Hong Kong with The Sam Willows

HONG KONG — Visiting a hair salon that transforms right into a jazz bar. Slurping wonton noodles at a restaurant that dates again to the 1960s. Getting scolded on the night time market. These had been amongst among the memorable highlights Singapore’s prime musical quartet, The Sam Willows, had of their current journey to Hong Kong.

The band explored the town with singer-actress Josie Ho in an episode of A Style of Hong Kong, which is into its fourth season, and created in collaboration with the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

The episode with The Sam Willows will air on Aug 28 on Discovery’s Journey and Life-style Channel (TLC).

Recalling the expertise, percussionist Sandra Riley Tang, 26, mentioned: “We walked (from) resorts to golf equipment to pubs to eating places. The whole lot is open until late.”

Co-hosting the episode with Ho, who’s a Hong Kong native, the band had been dropped at lesser-known locations across the metropolis that they described as an “Asian New York”.

“They’ve Occasions Sq. additionally,” added guitarist Jonathan Chua, 27, referring to the mega-mall at Causeway Bay.

It was Narelle Kheng’s first go to to Hong Kong. The 23-year-old bassist mentioned that strolling by the cityscape — with its tall and compact buildings — made her really feel like she was on a “film set”.

“We watch a whole lot of films like Inception or Black Mirror, and instantly while you go to Hong Kong, you’re feeling such as you’re on a film set. It’s a bit dystopian, however on the identical time it’s very occurring,” she mentioned.

Earlier than you suppose that you’ve already seen all of it in Hong Kong, listed here are a few of The Sam Willows’ suggestions.


Star Ferry crossing

Star Ferry, a passenger ferry operator, has been transporting commuters between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon since 1888. The ferry service plies two routes — between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central; and Tsim Sha Tsui and Wanchai.

The Star Ferry crossing was as soon as named by Nationwide Geographic Traveller as one of many 50 locations on the earth to go to in a lifetime.

Crossing the harbour from Central to Tsim Tsa Tsui, Narelle mentioned the views as you look throughout the water from the ferry are breathtaking, with the town’s lights.

Tackle: Central Pier, Central, Hong Kong Island (Be aware: It has three addresses, however that is the place the band took the ferry from.)

Joyful Valley Racecourse

Initially constructed by the British in 1845, the racecourse is a horse-racing venue that’s now patronised by locals and vacationers, and is a well-liked vacationer attraction.

Positioned on Hong Kong Island, the 55,000-capacity facility is one in all two horse-racing programs within the metropolis; the opposite is positioned at Sha Tin within the New Territories.

The racecourse has a Joyful Wednesday-themed night time the place guests can take pleasure in reside music and ice-cold brews on the beer backyard whereas watching horse races.

In addition to the expertise of a catching a reside horse race, being on the venue is an expertise in itself, in response to the band, for its “insane view”. Guitarist Benjamin Kheng, 26, mentioned: “The place is very large. The gallery is insane, it stretches on for like … twice the (width) of buildings.”

“I might have gained if I guess, however I didn’t guess,” Tang quipped.

Tackle: Hong Kong Jockey Membership Joyful Valley Racecourse, Wong Nai Chung Rd, Joyful Valley

Skye Bar

Located on the 27th ground of Park Lane Pullman Lodge, this rooftop bar and restaurant affords a picturesque view of Victoria Harbour.

The eight,000 sq ft rooftop restaurant, which affords French fine-dining delicacies by day, turns into a bar with mixologists who create bespoke cocktails as DJs spin chill-out home music at night time.

“It’s like 1Altitude (in Singapore), the bar on the prime of One Raffles Place. There’s a railing so you’ll be able to lean over it … we might have died that day, however we didn’t,” Chua quipped.

