Hong Kong Island Restaurants

IMG_3231Hong Kong has always been about the future. Although the island had been used for farming and fishing for millennia, its real history didn’t even begin until 1841, when the British secured rights to the island from China in return for lifting a shipping blockade Britain imposed after China initiated the Opium Wars (in an attempt to free its citizens from the opium addiction perpetuated by the British opium trade).

Even in 1841, it was formed not as means of housing its people, but on a dream of creating a trading empire. While the colony grew into the 1900s as a trading hub with the West, it didn’t really take off until after WWII, after the Japanese was forced to withdraw from its four-year occupation of the island, when the Communist takeover of the Chinese mainland created a flood of refugees and when the island began emerging as a manufacturing hub.IMG_3245 By 1997, when the British rights to the island expired and it was about to revert to China, Hong Kong had become a global financial center whose land had become so expensive that all its growth was up. Hong Kong had been "Manhattanized".

When we visited Hong Kong in 1995, before the island reverted to China, we were captivated by its energy and its unique blend of east and west, where modern British sensibilities and business practices seemed to meld with traditional Chinese beliefs and culture.IMG_3228 As part of our 2013/2014 Asia trip, we wanted see if Hong Kong had changed since becoming an autonomous Chinese state and if we would still find “treasures” in the antique shops that line Hong Kong Island’s Hollywood Road and Kowloon’s (the primary mainland component of Hong Kong) Nathan Road antique and jade shops as we did on our previous trip.

Hong Kong Island Highrises

IMG_3226We started our visit on the Hong King island. Our exploration focused, quite literally, on the island’s high points (on an island where almost everything is high). Yes, a few sites are at or around sea level. These are pretty much all in the Central District. They include parks (especially Statue Square), the small handful of colonial buildings that survived the island’s rush to vertical growth. Among the most important are the 1855 Government House (the former residence of colonial governors, and now the Hong Kong’s Chief Executive), the 1911 Legislative Building and the 1849 St. John’s Cathedral. Then, of course, there’s the city’s iconic Star Ferry and its terminal building.

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