Movies, books, and songs to capture the essence of Hong Kong and get you in the mood for travel

Movies and TV Shows

Chungking Express (1994)
Typical of director Wong Kar-wai, this film involves two parallel, never-quite-connecting plotlines. In highly stylized scenes set in Kowloon and Central/Soho, Hong Kong is presented as moody and gritty.

God of Gamblers (1989)
This began the popular "God of Gambler" series and made Chow Yun-fat a box office star. A blend of slapstick comedy, sentimental tale, and action thriller, with coordinated acrobatic fighting scenes now a trademark of Hong Kong cinema.

Infernal Affairs (2002)
This tale of undercover cops kicked off a trilogy that was the inspiration for Martin Scorsese's The Departed.

Dumplings, Three Extremes (2004)
A gory plotline centers on the lengths to which some women will go to stay young and beautiful. The main backdrop is a typical Hong Kong residential estate, with its uniform towers housing endlessly varied lives.

In the Mood for Love (2000)
A film steeped in nostalgia for early post-war Hong Kong, from the fitted cheongsam dresses worn by the female lead, Maggie Cheung, to the crooning of Chow Hsuan and Nat King Cole in the background. Cheung and Tony Leung play neighbors who learn their spouses are cheating on them.

Books

The Li Dynasty by Frank Ching (1999)
The story of one of Hong Kong's most prominent families, starting from the patriarch's arrival in Hong Kong and the family's rise in the city's shipping and banking sectors. The author recounts how generations of Li Shek-pang's descendants have branched into the fields of law, politics, and civic service.

Kowloon Tong by Paul Theroux (1997)
A novel set in the waning years of British rule over Hong Kong. A young British man wrestles with his fate and that of the city.

East and West by Christopher Patten (1998)
In this memoir, Patten details his tenure as the last governor of Hong Kong, with prominence given to the knotty negotiations between London and Beijing over the course of political development in the city.

Hong Kong by Jan Morris (1988)
Morris is a British journalist who covered Hong Kong and the region for decades. Considered one of the authoritative accounts of Hong Kong's development under British rule.

Gweilo by Frank Booth (2004)
An account of Booth's boyhood in 1950s Hong Kong; evocative and personal.

Music

Compilations:

Chungking Express Soundtrack
With covers of songs by Cocteau Twins and the Cranberries performed by Faye Wong, who also starred in the film.

Gold Classic
Teresa Teng, one of the city's favorite female singers, reprises classic Chinese torch songs, in Mandarin.

Legendary Chinese Hits—Tsui Ping
Part of a series of re-releases by EMI Hong Kong, this one by a legendary Taiwanese singer popular in Hong Kong.

Pancakes Can Panic
Album by one-girl band is pure pop music, fun and listenable.

In the Mood for Love Soundtrack
Full of nostalgic tunes harking to 1950s and '60s Hong Kong.

Let Me Re-Introduce Myself
Eason Chen is one of the recent innovators of rap music in Cantonese. This is his Mandarin crossover album, with heavy borrowing from the stylings of rap singers in the West.

Legendary Chinese Hits—Chow Hsuan
One of the Shanghainese stars whose music  was  brought to Hong Kong by the immigrants who flooded into the city in the 1950s.

Classic Songs:

1. "Kowloon Hong Kong" by The Ronettes
2. "Nonsense Poetry" by The Pancakes
3. "Shei Lai Ai Wo" by Teresa Teng
4. "Light a Cigarette to Start a Day" by Abraham
5. "The Wandering Songstress" by Chow Hsuan
6. "Quizas, quizas, quizas" by Nat King Cole (from In the Mood for Love soundtrack)
7. "Under Lion Rock" by Simon Tam
8. "Chase" by Leslie Cheung
9. "The Moon Reflects My Heart" by Teresa Teng
10. "Love You, or Don't Love You" by Leon Lai

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