bar SEVVA, designed by creative visionary and owner Bonnae Gokson, is the perfect place to add a little glamour to your festive night out. This season the bar will be bringing back its classic Christmas cocktails including a pumpkin spiced white Russian, old fashioned eggnog and a homemade pear and almond broth with a dash of Vodka. So sip the night away while watching Hong Kong’s iconic skyline.

The classic Hong Kong hotel is offering a selection of bespoke hamper’s overflowing with fun and festive delights. Expect a range of seasonal goodies including ornaments, chocolates, cookies, chocolate panettone, gourmet teas, wines and champagne. The luxurious hampers are packaged in exclusive containers resembling a red-bricked house or white pageboy hat.

Rosewood Hong Kong The beloved Butterfly Patisserie at Rosewood Hong Kong has been busy putting together indulgent treats and nibbles for the holiday season. Offering a choice of two luxurious hampers, the hotel cake shop packs a host of classic panettone, handmade chocolates and gingerbread cookies into each basket.

Hue No Christmas is complete without a glass of steaming hot mulled wine. Set against the backdrop of the dazzling Hong Kong skyline, Hue is offering an assortment of special Christmas cocktails including a classic mulled wine to keep you cosy this season.

Feather & Bone

Aqua Spirit What better way to kick off the festivities than slipping on a golden cocktail and overlook the stunning views of Victoria Harbour at Aqua Spirit. The new deck the halls cocktail features an aromatic blend of cinnamon and star anise mixed with a unique combination of vodka, tio pepe and mancino secco, for a real festive kick.

The gourmet butcher and deli is wishing home cooks a Merry Christmas with a host of pantry essentials and festive goodies. Choose from three luxury hampers including Merry Little Christmas, Jolly Jamboree and Jingle Bell Rock. The most extravagant number out of the three, the Jingle Bell Rock hamper will delight epicureans with premium extra virgin olive oil from Archidamo, British-favourite Border Biscuits shortbread and Jean Larnaudie bloc duck foie gras.



dining Prompt Bistro With open views of the ocean from its terrace and podium garden, Prompt Bistro is the perfect place to spoil your loved one this festive season. With a French-bistro inspired menu, diners can enjoy a range of breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner options for every occasion. During the festive season the bistro is offering five unique set menus including a Christmas Eve set dinner and the New Year’s Day semi buffet brunch.

Nam Fong

Festive Feasting

If you fancy more of the local cuisine, Cantonese restaurant Nam Fong, run by chef Bosco Li offers a range of fine dining and dim sum options for guests. With high windows location throughout the restaurant, Nam Fong is a serene sanctuary amidst the excitement of Hong Kong. Throughout the festive period, the restaurant is serving up a decadent Christmas tasting menu featuring abalone, lobster and winter melon in a ten course menu, perfect for a family get-together.

Nicole Slater rounds up the best Christmas offerings at Le Meridien With three restaurants scattered across the hotel, Le Meridien Hong Kong, Cyberport offers a range of cuisines from alfresco dining at Prompt Bistro terrace to authentic Cantonese dinner at Nam Fong. The man behind the Cuisine Team is the Executive Chef Tony Higginbotham, since joining the team in 2019, Higginbotham has set the bar high with fresh produce and fabulous service. Here is a look at this season’s special dining offers.

Umami Restaurant + Bar For a more alfresco dining experience Restaurant + Bar Umami is well-known for its artfully prepared sushi with authentic Japanese ingredients. To mark the festive occasion, diners can enjoy a Christmas Eve and New Years Eve treat with its Omakase

set dinner, prepared with care by chef Kenny, along with a daily leisure time tea set in the lead up to the big day.

PSI Bar For a more chilled-out experience, PSI Bar is the perfect place to relax after a day of Christmas shopping. Sit back and enjoy its Melvita afternoon tea set which features a range of sweet and savory items including honey almond and brie bites, home smoked salmon with beetroot cream cheese roulade, caramel pear tart and of course a hazelnut scone with Clotted Cream and homemade strawberry jam. The tea set is available until February 28.



Home for the holidays Staying in Hong Kong this festive season? Nicole Slater rounds up the best staycation deals With most of us staying put this Christmas, there has never been a better time to check into some of the city’s most luxurious hotels. Here are some of our favourite staycation deals this festive season.

