In an effort to keep up the support for our home-grown independent businesses, AND to offer a public service for those of you looking for Hong Kong-centric gifts that (shock horror!) The Lion Rock Press haven’t got covered… I will be blogging about my personal guide to a few of the best goodies I’ve come across this year. Next up, those devils-to-buy-for…. MEN!
I have either bought these things for myself or others, have had them bought for me, or have them on my wishlists for Christmas, birthdays, and other random excuses to splurge on amazing goodies from our clever #HOMEKONG indies…
FASHION & LIFESTYLE GOODIES
My latest obsession is with a shop called Glue Associates who have a store in PMQ (S401-02) and Tai Kwun (2/F). It has the COOLEST and quirkiest stuff for men and I’m going to share a few of my highlights… you can thank me later because you’re about to earn yourself some serious cool points. First off, their organic cotton t-shirts with the most wicked irreverent designs such as the God of Prosperity skateboarding and, for a fifties vibe, their limited edition short-sleeved shirts will be the talk of the party- the bamboo design is simply swoon-worthy. My latest purchase was this incredible retro Twemco calendar clock and a rice cooker tea-towel. I’m also in love with their cotton-fringed mats (check out this vintage chrysanthemum one) and the don’t-care-if-he-never-uses-them blue and white hankies… did you see the cha chaan teng one?! I die!!
You may know that I’m absolutely mad about tea towels… we all need them, right? So let’s get some nice ones!! And let’s face it ladies- a lot of the time we buy things for him that we’d actually just like to have in our homes?! There’s no shame in it!! I would actually love to make them at The Lion Rock Press if it wasn’t for the fact that other people have done such a brilliant job already! My favourites are from ByMamaLaterre (surely he will adore the Hong Kong Transport design which is also available as a reusable facemask!), Paper Roses (Dumplings), Zest of Asia (Chinese Thermos Flasks) and Pinyin Press (Chicken Feet). Pinyin Press also do brilliant Lucky Cat oven gloves– I’ve got one red and one blue- if he’s a bit of a whizz in the kitchen! I am constantly buying tea towels because they’re great and completely ageless… you need them whether you’re 28 or 88! I can’t seem to leave Thorn & Burrow (fave shop for gifts in Sai Ying Pun AND stockist of myriad HK-themed gifts including LRP) without another of the wretched things! I’m addicted! Can you ever have enough?!
FOR THE ECO WARRIOR WHO WANTS TO MAKE A SPLASH
Made out of 12 recycled plastic bottles, these awesome swim shorts are stealing the style scene as well as showing Mazu‘s commitment to saving the oceans. In partnership with celebrated nostalgia photographer, Keith MacGregor, the shorts depict a traditional Chinese junk passing through Lei Yue Mun back in 1984. Glorious!
I’m spoilt for choice in PoHo when it comes to local boutiques, but I cannot go past Khromis without going in to their stunning FLAGSHIP store on Tai Ping Shan to try on their unique sunglasses. Currently with a 20% sale across the store, I am almost losing my mind. My lucky husband will be the recipient of these awesome Tortona sunglasses on June 21st…. shhhhhhh!!
One of my most enduring and useful gifts for him has been a gorgeous leather multiple passport holder from Get Up & Away. It easily holds all our passports together (as well as our HKIDs and various airline loyalty cards) and still looks brand new after years of travelling all over the world with us. Best money I spent for a while, and loved supporting a fellow Hong Kong mum with her business.
Whether it’s an addition to a carefully curated sleeve, or his virgin journey into the addictive world of ink, Hong Kong has an amazing range of world-class tattoo artists ready and waiting to bestow a permanent reminder of a moment in time. A carefully considered tattoo can be an amazing gift and, to many people, Rob Kelly of Blackout Studio in Sheung Wan is the go-to. There are so many talented artists in studios all over Hong Kong, so have fun doing your research… find out which artist’s style you like and take the plunge! Buy him a voucher- or have one done yourself in his honour! What could possibly go wrong?!
Hong Kong is awash with incredible experiences in men’s grooming and I could write an entire blog post just on this subject. If I had to pick a couple though, how about Handsome Factory which is always a treat for boys young and old. With multiple locations all over Hong Kong, a gift voucher for a top-notch haircut and one of their signature wet shaves for HK$680 is a no-brainer quite frankly. Plus, for the whole of June, fathers get 50% off their services when cutting with their sons as part of Handsome’s Father & Son package which includes comp parking and drinks at the Lane Crawford pop-up barber… winner!
Spread across 3 floors on Wellington Street and described as a modern barber’s shop and gentleman’s lounge, brilliantly named The Duke’s Man Cave offers beard-shaping and trimming as well as clean, stylish haircuts. Stocked with cigars, darts, video games, films, whiskies and sports channels, this man cave is perfect for father and son bonding time… or an escape from reality for a couple of hours with buddies- with the added benefit of coming home looking and smelling better than when he left.