Tackle: 27/F, Park Lane Lodge, 310 Gloucester Highway, Causeway Bay


Mak Noodles

Mak Noodles is a third-generation household enterprise that dates again to the 1960s. Identified for its wonton noodles, every bowl of the springy, scrumptious fare comes with 4 wontons served in a transparent broth with hints of sesame and white pepper, and is priced at HK$39 (S$6.80). The enterprise has additionally expanded, and has a presence in Macau and Singapore.

For Chua — who has visited Hong Kong greater than 10 occasions — Mak Noodles is on the prime of his record of must-try meals shops. “The most effective meals, I feel, (is) wonton mee, undoubtedly, from Mak Noodles,” he mentioned.

Tackle: G/F, 77 Wellington Avenue, Central

Tsui Wah

Tsui Wah is Hong Kong’s largest cha chaan teng (tea restaurant) chain, with 35 branches across the metropolis. This 24-hour meals chain’s menu options Chinese language and Western delicacies that’s affordably priced.

“It’s like Xin Wang (in Singapore),” mentioned Chua. “We had king prawn noodles there, which had been actually good. There’s one thing in regards to the noodles there … They’re like chewy, however not chewy.” Tang added: “It’s like the right u-mian.”

Pretty much as good because the noodles had been, it was Tsui Wah’s Crispy Bun served with Candy Condensed Milk that stole the present for the band. “We had that bread with the condensed milk which was so good,” Chua mentioned.

Tackle: 15 Wellington Avenue, Central

Cafe Matchbox

Tucked away on a quiet road in Causeway Bay, this retro-themed restaurant serves native fare. The eatery is adorned with all issues eclectic, from baskets serving as lampshades to a classic bicycle serving as a menu stand.

This cafe, Benjamin revealed, was the place the band shot the duvet artwork for his or her new single, Save Myself.

“We needed to get an aesthetic that was nightlife-grungy, thrilling and adventurous,” Benjamin defined.

And Cafe Matchbox was simply what they had been on the lookout for. “You continue to have your cubicles so there’s slightly little bit of a Western really feel, however it’s a really East-meets-West kind of vibe, which is what we’re. We’re barely Western, however we nonetheless prefer to pay homage to our Asian heritage. The place simply encapsulates that,” Narelle mentioned.

Tackle: 2 Solar Wui Highway, Causeway Bay


Visage One

This place is a hair salon within the day. Each Saturday night time, nonetheless, it turns right into a jazz venue that includes reside performances by native musicians.

“The man who owns the place mainly takes by-appointment-only prospects, and (if) he doesn’t need to lower your hair, he doesn’t need to lower your hair. At night time, he transforms it into a really cosy, intimate place for indie music,” Tang mentioned.

The quartet had been handled to a efficiency by indie band 9 Maps and in addition obtained the prospect to take the stage. “We truly obtained to play one in all our oldest songs as properly,” added Tang.

Performances are held from eight.30pm to 11.30pm.

Tackle: 93 Hollywood Highway, Central

Temple Avenue Night time Market

That is the place the locals go for cheap procuring. Right here, distributors hawk something from garments to watches and digital items.

“I actually loved the night time market. You’re feeling such as you’re peeping into the center of how they actually reside, and that was enjoyable,” Narelle mentioned.

The bandmates additionally tried haggling on the shops. “We (tried) after which we additionally obtained scolded. They mentioned ‘For those who’re not going to purchase, don’t look’,” Tang laughed.

In addition they had a go at having their fortunes advised at one of many stalls on the market. “Principally, I simply have to talk to a pleasant lady apparently,” mentioned Benjamin. Chua revealed that “Narelle’s gonna marry a wealthy man, and Sandra’s going to be concerned in a love triangle. He (the fortune-teller) additionally mentioned I’m going to be wealthy. To this point, every thing’s fairly optimistic,” Chua laughed.

Tackle: Temple Avenue, Kowloon


Season 4 of A Style of Hong Kong premieres on TLC on Aug 14, Monday 9.55pm. The Sam Willows will function in episode three, Hong Kong After Darkish, which airs on Aug 28.

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