Going through the photos taken over the course of our stay here, it struck me that I’ve shot quite a fair bit of neon signs and billboards in this city.
There is something about the sight of these bold and impactful, at times garish and tacky signs that I cannot quite put a word to. All-out marketing tactics are the norm of the day and everywhere you go, your senses are bombarded by innovative messages and captivating advertisements.
Giant billboards mounted on walls of buildings located on Yee Wo Street pedestrian crossing in front of Sogo department store– epicenter of all the action in Causeway Bay.
A while back, there were Nicole Kidman and Zhang Zi Yi for Omega; here we have retired Japanese football star Nakata Hidetoshi gracing the occasion. Curiously, I’ve always have been immune to his charms. I wonder how his admirers crossed the street safely the few weeks he was high up there.
The three-storey H&M along Queen’s Road Central. Here you can spot some beautiful and enticing ads. I find myself looking forward to the new one with every change of season.
Hong Kongers just can’t seem to get enough of 公仔面 or instant noodles. Specifically, Nissin instant noodles. Available at any self-respecting cha caan teng, they can have it for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and supper, no kidding.
Stepping out of the MTR train, you’d be bathing in packets of Nissin noodles in all flavours (the underground walls are entirely plastered with these colourful ads) as you make your way to any of the 6 exits at Causeway Bay station.
Imagine a wet market inside Raffles Place?
One of my favourite, Gage Street Market is located right in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial district in Central. Here, you’ll rub shoulders with the locals as well as expats while shopping for fresh produce. It’s proximity to Mid-Levels, a residential area popular with foreigners, means that greens not widely used in Chinese cooking, such as baby spinach, arugula, radicchio, frisse and the likes are readily available here.
Nearly as ubiquitous as neon signs themselves, this classic 24-hr Hong Kong diner serves some of the best milk tea around. Our favourite Tsui Wah is the one near LKF on Wellington Street in Central.
Busy Haiphong Road perpendicular to bustling Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. As yet, I still cannot quite decide which is more terrifying, Causeway Bay or here on a weekend.
And then there is Mongkok. The maddest and scariest of them all. Where bird market, sneaker street, ladies market, goldfish market, flower market, Temple street flea market are all within walking distance of one another.
Reputedly the most densely populated area in the world, there are possibly as many neon signs in the air as there are people on the street. If you are searching for a spot with the typical Hong Kong sights you see on postcards, you won’t be disappointed in Mongkok.
As the neon lights flickered on after nightfall, it is when the city comes alive flamboyantly.
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