Category Archives: Wan Chai Shops

A meeting with a McLaren 

One of my neighbours told me that he was invited to test drive a Rolls Royce in Hong Kong via LinkedIn last week. 

He was very surprised to have made it onto the target list and quite intrigued about how the algorithm/ marketing person decides what job titles would be the right level for Rolls Royce ownership. (R, if you do go, can we join you for the ride?)

I walk past the McLaren and Rolls Royce dealerships in Wu Chung House, Wanchai, almost everyday. I’ve seen parties thrown in the Rolls Royce showroom but never seen anyone browsing. The “Wraiths” do disappear from time to time, presumably for photo shoots, display elsewhere or perhaps test drives. It’s always a sight when the staff open those glass doors and drive the Rolls straight out onto the pavement, off the curb bouncing off onto the street.

Interview in the McLaren Showroom

The McLaren showroom is a different matter. Linked to the Rolls showroom by an internal door (same owner perhaps), it’s starkly contrasted by having a black interior floor and ceiling. The Rolls Royce showroom is lit up in a “heavenly white” (sort of a creamy butter-white actually). 


The McLaren showroom hasn’t hosted any parties but it does occasionally host interviews and provides a backdrop. A sports supercar or two do occasionally disappear for a day or two but nowhere near as often as the Rolls Royce. 


The McLaren cars are quite a marvel to look at, although I wish that the owner and staff would not be such anti social and marketing idiots. I mean, why put a toy McLaren car in the window that says “Not For Sale”? 


If it’s not for interacting, why display it at all? Tesla on the other hand has a toy car in the window and it is for sale. You can get the same colour car for your kid. Inspiration and aspiration both rolled into one.


Why have a showroom on the ground floor by a bus stop if you’re not inviting people in?

Here’s a list of speeds versus price of McLaren versus the new everyday supercar, Tesla. Now that’s a value proposition.

Tesla versus sports supercars speed versus price by Bloomberg

 Unfortunately McLaren is spelt incorrectly in the table above but you get the idea.

Ross Wine Shop: Affordable, Approachable, Every Day Wines

If you’ve had to bring wine to a friend’s house for dinner, you might have encountered something similar to this:

Me: “Ok so we should bring a bottle of red to go with the steak she’s cooking

Partner: “Watson’s or Taste (PARKnSHOP)?

Me: “err dunno, whichever is open I suppose

15 minutes later at the Watson’s wine cellar.

Me: “ok so what should we get? By country or region or price?

Partner: “Let me check my wine app…

30 minutes later…… still at the Watson’s wine cellar….

Me: “decided yet?

Partner: “let’s just go with the sticker that says it’s an award winning wine for 2016 and reviewer says it’s good.

*SIGH*… very often the wine turns out to be pricier than we thought and tasting quite mediocre. I’m not convinced that a sticker is entirely trustworthy.

The antidote to this problem is to either have a sommelier friend who can quickly assess the budget-event-palate suitability or to have a knowledgeable wine shop owner walk you through their favourites. 

In Wan Chai, the neighbourhood wine shop with the pre requisite chatty owner can be found on Stone Nullah Lane – Ross Wine. A little off the beaten track and hidden by the large logistic trucks parked there, you’ll need to look left to see the shop. It’s next to an independent art gallery and photography studio called the Wanchai Stallery.

Ross Wine on Stone Nullah Lane in Wanchai
Look left as you walk up Stone Nullah Lane

We came across the shop last year while on a walk down from Wanchai Gap. I was very curious as to who had taken over the rather strange concept Chinese Timekeeper’s bespoke watch shop. 

Ross Meder’s Everyday Wine Shop


Ross did some simple renovation but kept the hanging hexagonal lamps, glass door and the nice steel handle that looks like the bezel of a watch.


Curious, we went in for a look. Ross (the boss) was very welcoming and happy to introduce himself and his wines. We found him knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He started the business promoting wines from Australia’s Margaret River region but has expanded his footprint to include New Zealand, Italian and French wines. Rieslings or Pinot Noirs, you can see what you fancy. 


