Madeline Gressel

Correspondent

  • Hong Kong, China, Asia

Madeline Gressel is a correspondent who lives in Hong Kong and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Her work can be found in The Wall Street Journal Asia, The South China Morning Post, Time Out Hong Kong, Matador Network and The Glass Magazine. Since graduating high school, Gressel has lived in Udaipur, Bombay, Montreal and Hong Kong, and visited more than 40 countries. She loves scuba diving, music festivals and searching for national renditions of fried chicken. Although most of her travel is in Asia, she holds an enduring love for Provence, Vienna, Virgin Gorda and her hometown, New York City. Russia, Turkey and Madagascar top her travel bucket list.

  • On May 15, 2013
    Madeline Gressel is now following Hong Kong
  • On May 15, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    What are the five best things to do with kids in Hong Kong?

    I visited Hong Kong for the first time with my family when I was twelve, and I thought I'd found paradise. It's an amazingly kid-friendly city: clean but busy, exotic but accessible, and with a thriving tourist scene that's not built around the endless museum/monument procession that children often find dull. 

    Here are some ideas to keep the tots occupied:

    Ocean Park
    Faced with the Ocean Park/ Disneyland dilemma? Go with Ocean Park. Unlike it’s international counterpart, Ocean Park has a homegrown charm that’s hard to find elsewhere. The animals are a treat (think pandas, seals, and an amazing jellyfish aquarium), and the rides provide world-class thrills. Plus, it’s hard to think of a more scenic amusement park, perched just so on a cloud-wreathed cliff. The park is divided into two; each part is accessible only by a cable-car with a breathtaking view of the ocean.

    Shek-O/ Stanley
    Whatever the continent, kids love the beach. Luckily, Hong Kong has some great, accessible options. On a sunny day, head to Shek O (on the south side of Hong Kong Island) in the morning to soak up some rays,  rent a kayak, or test the surf. Then take a taxi to Stanley, where you can eat lunch al fresco, next to the South China Sea. 

    Hong Kong Botanical Gardens
    If you’re tight on time, you need not go all the way to Ocean Park to escape the heat or get a glimpse of nature. The city’s own Botanical Gardens are a peaceful place to spend an afternoon gazing at the gibbons, flamingos, sloths and anacondas dozing in their enclosures. You can easily pass an hour watching the baby orangutan twins tumble around. 

    Markets
    For a taste of Hong Kong’s hustle and bustle, nowhere beats the Kowloon markets. Your kids will have a ball ogling the merchandise—whether it be tropical birds, flowers, jade or goldfish (try to resist the urge to take one home.) For a souvenir, have chop made with your children’s name, or have it painted in Chinese calligraphy. Sheung Wan's Cat Street is a quieter option for souvenirs, but for sheer exoticism, the Bird Market is not to miss. 
  • On May 12, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    What are the best attractions in Hong Kong?

    Within the limits of Hong Kong Island, it’s not a matter of sightseeing so much as observing and absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells of daily life. But once outside the city, there are a few sites not to be missed. 

    Tai O This small fishing village on the Western side of Lantau, sometimes called the “Venice of Hong Kong”, offers a welcome view of what life was like pre-colonization. A full day can be spent wandering through the streets and canals and sampling the street food, which is some of Hong Kong’s best. The pang uk, stilt houses, are built in an open plan that provides a real glimpse into daily life. You can also take a little boat out in the ocean to look for white dolphins. Don’t miss the “Chinese pizza”—more like an omelet, but it’s delicious.

    Tung Chung/ Big Buddha Skip the long line to the peak tram, and head instead to Tung Chung where you can wait on a (slightly) shorter line to board the Ngong Ping cable car, which will whisk you high above the cloudy green hills of Lantau and deposit you at the foot of an 112-foot high Buddha. Although the Buddha is only 20 years old, the breathtaking serenity of his face is timeless.

