Best of Hong Kong

Best Hong Kong souvenirs and where to get them

Zoe Li, CNNUpdated 12th July 2017
Here are the Hong Kong souvenirs you've got to buy.
(CNN) — Holidaying in Hong Kong and looking to pick up treats for friends back home? We've got you covered -- from the iconic T-shirt and antique Buddha head to the indie rock album.

The classic

"I ♥ Hong Kong" T-shirt

Any of Hong Kong's famed street markets will offer a whole range of cheesy tourist T-shirts emblazoned with "Lost in Hong Kong" or a map of the MTR system or a charted guide to tai chi moves performed by a cartoon panda.
Ladies' Market and Jardine's Bazaar as well as Li Yuan East and West streets are best. Warm up those negotiation muscles and prepare for a good ol' bargaining war with traders.
Ladies' Market: take the MTR to Mong Kok Station, Exit E2, then walk along Nelson Street for two blocks.
Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay MTR Station, exit F
Li Yuan East and West streets, Central MTR Station, exit C

Custom-made suits and cheongsam

Courtesy pexels
Shanghainese tailors used to rule Hong Kong, but nowadays most people go across the border to Shenzhen for a cheap custom-tailored deal.
For shoppers who still appreciate Shanghainese attention to detail and who don't mind dropping a couple of grand to feel like a million, check out W. W. Chan & Sons, said to be the best Shanghainese tailors in town, and Linva Tailors who did Maggie Cheung's sexy cheongsams for "In the Mood For Love."
W.W. Chan & Sons Tailor, Unit B, 8/F., Entertainment Building, 30 Queen's Road Central, Central, Hong Kong +852 2366 9738/2634.
Linva Tailors, 38 Cochrane St., Central, +852 2544 2456

Chinese knickknacks

Chinese Arts and Crafts is an emporium of high-quality goods from China. If you think that's an oxymoron, prepare to be surprised. The department store stocks ready-to-wear, slightly cliched but elegant traditional Chinese clothes, semi-precious gems and traditional handicrafts.

Hong Kong kitsch

Collect your souvenirs at one of HK's markets.
Collect your souvenirs at one of HK's markets.
Courtesy Anna & Michal/Creative Commons/Flickr
T-shirts printed with puns on Cantonese profanity, candles in the shape of Chinese characters, squeaky toys made to look like Chinese stone lions -- that's just the kind of tongue-in-cheek stuff that can be found at homegrown brand G.O.D.

Antiques, real and fake

Hollywood Road is the place to go for one of these.
Hollywood Road is the place to go for one of these.
Courtesy Steve Rainwater/Creative Commons/Flickr
Hollywood Road is heavy with antique shops. Counting the Buddha heads you can spot on this street is a good way to kill hours of spare time.
Genuine finds and knock-offs share the same real estate here. Sometimes it's easy to tell them apart but most times it is difficult to the untrained eye.
If it's just a fun, cheap antique-looking ornament that you're after, try the Cat Street bazaar instead. The open-air junk jumble is a favorite of flea market fans.
Cat Street Market, Cat Street, Sheung Wan MTR station, exit A2

Novelty plastic key chains

Head to Temple Street market to find the best novelty souvenirs.
Head to Temple Street market to find the best novelty souvenirs.
Courtesy Sarah Stierch/Creative Commons/Flickr
Nothing says "wish you were here" like a mini plastic bowl of noodles dangling off a key chain.
Get it at Temple Street market.
Yau Ma Tai MTR station, exit C, turn around to Man Ming Lane, Temple Street is just two blocks away.

