Tag Archives: wanchai

New Japanese lunch spot on McGregor Street

After promising to have lunch together for at least 4 months, my friend PB and I finally agreed on a date.

“What are we having?” asked PB, “I can have anything.”

Since we went to Samsen on our last date, I thought we should try something new.

“A few options… new Thai place, new Japanese place, burger joint, fish n chip joint…”….”Pick one”.

Japanese it was. Full disclosure to her that I’d never been and was curious to check it out.

It’s one of these hole in the wall restaurants that does not make any effort to welcome you. The window panes are frosted so you can’t peer in, the menus are written in chinese (only an issue if you can’t read it) -and most of it is sushi or skewer based- but the restaurant goes through the effort of having an English name printed on the signboard. It’s called Silver House Japanese Restaurant (首庫居日本料理).

I remember seeing it on the launch day when a row of flowers lined the street in front of the restaurant and people stood on the pavement looking in. I thought it was all a bit odd as staff and presumably owners brought in large plastic bags of packed food and they sort of stood around consuming it. Shouldn’t a launch party have a bit more organisation to it than that? Anyway.

We got there promptly at noon when the restaurant had just opened and was completely empty. The waitress presented us with a lunch menu consisting of about 8 different sets and told us that the a -la-carte sushi and skewers wee only available for dinner.

We settled on sharing a quick seared salmon sushi bowl and an eel bowl.

First came the salad, a small but tasty portion, I forgot to take a photo.

Next came a simple miso soup.

Then the eel bowl arrived.

The eel tasted fine with the teriyaki sauce but the texture was a tad soft.

This salmon bowl was nicely done. I could definitely have this again.

Dessert finals, a small fruit palate cleanser. The melon was ripe, succulent and sweet. The grapes weren’t bad, but they definitely weren’t japanese 😉

The salmon set was $128 and the eel bowl was $88, very reasonable lunchtime prices.

The restaurant was full to maximum capacity when we left. Some fashionable types, some office types and some singles looking to tuck in alongside their mobile phone.

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Halloween celebrations in Lee Tung Avenue 

By the light of the full moon.. a vampire comes out to play…

Lee Tung Avenue has had great success in creating a public space where small,  interesting art and music projects can draw the attention of a steady stream of people. Many are locals, young couples who visit in the evening for a dessert. Some are older people with their helpers, they occupy the benches to soak up the late morning sun. Then there are families, who use this pedestrianised street as a conduit to the schools. They often return after school, in the evenings to run around*.

Halloween has become an increasingly significant occasion for commercial festivity in Hong Kong. It’s nice because it involves the children and all that fancy get up is fun, but it doesn’t teach them much about American culture or what it means. Local and international schools both celebrate it and kids come home with drawings of pumpkins and bats and broomsticks. It’s almost as big a celebration as Christmas.


I thought it was fabulous that Lee Tung Avenue took a different approach to their display. The organisers chose an art installation with significance to both the mid-autumn festival and Halloween. Titled “Museum of the Moon“, a large blown up rendition of 5 km earth’s only moon surface is suspended  from the arch and illuminated from within at night. 

New victims?
Yeah, he tasted real good…

For the Halloween weekend, Ophelia was advertising a blood sucking gory time on Saturday night and Tuesday night. That vampire was co-opted into posing with visitors along the pedestrian alleyway by the light of the moon. 

It was a funny and entertaining sight. The crowds were out enjoying the cool weather and the scene… as was I!


Halloween night walk in Wan Chai.

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*Wan Chai really needs a good quality children’s playground, will LCSD please consider this carefully and install a great one at Southorn playground when you’re finished ripping it up for the underground Mall? All the future generated income could be reflected in quality of life an awesome playground would bring to families in the area. And I’m not referring to those red yellow plastic things you presently install all over. Please take a look at the Megan Daley park in Chicago or even this wonderful bamboo installation (since Hong Kong is so fond of using bamboo for scaffolding) at the restaurant Triplets in Chiang Mai

The fantastic playground at the Megan Daley Park in Chicago
Bamboo constructed playground at Triplets in Chiang Mai

A paved hike from Parkview to Quarry Bay

(Sept 2017) The pollution was bad for the last week in Hong Kong. Two typhoons threatened to come but dissipated to the South and North respectively.

