Tag Archives: wanchai

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. 

Advertisements

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. 

Wanchai St. Francis Street Updates: Leavings & New Beginnings

There were 3 decent health food/ nutrition shops in Wanchai. Just Green, Food For Life and Redwood Nutrition. (I’m excluding Green Common only because it is more of an organic supermarket rather than a nutrition shop). 

Feeling the need to re-start my probiotic routine, I went and had a look at what was available in each shop. Redwood nutrition carried a rather expensive brand, I wasn’t quite convinced about paying almost $500 for a month’s supply of bacteria. Redwood Nutrition down the road has Udo’s probiotics on discount, buy 4 get 1 free, averaging around $290 for a month’s supply. The only thing that irks me is the sales lady. She’s a bit aggressive and I don’t enjoy the ultra aggressive marketing style. My final stop was Just Green where I’m usually able to find a wider selection of brands, and I get a members discount.

Just Green was located down an alley, literally down, as in you have to go down some stairs. They usually have a poster stand outside the door and you can see the light from inside the shop through the windows. I walked up St Francis Street and peered down the alley. Hmm. Did I get the wrong alley? It seemed deserted and bare. 


Just Green has left..! Just to be sure, I went down the stairs to check. Recent removal marked the walls and window sills. 

That’s really too bad. It was a nice nook and my go to shop for supplements. 

The next alley in the direction of Queens Road East has a new tenant. They decorated the entire wall with a mural. Great advertising of you get the permission to do it and a good artist. Well, they are in the art business. In a manner of speaking. 


The tattoo parlours were in cooler places like Soho’s Pottinger street but it looks like that cool is gradually spreading East. Hong Kong Underground Tattoo is right at the end of the alley.

Wan Chai is getting a new equilibrium but I hope businesses that set up here are also encouraging for residents and not just occasional visitors. I’m half expecting to see more tattooed people walking around the neighbourhood… and no, it’s not the chinese gang labourers working in construction. 

Has anyone noticed the new plant boxes in Wan Chai? 

These plant boxes appeared sometime this morning (Friday, June 30). I know because I left home at 8.15am and they weren’t there yet. But on my way back before noon, they appeared. 

How fancy! Is a VIP coming this way I wonder? 


I wonder if they’ll be removed at the end of July or are they here to stay?



They are of quite solid quality and the distressed wood look is quite nice. Unfortunately, they look a bit shallow and the soil they used doesn’t look particularly nutritious.


Thanks LCSD.

I’ll have to see if these planters have been placed elsewhere. Hopefully they’re here to stay.


None seen along the rest of Queens Road East… or other parts of Wan Chai.