Hello Hong Kong! Searching for Kitchen Supplies on Shanghai Street 香港廚具區 (上海街)的尋寶之旅

After my visit to Japan’s kitchen street, (Kappabashi Street) kitchen streets have gone to the top of my “must-dos” list, wherever I travel.  I recently spent three days in Hong Kong; and as soon as I hopped off the plane, I headed straight to the kitchenware district, located on Shanghai Street.

我想很多人出去玩, 一定會想去逛觀光景點,或是去 shopping. 我當然也不例外,但我最近發覺我每次出國, 都會先看看當地有沒有 “廚具街”(或是廚具地區) 如果有的話, 我一定會把它列入到行程裡的 “must-do.” 這次去香港, 我就跑去香港的廚具街(上海街)

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The most cost effective way is to take the MTR to Yau Ma Tei station. After finding my way from the MTR station to Shanghai street, I got totally lost.  Shanghai Street is a loooonnnng street (one of the longest streets in Hong Kong!), and there’s not a huge sign or anything that mentions the start of the kitchenware section.  Here are a a few hints, based on my experience: If you see shops and shops selling light fixtures, or fittings, or bathroom fixtures, then you are probably headed down the wrong direction!  If you see the Langham Hotel like I did, then you definitely went too far in the wrong direction! I was tempted to just pop into the Langham for afternoon tea and forget that Kitchen Street ever existed, but of course I heard all those spoons, plates, pots and pans calling my name, asking to go home with me, so I had to shake off my visions of cucumber sandwiches and macarons served in an ambient air-conditioned setting and press on.

Shanghai Street is sort of off the beaten tourist path, and has such a colorful variety of sights (and smells!) that it is difficult to keep from getting distracted. My spirits were lifted when I passed by this store filled with cats languidly lounging on any available horizontal surfaces. (This cat seemed especially impervious to my geographically challenged dilemma)

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The most useful landmark I found was that the start of Shanghai Street is located right across from the Yau Ma Tei Sanitation Department.  There is also a sign for Wing-Sing Lane (but if your Cantonese is non-existent like mine, most people won’t understand you when you ask!)

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Another clue is if you see the side of this store selling wooden cutting boards.  Then you definitely know that you are on the right track. The day that I was there, the temperatures soared past 35 C (95F) so the shopkeepers were spraying down all the wooden cutting boards with water (hence the wet pavement in this photo)

理論上,交通是非常方便的, 這次我就坐地鐵到 “油麻地”站, 很快就找到上海街了。 但走啊走啊, 怎麼一直看到賣各式各樣的零件,還有浴室設備的店呢?後來看到 Langham Hotel, 很想放棄去喝下午茶,但還想著, 不行, 不行。還是要堅持下去。 所以就找了一個地方坐下來吃午餐, 然後發覺我是走了反方向啦。 所以就漫漫的散步回去,過了差不多20 分鐘,終於看到賣超級大粘板的店了!

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Man Kee Chopping Boards (Shanghai Street, Hong Kong)

Once you are in the correct area, there are several different shops to browse in. Asia Stainless Steel Engineering was one of the first shops that I stopped into.  After the first few stops, juggling my iPhone, bags of purchases and being jostled by other shoppers became quite nerve-wracking, so all the stores sort of melded into each other.

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Asia Stainless Steel Engineering (Shanghai Street, Hong Kong)

I observed that all the bigger items, and appliances are placed out in the front of the store.  At first, I mistook these stores to be appliance stores, and was going to skip them,  but I was happy to discover that further inside, each store also had a variety of smaller items.

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Most of the shops are small, but absolutely stuffed to the rafters!  I never knew that there were so many different sizes of bamboo steamers, ladles, or strainers.

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I love that these bamboo steamers have a handle on the middle layer, so you can lift up the middle, like a sauce pan.  (The ones I have, you have to use both your hands to lift up the middle layer)

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In terms of prices, generally, I found that the prices for some basic items (such as ladles, or pots and pans) to be cheaper than in Kappabashi Street (Tokyo) but still more expensive than Taipei.  Also, there is a more extensive variety of steaming tools (steamers, or steaming baskets) and strainers, of all shapes and sizes here.

