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Southeast asia / may 2017

The Best of

hong kong macau and


editor’s note

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hong kong and macau, as they have been over the decades, are close

@CKucway chrisk@mediatransasia.com

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From My Travels

Both Hong Kong and Macau tend to hide their secrets in plain sight. That iconic view of Hong Kong, for starters, is best seen from the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade come nightfall. It’s also the best time to hop on the Star Ferry, because, seasoned traveler you are, you know that Hong Kong taxi drivers don’t know TST streets any better than their Kowloon counterparts know how to get around the island. Aiya! That’s just the way things are in one of the world’s most intriguing cities.

f r o m l e f t: t h a n a k o r n c h o m n awa n g ; C h r i s t o p h e r k u c way

cousins on so many levels, yet each of these urban centers has a distinct personality. Anywhere else in the world, Macau would be considered a frenetic, neon-lit pinball machine of a city, though next to Hong Kong it’s a South China Sea getaway, a break from all things fast-paced and urban, with a touch of Iberian influence still prominent. Where the two ports overlap is when it comes to offering experiences you can’t find elsewhere. For starters, Hong Kong loves nothing more than a good meal at any time of day or night and this e-guide has insights into vegetarian takes on traditional Asian dishes as well as a peek at the design logic that goes into every successful bar and restaurant in the city. And don’t believe the idea that Hong Kong is a city that never sleeps: today, it’s even home to nap lounges, something you might need after a particularly large meal. When looking beyond the obvious landscape of casinos, Macau too offers up more than a few surprises. Its hotel scene alone is the envy of most other stops in this region. Never overlook the small restaurants, bars and trendy coffeeshops that lay hidden around the enclave. The locals don’t and neither should you. One in the crowd, creativetype Alberto Chan, offers some otherwise hidden insights to his hometown, a sure sign that there’s more to it than any of us first imagined.


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HONG KONG

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Hotel Icon This deal gets you discounted room rates and a sumptuous daily breakfast. Stay two nights and receive an arrival airport transfer in a Tesla. Stay four nights and enjoy roundtrip. The Deal Bed and Breakfast with Limousine: a night in an Icon 36 City View room, from HK$1,900 for two, through December 29. Apply promo code “PROBB” when booking. Save 20%. hotel-icon. com.

Kowloon Shangri-La Enjoy an exclusive experience at Xii Golf and Country Club’s championship golf course while staying in Kowloon. You’ll receive transfers to and from the hotel and club, and a personal buggy and caddy for your game. The Deal Golf and Stay package: a night in a Deluxe room, from HK$3,750 for two, book through December 29. Save TK%. shangri-la.com/kowloon.

MACAU

SUPER SAVER Grand Hyatt Macau This package includes a complimentary dinner for two at the hotel’s impressive open kitchen buffet, free laundry services and a minibar full of snacks and refreshments gratis. The Deal Grand Offer package: a night in a Grand Deluxe room, from HK$1,999 for two, through December 31. Save 56%. macau.grand.hyatt.com.

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The Parisian Macao Hotel Get tickets to the onsite “Eiffel Tower,” a complimentary souvenir and daily breakfast or lunch. Book two nights at the hotel and chose among a oneway water jet ticket to Hong Kong for two, tickets to Qube Kindom Kid’s Play Zone or MOP200 in shopping and dining credit. The Deal The Parisian Macao package: a night in a Deluxe room, from HKD1,298 for two, book through December 31. Save 30%. parisianmacao.com.

f r o m t o p : c o u r t e s y o f h o t e l i c o n ; c o u r t e s y o f g r a n d h yat t m a c a u

Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong Get more time to explore bustling Central with this package where you get a free night’s stay after book two nights in a suite. The Deal Suite Stay package: a night in a Harbour View suite, from HK$10,800 for two, book through June 30. Save 33%. fourseasons.com/hongkong.