We decided to go on a leisurely family paced hike from Parkview down to Quarry Bay. The incentive? Lunch at the end of the journey. This walk isn’t the most scenic or spectacular, but it is all paved and mostly shaded, which makes it a good walk with kids. It’s downhill, uphill, downhill and round several bends. There’s lots of spiders and bugs to look at along the way but no toilets til you get to the summit. Bring water and snacks for the kids so that they don’t complain too much along the way and get a power (sugar) boost if necessary.


The view gets a little more scenic once you’ve reached the summit and start to head back down the hill towards Quarry Bay. The path is a proper road that’s wide and not too steep.


Half way down, the exposed bits of path allow you a view towards the big buildings and beyond. It would have been a better view if it weren’t for the pollution.


As it was a sunny sort of day, I was grateful that the shade from trees resumed after a few minutes for the rest of the hike.


On the way, you’ll walk past the Biodiversity museum. The gates were open and it seemed like there was an event of some sort taking place, but I didn’t go in. If you go, please let me know what it’s like inside.

Further down the path, look out for some amusing signs.


This sign says “Do not Pick wild mushrooms for consumption”


This one says “Be considerate to speak softly”


Just so you know, I didn’t see any wild animals or wild mushrooms that day. I did look, but they must have been picked or fed already.

Pretty soon, you’re back in civilisation and the residential homes are in view.


A small temple at the end of the path marks the end of the trail  and the start of hustle bustle Quarry Bay.


We went up over the overhead bridge, across the road and to the right. Take the left at the second traffic junction you come to and follow the road down and rojndcto the right. We ended up at the Butcher’s Club opposite Swire’s swanky office building for a hearty lunch of burgers and duck fat fries.

This walk takes approximately 2 hours at an adult leisure walking pace, add an hour if you’re bringing toddlers who wish to inspect every insect they see. 

The disappointment of a cancelled bus route

The 590A plied a route from Admiralty through Wan Chai to South Horizons every 15-30 minutes. This was the bus we took last year to get to school when the South Island Line was still under construction. Since the MTR line opened and the weather became generally worse (hot, humid and polluted), we’d given up on the erratic schedule of the bus service in favour of the South Island Line

There are pros and cons of course. The 590A always operated a clean nice double decker and took a very efficient route to South Horizons. It is well air conditioned and a very pleasant ride to see what’s happening above street level in Wan Chai. The bus stop is also a few minutes closer to home and as it is a direct route, doesn’t need transiting. It was pretty much the closest thing I could get door to door to South Horizons. 

In contrast, the MTR transit requires a bit of a rushed walk with plenty of anxious commuters through the bowels of Admiralty station, 3 escalators down to get to the South Island Line from the main blue Island line.

I fancied taking the bus today. I had time to spare and thought a bus ride would be nice to see the changes happening above ground. Imagine my disappointment when I got to the Wan Chai road bus stop and found that the route had been terminated!


Hong Kong is totally efficiency driven. If it ain’t making money, cancel it…

I’m now walking back to the MTR station… it’s back to the underground. 


If you take their suggested replacement route, bus 90, it gets you to Ap Lei Chau estate which is close but still a 10-12 minute walk to South Horizons unless you get off at a preceding stop (say just after the bridge) and catch the 592 or 595 that’ll drop you at the South Horizons bus stop near Marina Square. 

Typhoon season: Huff, puff, blow your house down…

All the excitement about a typhoon 8 this Sunday is now dissipating as Typhoon Mawar has been blown northerly and will hit Shantou and the coast of China instead. Perhaps we’ll get some rain in Hong Kong but that’s looking less and less likely now as the storm track shifts. It’s now a T1 and might not get much above that.


I was away when Typhoons Hato and Pakhar blew into town, Hato caused a 2 hour delay in my flight take off time and we sat in the plane the entire duration of the lightning strikes and heavy downpour at the airport. In the robust metal tube of the new A350 the storm didn’t seem all that intimidating. 