    Street Markets
    No where is Hong Kong’s hustle and bustle more pronounced than in its many street markets. Even if you’re not in the market for tropical birds, goldfish, or jade, the markets are a great place to practice your bargaining skills and pick up a souvenir, like a personalized chop stamp. Jordan’s Temple Street Market is lined with al fresco eateries (dai pai dongs), so choose one for dinner and tuck in.
  • On May 6, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    What are the best activities to do in Hong Kong?

    Hong Kong, like many Asian metropolises, isn’t so much a city you tour as a city you experience.

    Hike
    Outsides the confines of Hong Kong City, there’s an entire natural paradise to be explored. Few tourists recognize the breadth of natural beauty that lies outside the city limits—from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs to rainforest. In fact, all of Lantau Island and Sai Kung Peninsula are designated national parks. On the Hong Kong Island you’ll find the scenic and accessible Dragon’s Back. A little farther afield, in Sai Kung, is Shun Luk stream, which leads to a lovely natural waterfall pool.

    Eat
    Some of Hong Kong’s best eateries are tucked away, in markets and down alleys, out in Sai Kung and in the high-rises of Causeway Bay. Don’t be afraid to explore and try your luck. It helps to get acquainted with different Hong Kong specialties, like cha siu bao, so you can recognize and request them at Cantonese-speaking restaurants.

    Walk/ Tram 
    Hong Kong’s tram network is a wonderful and charming way to see the city. Another good idea is to choose a different MTR station each day, get out, and just wander around.

    Drink
    At night, Hong Kong transforms into a booze-fueled city. Whether you want an artisanal cocktail or an all-night club, there’s always something going on.

    Gallery Hop
    Not only does Hong Kong have some of the best galleries in the world, they’re concentrated in a relatively small area. Start on Wyndham Street, above LKF and walk along Hollywood Road until Man Mo Temple. Then veer south, up the hillside into PoHo, where many the newest additions are popping up. Keep an eye out for Sundaram Tagore, Blindspot, Osage, and Para/Site.

    Some other great art scenes are burgeoning in Sai Ying Pun/ Kennedy Town, Aberdeen, and the very unusual Cattle Depot—a former-slaughterhouse-turned-artists’-village.
  • On May 6, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    What are the best activities to do in Hong Kong?

    Hong Kong, like many Asian metropolises, isn’t so much a city you tour as a city you experience.

    Hike
    Outsides the confines of Hong Kong City, there’s an entire natural paradise to be explored. Few tourists recognize the breadth of natural beauty that lies outside the city limits—from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs to rainforest. In fact, all of Lantau Island and Sai Kung Peninsula are designated national parks. On the Hong Kong Island you’ll find the lovely and accessible Dragon’s Back. A little farther afield, in Sai Kung, is Shun Luk stream, which leads to a lovely natural waterfall pool.

    Eat
    Some of Hong Kong’s best eateries are tucked away, in markets and down alleys, out in Sai Kung and in the high-rises of Causeway Bay. Don’t be afraid to explore and try your luck. It helps to get acquainted with different Hong Kong specialties, like cha siu bao, so you can recognize and request them at Cantonese-speaking restaurants.

    Walk/ Tram 
    Hong Kong’s tram network is a wonderful and charming way to see the city. Another good idea is to choose a different MTR station each day, get out, and just wander around.

    Drink
    At night, Hong Kong transforms into a booze-fueled city. Whether you want an artisanal cocktail or an all-night club, there’s always something going on.

    Gallery Hop
    Not only does Hong Kong have some of the best galleries in the world, they’re concentrated in a relatively small area. Start on Wyndham Street, above LKF and walk along Hollywood Road until Man Mo Temple. Then veer south, up the hillside into PoHo, where many the newest additions are popping up. Keep an eye out for Sundaram Tagore, Blindspot, Osage, and Para/Site.