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the dish

Veggie Out A new meatless addition to Hong Kong’s dining scene doles out fast food with a clean, green conscience. By Helen Dalley Yes, Hong Kong’s new veggie

restaurant Home – Eat to Live is housed in what had been a Burger King in Central. While the fast-food concept remains firmly in place— customers place their order at the till and are given a restaurant pager to signal when their meal is ready—the Whoppers and fries have given way to wholesome, mostly organic menu items named after endangered or extinct species. Popular bites include The Polar Bear, a beetroot, mushroom and oat burger topped with roasted bell peppers, smoked eggplant caviar and aioli, as well as the Silky Sifaka earth bowl, a vegetarian take on Vietnamese pho that ditches the meat in favor of fresh greens and luscious avocado. “We’ve designed a menu that caters to everyone, whether they’re craving a Middle-Eastern flat bread or a bowl of noodles,” says founder

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FROM top: The Polar Bear, a meatless beet burger; restaurant founder Christian Mongendre; inside the vegetarian fast-food joint; organic cold-pressed juices; hazelnut chocolate pie.

Christian Mongendre. A dedicated vegetarian, he’s on a mission to convince diners that meat-free cuisine doesn’t have to be limiting. Mongendre hopes to open a second outlet in Hong Kong soon and harbors ambitions to roll out his healthy fast-food model across Asia. “We want to appeal to the lawyers and bankers as well as the hippies and yogis,” he says. To that end, he’s made sure to include more indulgent offerings than the stereotypical slabs of tofu. While upstairs serves speedy mains, guests on the ground floor can kick back on the sofa and dig into beautifully presented vegan desserts such as hazelnut chocolate pie and raspberry lime tart. Pair them with a nutritious shake like Balance, which combines coconut and date with cold-pressed vanilla extract. In the evening, health-conscious revelers can knock back a cocktail or two sans the guilt: the popular Jade Supercharged balances out Tequila Ocho, a single estate artisanal varietal, with kale, spinach, green pepper, green apple and parsley. “Just because food is fast doesn’t mean it can’t be tasty,” he says. Or that it must be so sanctimonious. A little booze, a funky attitude, and dishes that can sate hardened carnivores make this a place that both those who eat to live and live to eat can enjoy. homerestauranthk. com; mains from HK$118.

c l o c k w i s e f r o m t o p : A n t h o n y J D a m i c o ( 2 ) ; c o u r t e s y o f HOME – E at t o L i v e ( 2 ) ; c o u r t e s y o f F 8 PHOTOGRAPH

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Joyce Wang’s award-winning interiors at Mott 32.

Matters of Taste design

courtesy of mot t 32

In Hong Kong’s ultra-competitive restaurant scene, groundbreaking design is the magic touch lighting up the city’s dining landscape. By Kissa Castañeda-McDermott

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/ beyond /d e s i g n It takes a lot of mox y to open a bar or restaurant in Hong Kong. For every success story like fine-dining Amber or hipper-than-thou Yardbird, there are dozens that vanish in months, barely making a dent in the city’s crowded culinary market. In an era when we eat with our eyes (and invariably phones) first, it’s not surprising that good design has become what sets a place apart. Here we profile three Hong Kong-based studios whose works propel restaurants to even greater heights, and ask the designers to reveal a few of their tactics and tricks of the trade.

Design Firm: NC Design & Architecture Specialty: Speakeasy Style Sometimes to stand out you need to blend in. This strategy proved fruitful for two speakeasy-style establishments in Hong Kong, Mrs. Pound (mrspound. com; drinks for two HK$220) and Foxglove (foxglovehk. com; drinks for two HK$280), both of which caused a social media stir when they opened thanks to their hidden-in-plain-sight novelty. ncda.biz.

Tactic 1: Build a Mystery

In 2014, Mrs. Pound drew crowds through a playful take on their surroundings of Sheung Wan’s Hollywood Road area, which is lined with galleries and boutiques retailing Chinese antiques. Concealed behind the façade of a traditional stamp shop is a bar and restaurant with a whimsical interior reflecting the fictional story of a certain Mrs. Pound. Part of the fun was figuring out how to gain entry via pressing a particular stamp. “Our design philosophy centers around developing new ways for people to interact with their world,” explains Nelson Chow, founder of NC Design & Architecture. By playing this teasing game, he was able to toy with the public’s curiosity and desire for discovery, creating the feeling of an in-the-know elite clientele.

