Best Hong Kong souvenirs and where to get them

Best Hong Kong souvenirs and where to get them

My friend went to Hong Kong and all he got me was this lousy T-shirt, antique Buddha head and indie rock album
Hong Kong souvenirs
Little shop of tacky souvenir horrors.

The classic

Hong Kong souvenirsQuintessential souvenir tee."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
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, A2, 2/F, Burlington House, 94 Nathan Road, Kowloon, +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 clichéd but elegant traditional Chinese clothes, semi-precious gems and traditional handicrafts. 

Hong Kong kitsch
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 heavy with antique shops. Counting the Buddha heads you can spot on this street is a good way to kill hours of spare time.

Hong Kong souvenirsG.O.D.'s plates decorated with Hong Kong-style French toast.

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
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

Hong Kong souvenirsLatest gadgets and accessories
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.

Also on CNNGo: Market stalls that knocked our socks off 

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. 

Also on CNNGo: Lucky foods: How to shop on Hong Kong's dried seafood street

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

Hong Kong souvenirsDaydream Nation's signature headpiece.Art
Buy a piece of statement art by Chinese and other regional artists from the galleries along Hollywood Road.

See Hong Kong art galleries you don't want to miss for details

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
For the ultimate uniquely Hong Kong outfit, shop at Voulez Vous, Daydream Nation, Triple Major 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 2806 2616
Daydream Nation, 21 Wing Fung St., Wanchai, +852 2817 6313
Triple-Major Habitat @ Signed-by, 43 Tung St., Sheung Wan
Heaven Please, 2B Po Foo Building, 1 Foo Ming St., Causeway Bay +852 2311 9533 Heaven Please on Facebook
Initial store locations:

Also on CNNGo: Daydream Nation: Fashion is an extension of theater

Vintage finds

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 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, +852 9127 3657
Hui Chun Tong, 3 Lok Ku Road, Sheung Wan

Also on CNNGo: Shopping with Hong Kong's vintage expert

What is your favorite souvenir from Hong Kong, and where did you get it? 

After traveling around the world on a fistful of dollars, Zoe returns to Hong Kong, where she grew up, to discover and write about all the inspiring stuff that happens here on a daily basis.

Read more about Zoe Li