A neon and glitter New Year in Hong Kong

Hongkonger Janice Leung Hayes grew up in the city and is now a food writer, blogger and founder of Island East Markets, Hong Kong’s biggest farmers’ market. Read on for her insider's take on the Lunar New Year

In Hong Kong, where it’s China, but not quite, we celebrate both Christmas and Lunar New Year, an apt reminder of the city’s history. That means that in January the city is relaxed and extremely festive, with even more glitter and neon than usual. In fact, it’s one of the best months to visit. You won’t need to wrap yourself in a down jacket like the locals (they’re used to sub-tropical temperatures), but you will need at least a designer pashmina to join the local chic clique at cocktail o’clock on the penthouse deck of the bar-restaurant SEVVA. I’d slip on a Chinese-inspired dress from indie label Tangram (from the cheeky retailer Goods of Desire), before heading to the art deco-inspired terrace of Duddell’s, a combination of art gallery, Chinese restaurant and bar that could only work in this city. The chef-like approach to cocktails has swept Hong Kong, and Wyndham the 4th, has the Wellington Goose, made with the fat of roasted geese from the Yung Kee restaurant.

To fuel up before a night out, head to the subterranean foodie secret The Boss for modern Cantonese plates, including prawns fried in a golden batter of oatmeal and salted egg yolk, and baked ribs with plum sauce. For small groups, one of my favourite hideaways is the laid-back izakaya (Japanese pub) Kusuya Rakuen, 32 Cannon St, Causeway Bay, for Okinawan bites (grilled pork belly skewers and homemade peanut tofu).

Lunar New Year falls between late January and February. It’s a multi-day celebration, so many shops will be closed or have reduced hours, as everyone (me too) will be visiting relatives, eating New Year puddings, and exchanging lai see (red envelopes filled with money, symbolising good fortune). Explore the ancient stone-walled villages in the countryside of the northern New Territories for a taste of local culture — walking tour experts Little Adventures in Hong Kong can see to that. If you’re lucky, you could even be welcomed in for a game of mahjong.

Photo by Getty Images

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