Mrs. Pound’s hidden entrance. Foxglove, behind an umbrella-store façade.

Design Firm: Joyce Wang Specialty: Visual Stories

In the unveiling of a new restaurant, the chef’s culinary pedigree usually takes center stage, but not when it’s designed by Joyce Wang. The acclaimed architect and designer often gets equal billing with the chef, a welldeserved accolade if you consider how much she brings to the table. From the cinematic Ammo (ammo.com.hk; dinner for two HK$750) to the mesmerizing Mott 32 (mott32.com; dinner for two HK$800), which was named World Interior of the Year in 2014 at the Inside Festival in Singapore, Wang creates polished spaces that transport and enthrall. joycewang.com.

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from top: courtesy of mrs. pound; courtesy of foxglov e

Tactic 2: Master Misdirection

From the outside of Foxglove, all you can see is a beautiful umbrella store with a window display not too different from the Berluti boutique down the road. “The idea of hiddenness and attraction helped create this tension between wanting to be seen as well as remaining invisible,” Chow stresses. “The duality of purposes enabled us to create an intriguing misdirection.” The vintage-themed façade sets the tone for the dramatic interior inspired by the golden ages of transportation (think: plush private planes, opulent train carriages, and elegant automobiles from eras bygone). “Design is about reinventing space to help create meaningful connections,” Chow says.


Foxglove’s sleek and well-stocked bar.

clock wise from top: courtesy of foxglov e; courtesy of mot t 32; c o u r t e s y o f f i s h & m e at; c o u r t e s y o f l i m e w o o d

Tactic 1: Focus on Details

A meticulously crafted narrative influences each and every element in Wang’s interiors. At Mott 32, she turned an unfavorable basement location into a desirable den that merges Chinese touches and British colonial references, imparting Hong Kong’s richly layered history into the 700-square-meter space. The bar takes after a traditional Chinese apothecary, there’s a private room devoted to mah-jongg, and the rope-and-chain motif celebrates the city’s origin as a fishing village. For Ammo, one of her first projects in Hong Kong, inspiration was two-fold: the design was influenced by Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville as well as informed by its location at Asia Society, a heritage site that was formerly a ballistics compound. Wang employed glass and concrete, and a modernist approach in her design, as a reference to the film noir’s futuristic plot. The architectural setting of Asia Society played a large role; the floor-to-ceiling windows helped create a cocoon within the larger structure and Wang’s use of copper throughout channels the building’s military past.

Beachy charm at Limewood.

Portrait at Mott 32.

Tactic 2: Do it Yourself

“Everything we do is custom-made, from the tables and bar chairs down to the lighting,” Wang says. Bespoke lighting, in particular, is one of Wang’s calling cards and the use of gleaming metals and stunning lighting has become the studio’s signature. At Isono (isono.com.hk; prices vary by tasting menu), which hosts guest chefs each month, she built a lighting installation above the circular

Charlie & Rose keep it simple at Fish & Meat.

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/ beyond /d e s i g n Tactic 1: Keep it Playful

From the laid-back beachside shack feel at Limewood to the vintage, Sherlock Holmes-inspired interior at Mr & Mrs Fox (mrmrsfox.com; dinner for two HK$800), each of his restaurants has a tongue-in-cheek edge, with interiors chock-full of witty touches that encourage interaction. “Our design for Mr & Mrs Fox includes a lot of fun details,” McCarthy says, “enough, in fact, that there is plenty for visitors to discover upon return visits.” From the taxidermy squirrel lighting to the secret room hidden behind a bookshelf, there’s no shortage of clever details to populate your Instagram feed. What to try next at this popular bar and restaurant? “We are looking forward to sampling the beer at Little Creatures,” McCarthy says, “crafted in-house at their brewery, which sits proudly front-and-center to the main bar.”

