Monthly Archives: September 2013

Sau Wa Fong Street

Sau Wa Fong Street is a street with style and spirit and there’s always some new store or restaurant opening up and creating a buzz. There are some people who just have an eye. Susan Man of Manks, was brillant when she opened the original Manks on Elgin Street, Central, in the late-80s. It had a kind of dreamy, relaxing atmosphere – I used to wander from floor to floor just looking at all these incredible things: light fixtures sourced from Sweden and Finland from the 1960s, unusual tables, Bedarmeier style hall chairs from Sweden, works of art and antiques that were never seen in Hong Kong before. Her beloved Shih Tzu’s dogs, Dumpling and Noodle were pretty cute too, staying put on her lap most times. Now there are two Manks stores run by Susan and her husband Paul Fung, the Sau Wa Fong Street store is housed in a 1960s old building  and the second one is at The Factory in Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen. Here you will find Scandinavian modern design furniture, art and decorative pieces – think Panton and Hans Jakobsen – plus European antiques circa 1880 -1970. Man and Fung pick up extra special antiques and source anything beautiful style-wise, and they are always happy to work on bridal registries too.

G/F 36 Sau Wa Fong Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2522 5115

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We love… celadon. The term celadon describes the pot and its glaze. Its history is long; celadon shards were found as early as 25-220AD in an Eastern Han Dynasty tomb in Zhejiang. The first time this pottery arrived in Europe they were grouped together and named celadons. The name is thought to have come from the shepherd character Céladon who appears in a 17th century play called L’Astrée dressed in grey-green ribbons and cloak. 

Celadon ware has subtle variations in the soft cloudy blue, blue-green and grey shades. The colour – and this is where things get scientific – comes from the small percentage of iron in the glaze (0.5 to 3 percent) which is applied fairly thickly to the entire pot and fired to about 1300˚ centigrade in a reducing atmosphere (removing the oxygen from the glaze). The result is these really dreamy translucent blues and greens. 

Potters will always try for the perfect celadon glaze, but it’s all in the firing – the results can be either exciting or disheartening. Every time my mother opened her kiln after a 12-hour firing and 12 hours plus of cooling, I couldn’t wait to see the result. The first time she experimented with a celadon glaze I was amazed – there in front of me were these beautiful pots in almost otherworldly hues just waiting for loving homes. 

For beautiful celadon pieces head to Units 1-3, 3/F, Kowloon Bay Industrial Centre, 15 Wang Hoi Road, Kowloon Bay. Tel: +852 2796 1125. 

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It’s that September-moving-into-slightly-cooler-October feeling in Hong Kong and you don’t have to look too far to see Mid-Autumn Festival beauty. It’s everywhere. During this festival the lanterns in Victoria Park make dusk even more spectacular. If you don’t like crowds too much arrive earlier to secure a place. The organisers plan the event around a different theme every year. 

When it comes to lanterns, which make great gifts for friends, take a stroll to Kweilin Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon and check out Loong Kee Stationary & Paper Store and while you are there pop over to Fuk Wing Street. It’s a lot of looking up up up, but the mild neck strain is worth it. I like to buy a new lantern every year and doing this has given me a much-admired collection. We have used them on shoots for magazines, too. Staying around Central? Check out the collection at 9 Peel Street. There’s quite a range – oversized bright pink, orange goldfish-shaped, elegant red and gold coloured silk ones, and dusty pink paper ones, just to name a few of our favourites. 

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The cake shop at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong has been providing people with delightful desserts since the 1970s. During the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival the store is on a constant buzz with customers continually arriving at the door when a team of dedicated pastry experts bake an elegant delicacy called ‘Mooncake’. The festival is for lunar worship and moon watching; the cake is typically round or rectangular pastry with a rich filling made from lotus or red bean seed paste and often with one or two salted duck egg yolks. My first experience of the Mooncake was when my boss at Hong Kong Tatler gave all the staff their very own Mooncake; it seems to be a tradition here in Hong Kong. Although you never could eat a whole one by yourself – a small wedge with Chinese tea was just enough. 

If you are looking for Mooncake moulds make your way to Shanghai Street, Kowloon. Our two favourite shops for cooking moulds are Kwong Fai Steam-Case & Kitchen Ware, G/F 275 Shanghai Street, Tel: +852 2780 9980 and Man Kee Chopping Board, 340 -342 Shanghai Street, Tel: + 852 2332 2784.

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Fire Dragon Dance

This week we are focusing on all things Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival. If you are in Hong Kong or about to visit don’t miss the famous Fire Dragon Dance. This is a visual spectacle you won’t want to miss. About 300 performers with over 72,000 incense sticks do some serious styling to a 67-metre straw dragon which is then paraded through the colourful streets of Tai Hang. The Fire Dragon Dance is only on for three days from September 18-20 beginning at 7:30 pm in Tai Hang. Check out our Tai Hang post which features places to eat or drink before the dance. 

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