    Some other great art scenes are burgeoning in Sai Ying Pun/ Kennedy Town, Aberdeen, and the very unusual Cattle Depot—a former-slaughterhouse-turned-artists’-village.
  • On May 2, 2013
  • On April 29, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    What are the best bars in Hong Kong?

    Most of Hong Kong’s drinking is concentrated across a few, distinct areas: Lan Kwai Fong and Wyndham Street, Wan Chai, and Knutsford Terrace in Tsim Sha Tsui. Increasingly, the action is moving westward, into Sheung Wan and Kennedy Town.

    But many of Hong Kong’s best bars lie outside these neighborhoods, continually popping up in unexpected places.

    001 Arguably the coolest of Hong Kong speakeasy-style cocktail bars, this elegant basement den is distinguished only by a black door hidden in a wet market. Knock three times and hope that they invite you in to enjoy top-shelf Japanese whiskey cocktails and a delicious mac-and-cheese.

    Tai Lung Fun This isn’t your average Wan Chai pub. A neon pink calligraphy sign leads the way to an unusual mix of tropical cocktails, Hong Kong kitsch, and a fun international crowd.

    The Beer Bay Enjoy the impressive selection of regional craft beers and ciders at this stall overlooking Victoria Harbour, located quietly and conveniently behind the IFC Mall.

    M Bar at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental When it comes to fancy cocktails with a view, it doesn’t get much better than this. Try the Mamie Taylor.

    Kee Club Technically a private club, Kee routinely hosts some of the best nights in international club music, with entry for the (reasonable) price of a ticket. But the funk and soul playing in the lounge upstairs is often just as good.
  • On April 29, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    What are the best bars in Hong Kong?

    Most of Hong Kong’s drinking is concentrated across a few, distinct areas: Lan Kwai Fong and Wyndham Street, Wan Chai, and Knutsford Terrace in Tsim Sha Tsui. Increasingly, the action is moving westward, into Sheung Wan and Kennedy Town.

    But many of Hong Kong’s best bars lie outside these neighborhoods, continually popping up in unexpected places.

    001 Arguably the coolest of Hong Kong speakeasy-style cocktail bars, distinguished only by a black door hidden in a wet market. Knock three times and hope that they invite you in to enjoy top-shelf Japanese whiskey cocktails and a delicious mac-and-cheese.

    Tai Lung Fun This isn’t your average Wan Chai pub. A neon pink calligraphy sign leads the way to an unusual mix of tropical cocktails, Hong Kong kitsch, and a fun international crowd.

    The Beer Bay Enjoy the impressive selection of regional craft beers and ciders at this stall overlooking Victoria Harbour, located quietly and conveniently behind the IFC Mall.

    M Bar at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental When it comes to fancy cocktails with a view, it doesn’t get much better than this. Try the Mamie Taylor.

    Kee Club Technically a private club, Kee routinely hosts some of the best nights in international club music, with entry for the (reasonable) price of a ticket. But the funk and soul playing in the lounge upstairs is often just as good.
  • On April 26, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    What are the best activities to do in Hong Kong?

    Hong Kong, like many Asian metropolises, isn’t so much a city you tour as a city you experience.

    Hike
    Outsides the confines of Hong Kong City, there’s an entire natural paradise to be explored. Few tourists recognize the breadth of natural beauty that lies outside the city limits—from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs to rainforest. In fact, all of Lantau Island and Sai Kung Peninsula are designated national parks. On the island you’ll find the lovely and accessible Dragon’s Back. A little farther afield, in Sai Kung, is Shun Luk stream, which leads to a lovely natural waterfall pool.

    Eat
    Some of Hong Kong’s best eateries are tucked away, in markets and down alleys, out in Sai Kung and in the high-rises of Causeway Bay. Don’t be afraid to explore and try your luck. It helps to get acquainted with different Hong Kong specialties, like cha siu bao, so you can recognize and request them at Cantonese-speaking restaurants.

    Walk/ Tram 
    Hong Kong’s tram network is a wonderful and charming way to see the city. Another good idea is to choose a different MTR station each day, get out, and just wander around.