K11 ARTUS Located in pride of place on Victoria Dockside, K11 ARTUS offers panoramic views of Victoria Harbour from its spacious and modern guest rooms. The ultra-private residences are designed to feel like home, with wrap around balconies and plenty of space for families to spend quality time together. This Christmas guests can receive 20 percent off their booking when subscribing to the hotel’s e-newsletter until December 31. Along with a room discount, the residence also has a range of seasonal menus tailored with wine pairings, for guests to raise a toast this festive season.


The Langham Located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, The Langham is well-known for its Europeanstyle interiors and designer boutiques. The hotel boasts 498 guest rooms and suites overlooking the city, a rooftop gym and heated swimming pool, perfect for a winter dip. This Christmas the hotel is offering a Design The Candyland of Your Dreams room package, until January 7. The package

includes a one night stay in the superior room, a box of Christmas candyland decorations, complementary breakfast and minibar, along with $1,100 in-room dining credit for two for $1,288, so all you need to do is show up with your Christmas spirit.

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental The iconic Landmark Mandarin Oriental is a five-star retreat in the middle of central. With three Michelin-starred restaurants and an array of suits, the hotel made it onto Travel + Leisure’s list of Top 100 Hotels in the World earlier this year. For the festive season Landmark Mandarin Oriental is offering a Santa Is Callin’ staycation package for guests to experience the true magic of Christmas. The package includes a limousine transfer, Landmark Mandarin Oriental bespoke Christmas welcome and turndown amenities, exclusive discounts on dining and spa indulgence and upto 50


sound experience at KEF Music Gallery. For the foodie’s out there, Hotel Icon also offers a Foodcation package, which allows guests to enjoy a variety of exclusive dining options across all of Hotel ICON’s signature restaurants from $1,560.

Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

percent off a second night’s stay. This offer is available until December 31 at $3,900.

Having assumed its pride of place on Victoria Harbour since 1989, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong is home to one of the city’s largest rooftop pools with poolside bar, The Grill. The five-star hotel hosts 10 uniquely designed restaurants and bars including the recently revamped Grissini and the popular Tiffin, located on the Mezzanine floor. This December Grand Hyatt Hong Kong is offering a relaxing retreat for guests who book the bed and breakfast package from December 1 to January 10. Guests will enjoy breakfast for two at the Grand Café, a bottle of Champagne upon arrival and a complimentary festive themed cake for $2,030 per night. The hotel will also feature a meet and greet with Santa on the Mezzanine floor until December 27.

The Upper House The bespoke hotel above Pacific Place needs no introduction. Designed by award-winning architect and interior designer Andre Fu, the hotel modern and sophisticated style is one to marvel at. The Upper House is introducing a new The House is Aglow room package for guests to experience the hotel like never before. The package includes a one night stay in a spacious studio room, $500 gift card to use around the hotel, daily set breakfast and a three-course dinner for two at Café Gray Deluxe before its closure on December 31. The House is Aglow room package is valid until December 30 for $3,900 per night.

Hotel Icon Capturing the essence of Hong Kong, Hotel ICON is a luxurious hotel located in Hung Hom. As one of the first environmentally friendly hotels in the city, Hotel ICON features a vertical garden in the lobby and an electric hotel shuttle bus to escort guests to and from the location. The new Snapcation package on offer this festive season gives guests a unique 30-minute photo opportunity inside the Designer Suite by Vivienne Tam, along with buffet breakfast at The Market and a complimentary one-hour private


gift guide


Christmas GIFT GUIDE

Nicole Slater suggests locally-sourced gifts for the whole family

Naked Lab Since starting just two years ago, Naked Lab has won multiple international awards for its high quality, vegan BambooSilk bedding. Originally focusing on baby cot sheets the brand has now expanded into children and adult ranges, providing high quality luxurious bedding for the whole family. This Christmas, Naked Lab’s is offering unique personalised stockings and 20 percent off their bespoke hampers

My Sweet Darling - Baby/Kid's Gift Hamper $880

The Perfect Pair - Couple Gift Hamper $1,820 Better Together - Family Gift Hamper $2,680


gift guide Fortnum & Mason From Piccadilly to Hong Kong, the 312-year-old British retailer first opened its doors in K11 MUSEA in 2019 and This year the Fortnum & Mason is offering four exclusive Hong Kong hampers containing some of its classic treats including biscuits, tea, truffles and champagne to celebrate the festive season in style.

