Life & Style

November 7, 2016

7 Hong Kong Creatives Killing It

Meet the growing creative scene and find out how to do HK like you're in a Wong Kar Wai film

  • Written by Amuse Team

Hong Kong is better known for its financial and business prowess than it is creativity. But a bunch of young photographers, stylists, musicians and entrepreneurs are changing that. This Asian metropolis is a crucible of multiculturalism, bringing together an eclectic mix of East and West. Here, seven of the new wave of creatives share what they love about the city. 

Elaine Li – Photographer

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What is your favourite neighbourhood?
It’s got to be Sham Shui Po. It’s one of those areas that feels authentic. I love chatting with the residents while shooting – listening to their stories about how things have changed over the years and their relationship with neighbours etc.

What’s the best place to bring a tourist when they’re in town?
This may be a bit cliché, but Lugard Road by The Peak. You get an aerial view of the architecture, bridges, and hills all at the same time. A less touristy place would be Yik Fat Building in Quarry Bay, where you can experience the true density of Hong Kong.

What makes Hong Kong’s creative scene special?
Hong Kong is a very diverse city with the perfect mix of East and West. I think what’s unique about the creative scene is that there is always a lot happening in both the local and expat scene, and you get the best of both worlds.

@lielaine

Zoe Suen – Photographer & Stylist

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What are your go-to places for food, drinks, a good time?
Tai Hang, for food! Just thinking about the char-siu egg rice at 順興車仔麵 also makes me hungry. There are also a ton of really great (and cheaper) eats in Tsim Sha Tsui and Jordan. Central/Sheung Wan has the best bars, such as Ori-gin, Mrs. Pound, or the bars at hotels if you’re feeling fancier, like Lobster Bar and Flint.

What’s the best place to bring a tourist when they’re in town?
Dim Sum at Luk Yu Tea House! Not too hectic of a dim sum spot but traditional and delicious. Plus it helps that the decor makes you feel like you’re in a Wong Kar Wai film. Day trips to Cheung Chau and Lamma Island are also fun.

What is your favourite neighbourhood?
Tin Hau and Causeway Bay for food, shopping and everything else. And Shek O for the beach when you need to get away from for a bit.

@zosuen

Bryant Lee – Photographer & Stylist

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What are your go-to places for food, drinks, a good time?
Yardbird is one of my favourite go-to place for dinner. I also love eating at local HK ”dai pai dong” shops. There’s one in Causeway Bay along the end of Jardine’s Bazaar. It’s a tofu shop that sells cheap noodles, soy milk, fried tofu with fish meat and tofu flower. It’s definitely a special treat if you want to experience the local life of a Hong-Konger.

What’s the best place to bring a tourist when they’re in town?
Cheung Chau Island, for a day trip to show them another side of Hong Kong – more traditional and old school. From trying out local street food, to walking along beautiful trails by the water to riding bikes along the island. It’s a great place for a day trip outside the busy and hectic life of the city centre of Hong Kong.

What’s something that someone not from Hong Kong might not know about the city
Even though Hong Kong is known for being a “concrete jungle”, we’re actually surrounded by a lot of nature. And because we’re an island, we’re surrounded by big bodies of water. Hong Kong is the perfect place to mix the quietness of nature and the business of a metropolitan city.

@bryantlives

Denise Lai – Creative Entrepreneur

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What are your go-to places for food, drinks, a good time?
A new favourite that combines all three is Potato Head Hong Kong in Sai Ying Pun. The food at their Indonesian restaurant KAUM (which means tribe in Indonesian) is delicious. If I need a quick and easy bite to eat, I always head to this new traditional Hong Kong spot called Noodle Stand in Causeway Bay. They have the classics like beef brisket ho fun and wonton noodles but they also have small dim sum dishes, so it hits all the right spots. 

What makes HK’s creative scene special?
Hong Kong is such a multicultural city, so the creative scene here is a huge mix of so many different cultures and influences. Also, we are such a small city with people working and living on top of each other that it really pushes people to find their individuality, usually through creativity. Hong Kong is one of the most modern cities in Asia, yet we have such a stronghold on our traditions and heritage and that really inspires creatives to play with the relationship between old and new.

What’s something that someone not from Hong Kong might not know about the city
I just found this out the other day, but did you know that Hong Kong has the highest average IQ at 108!? 

@superwowomg

Kara Chung – Musician & Photographer

KaraChung1

Tell us something that someone not from Hong Kong might not know about it.
Decades ago, the former airport was located in the core of the city and planes used to fly extremely close to Hong Kong’s towering buildings. The sight of the tricky manoeuvre was a popular subject for photographers, and the documentation reminds me of Hong Kong today: an efficient use of living space, often extremely compact.

What is your favourite neighbourhood?
Causeway Bay – it’s the first scene I wake up to every morning in Hong Kong and honestly the only place where I don’t hit the snooze button.

@kara.chung

Lauren Engel – Photographer

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What is your favourite neighbourhood?
Probably the Sheung Wan/Sai Ying Pun area. When I was growing up, this area was just markets, and people laid out their seafood to dry on the streets. Now it’s Brooklyn meets Hong Kong, with cute cafes, galleries and hip restaurants.

What makes Hong Kong’’s creative scene special?
I like that Hong Kong’s creative community is so tight knit. Everyone knows everyone. When I lived in NYC I felt so small, barely knowing anyone. People are also open to experimenting and we always want to collaborate, since I guess people don’t come to Hong Kong to “make it” in the creative industry so the environment is much more relaxed.

Tell us something that someone not from Hong Kong might not know about it.
Seafood enters China illegally through the triads here in Hong Kong. In some less developed areas people live in cages.

@engelauren

Edward Chiu – Creative Director at High Snobiety

EdwardChiu

What are your go-to places for food, drinks, a good time?
It’s hard to say with so many options in HK! Mott 32 is a great spot for Chinese cuisine. Even though it’s a bit “Westernised”, it’s a fun experience because you have to descend into a sort of Bank Vault to get to the restaurant. The OZONE Bar would be one of my top picks for drinks, mainly because of the view, as it’s actually the highest bar in the world and probably the only place where you can look down at fireworks during Chinese New Year.

What makes HK’s creative scene special?
I believe it’s mainly due to how the city is so condensed and jam-packed. Everyone knows each other and you’re bound to find a contact through a friend or acquaintance. We also have these “creative villages” in industrial areas around the city where you can find printers, graphic designers, painters and performance artists all in one building.

What’s the best place to bring a tourist when they’re in town?
Definitely places like Sham Shui Po and Mong Kok. These are the gritty sides of Hong Kong where you’ll get the real sense of the city. From vintage toy shops and second-hand markets, down to video games centres, these are the spots where you can really spend hours getting lost.

Tell us something that someone not from HK might not know about it.
This is probably something only locals will know, but it is a fact that the REAL street food carts only come out once a year during Chinese New Years. For around three of four days of the festive season, you’ll be able to try rare dishes and delicacies that were once tied to the city culturally. So make sure you’re in town at the right time because that’s a taste of real “pop-up”!

@edwardjohnsebastian

Credits:

Photo by Elaine Li

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