The practical

Latest gadgets and accessories

Head to Mong Kok to get the latest in the gadget world.
Head to Mong Kok to get the latest in the gadget world.
Courtesy MIKI Yoshihito/Creative Commons/Flickr
It may not be what you want to hear, but chain stores such as Fortress and Broadway actually have the best guarantee when it comes to buying electronic appliances.
The price at these chains should only be a few hundred dollars more than at independent shops. If you ask nicely, they may even offer you a "personal favorite" discount with some extra freebies. We've tried it at Suning.
For bargain kings and queens who have done their market research, check out Golden Computer Shopping Arcade or Computer Center in Mong Kok for lower prices and also gray market products.
These malls also sell cheap accessories that we never knew we needed, but now can't live without.
If you're looking for a surprise, Ap Liu Street market is your place. This colorful flea market sells everything from secondhand remote controls to vintage film cameras.
Golden Computer Shopping Arcade, 146/152 Fuk Wa St., Sham Shui Po MTR station, exit D2
Mong Kok Computer Center, 8 Nelson St., Mong Kok MTR station, exit D3
Ap Liu Street vintage camera stall, turn right from Sham Shui Po MTR exit C2, the stall is near 237 Ap Liu St.

Conpoy and other dried seafood

You can smell it when you reach Des Voeux Road West, the dried seafood street. Dried scallops for fried rice would impress your guests at the next exotic potluck night back home.
Other favorite dried Chinese goods are shiitake mushrooms, dates and herbal medicines.
Read up on the difference between the good stuff and the fake stuff before heading to this area and don't forget to check the price unit before buying as the catty and tael signs are often sneakily hidden.

Designer Oriental-chic clothes

Don't have time to get a custom-made cheongsam or Mao suit? Then head to Shanghai Tang for something beautiful, decadent and ready-to-wear.
Alternatively, splurge on the luxe, stripped-down aesthetics of Blanc de Chine.

The conversation piece


Buy a piece of statement art by Chinese and other regional artists from the galleries along Hollywood Road.

Indie music

For a earful of the best of Hong Kong indie bands, head to White Noise Records or Zoo Records.
The latest sounds from bands like My Little Airport, Chochukmo, Noughts and Exs and Poubelle International will tell you how Hong Kong youths are politicking, dreaming and self-expressing.

Designed in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Fashion Week showcases the city's finest fashions.
Hong Kong Fashion Week showcases the city's finest fashions.
Anthony Kwan/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
For the ultimate uniquely Hong Kong outfit, shop at Voulez Vous, Daydream Nation or Heaven Please where local labels are showcased.
Look out for leather goods from Fungus Workshop, ZOEE accessories, bags by Hoiming and the whimsical body harnesses of Ccchu.
Or head to Initial, a homegrown fashion brand that makes quirky vintage-inspired clothes for men and women. Tailoring is preppy and always with a skinny fit.
Voulez Vous, 26 Yiu Wah St., Causeway Bay, +852 2833 0938
Daydream Nation, Shop 3 & 4, No.101, Level 1, K11, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong +852 2177 7208
Heaven Please, 7th fl, Kolling Centre, 77-79 Granville Rd, Hong Kong, +852 2311 9533

Vintage finds

The city of Hong Kong is as beautiful as its vintage clothing.
The city of Hong Kong is as beautiful as its vintage clothing.
Courtesy pexels
There are lots of vintage clothing finds in Hong Kong from Japanese and Korean brands from the 1970s. Mee & George sells these old dresses, leather jackets, trenches, trousers and more starting as low as $4 (HK$30).
A pricier option is Select 18 where the clothing is tightly curated by vintage expert Thomas Lee.
Look out for genuine vintage designer clothing hidden in both shops.
Or check out Hui Chun Tong, a disorganized shop full of typewriters, jewelry boxes, bird cages, cameras, leather bags.
Mee & George, 64 Tung Choi St., Mong Kok
Select 18, Shop A, G/F, Grandview Garden, 18 Bridges St., Central
Hui Chun Tong, 3 Lok Ku Road, Sheung Wan
Zoe lives in Hong Kong, where she grew up, and writes about the city.
Editor's note: This article was previously published in 2011. It was reformatted and republished in 2017.