Tactic 2: Respect the Foundation

Polished chrome at Ammo.

bar area that is a curious rendition of fluorescent tubes. At her latest project Rhoda (fb.com/rhoda hongkong; dinner for two HK$500) in the up-and-coming district of Sai Wan, she transformed washing machine drums into a dazzling upcycled chandelier. Of course, knowing exactly where to shine the spotlight is at the heart of the work and here she decided, “Rhoda is all about Nate,” Wang says, referring to Rhoda’s chef Nathan Green. She took inspiration from Green’s style of cooking, which is about creating modern comfort food using everyday ingredients. Her dedication to customization is seen in an area nicknamed “Nate’s Den,” an intimate corner filled with details that speak of the chef’s passions, from beard grooming to tattoo flash art.

Subway tiles, exposed ceilings and metal furniture: a fail-safe formula that has been adapted by so many Polished restaurateurs chrome that it’satalmost a design default. Some may Ammo. as an industrial-chic designer pigeonhole McCarthy given that he was able to execute several spaces in this manner—Fish & Meat (fishandmeat.hk; dinner for two HK$800) is a good example—but he stresses that the unfinished aesthetic has more to do with the space’s provenance. “The raw look you see in some of our work is a result of aiming not to overdo things. We like to acknowledge in some way the space that was there before us or celebrate the inherent character of a building,” McCarthy says. At Fish & Meat, the simplicity of the interiors relates to the restaurant’s mandate of uncomplicated, ingredient-focused cooking.

A hallmark of a good restaurant is one that you’d easily return to. Often, these are places that help us relax— where you can turn up after work or on the weekends wearing shorts, ready to knock back a beer. Behind most of Hong Kong’s venues that enjoy a large repeat clientele is Australian designer Ben McCarthy, founder of Charlie & Rose. “Growing up in Queensland really helped me develop a relaxed approach to design and an affinity with the outdoors,” McCarthy says. Case in point: Limewood (limewood.hk; dinner for two HK$700), a beachside restaurant in Repulse Bay that wouldn’t be out of place in Joycethis Wang’s Byron Bay. Local yet global, modern but familiar, is bespoke touches an example of how the best balancing acts look effortless. light up Rhoda. charlieandrose.com.hk.

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Joyce Wang’s bespoke touches light up Rhoda.

from top: courtesy of ammo; courtesy of rhoda

Design Firm: Charlie & Rose Specialty: Hip but Homey


Goods

Packing Plumage Italian style meets Hong Kong savvy in Very Troubled Child, a handmade luxury luggage brand.

c l o c k w i s e f r o m t o p l e f T: c o u r t e s y o f V ERY TROU B LE D CHIL D ( 2 ) ; c o u r t e s y o f N a p L o u n g e ( 2 )

By Samantha Leese

This flight of fancy

began with a wager. Alberto Favaretto, a Hong Kongbased finance lawyer turned entrepreneur, founded Very Troubled Child in 2013 after betting a friend that he could start a creative business with as little as HK$10. He won the gamble by starting small, making notebooks and phone covers to order and leveraging his

access to local factories and inexpensive materials. Soon he moved on to bags with a simple goal: to create “the best luggage in the world.” When Very Troubled Child introduced its signature No. 4 weekender duffel in a tropical Birds of Feathers pattern (left) last winter, it sold out in 48 hours. Besides Birds, two ranges are on sale now—a set of versatile solids; plus the Seafarer (right), launched this March—and all include a clutch and soft suitcases. The brand’s charm and top quality has spread by word of mouth. “I’m selling a little dream,” Favaretto says in an apt description for a company named after an

invention of the master of whimsy, Wes Anderson, whose aesthetic informs many of the bags’ designs. The book Coping with the Very Troubled Child features in Moonrise Kingdom, one of Favaretto’s favorite films. The energetic Italian has quit his job in derivatives to keep up with the demand for bespoke style and handcraftsmanship. Each product is made to order with Argentinian leather and has an emerald green cotton lining. The bags are hand-painted by master artisans in Hong Kong, and new designs are due later this year. verytroubledchild.com; signature weekenders from US$499, ships worldwide.

