When I define what Hong Kong is exceptionally good at, eating and shopping must rank fairly high. Particularly shopping and eating in Tsim Sha Tsui (commonly known by its short form TST) – this old favorite among visitors easily rated as one of the most popular shopping districts in Kowloon of Hong Kong.
Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀), less glamorous than Causeway Bay and Central over at Hong Kong’s island, offers tourists a different vibe from the shopping landscape. It attracts more mainland Chinese tourists, fewer Caucasians and English-speaking locals hand around here. If you have a hankering for real Chinese food, this is where you’ll find it as there are many Chinese restaurants in TST. TST is also more appealing to the budget travelers and middle-class locals where it offers cheaper shopping options than the neighbor over the water.
Lung Shing Dispensary – Cheap Cosmetics and Perfumes
Many Bonjour (卓悦) stores dotting the whole of TST selling cosmetics, perfumes and health supplements. It is not surprising to see loads of locals flocking to Bonjour stores to stock up their skincare products. Presumably the prices must be cheaper here. Indeed, when I compare the prices in Bonjour stores with Watsons or Mannings in Hong Kong, they are relatively lower.
Familiar to many Singapore tourists, there are also several SASA stores in TST, however I see far lesser crowds at these stores. Perhaps there is a reason. Again, after some random checks on the prices of the perfume, SASA ones appear to be slightly costly than Bonjour’s. For better retail experience and customer service, SASA boutiques definitely look classy and more “polished” than Bonjour stores.
However, my favorite store for cosmetics products is neither Bonjour nor SASA. It is Lung Shing Dispensary (龍城藥房) at Granville Road. This place sells all sorts of stuff – from medicated oil to over-the-shelf pills. The real attraction here is its cheap perfume and cosmetics. The hordes of main Chinese tourists seemingly know what are the good deals here, many load their baskets with skincare products like SKII. Perfumes are cheapest at Lung Shing because some are filled in tester bottles with no fancy packaging. But they are still the real stuff at lower prices.
Address: 28 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Opening Hours: 10.20am – 10pm (Mon-Sat) / 10.30pm – 9pm (Sun)
Giordano Concept Store in Hong Kong
Yes, I know we have Giordano brand in Singapore. But I am referring to their iconic concept store. Giordano Concepts is a more upmarket brand than Giordano casual streetwear targeting at working professionals. Walk along Nathan Road (across Citibank branch), you’ll find a huge 3-level Giordano store. Their prices are reasonable, yet the design and material quality is comparable to Zara and even Massimo Dutti.
Address: G/F Manson House, 74-78 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Le Saunda is a homegrown footwear retailer like the Charles and Keith of Singapore. My wife has purchased a few pairs of their shoes before and she likes the quality of the shoes. She swears that Le Saunda is definitely a good buy in Hong Kong particularly during season sales. With many Le Saunda outlets sprout on either side of the streets in TST, you have no excuse to miss them and will probably find some footwear to amaze you.
If you are coveting for that LV bag and do not want to overspend, this secondhand branded bags boutique will be just right for you. Milan Station has many outlets in Hong Kong and they are specialized in taking in secondhand branded bags, giving them a makeover and resell them. There are many popular brands on offer such as Gucci, Prada, Coach and prices are attractively lower than a brand new one. Rest assured the bags here are genuine as Milan Station is a listed firm in Hong Kong and it has to uphold the good reputation amongst the locals and visitors.
Address: F-H, G/F, 81 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui
How to get there: Exit A of TST MTR Station
Little Sheep Steamboat
Visiting Hong Kong during the winter months can be cold and one of best ways to keep warm is to eat steamboat. One place to try is Xiao Fei Yang (Little Sheep or 小肥羊), a steamboat chain originated from China. Many locals and tourists who love mutton flock to Xiao Fei Yang to sample its value-for-money steamboat buffet. Their thinly sliced premium lamb is very popular and definitely worth trying.
They also serve pig’s blood cubes which can’t be found in Singapore nowadays! Don’t be surprise that one of my favorite dishes here is the instant noodles (Gong Zai Mian) which go so well with the Yuan Yang soup stock (one is clear soup and the other is spicy soup). A good advice is to order local beer like Blue Girl to help cooling off the heatiness from the food dipped in the spicy soup.
Do arrive early like before 7pm for dinner or getting a table after 8pm can be difficult. Hong Kongers usually have their dinner from 8pm onwards and continue till 11pm!
Address: 1 F, 26 Kimberly Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
How to get there: Exit B of TST MTR Station
Tsui Wah Cha Chan Teng
Tsui Wah (翠华）is venerable and the most famous Cha Chan Teng chain store in Hong Kong. They are a slightly pricier than the normal Cha Chan Tengs for a few reasons – the area is more spacious, décor is grander and the waiters are well trained. Each waiter is equipped with a high-tech electronic order-taking gadget that only implemented here. Other cha chan tengs’ waiters simply write your orders in a slip of paper that sometimes may get lost and resulting in your orders not placed.
Tsui Wah Cha Chan Teng in TST is located at Carnarvon Road. Their wanton noodles are worth mentioned – each wanton is wrapped with fresh whole shrimp. Yummy is an understatement!
I also tried their curry pork chop rice and it was heavenly done. The pork chop was fried to perfection and the curry was not too spicy (like Japanese curry). My wife ordered vegetables (cai xin with garlic), a simple dish but she finds it was heavenly too. Somehow vegetables in Hong Kong are fresher, crunchier and we can really taste the sweetness when we bite down on the stems.
Address: G/F & 1/F, 2 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Opening Hours: 7am – 2pm (Sun to Thu) ; 7am – 3pm (Fri & Sat)