Ross has the tasting notes printed and stuck on the shelves but agrees that these can be somewhat vague and misleading. He presents his own opinion on the wines and can suggest a bottle ( just tell him with whom or what you intend to consume with it).

He’s also got some tasty beers for sale from a few different small breweries. 



We came away with a small selection of beers and wine. I liked the Waipara Springs Riesling which was gobbled down during Saturday’s Easter BBQ. It made a subsequent bottle of white wine brought by a friend taste like cheap plonk. 

Ross promotes “every day wines” -no fancy chateaus here- just affordable drinkable wines which haven’t soured on the shelf. Most importantly, they are reliably decent and won’t embarrass you in the company of wine connoisseurs. Ross curates the wines himself and takes the stress away from the selection process. This makes it easy to buy a few more bottles with confidence.

Here’s our stash.

Wild Duck Creek Shiraz Magnum, Rogue Beer, Deschutes Beer

Find Ross Wine shop here.

Map to Ross Wine Shop, Stone Nullah Lane

Where to buy cars in Wanchai

I walked by this shop a few days ago. What got my attention was that I noticed only men going in and men coming out. Young men, that is.

How strange I thought.. I wondered what the shop was selling. Aha. They were selling collectible model rally cars of all sorts. 


Every car was carefully boxed for display and presumably a scale model. Given the price point, these cars are not toys to be thrown around.

They had a vintage Mercedes X wing on display, as well as a Batmobile.


F1 cars of all makes and sizes.


And so many  that it fills up the walls right up to the ceilings.


They have another branch


And where do you find this shop? Along Wan Chai road near Heard Street. Nothing striking about their signage so you have to look out for it.  Or get it delivered to you via their online shop.

The Launch of Kee Wah Bakery Flagship Store in Wan Chai, Lee Tung Avenue

On the penultimate day of Chinese New Year celebrations, Kee Wah Bakery decided to hold its official launch.

I happened to walk in the day before and saw them fixing up the models and generally sprucing up the shop.


The launch party in the store caused a huge pedestrian jam on the sidewalk. 

Welcome! Welcome!

And I swiftly realised that it was because the staff were out on the pavement and there were a few celebrities within the shop, hence massive crowding by its windows for everyone trying to catch a glimpse.

 
When I asked the girls outside who the celebrity was, they answered “which one? There are several…” ok, I’ll admit my celebrity knowledge is pretty thin. But I did recognise this guys stature, he’s in a lot of ads.

This Kee Wah flagship store in Wanchai is quite nicely designed. It’s reminiscent of the original store they had in Kowloon. The owners commissioned a model layout of the exterior and interior of the original shop. Nice touch.


With the little lights on, it isn’t difficult to imagine what it used to look like.


Wonderful detailing, right down to the minibus.


The interiors are just as spectacular. No details were spared, right down to the individual cakes and bottled sweets.

The store managed to incorporate a small real time bakery for freshly baked goods. I’m not sure if that’s permanent or just to impress the visitors for the first couple of weeks.



The store has all the treats in every possible combination. They have the traditional wife cakes in single and multiple packages, the more modern recipes, the cutesy stuff and the special box gift sets. They also have the Taiwanese style pineapple tarts. 


There are two feature walls, one with a black and white tonal mural of a Hong Kong stairway (reminds me of Pottinger Street), the other with black and white photographs on their operating history.


What I appreciated about this store, is how they factored in disabled access. There’s a nice ramp on one side of the shop. Perfect for mommies with strollers.


You can see that business is brisk. It was launched with total professionalism and timing to coincide with Chinese New Year, a time of gifting and when loved ones would be visiting from other parts of the world.

Business is brisk
Loading area out back with replenishments

It’s worth a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood. The store is right across from Hopewell Center.
Kee Wah Flagship, the old and the new. Still retains the same look, down to the lightbulbs hanging above the shop

If you need to bake that cake, head over to Baking Story on Wan Chai Road

No, you don’t have to go all the way to Kowloon to buy baking stuff. 

In Wan Chai there are two very good baking accessories and “raw materials” shops. There’s I❤️Cake along Wan Chai road near Heard Street and there’s Baking Story on Wan Chai road near the market. 