Noticed

Sleep and the City

Expert napper Helen Dalley uncovers Hong Kong’s dreamiest new trend.

Nap Lounge. Top right: David Lau.

Save the after-dark hours in Hong Kong for drinking and dancing; it is the hot midday that’s perfect for snoozing. Enter Nap Lounge, a new concept with outlets in Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai that offer serious solace from a city that doesn’t know the meaning of winding down. Taking inspiration from airport lounges, spas and hotels, the concept was dreamed up by local hotelier David Lau, who runs Popway Hotel, with lounges broken into business and first class cabins. Each pod has space for one guest, and the slightly roomier first-class cabins have on-call refreshments. Available in 15-minute slots, all cabins have ergonomically designed nap chairs draped with sheets and blankets to snuggle under, relaxing music, free Wi-Fi, magazines, newspapers, chargers, slippers and a toothbrush. While you lounge about or grab some shut-eye, staff can screen your calls before you’re ready to emerge from your private pod, refreshed and ready to take on the city’s teeming streets once more. naplounge.com.hk; from HK$40 for 15 minutes.

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w e e k e n d

Mellow Macau

New openings and old classics with understated allure balance the bombast of the city’s mega casinos. by Juliana Loh There’s more to Macau than meets the eye. Look beyond the blinding neon of the next new giant casino-hotel opening, and you’ll find a lesser known and quickly developing side of the city that offers a subtler slice of life. Independent restaurants and shops, designed by a pool of upcoming local talent, are dipping into Macau’s history and natural bounty to offset the modern brightlight behemoths. Here, a weekend exploring the best of the city’s past, present and future.

FRIDAY

4:30 p.m. | Strip Down To kick off your weekend, start with the big bling. Check in at The St. Regis for unrivaled views of the strip, a Vegasstyle boulevard lined with hotels and casinos in a kaleidoscope of constant action, then drop your bags and head out to explore the dazzling Cotai area on foot. stregismacao.com; doubles from HK$2,147.

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5:30 p.m. | Stroll the Streets Take a break from baccarat and wander towards Taipa Village for a Portuguese treat at San Hou Lei, a local diner that is famous for their delicious bird’s-nest egg tarts. Take in the antiquity of beautiful old tiles and cobblestone streets as you meander the little alleys of Taipa Village. 13-14 R. do Regedor; 853/2882-7313; tarts for two MOP24.

7:30 p.m. | Favor the Saber Samurai some bubbly at the champagne sabering ceremony at The St. Regis Bar. Next, order their signature Bloody Mary cocktail “Maria do Leste” inspired by Portuguese mariners, with spices from the trade route they once sailed. Hungry? Head next door to The Manor for a great steak or fresh seafood. themanormacao.com; dinner for two MOP1,000.

f r o m t o p : c o u r t e s y o f r e t h i n k c o f f f e ; c o u r t e s y o f t h e s t. r e g i s ; c o u r t e s y o f pa c h a ; c o u r t e s y o f t h e s t. r e g i s

clockwise from left: Brunch or bungee at Macau Tower; alternative café Rethink Coffee; Pacha at Studio City heats up; the “Maria do Leste” cocktail at The St. Regis Bar.


c l o c k w i s e f r o m t o p : c o u r t e s y o f pa c h a ; c o u r t e s y o f t h e s t. r e g i s ; c o u r t e s y o f c a s a d o p o r c o c r e t o ( 2 )

11:00 p.m. | Dance ’til Dawn Revelers and night owls head over to Pacha at Studio City, which brings in a stream of international DJs to rock the 90-square-meter dance floor for parties that last ’til daybreak. pachamacau.com/ en; cover charge MOP200 including one drink, cocktails for two MOP200.

