Local handicrafts and artisanal items to pick up on your trip

Chop Alley
Vendors along this lane will translate names into Chinese and engrave the characters onto stone seals known as chops, which have been traditionally used with red ink to sign documents. Pickup is usually available the next day, unless you arrive early. Man Wa Lane, just off of Bonham Strand near Queen's Road.

Chinese Medicine
The Central and Western district of Hong Kong Island has numerous shops selling remedies and tonics (Good Spring Herbal Pharmacy on Stanley Street is an especially picturesque one). Some Bonham Strand area shops will also have an herbalist on hand to take your pulse and hand out a prescription. For a more accessible experience, go to Chinese Urban Healing Tea, a homegrown chain that sells prepackaged tea formulas and has a resident Chinese medicine doctor at its Central branch. Shop W7, Central MTR Station (inside, near Exit A to Worldwide House); tel: 1 852 2840 0518. www.health-wks.com

Cat Street
An open-air "attic" in the middle of Hong Kong, selling memorabilia, castoffs, and relics of bygone eras. Life-size posters from the Mao era; old spectacles, typewriters, and sewing machines; statuary and writing implements; and the inevitable mass-produced Chinese-style tourist tchotchkes. Upper Lascar Row, near Man Mo Temple, and Hollywood Road, Central.

Many shops still sell tea in bulk, dispensed from magnificent tins stored in warehouse-like storefronts. A number are clustered around Queen's Road near Hollywood and Bonham Strand, but some charming ones are also found on the Kowloon side. At the family-run Jim Sing Hop Tea Company in Mongkok, you can watch tea being sorted and packaged in the front room. Ground Floor, 35 Fife Street, Mongkok; tel: 1 852 2394 5284.

Cake shops are found in every neighborhood. One local delicacy is the egg tart, famous at the Tai Cheong Bakery near Hollywood Road and the Mid-Levels Escalator. Lines form out the door as people order the fresh-out-of-the-oven treats by the dozen. Fans include Chris Patten, the last British governor, who still drops by when he's in town. Tai Cheong Bakery, 32 Lyndhurst St., Central. tel: 1 852 2544 3475.


About Hong Kong and China

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