Pulsating Hong Kong is renowned as being one of the most exciting cities in the world. A leading global financial hub, Hong Kong has a culture that features a mélange of traditional Chinese values, a strong work ethic and the rich heritage of a colonial past. However, like every other city life in Hong Kong is characterized by uncommon oddities, aspects of a culture that make Hong Kong the unique place that it is.
Jaywalking is a punishable offense
Traffic regulations in Hong Kong stipulate that anyone crossing a road with scant regard for the appropriate traffic signal is committing an offense. This transgression carries a hefty HKD 2000 fine so do curb the urge to dart across a crossing until the green man signals that it’s okay to walk.
In Hong Kong time waits for no one
Riding an elevator in Hong Kong can be a bewildering experience. Folks rush in and always seem to be in a tearing hurry. As soon as someone enters an elevator with you or even after you don’t be surprised if they are in a tearing hurry press the door close button in order to take off immediately. Even though, there seem to be people rushing towards the very same elevator. The pace of life in Hong Kong is frenetic, and people don’t like to waste a minute. Except when they are riding the elevators in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for, the elevators in this tony hotel are devoid of any close buttons.
Made in Japan rules
During your stay in Hong Kong, you will soon realize that Hong Kongers have much admiration for all that is Japanese. Manga Comics, Hello Kitty and other icons of Japanese pop culture even Japanese homewares, foods, and accouterments are available in abundance at the citywide chains like Japan Home Stores, Jusco Living, and others.
Your neighborhood 7-11 is the cheapest bar
Hong Kong’s nightlife is legendary and its party district LanKwai Fong has legions fans around the globe. Most bars in and around LanKwai Fong offer ‘Happy Hour’ specials daily. However, the cheapest spots for a drink in Hong Kong are not these bars but the local 7-11s. Hong Kong doesn’t have any open container laws i.e. you can consume an alcoholic beverage in the street or even when traveling in a vehicle including a taxi.
As a result, budget-conscious revelers head to 7-11 to grab some beers if they can’t afford to drink at the bars of LanKwai Fong. In fact, the party district currently has as many as four 7-11s within its boundaries making it easy for partygoers to enjoy the revelry while drinking on the cheap.
Kilograms, pounds, and the Catty
The catty or Kati is the common unit of mass used in local Hong Kong markets. The catty is represented by a small basket and translates as 600 grams. Vendors in the wet markets of Hong Kong have multiple such baskets on hand and use them as a convenient measurement of weight for produce that is purchased by their customers.
Food glorious Hong Kong food
Food is a passion for most Hong Kongers. The city boasts of numerous restaurants and eateries offering a smorgasbord of local and global cuisines. However, when folk want comfort foods they head to their local diners called Cha ChaanTengs or street food vendors for their fix of Hong Kong’s version of ‘comfort food.’ Deep fried kaya French toast, Bo lo Bao (pineapple buns), soy sauce chicken, instant noodle dishes, egg tarts and Yuenyueng( a drink of milk tea and coffee served hot or cold) are favored comfort foods. While Curry fish balls, toasted egg waffles (gaidaantsai), stinky tofu and the like are available at most streetside vendors.
Other mainstays of local cuisine include snake soup, cow offal soup, chicken feet and chicken testicles, five-layer roast pork, ginger milk curd, roast pigeon, century eggs, wife and husband cakes (Chinese pastries featuring winter melon and red bean). That is not to say Hong Kongers don’t have eclectic tastes in fact many well-known international brands alter their offerings to cater to local tastes. Hence, you are likely to find a calm and peaches or a flying fish roe and cream cheese-stuffed pizza on a local Pizza Hut menu or then a red bean pie or a green tea cake with red bean filling from MacDonald’s Hong Kong.
Hidden behind the veil (masks)
The SARS epidemic in 2003 was a terrifying time in Hong Kong. Since then Hong Kongers are hyper aware of hygiene levels. Moreover, the city keeps a constant watch on air pollution levels. As a result, residents have no qualms sporting a mask as they go about their daily routines. The mask as a necessary accessory may appear odd to a newcomer in Hong Kong. But once you’ve lived here long enough, this practice will appear commonplace, as will the many other quirks of a Hong Kong life.