Marshall Marshall has a longstanding reputation for quality vibes and slick, modern design. The Acton II Voice speaker boasts a built-in Google Assistant to control music without you having to lift a finger. Every song on the planet is accessible at the sound of your voice and this device has far-field voice recognition, so that even when the tunes are blaring, Google Assistant will hear you. Available from Lane Crawford and K11 Design Store.,

The Fortnum’s Christmas Collection $2,288

The Merry Christmas Gift Box $1,630

Marshall Acton II Voice $2,999



Catering to the modern-day spiritualists, OMSA offering is offering a unique toolkit for holistic self-care and spiritual awakening this festive season. With hand-poured soy candles, crystal kits and bath salts, you can personalise the ultimate self-care package to help your loved ones find their zen this Christmas.

Celebrate all things Hong Kong with 852prints eco-friendly T-shirts, greeting cards, accessories and more. Its Christmas card collection features cheeky takes on the festive season in Hong Kong that are guaranteed to make your loved ones chuckle. Each greeting card is printed locally on recycled paper with soy-based inks, so you can shop guilt-free and local this holiday.

The Ultimate Self Care Gift Set $765

Red sail hat $269

The Soul Healing Gift Set $730

Rudolph's struggle $39

Jingle all the way $39


gift guide Cubed Give your loved ones the gift of relaxation this Christmas with the Cubed’s CBD Drops, lotion and body butter. Using one of the most advanced extraction methods, CUBED CBD oil is infused from 99 percent purity CBD isolate, the most powerful CBD product currently available in Hong Kong. The formula to help relieve stress, improve your sleep, reduce anxiety and alleviate muscle and joint pain. The brand also offers pet CBD oil so you can treat them this festive season too. Use code hongkongliving at checkout to receive a free CBD Drops Tester.

Cubed CBD Drops (400mg) $380

Cubed CBD DROPS (1000mg) $650

BABYZEN For the yummy mummy in your life, BABYZEN’s YOYO² stroller and YOYO bassinet is an ultra-compact and stylish way to escort your baby around town. The stroller can fold and unfold in seconds and can be worn over the shoulder. When your little one isn’t so little, mums can simply swap to the 6+ colour pack, perfect for everyday use for newborns to toddlers.

YOYO² $4,300 YOYO bassinet $2,300


Cubed Relief Body Butter $380

gift guide Escapade sports Offering a wide variety of quality sports items, there is something for the whole family at Escapade sports. From marathon equipment to yoga gear, the fitness retailer is the perfect one-stop shop for those looking to get a kick-start on their New Year’s resolutions. With an online platform and stores across Hong Kong Island, shoppers can conveniently access their chosen gifts, even on Christmas Eve. Better yet, all items are easily exchangeable for wrong sizes or colours. Ultraspire Zygos 4.0 Hydration Pack $1390

Icebreaker Merino Tech-Lite Tee $680 Manduka Yoga Mat from $399, accessories from $99

SodaMagic Add a little fizzy to your festivities with SodaMagic’s Sparkling Water Machine and save the hassle of carrying bottles from the supermarket while also reducing plastic waste. The machine allows you to customise your own sparkling creations with multiple carbonation settings to make every glass perfect.

SodaMagic 'Auto' $980


big day out

BOXING DAY HIKING Rory Mackay conquers the ranges of Hong Kong’s far Northwest in Kai Kung Leng this festive season The hills of far Northwestern Hong Kong may not be so well known compared to other areas, but Lam Tsuen Country Park and its surrounds are as dramatic as any other landscape and ought to receive more recognition. The Country park is dominated by two primary peaks called Kai Kung Leng and Tai To Yan. Conquer this rugged range of hills and one

will witness some of the territory’s finest views, gazing down upon Shek Kong on one side and absorbing the immense sprawl of Shenzhen on the other. Meanwhile clearer days atop the summits reveal a glimpse across Lantau Island and the expansive waters of the Pearl River Delta. Not only is arriving at these mountain tops exhilarating, but the hiking to be had either side

of them is most enjoyable. In my opinion Kai Kung Leng or “Rooster Ridge” is a more beautiful and attainable hiking trail, perfect for a boxing day stroll, so I am going to focus on the hill of Kai Kung Leng here. But for those who are much more intrepid then her sister peak Tai To Yan is also very spectacular and can be done instead of Kai Kung Leng or in conjunction to create a twin peaks route. Lunchtime or early afternoons make for an ideal time to set off, if doing just the one hill in the cooler months, ensuring pleasant temperatures and sunset vistas from the summit (however leave first thing in the morning if wanting to do both hills). Rory Mackay runs adventure company Wild Hong Kong. For more details visit


boxing day

How to get there The route up is easily accessed by Kam Sheung Road or Yuen Long MTR Stations by taxi, ask for Fung Kat Heung Road, the trailhead is located between a basketball court and the Miu Kwok Monastery. If opting to travel by public transport, take the 603 minibus from Yuen Long to the same starting point. Once at the trailhead, simply crack on and follow the ridgeline trail upwards. Something you’ll notice quite soon that sets this hill apart from most in Hong Kong is how grassy and windswept it is. It translates to very tough hiking in the heat, but for wintertime it is simply sublime with nonstop views and plenty of picnic spots to enjoy that leftover turkey. Having clambered over a subsidiary peak at 335 meters above sea level, the gradient eases for a period before reaching Rooster Ridge Summit at 585m.

