By Hans Ebert
Whenever a few jockey friends we know arrive in Hong Kong for HKIR week, they immediately head off to their favourite sauna before being able to face the world. It’s an annual ritual and with their favourite places to unwind usually being in Causeway Bay which they’ve been frequenting for years.
For us, nothing beats a couple of hours of reflexology- a complete foot massage with all the trimmings at any of the 2-3 that can be found on Caine Road.
We have our favourite place- Gao’s Foot Massage- and try to get our favourite masseur or masseuse who kneads, uses their thumbs, and even their elbows on one’s calves and soles to the feet that are placed inside buckets of warm water. As they go to work on one foot and then the next, you scream bloody murder.
The screaming is part of the ritual and is a combination of orgasmic pleasure mixed with real pain as pressure points are hit and massaged hard until the bad stuff disappears. One is given a diagram of a foot before the ritual begins. Every pressure point on your foot and feet are connected to your entire being- kidneys, liver, heart, head, that important third leg etc. And whenever and wherever the masseuse hits one of these points that makes you cry for mama, just let them continue to squeeze and knead and press their magic fingers where it hurts the most until the pain subsides. This means that apart (add what I added). After the pain and the pleasure, one has a new spring in their step and renewed vigour to take on a tribe of hungry Amazons.
With a few very good health stores in Caine Road, it’s a also good a time as any to stock up on bottles of Manuka Honey, cumin seeds to boil and have with warm water, cumin powder to have every morning- we swear by everything cumin as the cure-all for anything- all kinds of fruit juices containing no additives or sugar and various spices and herbs for every occasion.
From Caine Road, discover the neighbouring area by taking the Central Escalator to SoHo, Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan etc. When in Hollywood Road, check out G.O.D- Goods Of Desire. This is possibly the best outlet for buying the most creative- and naughty- souvenirs of Hong Kong- postcards, t-shirts, posters and other oddities.
The G.O.D people is the same team that named one of our favourite Chinese restaurants Ho Lee Fook on Lower Elgin Street, Batman. In case you were wondering, that’s jockey Nash Rawiller outside the restaurant.
With the emphasis on taking a new and creative slant on Chinese cuisine, Ho Lee Fook is highly recommended. But don’t be surprised if they’re full and you and your friends are placed on a long waiting list. The food is worth the wait.
If there’s no time to waste, walk down towards the Middle Eastern bar and restaurant that is Sahara and ask for Dodi.
This is the place for smoking shisha, meeting a weird assortment of merry people, and dipping various types of bread into some delicious Middle Eastern dips.
Almost next to Sahara is our favourite and very secluded, expensive- once in a while one must splurge- and almost exclusive Japanese restaurant Sushi Kado, below, whereas right next to this is Himalaya, formerly the very good and popular Guru, serving authentic Nepalese cuisine.
If this isn’t being spoilt for choice, right opposite is Ding Dim 1968, a funky old school/new cool restaurant serving THE best and most creative dim sum in town, where traditional dim sum meets newer takes on traditional dishes. There’s much more here that char siu bao, har gao and siu mai.
If dim sum can wait for another day, not to be missed is Manchu China on Elgin Street.
Once known as Bistro Manchu, the original staff and chef are back along with new management and just ask manager Tom at ground control for his suggestions.
We’re willing to bet that his suggestions will include the pan fried dumplings, the Sizzling Cumin Beef Platter, the Chilli Shrimps and the Spicy Shredded Chicken. The food is absolutely sensational and definitely the only restaurant worth checking out on the entire street. The rest are pretty much ho hum affairs.
Walk down to the street below and there is the Argentinian steakhouse Pampas, and which is great value for money.
Not being big on steaks, our favourite dish here is the Roast Chicken Fillet With Cheese. All the servings at Pampas are large and fattening as hell and probably why a regular there- HKJC form analyst Paul Lally- can afford to lose a few pounds as could the manager of the establishment, below, who looks like he has walked off the set of “The Sopranos”.
Jeez, what a journey it’s been- and all starting with a foot massage at nearby Caine Road, and then taking a ride to almost everywhere on that wonderfully convenient vehicle that is the Central Escalator…
To be continued as the lead up to Longines HKIR Week continues….