Posted by: Sam Olsen | August 15, 2011

Luxury Designer Cheese

A note on shopping here in HK. Down in Central, Des Voeux Road and Queens Road etc., the shop fronts are more like works of art. The contents sit in sparse glass cases, because they are all such mega-luxury brands that they hardly need to sell anything. (I am sure sales are actually through the roof;  we heard from our driver last week that his previous passenger had popped over and picked up two Bentleys).  The staff are immaculate and terribly polite, even if you drift in wearing grubby trainers and a sweaty baby on your back they assume you are there looking for a thousand-quid trinket rather than just a bit of cool air.

Marks and Spencers nestles in here too, they have different shopping bags in HK though, smart little paper ones with ribbony handles like all the designer names do. It seems very popular just like at home. Here I suspect, alongside H&M, it’s the only shop for miles that most people can afford.

A couple of roads up the story is quite different; you pass through some very authentic markets selling everything from frogs to sequins and into Soho which is full of boutiquey shops, art galleries and bars. Lots of exploring to do up there.

As for food shopping, it’s been a bit of an eye opener. It is unbelievably expensive! CitySuper is the top notch shop in this field. Located in the IFC mall you are confronted by huge parma hams as you enter, and presentation boxes of fruit retailing at over HKD200 (about £17  – for some apples!!!). I browse the cheese for minutes at a time trying to find a lump of cheddar for Lawrence that is less than a fiver. No, it doesn’t need to be made by Amish Artisans from organic goats milk. The meat and fish is largely imported from the US and Australia. Free range ideals have just about gone out the window. I certainly don’t feel very free range so not sure I can extend that luxury to the poor animals.  Three chicken breasts from Oz set us back £13.  At least Lawrence is doing me the honour of eating my home-cooking out here. If he wasn’t the combination of the heat, tiny kitchen, and rip-off ingredients might just send me over the edge!

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