For quality grooming products, the Style Standard is a Hong Kong stalwart which is currently having a CLEARANCE SALE with up to 40% off their best-selling merch. From cedar wood beard oil to deep-cleansing charcoal face wash, it’s got you covered. A gift voucher would be spent wisely and you’d have the added benefit of a fine smelling companion. As if you needed another reason to check them out, founder James Thomson-Sakhrani does a huge amount of philanthropic work through The Amber Foundation- bravo! For the true eco warrior, there’s also Hong Kong’s first zero waste store, Live Zero, which has an excellent range of men’s grooming for the environmentally conscious. I like their Ethique Top-To-Toe Shampoo & Shaving Bar which is the equivalent of 3 bottles of shampoo!
JEWELLERY & WATCHES
There was a time when every male in my life connected with the 852 got a pair of cufflinks for their birthdays. There was something about those gorgeous frilly Elizabeth II twenty cent coins from Patinova that I just could not resist. Recently, my eye has been caught by their Dancing Chinese Lion cufflinks for the upcoming Father’s Day to drive away those pesky evil spirits, and I recently chipped in for their Dragon Boat Paddle cufflinks for a leaver who was an avid member of the Dragon Boat community- what a cool keepsake!
Since I can’t help myself but buy cufflinks, I’ve also been a long-term fan of Dee Gogh from whom I bought this awesome pair of English Lion links for my husband’s milestone birthday (now betraying his age- sorry!). She also does currencies other than HK, so have a browse. Other goodies I think are well worth consideration are her money clips, guitar picks and- for those naughty boys- she does awesome lighters which you can have engraved with their nickname. What a great talking point they are- especially for old HK friends and family who are now living overseas.
If you man’s look is less double-cuffed and more zen then you might like Urban Jungle Jewellery‘s stone bracelets. I love the earthy brown ones… and they can be customised with an engraved charm.
Another gorgeous Hong Kong brand which I keep going back to is niin. I bought myself a rose gold tiger bracelet last year and they made a 10% donation to WWF on my behalf! Since then, it’s been a bit of a go-to gift when I’m travelling overseas to visit friends- especially those born in the Year of the Tiger. They’re currently having a sale and loads of their men’s jewellery have amazing deals- like this leather hook bracelet which is less than half price!
If it’s a watch you’re after, Von Burg currently has an unbelievable almost 90% off sale! They’ve been manufacturing watches in HK for 50 years through three generations and are only recently online. They sell their own watch brand “Claro” as well as other brands of note such as Breitling. Another of my Sheung Wan secrets are the watches at SquareStreet who are also having a fantastic sale, as luck would have it! I find their Novem watch rather exquisite. Designed right here in the 852 by Swedish-born Alexis Holm, these watches have serious cool factor. Make sure you check out their stunning range of phone cases too- if you’re shopping online they’re offering 10% off for first-time customers. Shopping is thirsty work- so settle down at the in-store KAFFE and enjoy a cup of Swedish coffee and a bite of my other guilty pleasure- HK’s very own Conspiracy Chocolate! It’s all about fika there- and I love it!
IF HE’S A CRAFTY ONE
Now here’s a cool idea- a leather workshop at Fungus to make your own case for your Leatherman or EarPods, a wallet or a wine bottle carrier! I haven’t tried it myself, but I have a friend in mind who would lose his mind over this. If that all sounds like too much like hard work, just pop down to Sai Ying Pun and buy one of their perfectly crafted unique handmade leather items- truly a labour of love from a family obsessed with traditional artisanal workmanship. Help them to keep their dream alive and appreciate the work they do!
DO YOU KNOW A CAFFEINE ADDICT?
If so, forget your skinny-oatmilk-extra-cocoa-mochawotsit; serious caffeine enthusiasts will happily geek out at Coffee + Tales’ artisanal monthly coffee subscription boxes, featuring specialist beans by Asia’s top micro-roasters. You can get to know the faces behind every bag of coffee that you receive- from how they got started in the industry to a look into their lives- I’m obsessed with reading their stories every month!
FOR THE WALL
Custom wall art is always a well-received gift, and Biscuitmoon Designs do it brilliantly. Cherished memories can be re-lived again and again with one of their “My Favourite Places” bespoke canvases. Take a look at their retro-style Hong Kong prints while you’re at it- all 4 of them in the series are awesome and conveniently fit perfectly in good old black Ikea frames.