    Drink
    At night, Hong Kong transforms into a booze-fueled city. Whether you want an artisanal cocktail or an all-night club, there’s always something going on.

    Gallery Hop
    Not only does Hong Kong have some of the best galleries in the world, they’re concentrated in a relatively small area. Start on Wyndham Street, above LKF and walk along Hollywood Road until Man Mo Temple. Then veer south, up the hillside into PoHo, where many the newest additions are popping up. Keep an eye out for Sundaram Tagore, Blindspot, Osage, and Para/Site.

    Some other great art scenes are burgeoning in Sai Ying Pun/ Kennedy Town, Aberdeen, and the very unusual Cattle Depot—a former-slaughterhouse-turned-artists’-village.
  • On April 24, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    What are the best bars in Hong Kong?

    Most of Hong Kong’s drinking is concentrated across a few, distinct areas: Lan Kwai Fong and Wyndham Street, Wan Chai, and Knutsford Terrace in Tsim Sha Tsui. Increasingly, the action is moving westward, into Sheung Wan and Kennedy Town.

    But many of Hong Kong’s best bars lie outside these neighborhoods, popping up in unexpected places.

    001 Arguably the coolest of Hong Kong speakeasy-style cocktail bars, distinguished only by a black door hidden in a wet market. Knock three times and hope that they invite you in to enjoy top-shelf Japanese whiskey cocktails and a delicious mac-and-cheese.

    Tai Lung Fun This isn’t your average Wan Chai pub. A neon pink calligraphy sign leads the way to an unusual mix of tropical cocktails, Hong Kong kitsch, and a fun international crowd.

    The Beer Bay Enjoy the impressive selection of regional craft beers and ciders at this stall overlooking Victoria Harbour, located quietly and conveniently behind the IFC Mall.

    M Bar at the Mandarin Oriental When it comes to fancy cocktails with a view, it doesn’t get much better than this. Try the Mamie Taylor.

    Kee Club Technically a private club, Kee routinely hosts some of the best nights in international club music, with entry for the (reasonable) price of a ticket. But the funk and soul playing in the lounge upstairs is often just as good.
  • On April 24, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    Where is the best shopping in Hong Kong?

    As with many things in Hong Kong, the city’s reputation as a global shopping mecca lies more in numbers than in personality. Flocks of Mainland Chinese and other foreigners fly to the city (suitcases in tow) for the massive luxury stores now lining the streets of Central, Causeway Bay, and Tsim Sha Tsui.

    Hong Kong may have an overabundance of luxury items, but it lacks the quirky, curated boutique culture of Paris, New York, or Tokyo. Still, it’s catching up. If you know where to look, Hong Kong does offer more than megamalls.

    For small-scale, unique stores, head to the newly minted PoHo (the slope sandwiched between Po Hing Fong Street and Hollywood Road):

    At EDIT on Hollywood Road, you’ll find a mix of unexpected international names (TIBI, Ellery, Antipodium) alongside Callixto’s wide selection of hand-picked, funky international jewelry—evil eye bracelets from Greece, raw gems from Thailand, and Peruvian pendants.

    Konzepp, as the name suggests, is Hong Kong’s hippest concept store. The angular yellow doorway is hard to miss, and inside there’s a trendy selection of sunglasses, homewares, t-shirts from Hong Kong favorite menswear brand, Moustache, and other bits and bobs. 

    Loveramics sells elegant ceramic lines, including Hong Kong design firm CoDesign’ s new I’MPERFECT project, which rescues ‘flawed’ products and celebrates the flaws.

    Chum5 traffics in carefully curated, colorful footwear for men and women, across a wide price range.

    Select 18 is our favorite vintage store. The tiny shop feels like a magical closet—peek inside and you’ll find everything from earrings to sunglasses to vintage Victrolas to cameras to shoes to fluffy ottomans, all at reasonable prices. Never fussy, always interesting.

