Monthly Archives: September 2014

Tipping the scales

We are always on the hunt for classic scales that can bring a bit of extra style to the kitchen you’re living and working in. The great hand-crafted bamboo sets found in Hong Kong are definitely visually beautiful but not necessarily what is needed for day-to-day cooking. However the range of scales in Hong Kong is vast, to say the least and available to suit almost every need, from practical digital or price calculating ones to top-loading scales for your flour or fruits. Mrs Ho at 345 Shek Lung street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Tel: +852 2388 5285, is a genius at going from scale to scale as she demonstrates and picks out the perfect set for you. Right next door to Mrs Ho is another small shop selling mechanical baker and industrial type scales if that is your thing. Hop Sing Chinese Scale Shop, on the corner of Wing Sing Lane and Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon. Tel: +852 2780 8544, has every kind of scale you can imagine. Having the right scales makes everything in the kitchen a bit simpler, but good-looking ones definitely cheer me up. 

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The good spices are in

The wonderful aromas of fragrant spices is one of the first things you notice about Hong Kong, and styling up recipes filled with all these truly amazing ingredients is a great job.  If you are looking for high-quality spices, and don’t want to buy at a supermarket, Sunit Dattani, the great-great grandson of Dayalji Purshottam Dattani who started Regency Spices in 1951, has some of the best in Hong Kong.  Here, Sunit explains how it all began at Regency Spices. 

When did your family start Regency Spices and why? Our family business started in 1951 by Mr. Dayalji Purshottam Dattani, my great grandfather, when he migrated back to India from East Africa. Our new consumer range was developed as we noticed there was a lack in high quality spices in the market.  As spice prices have risen year by year, manufacturers/packers/grinders have had to cut costs to keep their prices affordable.  With our unique knowledge in the trade from an export and manufacturing point of view, we want to bring back the traditionally available high quality spices back to consumers.

Why are your spices so fresh and unique? All our spices are naturally farmed and traditionally processed.  While the same spice may grow in several different countries, we take great care to source them from their “best” origin, which we determine to be the best tasting for the season.  Most of the time this is also the traditional origin of the spice from thousands of years ago, as opposed to cheaper producing nations that have only been cultivating the spice for 20-50 years.  We also sell them in their whole form, which makes them infinitely fresher and tastier compared to pre-powdered. Whole spices are much harder to hide quality defects in, because flaws are easily visible.  We hand select wherever possible and only the best are sold by us.

Which spices need to be refrigerated? Under normal circumstances, we recommend not refrigerating any whole spices, as they get badly affected by changes in moisture when taking them in and out of the fridge.  If you have access to a vacuum sealer, that’s a different story!  In which case they should all be kept refrigerated.  What we do recommend, is storing spices in a dark, airtight container, in a cool place.  Spices exposed to light and heat lose flavour and aroma much faster than those kept in these conditions. Some spices attract infestation – for example, nutmeg, mace, coriander, chilli, and some are especially precious – for example, saffron, cardamom, vanilla – all these, if refrigerated, are best kept in air-tight container taking care to prevent moisture from being absorbed and spoiling them.

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Lee Kung Man Knitting

Lee Kung Man Knitting Factory is one of my favourite places to pick up a classic white T-shirt, and is only a few minutes’ walk from Ki Lung Street in Sham Shui Po. We’re talking a collection of undergarments for men, women and children – what I Iove is the men’s white T-shirts with jeans or under jumpers in winter. Just ask the very friendly sales assistants to find just the right style for you from an array of neatly stacked piles of beautifully packaged garments.

188 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon. Tel +852 2777 2439

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stylebrief goes shopping

Stylebrief has been out sourcing again and we think it’s time to put some of our discoveries in the shop. One of our first vintage finds (and there will be many more gems to come) are these two exquisite enamel trays found in a little store on Kowloon side. The larger tray is 50 cm and the smaller one is 45 cm. They are in top condition and this kind of shape is perfect for pre-dinner cocktails or serving coffees to brighten up the morning. International shipping is available and all prices in the shop are in USD. For any inquiries email us at

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Imperial Yellow

Finding ceramics in Hong Kong is easy – every possible shape, size and colour is available here. A colour as bright as the sun – ‘Imperial Yellow’ – is this week’s current love. Its meaning is allied with the word ‘king’, and pieces drenched in it are a standout in their elegance. Oh, the only thing is the more luxurious price-tag: these beautiful artefacts can date back to the Ming and Ching Dynasty when they were designed for the Imperial Court. But quality stands the test of time, and now that they are available to the everyday collector, the investment is definitely worth it. A splash of sun-kissed porcelain is also a smart way to brighten up a room where there is not a lot of natural lighting. Our go to place is Friendship Commerical Building, 105-107 Hollywood Rd, Hong Kong. tel: +852 2548 3830 – David Choi is a master at ceramics and will gladly give you a quick history lesson as well.  

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