China ABCs Alphabet Art
Although known for her Zodiac Collection, I am loving Eleanor McColl’s HK PEOPLE collage. Like us at LRP, Eleanor ‘celebrates the ordinary’ and we share a love for the overlooked icons of the city like the “cardboard grannies”. In a simple black- or bold bright coloured frames- these would make a killer gift. They’re what I tell my husband is called a “joint gift”…
In the spirit of full disclosure, Evolving Patina is my youngest brother John’s passion project, but I love his stuff SO much and I sure you all will too. His photos are composed of abstract patterns from distressed surfaces in Hong Kong. An enormous turquoise one of a peeling old door in Tai O hangs in my house. Currently his Hong Kong Collection is donating 25% profits to EcoDrive Hong Kong. They somehow manage to be striking and colourful, yet neutral enough to look good with all your furnishings. I think they’d make an awesome gift for someone’s special birthday… (or just a treat for yourself #YOLO).
Perhaps no gift means more than a set of beautiful family photographs and Hong Kong boasts a HUGE amount of brilliantly talented photographers- many of them amazing women who I know personally. I will shout out the divine Jenna from Lucky Fish and Claire Woodrow from her eponymous business. They’re a great place to start! Consider also a private photography lesson if he’s keen snapper- most photographers offer this service on request.
I’m a complete sucker for coffee table books about Hong Kong and the lovely Arti from Bookazine sent me a copy of Sunset Survivors, by fellow Eurasian Lindsay Varty, last year when I was spending a lot of time with my Nan in hospital. It tells the story of Hong Kong’s traditional tradesmen and women with interviews and absolutely stunning photos. Before you hit “CHECKOUT” on Amazon, please consider visiting our independent bookshops such as Bookazine– they’ve got an incredible collection of beautiful books. Let’s support them!
YOU THINK YOU’VE SEEN IT ALL?
One of my more unusual obsessions is terrariums- essentially a twist on the traditional pot plant- a decorative micro environment of living flora usually in a sealable glass container. There are really lovely ones- like The Burt from ByDeau– which make extremely tasteful gifts and are perfect for those short of space… an office desk for example. Delightful! But the ones I especially adore are a bit more off-key. I have this one called Paint Me Like A French Girl which can actually be customised (you can choose hair colour for example) and it makes me laugh every time I see it.
A few of my other faves are Bright Side Up (perfect for hikers), Soulmates (for the romantics out there) and Snappy Snaps (especially good for the INSTA BF/HUSBEAST) from Glass Farm and they make wonderful presents which are always a talking point. You can even make your own from scratch with the kits… a LOT of scope for banter, but I have to warn you- they are addictive!
Since finding out about our growing Craft Beer market here in HK, I’m now obsessed with buying cases of that rather than a crate of Asahi cans from Park n Shop when we go round to friends… and wow it’s always so well received and a great conversation starter. With names like “Big Wave Bay” and “Dragon’s Back”, the Hong Kong Beer Company has nailed the fun local names although, naturally, I find it more fun to take a mixed case of Lion Rock Brewery beers and try and pass it off as my new line- the Pale Ale always goes down a treat. Mak’s Beer brew their cold ones in Tsuen Wan using a number of locally-grown ingredients including goji berries, date, mint and dried longan. Yardley Brothers Beer began when two UK brothers started brewing beer in the living room of home in Lamma. Now they sell a number of unique named beers including Hong Kong Bastard Imperial IPA and !Quit Your Job! Saison. I am also infatuated with the artwork on their website.
From an aesthetic POV though, my favourite is Young Master Ales whose labels are to-die-for and, being teetotal myself, this is of extreme importance! They’ve got a big range of beers and I buy their gift vouchers for those hard-to-buy-for HK boys!
There’s tons of others like Black Kite Brewery , Kowloon Bay Brewery, Gweilo (check out their SKYLINE cans!) and- the ultimate in design porn for me- Moonzen– the boxes they come in are incredibly beautiful- we keep them all to send our LRP orders!! Check out these stunning Moonzen gift sets– amazing value for HK$200 IMO since we’d usually spend that one a bottle of nice wine to take over which has got like a hundred zillion air miles… so much better to support our local micro breweries!
For more online options, check out Tai-Pan Beer Co. who also have delish KOMBUCHA for the health conscious from Macau-based Blissful BomBooch! Plus Hong Kong’s very own fabulous crafty beer store, Beerhound, which currently has 5% off all local beers in June- enter HKLOCAL at checkout and enjoy!
What about a 12-month beer subscription from The Bottle Shop that ensures a year of artisanal local brews delivered right to his door? What fun he will having holding court with his buddies as he imparts all his new-found local beer knowledge to an enraptured crowd (eye roll).