Having conquered this beast of a hill, take a perch and soak up the relaxing vibes. Few mountains in Hong Kong offer a 360-degree panorama of such variety; aside from the Tai Mo Shan massif, you’re the surveyor of all things in Western Hong Kong. On clearer days, the views of Shenzhen are jaw dropping. The sheer size and scale of this city becomes clearly evident from this vantage point, as one can see all the way from Lo Wu in the east to Nanshan in the west. To think that 40 years ago there was next to no development there almost defies logic. Take care heading down afterwards as the path can

be quite skiddy due to its exposure and lack of stairs. The return route down is otherwise fairly simple to navigate. Keep following the hiking trail directly along the ridgeline and you’ll be back to civilization in an hour or two. Compared to the route up, the return trail is more direct in its descent. Once you reach Fan Kam Road, there is the 77K bus route and various minibuses that facilitate travel to the closest MTR stations of Sheung Shui and Yuen Long. If wishing to do twin peaks as mentioned before, then nip across Fan Kam Road and follow the trail which heads east up to the main ridgeline of Tai To Yan. From that ridge there are a multitude of different paths one can pursue to drop back down towards Fanling, Tai Po or Shek Kong. Kai Kung Leng and Tai To Yan are classic winter routes almost anyone can have a crack at, yet keep even the most seasoned of hikers honest. Although the Northwestern New Territories may not be especially well-known amongst many hikers, the area has a few nice surprises for those who venture out. It’s enchanted forests below and spectacular vistas above will no doubt leave one wanting to revisit for another go.



Ask a vet... Dr Pauline shares her tips to avoid a visit to an ER this festive season

Dr Pauline Pets Central veterinarian Christmas treats During the festive period there are many goodies laying around that are hazards for our pets. One item to avoid at all costs is rawhide pet toys and treats. The vast majority of them are made from cattle or horse hides which get soaked in many chemicals to split the hides into layers, bleach them and remove the rancid smell. Then they get cut into shapes, and glue and colorings used to form “cute” Santa’s or Christmas trees. On testing many have shown traces of arsenic, mercury, chromium and formaldehyde to name a few, certainly not ingredients to feed our pets. Other holiday goodies to be aware of include foods with a high fat content. Ice cream, raisins, grapes and onions are toxic leading to blood abnormalities and renal failure.Sweet items that contain artificial sweeteners can be toxic, while chocolate leads to seizures and heart problems. Take extreme care where you store your chocolate boxes and gifts, some pets can open edible gifts wrapped under a Christmas tree. Cats are included in this prank. My own cat found her gift under my family tree and before my eyes teared off the gift wrap, chewed the package and gorged on the cat treats inside.


Decorations Certain flowers and plants are dangerous to our pets. Lilies, all parts of them, are fatal to cats causing renal failure. A very good friend told me she had received a bouquet of lilies for her birthday and unbeknown to her, one of her cats ingested the lily byproducts and despite her vet trying everything he could her lovely cat died one week after her birthday bouquet arrived. If you do have cats I suggest never have lilies at home. Dogs can also get poisoned but are less likely to show such serious side effects. Other toxic plants include Mistletoe which causes diarrhoea and the ever present poinsettia can cause mild irritation to lips and mucous membranes in addition to gastroenteritis. Activities Anxious animals perhaps upset by the “extra activities” around them, may turn to objects to chew to release their stress. This is a form of displacement behavior. Interesting things to chew can include cables and cords belonging to festive lights or lanterns, wrapping paper, candles and even the Christmas tree. I’ve seen several trees demolished by rambunctious dogs and I even found a Christmas glitter ball in a dog’s digestive system. When strangers come around, and in particular if your dog or

pets cat isn’t used to visitors, it is a good idea to shut your pet out of the way in a safe room or cage/ basket. They will be much happier and you can relax too. Remember as the weather gets colder our pets feel the difference in temperature too. They can get hypothermia so they need warm shelters or bedding at all times and fresh clean water every day.Christmas glitter ball in a dog’s digestive fresh clean water every day. May I wish everyone, two, four legs, with feathers, beaks and claws a very happy Christmas and a wonderful healthy new year.