SATURDAY

8:30 a.m. | Peer at the Pier For a window on local life, take a walk along the Ponte 16 pier and watch the last batch of fishermen arrive with their catch of the day before the thrashing hauls of grouper, sole and pomfret are carted off to the wet markets for sale. 10:00 a.m. | Get Sandy Walk over to Nam Ping and order the savory miracle that is their omelet, ham and char siu pork sandwich, which has been on the menu for more than half a century. And save room for a Chinese donut,

endearingly called sa wong in Cantonese, which translates to “sandy old man,” perhaps a nod to the dusting of powdered sugar. 54 R. de Cinco de Outubro; 853/2892-2267; breakfast for two MOP44. 11:00 a.m. | See the Future Head to A-Ma Temple, built in 1488, a unesco World Heritage site also famous for its fortune tellers, with experts in the art

using an ancient technique of shaking a bamboo cylinder to answer their patrons’ questions about job opportunities or love. If you are more interested in the past than the future, there’s still intrigue here aplenty. This is the spot where the Portuguese first set foot in Macau in the 1500s, and hearsay has it that when these pioneers asked where they were, the locals

clockwise from top: Smoking beats at Pacha; living large at The St. Regis Macao; Casa do Porco Creto imports melt-in-your-mouth meats from Portugal; roasted suckling pork at Casa do Porco Creto.

answered with the Cantonese name of the temple, “Ma Kok Miu,” which is how the name Macau stuck for the peninsula. A-Ma Temple, Barra Square. 12:30 p.m. | Meat Up Owner of Casa do Porco Creto, Vanda Rodrigues serves family-style Portuguese cuisine, and prides himself on the quality of his farm-to-table meat and produce. The animals are raised in Galveias, the Portuguese region of Alto Alentejo known for agriculture, farming and cork production, and then served in his restaurant in Macau: not entirely slow food, but one can taste the richness and flavors of the pork, lamb and beef thanks to the free-roaming diet of luscious Portuguese grass. The menu is large, but start with the signature leitão assado, or suckling pig. 310 Fong Son San Chun Block 5, R. do Almirante Sérgio, Barra; 853/2896-6313; lunch for two MOP600. 3:00 p.m. | Get Fishy Sardines are a staple of the Portuguese diet, and this

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w e e k e n d

clockwise from right: Japas serves up Japanese tapas in a modern setting; a funky Matcha tea frappé from Rethink Coffee; fill up on fresh lobster at Tromba Rija’s famous brunch; past and future collide at A-Ma Temple.

Laguiole. Only set menus are available, featuring a fusion of Japanese staples and Spanish tapas resulting in well balanced dishes like steamed egg and sea urchin or the yuzu tart served with lemongrass ice cream, but you can never count on a specific recipe to appear in the line up; their menu is always changing based on the freshest seasonal produce available. 165-307 R. do Padre Eugénio Taverna; 853/2852-1199; fb.com/japasmacau; set menus from MOP380.

influence is very much alive at Lojas das Conservas Macau

where shelves are lined with beautifully packaged cans of sardines of various vintages, qualities and marinates. Check the wall for information on each fisherman and producer, a form of preserving part of the artisanal food craft. 9 Trv. do Aterro Novo; 853/65718214; fb.com/lojadas conservasmacau; can of sardines MOP35. 7:00 p.m. | Snack on Japas Japas is a beautifully fitted restaurant with classy rustic interiors helmed by Macau chef Anthony Sousa Tam whose culinary experience includes working in kitchens from Noma to Michel Bras’

Getting There Regional airlines all fly into Macau, including several budget carriers like Tigerair (tigerair. com), Thai Smile (thaismileair.com) and Jetstar Asia (jetstar.com). Alternatively, arrive by ferry (turbojet.com.hk; tickets from HK$164); it’s just an hour from Hong Kong or Shenzhen, and the ferry rides are pretty stable except for during bad weather and typhoon season. For those with deep pockets, take a helicopter (skyshuttlehk.com) from Hong Kong (HK$4,300) or Shenzhen (HK$5,900) one-way and get there in just 15 minutes.