Both have shelves stacked to the maximum with baking goods. Flour, check. Dried fruit, check. Cake and muffin molds, check. Jelly molds, check. Decorating accessories and sugar in every possible colour and consistency (fondant, icing, paint etc), check. Cake boxes, cards and stickers, check. Cream cheese and whipping cream, butter by the stick, check. Let’s not forget the chocolate. Valhrona 70% dark, check.

The difference I’ve noticed is that I❤️Cake sells equipment like tabletop mixers and different kinds of scales. They also do multi-level came display trays if you’re looking to get very creative with your cupcakes. Baking Story is a little more civilised, there aren’t things piled high in each aisle. In I❤️Cake, you’re perpetually at risk of tipping something over. Furthermore, I❤️Cake does have 2 steps to get up into the shop which is a bummer with a pram/ stroller. And there’s barely any place to park it inside. Baking Story however, has a lift lobby area and is accessible with wheels. That helps. A lot!

So it depends on what you’re after. Now I’ll post the photos so you can see what I mean.


I bought cranberries and white chocolate balls today from Baking Story to make some lactation biscuits for a friend. Here they are placed nicely in a box I bought from Baking Story as well.

Pretty pink biscuit and pastry box
White chocolate cranberry lactation biscuits

Prices are reasonable and you can pay by Octopus. Yay! 

They’re open 7 days a week.


Find them here:

Kang Kee Fresh noodle shop in Wan Chai market

My friend JC lives in Kowloon but I have since convinced her to do her dinner grocery shopping in Wan Chai. Usually on Mondays and Thursdays when we meet, she’ll come with me through the market to pick up her vegetables, meat and some condiments for dinner.

On Monday, she asked me where she could buy good freshly made skins for dumplings. 

“Ah”, I said. “You can get them from Kang Kee.”

JC said she didn’t know where it was but could I take her next time? JC, this post is for you.

Kang Kee is a fresh noodle institution. 

Every morning, trucks with heavy sacks of flour show up, guys load them onto their backs to carry it into the store. In the back of the store, machines get going and a fine layer of flour dust covers the entire shop and surrounding floor area. 


They make all the popular shapes of fresh noodles. Flat ones, Fat ones, skinny ones, white ones, yellow ones, mouse tail ones. They also sell Chee Cheung fun if you’re inclined to eat it at home instead of at a dim sum restaurant. You can also get the dried noodles in fancy flavours, crab, abalone, scallop etc.


There’s also the variety in skins. Square ones, round ones, big ones, small ones, you can pretty much wrap whatever morsels in these. The great thing is that the fresh noodles are smooth and do not require preservative. The dumpling and spring roll skins also made fresh lack the distinctive chemical taste that I find in frozen supermarket versions.


I usually buy spring roll skin and popiah skin from here. It’s freshly made and you’ll need to get there before two if you need it in quantity. It sells out pretty fast. Alternatively place your order the day before.


Everything is sold by weight except the dried noodles which have already been pre-weighed and sell by the piece. 


You can also pick up manufactured packets of pasta, vermicelli and various sauces here. 

I’ll be taking JC there personally but you contact me for a tour of the wan chai market or find Kang Kee here:

International English newspapers sold here

If you’re staying in Wan Chai and haven’t got a digital subscription to the newspapers or just prefer to read the broadsheet like my dad, you might think that you need to head to Central for that. The neighbourhood seven elevens (7-11) carry the South China Morning Post. 

Most newsagents on the street don’t carry the broadsheets, usually it’s a mixture of local chinese tabloids, magazines and some soft porn. 

The newsagent to head to for the English language broadsheets is a rather non-descript newsstand tucked away on the 2nd floor of Hopewell Center next to the HSBC. They sell most of the broadsheets, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, New York Times etc. It’s called Ngai Shing


This newsstand also sells the tabloids and has shelves full of disorganised magazines. It is also discreet enough for you to purchase any material that you’d rather not be seen with in broad daylight, plus you won’t get it wet in the rain as you head up one floor to Starbucks for your coffee. 

Update: these newsstands may soon be a thing of the past… check out this article below.

Newspaper hawker licences dry up as Hong Kong changes its habits, government says