Or have you got a man who is GIN CRAZY? Look no further than GINSANITY monthly beer club! Every month he will receive a unique bottle of gin that is only available in Hong Kong to Ginsanity Gin Club members. To top up the box they include the chosen pairing mixers, tasting notes from the distillery with suggested cocktails and a couple of treats to enjoy. What more could he want?! It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
In more GIN news… can there be more beautiful creations than Hong Kong’s Perfume Tree Gins?! 100% style porn. In addition to traditional gin botanicals, they’ve included local Hong Kong botanicals into their signature gin, and their Limited Edition Story Teller set is surely the ultimate gift for a gin lover in Hong Kong. To make it even more special, they even offer laser engraving for that personal touch! Shop now on their hilariously-named www.soberorblotto-shop.com. Sold out until July, pre-order NOW!
GET OUT THERE
Hong Kong is an explosion of all kinds of fantastic experiences and here are a few of my suggestions for the sporty and outdoorsy type or the culture vulture- all of who will be more than satisfied with a gift of any of these gems!
Give him the opportunity to shoot up baddies or save a ship from sinking at Sandbox VR in TST. Sandbox is a futuristic VR experience for groups of up to 6 where you can see and physically interact with everyone inside, just like the real world. Inspired by Star Trek’s Holodeck, their exclusive worlds let you feel like you’re living inside a game or movie. That’s pretty wild! Whether it’s a journey to space or surviving a zombie ambush, there’s something about this thrilling and mind-bending experience that transforms your relationships. You may think that a hyper-reality zombie attack experience might not be your thing, but book it for him and his buddies and prepare him for a transcendental journey!
Back in the real world, equally thrilling is the chance to go on a SNAKE SAFARI in the New Territories and learn about some of Hong Kong’s indigenous snake species- as well as other fauna and flora you will find along the way! Run by brilliant and knowledgable “herpers”, this fascinating insight into our local biodiversity is a unique experience. At night, with only a head torch to guide you, discover how fascinating these much maligned creatures are- I guarantee you will never look at an overhanging branch in the same way again! If this is a bit too much, how about starting with a wonderful BIRD WATCHING TOUR with your own private twitcher? Or a trip to see our critically-endangered pink dolphins with Hong Kong Dolphin Watch– you can even charter you own private tour with them, so get some families together and experience the magic of seeing these magnificent creatures in the wild- before it’s too late!
WAKESURFING is the hottest sport in Hong Kong and if he hasn’t tried it yet, this is the perfect time! Grab him an afternoon with a couple of friends and a Go-Pro in Tai Tam- check out Wakeboard HK and Bryan at Wakesurfing HK. You can also do it as a couple or as a family- a fun few hours on the ocean waves taking in the glorious Red Hill Penninsula and surrounding bays- what could possibly be nicer?
Some clever, enterprising, and adventurous people have made our gift-buying lives easier by starting WILD Hong Kong which offers hiking, cycling, kayaking and SUP tours around all the most beautiful and remote spots in the 852 such as Geopark and Hoi Ha. Buy him an experience he’ll never forget or- even better- go with him!
For hikers and trail-runners, this genius product is an easy gift and one they are sure to ADORE… not to mention motivate them to do more of what they love. The Hong Kong Trail Map has a scratch-off design to show all the trails they’ve done- and at only HK$250 it’s a guaranteed winner.
A more sedate pace is not to be sniffed at, and some of my favourite EVER days were spent doing walking tours around Hong Kong. I’ve done lots of them, and my favourites have been SUNSET SURVIVORS with Lindsay Varty (grab up to 7 other people for a private tour- you’ll be astonished to go inside a traditional pawn broker and meet tradespeople from many of HK’s dying industries- SO fascinating), a Mongkok Food Tour by HK GREETERS (book a private one for you and him or another couple- SO fun and yummy- we laughed for hours!!) and a brilliant deep dive in Sheung Wan with WALK IN HK. Since I work in Sheung Wan it was unbelievable to me to find places I’d walked past every day and never noticed, or never knew about- I was in absolute raptures! Jason Wordie is, of course, almost synonymous with walking tours in Hong Kong and my favourite of his is still the Happy Valley Cemetery… if your man is a history buff it is unbeatable.
I’m exhausted from writing this, and I’m sure you’re exhausted from reading it! See! So many great things to buy for him right here in HK- regardless of how hard you think he is to buy for! Other ideas are restaurant vouchers to support our struggling F&B community, private yoga classes, private meditation or personal trainer sessions, a sports massage at a local specialist or a couple’s foot massage and champagne at Ten Feet Tall!
If you’re still reading, THANK YOU for taking the time to hopefully learn about some local independent companies who rely on your patronage- especially during these uncertain times. We have SO much talent, and SO many passionate and creative people right here on our doorstep- let’s show them our support! Get shopping!