Got a question for Dr. Pauline? Email




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southside secrets

Living with the paranormal Leanne Hong explores Wah Fu Estate, Hong Kong’s most renowned public housing estate Located next to Waterfall Bay in Pok Fu Lam, Wah Fu Estate is one of Hong Kong’s oldest housing estates, built in 1978. The complex is divided into three sections with a total of 18 blocks. It was once Hong Kong’s first self-reliant residential estate with a cinema, restaurants, shopping centres and several primary and secondary schools located within the vicinity. Throughout the decades the estate has been the location for many supernatural stories. One of the most renowned was a mass UFO sighting in 1970. On the night of Mid-Autumn Festival, groups of residents reported seeing a gigantic unidentified flying object slowly moving across the estate. It was said that the extraterrestrial disc was golden in colour, adorned with colourful lights and so large that the night sky was completely covered. The event shook the entire city and to this day many still claim to recall the aweinspiring experience. With the land previously being a mass grave during wartime, Wah Fu is also known for its urban legends and ghost stories. It is a common occurrence for residents to hear

phantom sounds of military marching in the middle of the night, some even reported seeing sinister shadows of soldiers lurking in elevators during late hours. One resident recalls seeing a lively carnival taking place at the ground floor from his window as a child. Waterfall Bay itself has been the location of many horrific incidents. Local folklore states that during the Qing Dynasty (16441912), pirates massacred villagers living nearby and burned their bodies, dumping their ashes into the waterfall. Cases of children from Wah Fu drowning in waterfalls years later led to the belief that the souls of the previous victims became water spirits. Access to the waterfall has since been blocked by the government due to the risk of accidents, but many believe that the spirits still lurk at the bottom of the emerald pool. Why then, one might ask, do so many people continue to live in Wah Fu Estate? All the seemingly terrifying stories would turn anyone away, however for many residents, Wah Fu Estate is simply their home. Whatever scary experiences they have encountered have become a part of their past and have

become something they look back on fondly. Soon the original estate will be transformed, with a redeveloped set to take place in 2024. As original residents are gradually being relocated, many are experiencing the bittersweetness that comes from the awareness that no one can stop the hands of time in this rapidly advancing society. What cannot be replaced however, is the treasured childhood memories made throughout the years in the company of spirits and aliens and the sense of belonging and bond they have formed with their home.


zim city

Kai Tak: Toilet bowl or water sports paradise Paul Zimmerman shares his thoughts about the old airport location The best water for marine recreation, leisure and sports in Victoria Harbour for all ages is the 90 hectares of inland waters known as the Kai Tak Approach Channel and the Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter. The water is calm in almost all-weather conditions and is protected by land on all sides except for small gaps between the Kai Tak runway and Kwun Tong. Instead, the Government is treating Kai Tak’s inland water as a toilet bowl for the benefit of land revenue and cost savings. Two things are required to make this water available to the 2.2 million residents of Kowloon for recreation, clean water and purpose built marine supporting facilities along the shore (think the water sports centre at Stanley main beach). Despite intense planning for the former airport site, both are left wanting. Drastic action is needed to achieve both. The first ‘no-reclamation’ outline zoning plan for Kai Tak in 2007 had roads along each section of the waterfront. With lobbying, these were moved except for a short section. As of 2014, water sports and recreation are now always permitted in public open


spaces, but we have a saying: ‘always permitted means it never gets done’. Instead of permanent sites we can expect two containers on the lower embankment of the runway, use of an old fire station surrounded by temporary structures near the runway tip and a small site under the highway without landing steps or a ramp to access the water. What’s worse is the water quality. Many remember the smell upon landing at Kai Tak. To solve this, a 600 metre gap under the runway would allow tidal changes to flush the enclosed waters. As factories moved to the Mainland, the ‘expedient’ discharge of pollutants into storm drains had ‘improved’ a lot. In 2018, it was proudly determined that the land could be used for development and infrastructure as the gap was no longer needed. Shamelessly, the Government advised the Town Planning Board in November 2020 that although the smell has gone, runoff from Kowloon City and Kwun Tong and effluent from the Tai Po and Shatin Sewage Treatment Works will continue to flow into this semi-

enclosed waterbody. This makes it doubtful the E.coli requirements for secondary contact recreational uses will (ever) be met. The solution is simple – to redirect these pollutants to the open water. It is not too late to fix Kai Tak.

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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