Friends and neighbours updated me on the disruptions and damage all over (I’m sure you’ve seen the footage circulated online by now). We secured our windows and doors before we left but neglected a few pieces of laundry which were blown to the floor and soaked on our return. Our balcony plants were snapped and decimated by the strong winds and heavy downpour but the flat generally seemed in good shape on our return. 

Mr Rammstein took a walk around Queens Road East area after the typhoon Hato blew over and sent me a few pictures. Credit and effort goes to him for these.

Completely devoid of people at Hopewell Center
A neighbour’s broken window

And now of some fallen trees and branches pictures.

Snapped branches of trees at the Wu Chung house bus stop
Tidy pile of leaves and branches outside bank of china
Leaves and branches by the old post office recycle bins
Branches and splinters near Green Common
By the ruttonjee hospital exit on Wan chai road

These fallen branches were all cleared up soon after Hato blew by. But clearing up after Pakhar has taken considerably longer. There are still fallen branches and leaves on sidewalks up by Kennedy road and tree cutters are doing their best on Stubbs road creating large logs out of fallen tree trunks. (You can see this if you hop on the 15 bus towards the Peak from Wan chai).


Many of these trees are still with their snapped branches dangling at crazy angles. It’s probably best to avoid walking near them in the current weather as you don’t know when the rot sets in or the wind might blow it in your direction. Obviously the clearing up will take several more weeks due to the huge amount of work all over the island and beyond. 

Ceramics shop pop up in Wan Chai Road

Update: it is now September and the ceramic shop lease has run out. They are no longer here. It is now a sock and towel shop for a few months!


As stores vacate their spaces due to rent or other business decisions, landlords keen to keep the space in use and tenanted seem able to lease them out for short periods of time. It’s almost like an Airbnb for retail. 

The tenants rent by days til their goods are sold or by month until the landlord finds a long term tenant. It keeps the neighbourhood lively and interesting… there’s never a shop shuttered for too long.

Ceramic shops seem to do fairly well as pop up stores, fragile but non-perishable. Here’s one that appeared on Wan Chai road last month.


Matching sauce bowls and soup spoons. All in pretty patterns.


Chopstick rests and dipping bowls.


Mugs and other random household items.


Lots of plates and bowls.


Small soup bowls in various colours and prints. 


Small dinner plates and heat tolerant dishes for baking.


More plates and bowls with lids for kids.


They also have plain white crockery.


Then I spied more appetiser dishes..


Suggested pairings for your dining set. 

It looks pretty fun to mix and match your place settings! And not expensive either:)

Find the shop here:

The Satisfaction of Samsen

This Thai casual style eatery is NOT kid friendly. Do not bring your toddlers or babies, there are no high chairs (bar chairs), no kiddy utensils and no kids menu. So you gotta go alone or on a date!

Note: it’s open Mon-Sat lunch 12 noon to about 2.30pm then dinner 6-10pm. Shut on Sundays.

We have done takeaway from Samsen several times, all delightful eating even out of cardboard boxes. The only dishes Samsen doesn’t allow takeout for are their noodle soups or “boat noodles”. 

One day last week, I found myself liberated and alone for lunch. I gleefully took myself to Samsen at 12 noon and promptly got seated at the bar counter. Perfect. 


There are hooks thoughtfully placed beneath the counter to hang your bag (love restaurants that do this) and I had a great view of the working kitchen which always helps to manage time and expectations. 


It was a boiling hot day. The Thai iced tea was perfectly shaved and sweetened with just the right kick of lime acidity. It was a pleasure I sought to extend by drinking it very slowly. 


My Wagyu beef boat noodles arrived. Oooh first….inhale the aromas. Then follow up with a taste of the soup. Be careful not to slurp it all down. The Wagyu beef was super tender and the beef balls chewy. The noodles were done just right, smooth texture with a good touch of elasticity. 

The bowl looked small but by the time I got to the end of the broth I felt strangely satiated. 

No dessert for me today but definitely next time.

Samsen requires no introduction given its high profile chef and nightly queues for dinner. It’s a thumbs up from me, a welcome addition to the Wanchai dining scene. 

I’m already craving the next visit.