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11 a.m. | Brunch like a Local It is easy to see why the Tromba Rija in the Macau Tower is where the Portuguese community gathers for traditional family Sunday brunch. The setting is bright with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the sea and there’s an equally expansive buffet spread that includes fresh seafood, salads, meats and traditional desserts. macautower.com. mo; buffet MOP378 per person. 1 p.m. | Fuel up, Fly out Before heading to the ferry terminal or airport, pop into Rethink Coffee, a cute little shop serving craft coffee and tea. Here, baristas roast their own coffee beans and the menu is divided into classics, exclusives and alternatives— so whether you’re craving a flat white, Macanese latte or a fresh cold lemonade, they’ve got you covered. 76 R. de Berlim, Alameda Dutor Carlos d’Assumpção; 853/6309-1619; fb.com/rethinkcoffeeroasters; flat white MOP36.

f r o m t o p : c o u r t e s y o f j a pa s ; F u s e / g e t t y i m a g e s ; c o u r t e s y o f r e t h i n k c o f f e e ; c o u r t e s y o f t r o m b a r i j a ; c o u r t e s y o f t u r b o j e t

Sunday


/ beyond / t r e n d i n g

Cool Quarter

Alberto Chan, owner of a new concept store in Macau, is bringing the art of subtlety to the city’s budding creative scene, but he’s got an appetite for more than just great design. By Juliana Loh

c lo c k w i s e f r o m to p : c o u rt esy o f A l b e rto c h a n ; c o u rt esy o f B l i ss f u l Ca r r ot ; c o u rt esy o f Q ua rt e r Sq ua r e ; c o u rt esy o f R i t z - Ca r lto n ba r & lo u n g e

It took 15 years for interior designer

Alberto Chan to return home to Macau, and less than 12 months for him to make a mark on the gaming center. His understated creative voice is rising above the bellow of the mega casinos, the whisper everyone leans in to hear. Chan spent almost two decades in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hong Kong, and he’s bringing some of the low-key cool of the urban centers to Macau with his brand-new concept store Quarter Square (89 Largo Maia de Magalhães, Taipa; 853/28576914; quartersquare.co). As it has since opening, the store is shaking up Taipa’s village scene, blooming in the middle of decades-old local diners and shops selling overpriced tourist knickknacks. Soft-spoken and cheerful Chan says he is striving to “bring delightful, well-crafted design to everyone in Macau, one step at a time.” He curates a selection of contemporary home décor from Europe, the U.S., Japan and Scandinavia and he’s also developing his own collection of cushion covers. Customers can leisurely browse or sip Quarter Square’s custom coffee blend at the espresso bar, part of Chan’s vision of offering Macau locals “a platform for exchanging designs and ideas.” The New York Parsons’s Golden Portfolio Award–winner goes for timeless elegance in every project by combining craftsmanship, comfort and functionality. Chan’s past work at renowned design firms like Jonathan Adler and Tony Chi shines through in tasteful looks that reflect his love of nature, art and technology. You can also spot his signature style at restaurants across Macau like Papermoon, where he was commissioned to lead the interior design. Chan is a strong supporter of local businesses and here he shares his favorite spots to eat, drink and hang out, choices influenced by both his upbringing in Macau and his international education in design.

Interior designer and owner of Quarter Square Alberto Chan. below fROM left: Ritz-Carlton Bar & Lounge; a veggie-packed pita at Blissful Carrot; window-shopping at Quarter Square concept store.

t r av e l a n d l e i s u r e a s i a . c o m   /   m ay 2 0 1 7

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/ beyond /t r e n d i n g + Chan gets his coffee at Beans Aloud. “They are a small homegrown business and really put their heart into what they do.” Pick from a variety of fresh coffee beans and they’ll custom roast them on site. If you aren’t sure what to choose, join one of their tastings or workshops to coax out your inner coffee aficionado. 6F Edifício Industrial Man Kei, 48 Av. do Coronel Mesquita; 853/6326-2625; coffee for two MOP80. + For fresh juices, hearty salads and wraps, Chan frequents Blissful Carrot, just around the corner from his store. Need a healthy sweet fix? Try the carrot cake and the Blueberry Coconut Bliss smoothie. fb.com/blissfulcarrot; lunch for two MOP200.

