NO PAIN, NO GAIN WITHOUT REFLEXOLOGY.
We all have different ways to unwind in Hong Kong like all the touristy things- the ride up to the Peak, a boat trip to one of the excellent seafood restaurants on one of the outlying islands like Lamma, a ride on the Star Ferry etc- but for our money nothing beats a few hours enjoying the pain and pleasures of a foot massage- reflexology at its incredible best.
Everyone has their favourite place for a foot massage, but we have been going to Gai’s Foot Massage Co in Caine Road for years on a weekly basis.
None of the masseurs and masseuses speak English, but not to worry. As they go to work on getting to the inner you and hit various pressure points on the soles of your feet that have you crying out for mama, it means they’ve found all those areas that need some very strong unclogging. You’re given a diagram showing how, for example, acute pain when massaging your big toe or heel etc is related to your liver, kidney, or pancreas etc. The more these areas of your feet are massaged and the pain subsides, this means that whatever is ailing your other body parts- even migraines- are being healed. It’s no bullshit. We swear by it and always walk out with a new spring in our step.
Feet aside, you can have a head and neck massage where a few hours later you’ll be thinking of going back for more pain for extra gain. If only these reflexology places bottle this stuff.
When at Gao’s, take a walk along Caine Road. There’s new Italian restaurant Sepa close by that serves the best Mojitos in town and is a great little “hang” for a Happy Hour drink. But dinner? Nah.
On the same street are a number of shops selling all things organic,!whereas there’s the complete opposite in Hooked, a tiny and extremely popular Fish and Chip shop opened up by a Kiwi mate Matthew.
It’s a one-man band business and Matthew is behind the counter to steer you the right way when it comes to which are his Fish Of The Day, tell you about the various pies on offer, the spicy wedgies and his selection of New Zealand wines and beers.
If in need of proof how ridiculously high rents are for a shoebox in the city, check out the going prices these days with any of the streets real estate agents and wonder how we still manage to live here without flinging yourself out with the trash.
Just a few steps down from Caine Road and you’re smack dab in Elgin Street and the heartbeat of Hong Kong’s Soho area.
S. Indian restaurant. 9-11 Lock Road, along the side of iSquare Mall in Tsim Sha Tsui.
A few things about Branto you need to know: First of all it’s vegetarian, but you won’t miss anything – it’s delicious and authentic (and spicy). The chef is Tamil, so if you order a Dosa (one of the less spicy choices) or a thali plate, you will be experiencing the real thing. Entering is a bit of a mission. It’s a bit like ‘Knock three times and ask for Mustapha’. You must ring the bell (# then 9 if not mistaken) and then it’s on the first floor. Or just wait for the satisfied Indian customers coming in and out to open the door.
Sunny Paradise Sauna
Male and Female (separate floors) with steam, sauna, plunge pools, massage, mani-pedi, etc.
Strictly old school, Chinese-style sauna/spa on Lockhart Road. The whole vibe in Sunny Paradise is pre-handover. The attendants are grumpy and old guys smoke freely inside in the recliners. But the steam room is infused with ‘Chinese herbs’ and it’s incredible. The massage therapists are all battleaxes, but they’ll walk the kinks off your back. The men’s pedicure is strictly Chinese-style with chisels. It’s not expensive either. Free use of the spa plus unlimited food and drink plus a 45 minute massage is $378 HKD (open noon til very late)
Java Street Wet market
Classic Hong Kong Dai Pai Dong, but the food is really very good here, with Tung Po being the most famous place – but you can order from any place to your table. They serve beer in bowls. Try the wasabi squid salad and deep fried duck and chicken. To die for!! Good place for big parties.
Wherever he goes, his loyalty regulars follow. He is Alessandro, the racing mad, Italian chef and owner of Da Domenico. The extremely popular homemade Italian dishes comprising whatever is available on that day, and a good selection of wines- forget any other alcoholic beverages- is very good, but if Alessandro is around- and he always is- and need his thoughts on who are the best jockeys, trainers and horses, dinner becomes even more memorable and entertaining. He really should have his own television series, and his passion for the sport is infectious. The fact that he’s banned one of Hong Kong’s leading jockeys from his restaurant for pouring a can of beer on his back, adds to the folklore that follows him. From having been forced to move his restaurant in Yun Ping Road- another victim of spiralling rents- Da Domenico is now located in an extremely hard-to-find backstreet in Causeway Bay. We’ve been there around six times and still don’t know where it is, but this- and no signage- hasn’t stopped there being a full house every night. To those restaurateurs who say that restaurants in Hong Kong are “only busy” on Fridays and Saturdays have never been to Da Domenico, or met Alessandro.