Ten Things to do in Hong Kong, #5
I don’t necessarily mean alcohol.
There are two types of venues that seem to attract local people. One is the teahouse. Teahouses come in all shapes and sizes and can be found in most every neighborhood. They serve herb teas. Many, but not all, of the teas are intended to help drinkers improve some aspect of their health. Some are just meant to provide a pleasant break in the day. Unfortunately I don’t know what does what for what? If you are curious, check out Dr. Chen’s Herbal Tea Website. The only one I’ve really spent time at is in the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. The shops are usually quite small with low stools for sitting. Some serve snacks or dim sum. If you are at all adventurous check one out.
As a side note, if you are interested in the history of tea and teaware the Flagstaff House Teaware Museum in Central is worth a visit. It is also the oldest colonial building left standing in Hong Kong so if you are into architecture, it’s also worth seeing.
The other type of venue is one that serves fresh juices and fresh fruit. Local people love juices. The largest selling drink on the McDonald’s menu is Orange Juice. (FYI, the best selling food item is french fries and the number one sandwich is the Filet of Fish.) These juice places are sometimes called desert houses but the number one product is freshly squeezed juice. I’m particularly fond of Mango, Guava and Lychee juices. I’ve never had a bad one. They make for a great break if you are out on a hot afternoon. In most of them you’ll have to point at what you want but some have menus.
Hong Kong people have taken to coffee houses very quickly. Starbucks and Pacific Coffee (Seattle’s Best) are the two runaway leaders. Pacific Coffee was here first and the founders have long cashed in their shares but I still prefer it to Starbucks.
I can’t end this posting on drinking without mentioning beer and places to drink it. When I first came to Hong Kong in the 70’s, it was a beer desert, if there is such a thing – locally brewed Carlsberg or San Miguel on draught or Heineken in a can were the choices. there were exceptions of course, Guinness at Dublin Jack’s for one. But now the beer world has exploded with many pubs and bars offering 5 or 6 draught choices to say nothing of dozens of bottled varieties. We even have our own micro-brewery at the Hong Kong Brew House in Lan Kwai Fong. I don’t recommend it’s locally brewed beers and ales but the thought is great. Besides they have hundreds of bottled beers to choose from.
Maybe someday, the government will stop charging its 300% duty on wine and we will be able to enjoy decent wines at decent prices.
I do recommend, though, that you take a chance and try a teahouse or juice shop for an afternoon break.