This 22 April is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day: mark the milestone with a visit to the Mai Po Marshes. Located in the northwestern corner of Hong Kong, Mai Po is home to a huge range of wildlife, in particular migratory birds. The WWF organises eco-tours in the area, including a popular half-day birdwatching tour. The 60-hectare Hong Kong Wetland Park is another serene birdwatching destination in the New Territories. If you’re looking for a more central urban oasis, check out our roundup of Hong Kong’s top parks.
On Buddha’s birthday – which falls on 30 April this year – get your zen fix at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. Located on a forested hill overlooking Sha Tin, you’ll need to climb 431 steps – lined with 500 life-size gilded arhat statues – to get to the main temple, which features many more statues large and small. Are there really 10,000 of them? Can’t say we’ve counted…
Given the rise of the smartphone, it’s been a while since many of us have had to read a map, but printmakers Tiny Island are giving us a new reason to go back to the printed page. They create hand-printed, silk-screened neighbourhood maps of Hong Kong, and they’ve just added Kennedy Town, Wan Chai and Happy Valley to the collection. Pop by 15 Square Street in Sheung Wan to order yours.
Right. Time to get some grub – and you’re in luck as there are dining deals and new restaurant and bar openings around town.
Starting with LucAle, a cosy neighbourhood Italian restaurant newly opened on Sai Ying Pun’s Third Street, led by chefs Alessandro Angelini, formerly of the Kowloon Shangri-La’s Angelini, and Luca De Berardinis of Conrad’s Nicholini’s. It’s hard to go wrong with the menu of Italian favourites, but we can recommend an order of their La Bistecca Di Fassona con Osso steak and one of the city’s finest tiramisus.
Also in Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong’s ever-experimental Test Kitchen pop-up returns this month. Chef Felix Cheung, formerly of London’s famed two-Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury, is running Demo and Dining Experiences (11-12 April), which combines live cooking demonstrations and classes, before enjoying a four-course meal.
Over in Causeway Bay, more foodie treats are being conjured up at Aulis, the development kitchen of British chef Simon Rogan’s Roganic restaurant. If you fancy splashing out, the new farm-to-fork tasting menu devised by sous chef Karl Steele features 10 courses that range from Roganic favourites like the truffle pudding to a wonderful New Territories tomato with crab and bonito, swimming in a clarified tomato tea.
No Easter egg hunt plans? Head to Sheung Wan’s Tate Dining Room for its six-course Saturday lunch, in which egg is the starring ingredient of every dish. Chef Vicky Lau is dishing up smoked egg espuma with caviar, jasmine tea egg custard tarts and more. The seasonal menu runs on the first and last Saturday of each month, and there are more single-ingredient menus in the works.
Central’s Lin Heung Tea House (G/F, 160-164 Wellington Street, Central; +852 2544 4556) is famed for its old-school dim sum, such as its pork liver siu mai and lotus seed buns. It’s changed hands a few times since opening in 1927, and word on the street was that its days were numbered. But last month, Lin Heung’s original founding family, the Ngans, stepped in to save the restaurant from closing. There’s never been a better time to go.
Ranked 18th on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019, Soho bar The Wise King has just launched a new cocktail menu: #Revived2. Try the clay pot-aged Olla de Barro Dos, made with a mix of Italian liqueurs, brandy and brined gherkin; or the R&R Negroni, featuring house-made rhubarb and raspberry gin, and Amontillado vinaigrette.
The humble tong lau once lined the streets of the city, but these pre-war tenement shophouses are increasingly being sacrificed to the gods of property development. Yet in Mong Kok, a few still live on. Enter the Urban Renewal Authority’s latest preservation-revitalisation project: 618 Shanghai Street. Here, 14 historic buildings have been transformed into a single multi-functional block. Head over to check out vintage-inspired lifestyle shops, tuck into old-school cha chaan teng fare or visit the Hong Kong branch of Dignity Kitchen, where disadvantaged members of the community serve Singaporean hawker centre food.
There’s no better way to celebrate International Art Day on 15 April than seeing an exhibition. Located by the Kwun Tong waterfront, the Sun Museum’s Chinese Tradition in Western Oil exhibition explores the evolution of Chinese oil painting and features works by 24 artists, including big names like Pan Yulin and Ding Yanyong, aka ‘the Matisse of the East’.
It’s also your last chance to see Nick Brandt’s photography exhibition Inherit the Dust at Sheung Wan’s Blue Lotus Gallery. Running until 26 April, the series of panoramas shot in East Africa features life-sized portraits of animals which Brandt has placed amid their one-time habitats, now areas of rampant human growth – and destruction. The warning is simple: if we don’t change, future generations will inherit nothing but dust.
Note that dates, opening times and offers are subject to change given the evolving COVID-19 situation