LAID-BACK LUNCH

+ Hit up Chan’s favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Cho Lon, for “some of the best pho noodles and curry beef brisket in town.” Magnificent Court, 419 Av. Xian Xinghai; 853/2850-9200; lunch for two MOP200. + Chan laments that there aren’t that many great places to dine outside of the casino hotels, but when he needs a break from baccarat, he ducks into Taipa Café, where they serve European food that doesn’t disappoint (even if the service still needs work). You can’t go wrong with the meatballs. Shop B, The Manhattan, R. de Nam Keng, Taipa; 853/28844075; lunch for two MOP600. + Also outside of the confines of casino row is Café Litoral, a Macanese institution “definitely not celebrated enough for authentic classics” like minchi, a minced pork and beef dish with diced deep-fried potatoes; tacho, a winter Macanese meat stew; and African Chicken dressed in a thick peanut curry. cafelitoral. com; dinner for two MOP400.

SUNSET DRINKS

At The Tasting Room. Below from left: Peking duck at Beijing Kitchen;

carefully crafted cocktails at Heart Bar.

+ For an after-work cocktail, Chan recommends Heart Bar at Ascott for its beautiful interiors and cocktail selection. “The look is both modern and classic,” he says. There’s also an outdoor terrace where guests can enjoy a breezy sunset tipple. the-ascott. com; drinks for two MOP150. + Or if you’d like a view as dizzying as the drinks, The Ritz-Carlton Bar & Lounge on the 51st floor, offering a panoramic vista of the Cotai Strip, will have you reeling. Sample from the bar’s very own gin trolley, serving one of the best gin and tonics in town, to cast a rosy glow upon the city’s nightscape. ritzcarlton. com; drinks for two MOP200.

HAUTE DINNER

+ When he’s in the mood for a high-end hangout, Chan suits up for two-Michelinstarred The Tasting Room. “It is a fully immersive experience that brings pleasure to the five senses, from the interiors to the choice of tableware, plating and music, and, of course, the food.” cityofdreamsmacau.com; lunch sets from MOP368. + “I love the Peking duck at Beijing Kitchen. Their open kitchen where diners can see all the action is brilliant. Although if you sit for too long, the smoked fruit tree wood aroma gets on your hair and clothes.” macau.grand.hyatt restaurants.com; dinner for two MOP700.

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c lo c k w i s e f r o m to p : c o u rt esy o f T h e Tast i n g R o o m by ga l l i ot ; c o u rt esy o f H e a rt Ba r at as c ot t ; c o u rt esy o f G r a n d H yat t m acau

FUEL-UP FARE


wish you were here

Shinsuke Matsukawa /  Central /  Hong Kong

Continual change is the norm in Hong Kong, yet one constant is the unpredictable weather. Rainy season in the southern Chinese city brings massive amounts of precipitation from June to the middle of September as well as off-the-chart humidity levels. During those wet, flood-prone months, black rainstorm signals warn of more than 70 millimeters of precipitation in an hour. But Hong Kong residents take it all in stride, turning to the great indoors, to the underground, and to the blessedly enclosed walkways like the one in Central that acted as photobooth for this shot. Even if the typhoon rating reaches a once-in-a-decade T10—which means gusts of up to 220 kilometers per hour—there’s a silver lining. Just follow the locals somewhere safe, such as a restaurant or bar that hasn’t managed to close in time. This month, happily, marks the beginning of a change, though. Cloudy days start to yield to the dry season, a great time of year to explore Hong Kong’s great beaches, lush parks and, of course, captivating streetlife. t r av e l a n d l e i s u r e a s i a . c o m   /   m ay 2 0 1 7

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