Hong Kong’s souvenirs look different than anywhere else in Asia. Check out our roundup of the best buys in the world’s most vertical city – and why these unique souvenirs are better than any refrigerator magnet you’ve ever had!
Anyone who comes to Hong Kong will realize one important characteristic of the city immediately – incredible shopping. Home to a vast collection of shopping malls, night markets and commercial streets, Hong Kong is probably one of Asia’s best cities for retail therapy. First-time visitors heading to Hong Kong, though, might not be on the hunt for designer brands and accessories, though – and “souvenirs” in its most literal sense aren’t exactly readily available.
Travellers to Hong Kong will find, though, that souvenirs in the city are more about taking home little elements of its culture – a vibrant mix of East and West gives rise to some pretty fascinating buys. We rounded up our top buys in the city and where to find them – but beware, you’ll need an extra suitcase!
There are few Asian art forms more intricate and downright stunning than porcelain. Artisans who have mastered the art spend decades learning about the delicate methods involved, and some of the best examples of the art form is in Hong Kong. Sometimes considered ground zero for antique hunting in Asia, porcelain is one of the best elements of Chinese cultural influence you’ll find in the city.
Depending on what you’re looking for, you’re likely to find both brand new porcelain products or antique porcelain on Cat Street or Hollywood Road. For new porcelain made right in Hong Kong, head to King Tak Hong Porcelain on Queens Road East Wan Chai. Teacups will set you back about 10 dollars per cup – but with the intricate detail used to create them, every cent is worth it.
For a lot of reasons, tea is as important of a cultural and culinary staple in Hong Kong as its iconic treat, dim sum. Yet another of Hong Kong’s souvenirs influenced by its Chinese heritage, tea in Hong Kong is also closely linked with its history as a British colony.
A favourite pastime of many Hong Kong locals is the pairing of tea and a newspaper in the early morning – mostly because the only restaurants open early in the morning in the city that never sleeps are Cantonese restaurants. Consequently, the focus is on tea, borrowing largely from China’s tea culture. Visitors to Hong Kong will likely experience this local infatuation with tea culture more than once, and can take a bit of that experience home with a few carefully selected teas in their luggage.
With so many Hong Kong locals enjoying tea throughout the day, you’ll find tea everywhere. A lesser-known but locally-renowned shop for the best tea selections in the city is Ying Kee Tea House, located at Hanyee Building in Kowloon. For those that are more fascinated with the tea culture rather than the tea itself, head to Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware.
Hong Kong is considered Asia’s best destination for antique hunting – and Cat Street and Hollywood Road can prove it. Antique lovers will find a treasure trove of antique wares here: cultural revolution propaganda posters, Ming dynasty furniture, ancient snuff bottles, jade products and silk to name a few.
True antique hunters will certainly have their spotting skills put to the test, since there are countless antique dealers, curio merchants and art galleries to riffle through – but lovers of all things historic and treasured will fall in love with Hong Kong’s antique scene.
Any local will tell you that the best place to go antique-hunting is on Hollywood Road and Cat Street (known locally as Upper Lascar Road). Nearly every worthwhile antique will set you back at least 30 dollars, with some finds having much bigger price tags. If you’re with a guide, ask them for some tips on how to bargain!
It’s unlikely anyone is coming to Hong Kong in search of footwear, but fashion-lovers will likely be blown away by Hong Kong’s selection of sneakers. The selection comes down to Hong Kong’s super-hip youth culture – the statement item? Shoes!
Hong Kong is such a great destination for athletic shoe-lovers that even the likes of Lebron James was spotted perusing its most famous shoe street. Expect to spot limited-edition releases from all over the world (that you’re unlikely to find in your home country or anywhere else in Asia). Even window shopping in its best districts will be a fascinating window into Hong Kong’s youth culture – and you won’t need to spend a penny!
Ask any Hong Kong sneaker-lover – the only place to go is Fa Yuen Street (Sneaker Street) near Mong Kok Station. You’ll likely be surrounded by the city’s trendiest 20-somethings here, and you’ll be able to say you shopped in the same place as Lebron James!
What has to be the greatest gathering of sports shoe and sportswear shops on the planet, Fa Yuen Street is where Hong Kong’s image-conscious youth have come to get their statement-making footwear since the 1980s. They come for the latest designs and limited-edition releases from all over the world. Presumably, some athletes shop here too – Lebron James has been spotted about the place after all.
The world’s fashion destinations might be Paris, New York and Milan – but for tailor-made fashion that doesn’t break the bank, Hong Kong comes out far ahead. Since colonial times, the city has made a name for itself for being one of the best places to get tailor-made suites and shirts at prices people can actually afford. Big names like George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton even frequent certain shops in Hong Kong to get tailor-made suits crafted for them!
Since Hong Kong is such a famous destination for tailor-made suits and men’s clothing, there are countless shops throughout the city. That said, the two best places to go are Simpson Sin Tailor in Lip Seng Mansion for the budget-conscious, and Sam Tailor for those willing to splurge.
Hong Kong is the world’s largest exporters of jewellery, so it’s no wonder that the city is also one of the best places to shop for pearls, opals, gold and jade jewellery. Jewellery (especially jade) is of significant cultural importance for Hong Kong’s Chinese residents, so many of its precious gems and jewels are different than those you might find in the western world. It’s not uncommon to see Hong Kong’s most extravagant and stunning jewellery made with pearls and opals, rather than diamonds and rubies.
For a truly unique selection of jewellery, Hong Kong is a must-shop city. Depending on your budget, you’re likely to find anything from fashion jewellery with a reasonable price tag, up to bank-vault-worthy pieces that are equal parts an investment and a fashion statement.
Since Hong Kong is already the birthplace of incredible jewellery, taking it one step further to shop at the source is a great way to find the best pieces for the best prices. Aberdeen Jewellery Factory at the Kingley Industrial Building is one of the best places in the city to shop – what it lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for in deals.
Souvenir hunting in Hong Kong starts with a trip there! Check out our highlights and local culture guided journeys to Asia’s world city.