Food and drink

Best Things to Do in Hong Kong in December

Tis the season for festive fun and feasting in Hong Kong this December. Celebrate with chic new restaurants, bars and Christmas events around town

Eat and Drink

Putting on the pounds at Christmas is as natural as putting on sunscreen in summer, so get a head start on your festive padding with these new restaurant openings.

The Black Sheep Restaurants group adds another outlet to its international flock – this time bringing the soulful flavours of Tuscany to trattoria-style Associazione Chianti in Wan Chai. Highlights include prime cuts of Black Angus beef, dry aged in-house and finished on the Tuscan broiler. Round the corner, new casual Thai restaurant Ruam serves up a menu of classic favourites such as aromatic gaeng phed ped yang (red curry with duck leg), pad see ew (fried flat noodles) and mango stick rice on its leafy al fresco terrace in J Senses.

Across the harbour, droves of diners are heading to Tsim Sha Tsui to check out a flurry of new dining destinations. The Araki at House 1881 opens this month, led by Mitsuhiro Araki – the only Japanese chef to achieve three Michelin stars in both Tokyo and London. At just 12 seats, it’s a rarified way to experience locally sourced seafood, such as mantis shrimp and fish maw, plus premium seafood imported from Japan. Or if you prefer more casual environs: Kido has opened on Minden Avenue with a traditional Fukuoka-style hakata-ku skewer bar. Expect all the yakitori chicken skewers you can handle, alongside healthy and veggie-friendly options.

The latest in Test Kitchen’s series of pop-up menus by notable chefs features Hong Kong-born, Ireland-raised chef Kwanghi Chan, who brings the flavours and inspirations of his adopted country back to his roots with an eight-course feast of contemporary Irish cooking with hints of Hong Kong (4-6 December). A four-hands Christmas feast event follows with chefs Devon Hou and Christopher Ho (19-22 December).

The city’s newest luxury hotel, the Rosewood Hong Kong, has also debuted a host of new dining options. There’s the nutritious and sustainable menu options in Asaya Kitchen for wellness seekers; all-day dining with a food-market feel at Bayfare Social (featuring chef Álvaro Ramos’ tapas-inspired menu); and American steakhouse Henry. The hotel has also welcomed XX, a women-only speakeasy (named after the pair of XX chromosomes) housed in a luxurious velvet-draped parlour for which you’ll need a password to access. For dessert, stroll over to Dang Wen Li, the new bakery in Tsim Sha Tsui from Dominique Ansel, the French pastry chef and inventor of the cronut (a croissant-doughnut hybrid).

Be Merry

The weather outside is not exactly frightful, but the Yuletide spirit spreading through town is delightful. Admiralty’s Pacific Place mall celebrates with a series of decorative installations and workshops including Santa’s Printing House, allowing you to customise your own giant pop-up Christmas card.

Over in Central, the Landmark mall presents Santa Paws Village. Through a series of augmented reality experiences delivered to your mobile, the billboards and buildings burst into life to reveal classic Christmas scenes. And on the Southside, Stanley Plaza hosts its annual Christmas market with more than 50 booths selling gift items and treats (7-8, 14-15, 21-22 December).

In Kowloon, The Langham Hong Kong pays tribute to its heritage with ‘Christmas in London’ decorations in the lobby; festive menus at all its dining outlets including Palm Court’s Christmas in London afternoon tea; and a Magical Christmas room package, including round-trip limousine airport transfer, a Christmas tree and themed in-suite play tent for children and afternoon tea for two.

Be Entertained

The Hong Kong Ballet laces up for The Nutcracker at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre (19-29 December) while The Lion King makes audiences feel the love at AsiaWorld Expo (18 December-5 January).

Hong Kong, best thing to do in December
Dean Alexander/Courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet

If adrenaline-spiking rides and funfair games are more your thing, get down to the Central Harbourfront for the return of the AIA Carnival (from 12 Dec). Also returning is The Great Circus of Europe, featuring acrobats, high-wire acts and death-defying motorcyclists.

Over at Portal 6311 in Kowloon Bay, Banksy: Genius or Vandal (20 December-1 March) serves up a healthy dose of satirical works and spiky social commentary in an impressive audio-visual exhibition of more than 70 of the British street artist’s pieces.

Finally, Halloween may be long gone but if you want another trick, mentalist Tonny Jan performs his brand of mind-melting psychology and hypnosis in his Mind Hacker show at The Parisian Macao (14 December-12 January). Asia’s Derren Brown? You decide…

Plan Ahead

25 January: Chinese New Year

9 February: Hong Kong Marathon

10-15 February: Start Me Up HK Festival

19-21 March: Art Basel

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