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Hong Kong City Guide: Sarah Lian and Hannah Tan share their favourite spots

When you think of some of Asia’s most vibrant and futuristic cities, Hong Kong may immediately spring to mind. The bustling cosmopolitan spot is the perfect blend of old and new, seeing colourful shophouses co-exist with endless skyscrapers. With a wide range of restaurants, bars, festivals, homegrown boutiques and world-renowned brands available in the city, it is no wonder that the Pearl of the Orient is a destination many find themselves going back to again and again.

We caught up with globetrotting style mavens, actress and host Sarah Lian, as well as host-model-singer-actress Hannah Tan, who are both based in Kuala Lumpur — but have an affinity with the vibrant city. They shared with us their favourite restaurants, most frequented bars, and secret spots in Hong Kong.

What’s your favourite thing about Hong Kong?

“I love the vibrancy of the city, which is a great melting pot of locals and expats. I’m also truly inspired by how hardworking the people of Hong Kong are. It’s quite amazing to see the work ethic, especially the older generation still working so hard.” – Hannah

“I love the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, with old world charm in a metropolitan city. There’s always so much going on, and you can find little treasures in every corner.” – Sarah 

hong kong city guide
Actor, TV Personality and emcee, Sarah Lian. (Image credit: @imsarahlian)

Which restaurants would you recommend?

Kau Kee Restaurant (21 Gough St, Central, Hong Kong)

“I would recommend the Beef Noodle House on Gough Street. There’s nothing quite like sharing a table with complete strangers who you might just end up striking a conversation with. Try the Beef Brisket Curry and get the watercress drink, it’ll be a nice surprise!” – Sarah

“This iconic institution at Gough Street is almost a century old. You definitely have to go there for the curry beef brisket noodles, which is what they’re known for.” – Hannah

Tim Ho Wan Sham Shui Po (9-11 Fuk Wing St, Sham Shui Po) 

“While all the Tim Ho Wan dim sum shops are amazing, you need to go to the one at Sham Shui Po, which has one Michelin star. I love their baked bun with BBQ pork. It’s probably my favourite thing on the menu!” – Hannah

Tung Lok Tong Chinese herbal shop (275 Queen’s Road Central)

“Located opposite the Sheung Wan Food Market along Morrison Street, Tung Lok Tong Chinese herbal shop is great for authentic Guai Ling Ko (local dessert with herbal ingredients)” – Hannah

What are the best bars to go to?

Stockton (32 Wyndham St, Central) 
“I recently discovered Stockton, a quiet gentleman’s whiskey bar featuring dark and moody interiors and amazing cocktails. I’ll always stick to my favourite Moscow Mule!” – Sarah

Mrs. Pound (6 Pound Ln, Sheung Wan)

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Host-model-singer-actress at Mrs Pound, a restaurant speakeasy.

“Although I don’t take alcohol, I have friends who do — so I’m always looking for places which cater to both. This would be it. My favourite drink is the Green Machine, a smoothie made with kale, spinach and fresh pineapple juice. For cocktails, I’d recommend the Bohemian Sour, made with green tea infused whiskey, yellow chartreuse, lemon juice, honey syrup and egg white.” – Hannah

“I’ve just tried Mrs Pound in Sheung Wan, and I’m definitely adding that to my recommended list! The speakeasy restaurant and bar serves up fusion cuisine and inventive cocktails. For food, you need to try the pomelo salad and the coffee sticky ribs. The flavours are truly unbelievable and with a Southeast Asian palate, it tastes like home but with a fun twist. Mrs Pound also has a wonderfully-curated drinks menu, where you can find anything from signature cocktails to spirits from small-batch distillers all over the world.” – Sarah

Where do you usually shop?

Nordic Room By Homeless (29 Gough St, Central) 

“The Nordic Room by Homeless has classic modern and cutting-edge design items for the home. And not to mention, cute little knick-knacks for souvenirs.” – Hannah

Goods of Desire (G09-G14, G/F Block A, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central)

“This quintessential Hong Kong brand located at PMQ is the best place for souvenirs. From pillows to t-shirts to even underwear, you can take a little piece of Hong Kong home with you. The play on Cantonese words is what makes this place so unique and special to Hong Kong.” – Sarah

Kapok (G/F, Hollywood / Hg10 -12 PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street Central) 

“This hidden gem is also located at PMQ on Hollywood Road. I love the curated selection in their store and never leave empty-handed.” – Sarah

What are some underrated spots or activities you’d recommend?

Old Town Central

“I had the opportunity to explore Old Town Central and found it to be quite a traveller’s treat. It is one of the city’s oldest districts, blending East and West — as well as the old and new. Sheung Wan, an enclave in Old Town Central, is a true urban gem. It has been recently listed as one of the 15 coolest neighbourhoods in the world. I love the randomness of the area, you never know what to expect. From artisan cafes, hidden bars, edgy galleries and antique dealers, juxtaposed with temples, dried-fish vendors and graffitied walls, this area is full of colour and character.” – Hannah

Hollywood Road 

“I like Hollywood Road and all the galleries along the way, the area just before SoHo has a lot of really cute cafes and shops. This area is really vibrant and the cafes are perfect for people watching.” – Sarah

Sarah and Hannah on the Ding Ding.

Double-decked tram 

“I’d recommend a round-trip on the double-decked trams, also known as Ding Dings, as a fuss-free way to get a general overview of the area and capture some nice shots of the city. If possible, get a seat at the front of the top deck.” – Hannah

Yee Shun Milk Company (G/F, 506 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay)

“I went to Yee Shun Milk Company for some really good steamed milk/egg custard. Its a very simple cafe in Causeway Bay but I love this dessert because you can’t find it anywhere else!” – Sarah

For more trendy spots in the city, visit Discover Hong Kong and follow their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. 

Dewi Nurjuwita
Senior Writer
Dewi Nurjuwita is a travel and design writer who can be found exploring the streets of foreign cities with passport in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.