Also in Central, there’s PMQ. Short for “Police Married Quarters,” a nod to the buildings’ past life, it provides affordable studio and retail spaces for local designers. (Other cities, take note.) On the fourth floor of Block A, there’s Central Saint Martins grad Chailie Ho; a whiz with silk, she specializes in scarves and slinky dresses. Across a courtyard, in Block B, Hugo Yeung and Belinda Chang run their jewellery studio, Obellery, showcasing their own works (Yeung favours weighty geometric shapes, while Chang plays a lot with pearls) as well as pieces by local
and international artists. Ho, Yeung and Chang also routinely run workshops to share their skills with neophytes. There’s food at PMQ, too, including three bakeries and Michelin-star chef Jason Atherton’s Aberdeen Street Social. A five-minute stroll down Hollywood Road is Man Mo Temple. Dedicated to the Taoist God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo), it’s especially popular among students—and their parents, hoping for high test scores—but also for anyone looking for respite from the bustle. Incense wafts from all sides, even from above, where coils of it slough off ash like clouds of snow. Those seeking guidance can shake a can of numbered sticks, which correspond to fortunes; throw down a pair of crescent-shaped wooden blocks for answers to simple yes or no questions; or try both, which is what I do because I’m unsure about nearly everything.
Departing from the Tai Po Market rail station, 20 kilometres northwest of Sai Kung, Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tours guide curious epicureans on progressive meals. The first course is
cheong fun, steamed rice noodles that melt in my mouth, at Chan Hon Kee. There’s not much time to walk that off before I arrive at Yat Lok Barbecue Restaurant with its window of glistening roasted geese, which are the thing to try. (Anthony Bourdain’s a fan.) There’s also a place for snake soup, but it’s not in season at the moment, and, admittedly, I’m relieved. Macau-style sweets provide a much-needed palate cleanse before I head to the market complex for deepfried cuttlefish balls, steamed mullet fish and crab. Consumed on a stool outside as dusk turns to night, a refreshing black sesame tofu dessert from Jiu Guo Xiang Lin caps off my four-hour feast. This is when I learn the most useful Cantonese phrase: ho bau (translation: “very full”).
THE SKY BOSS