Insider’s Guide to Hong Kong’s Best Souvenirs
Hong Kong is a shopping paradise and it would be a shame to leave Hong Kong empty-handed after a fun vocation. But as a local who was born and raised in this exciting city, I am sad that some of the best Hong Kong souvenir lists out there simply miss out on some of the best gifts Hong Kong has to offer. If you are tired of conventional gifts like key-chains and “I love Hong Kong” T-shirts, or you simply have no idea what to pick up, check out this comprehensive insider’s guide for unique and cool souvenirs you can get during a trip to the Pearl of the Orient. Wonder where are the best shopping areas? Check out our top shopping areas piece here.
Though Hong Kong culture is a blend of East and West, traditional Chinese culture influence is noticeable everywhere. A classic Chinese culture influenced gift would be a perfect reminder of your time here in Hong Kong.
- Chinese Clothing
The high-quality, tailor-made Chinese style clothing you buy in Hong Kong is not something you can get in any Chinatown. If you are willing to pay a few bucks, head to Linva Tailors to get an authentic, high-quality and beautiful traditional Chinese cheongsam/qipao like the one Maggie Cheung wears in the movie In the Mood for Love. For some oriental-chic wear for everyday use, Shanghai Tang, a Hong Kong fashion label offers some beautiful contemporary Chinese designs.
If you are just looking for some delicate silk scarves, or don’t have anything particular in mind, Yue Hwa Chinese Products would be a good place to start. You can also find a bargain for silk scarves and low-quality cheongsam at every street corner in the markets around town. Just beware of tourist traps and low-quality goods.
Linva Tailors, 38 Cochrane Street, Central
Shanghaitang, 1 Duddell street, Central; 1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Yue Hwa Chinese Products, locations at Nathan Road, Mongkok, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kwun Tong and Tak Tin
- Chinese Art and Antiques
Chinese art and antiques can add a little personality, taste and culture to your home. The go-to place for Chinese art and antiques would be Hollywood Road at Central. The mile-long street is filled with art galleries, outlets and street stalls selling Chinese style ceramics, furniture and art. Here you can find everything from Buddha heads to vintage paintings of Hong Kong scenery to a Chinese AND English copy of the Little Red Book by China’s former chairman Mao Zedong. Of course genuine finds are mixed with knock-offs, but most vendors are incredibly honest and super ready to tell you whether your antique is authentic or just a brand-new copy.
The flea markets around town are also great places to look for cheap Chinese art and antiques. They might be full of tourist tat, but sharp-eyed shoppers can uncover treasures and unique products you cannot find anywhere else other than in these markets. Go to Temple Street Night Market for bargains for fortune telling, trinkets, tea ware, electronics, jade and antiques.
Hollywood Road, Central MTR station, Exit D, 10-minute walk
Temple Street Night Market, Yau Ma Tei MTR station, Exit C
- Personalized Name Seals
Have your name translated into Chinese, then have it carved onto a seal stone of your choice and bring home your own personalized name seal. Your own Chinese name seal would be a great memento to remember your trip by. Your family and friends would also be excited to know what their Chinese names are. You can also get red seal paste to go along with the name seal.
Name seal shops are almost everywhere in the touristy areas, for example in Stanley Market, so keep an eye out for them. The engraving can be done within a few hours but quality of the engraving can vary with the price. Man Wa Lane in Sheung Wan is also packed with chop shops that it is actually known as the Chop Alley. Quality of chops there are superb, but usually cost more and engraving takes longer.
Stanley Market, Stanley, check here for directions from various locations.
Man Wa Lane, Sheung Wan MTR station, Exit E1/2
Hong Kong Kitsch and Designs
A quick comparison will tell you that Hong Kong and China is very different, and Hong Kong has its own character, personality and identity. These gifts are little known by tourists, but they truly showcase the essence of Hong Kong culture and local designs.
- G.O.D. Goods of Desire
Homegrown brand G.O.D offers some tongue-in-cheek goods that incorporate iconic Hong Kong themes and objects. You can find printed “Delay No More” T-shirts (which by the way sounds like a Cantonese profanity), slippers with printed Nathan Road night view and bamboo steamer hand-printed mugs. Even I as a local love their cool and unique products.G.O.D. Goods of Desire, check here for shop locations.
Photos from GOD official page
- Red-White-Blue Products
Ask any Hong Kong locals, they would know what a red-white-blue bag is. Red-white-blue bags is an omnipresent item in Hong Kong. During the economic boom in the 60s-70s, every household used these strong but light bags for storage and carrying things around. Now the well-known fabric itself has become a metaphor for fortitude, adaptability, perseverance of Hong Kong people. The shop sells bags, bag tags, T-shirts and even faichuns (fortune blessings). Better still, the shop is a social enterprise which employs people in recovery of mental illness.RWB330, 192 Prince Edward Road West, Prince Edward.
- Minibus Calligraphy Hand-written Sign Key-chains
If you have taken a minibus during your trip to Hong Kong, you will no doubt see that the signs showing the destination and the fee are all hand-written in Chinese calligraphy.
You can now get a key-chain version of these hand-written signs at 巧佳小巴用品. Each key-chain with destination names costs only HK$30 and those showing the bus fee costs HK$20 each. You can even customize your own key-chain for HK$40 each – just order on their Facebook page ahead of your trip. Much better and more unique than those key-chain saying “I love Hong Kong” I would say.
巧佳小巴用品, 39 Battery Street, Yau Ma Tei.
Here are some of the non-cliche souvenirs I think you should buy if you are visiting Hong Kong, but it all depends on what you like. If you still want to get some knickknacks, cheap t-shirts or plastic dim sum fridge magnets, you can also head to Ladies market for bargain clothing, accessories and souvenirs. Ultimately Hong Kong is filled with adventures, and there are plenty of hidden treasures for you to uncover during your trip. Tell us if you think we missed anything you think is a must-buy in Hong Kong and happy shopping!