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Steamers of various shapes, sizes and materials. (Shanghai Street, Hong Kong)

逛了幾家, 因為人太多, 加上天氣熱,而且手上拿著iPhone, 買的大包小包的 頭就開始昏了。 所以店名都糊成一團了。 但對愛廚具, 愛做菜的人(尤其是愛做中國料理的) 這幾個店真的非常好逛。耐心的找的話,什麼都找的到。價錢比日本的廚具街便宜一些, 但還是比台灣貴。所以我儘量選在台灣買不到,或是比較貴的東西。 後來回想了一下, 我大部分的時間都是處在 “大開眼界”的狀態。 心裡一直不停的想 “Wow, WOW! What’s that?” 但買的不是很多 (想著要怎麼把東西塞進行李箱,扛回台灣 會讓人變的比較冷靜!)

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Stainless steel ladles, wooden pins, handheld strainers (Shanghai Street, Hong Kong)

These caught my eye, because I thought they were cookie cutters, but they are actually for shaping vegetable slices.  So, you could theoretically have carrot slices shaped like goldfish, or roosters, or even a horse. (I was tempted to buy several, but decided to save suitcase space for other items that had a higher rate of usage in my kitchen)

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I actually had no idea what this tool was. It was shelved underneath a row of ice cream scoopers, so I thought it was somehow related (I don’t know, for shaving ice, maybe?)  I asked the elderly shop owner what this was, he stared at me in wonderment for a few minutes.

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Just when I was starting to regret my question, he plucked a vegetable peeler off the neighboring rack and said “You know what this is?” (Of course) He then said “this is a traditional CHINESE VEGETABLE PEELER.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         OH! I seriously had no idea. He said, “you know, for like sugar cane, or winter melon.” (No wonder I didn’t know, I’ve never peeled those two items in my life!)  He said, “Don’t you young people COOK?!” (Yes!) I bought it anyway, because, well, you never know. I may be called upon to peel a sugar cane or something in my future, and I want to be prepared, just in case.

On my way out, I noticed these massive steel pots. Wow. When I move to a bigger place, I’ll have to come back to get one of these, which can double both as a soup pot and a bathtub! (or as a hot tub 😀 )

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I was sad to discover that I Love Cake, a store that sells baking related items, had not yet finished its renovations, so I couldn’t buy anything there during this visit.

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But my gloom lifted, when I realized that there was another store a few doors down that was also filled to the brim with all sorts of baking equipment.  (Some of I Love Cake’s items were on sale here too, according to some of the price tags on their cookie cutters)

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As you know, I love cookie cutters,and have deemed them to be one of the top-must-buy- souvenir items. Several of these shapes can be found in Taiwan, but I found a lovely round one with frilled edges that I hadn’t seen before.

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You can also find small baking pans here, in assorted shapes and sizes.  My favorites were the star shaped ones, and the one shaped like a dog paw.

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There was also a selection of tabletop items made out of bamboo.  I’m not sure when you would use a bamboo whisk (because it seems to be kind of fragile) but it’s a lovely shape.

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In this section, the bamboo wooden spoons also caught my eye. I bought several, to use for eating ice cream at home.  Lastly, I also bought a silicon baking mat at this store, before using my last ounce of energy to head back to my hotel on the MTR.

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Before leaving Shanghai Street, I was happy to discover Lee Ho Weights and Balances, tucked into a tiny side alley. This is a shop has been in existence since the 1930s, that sells traditional scales. I didn’t have time to look in detail, but I’ll make sure that I do on my next trip.

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Lee Ho Weights and Balances (Shanghai Street, Hong Kong)

After I got back to my hotel, I took a few quick snapshots of what I bought.

回到飯店就忍不住要幫我廚房的新成員拍照。這次只買了一些小東西,像中式的蔬菜削皮器 (如果有一天要削冬瓜,蘿蔔 或是甘蔗應該會派上用場吧) 小湯匙,小 cookie cutter, 還有可愛的迷你蒸籠。 我想下次一定要冬天來~過年前的期間應該會很 exciting!

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From left to right: miniature bamboo steamer, bamboo spoons, Chinese vegetable peeler, cookie cutter (all from Shanghai Street, Hong Kong)

Typhoon Rammasun was incoming, which resulted in abysmal natural lighting, but some spectacular clouds, from my view on the 13th floor of the Park Hotel in Tsim ShaTsui.

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Mini bamboo steamer (from Shanghai Street, Hong Kong)

I enjoyed my visit to Shanghai Street. It was a bit exhausting at first, especially when I was lost (looking for directions in hot weather is never enjoyable) but now that I know where to go, I’ll look forward to more trips in the future, especially when the weather is cooler.

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Mini bamboo steamer and view from the 13th floor at Park Hotel ( Hong Kong)

Stay tuned for more posts of my trip, and also for posts on how I’ve incorporated my new toys into my projects!

Enjoy!

Information: Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong (MTR Stop, Yau Ma Tei)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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