    Satisfied? Celebrate with a Roselle iced tea at local teashop, Teakha.
  • On April 24, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    Where is the best shopping in Hong Kong?

    As with many things in Hong Kong, the city’s reputation as a global shopping mecca lies more in numbers than in personality. Flocks of Mainland Chinese and other foreigners fly to the city (suitcases in tow) for the massive luxury stores now lining the streets of Central, Causeway Bay, and Tsim Sha Tsui.

    Hong Kong may have an overabundance of luxury items, but it lacks the quirky, curated boutique culture of Paris, New York, or Tokyo. Still, it’s catching up. If you know where to look, Hong Kong does offer more than megamalls.

    For small-scale, unique stores, head to the newly minted PoHo (the slope sandwiched between Po Hing Fong Street and Hollywood Road):

    At EDIT on Hollywood Road, you’ll find a mix of unexpected international names (TIBI, Ellery, Antipodium) alongside Callixto’s wide selection of hand-picked, funky international jewelry—evil eye bracelets from Greece, raw gems from Thailand, and Peruvian pendants.

    Konzepp, as the name suggests, is Hong Kong’s favorite concept store. The angular yellow doorway is hard to miss, and inside there’s a trendy selection of sunglasses, homewares, t-shirts from Hong Kong favorite menswear brand, Moustache, and other bits and bobs. 

    Loveramics sells elegant ceramic lines, including Hong Kong design firm CoDesign’ s new I’MPERFECT project, which rescues ‘flawed’ products and celebrates the flaws.

    Chum5 traffics in carefully curated, colorful footwear for men and women, across a wide price range.

    Select 18 is Hong Kong’s coolest vintage store. The tiny shop feels like a magical closet—peek inside and you’ll find everything from earrings to sunglasses to vintage Victrolas to cameras to shoes to fluffy ottomans, all at reasonable prices. Never fussy, always interesting.

    Satisfied? Celebrate with a Roselle iced tea at local teashop, Teakha.
  • On April 20, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    What are the best restaurants in Hong Kong?

    Picking the best restaurants in Hong Kong is like picking the best beaches in Hawaii: they are numerous, debated, and (unlike the beaches) they are multiplying.

    Much of what makes Hong Kong so enjoyable is the gusto with which its residents approach their food. Hong Kongers are foodies at heart, and no trip to Hong Kong is complete without a hearty sampling of what the city has to offer.

    But where to begin? To make it easier, I’ve divided up some favorites into three price ranges.

    Glam
    Amber Innovation, style, and substance make Richard Ekkebus’s impressive menu the most celebrated in the city. “So inventive it borders on otherworldly.”

    L’Atelier Joel Robuchon Yes, it’s a global chain, but this is as sexy as French cuisine gets. If you’re tight on time or money, skip the restaurant and head to the Salon de Thé for the world’s best baguette sandwiches

    Café Grey New York’s loss is Hong Kong’s gain. Perched atop Hong Kong’s hippest hotel, The Upper House, Café Grey serves up bold flavors and bombastic desserts.

    Lung King Heen The world's sole Michelin three-star Chinese restaurant is largely agreed upon as Hong Kong’s best. Luxurious but accessible (think simmered lobster in champagne sauce) and with spectacular dim sum. Plus, it’s not as expensive as you might expect.

    8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Master chef Umberto Bombana delivers sublime Italian perfection in the form of handmade pastas, white truffles, and haute ragus.

    Relaxed
    ABC Kitchen The last place you’d expect to find gourmet French fare is in this Sheung Wan cooked foods market, but there it is. One of Hong Kong’s best hidden gems.

    The Chairman Beautifully prepared home-style Cantonese, without the MSG.

    Oolaa If you’re missing a dish from home—nicoise salad, eggs benedict, pancakes—this Aussie eatery does it best. The burgers are enormous and impressive. 

    Peking Garden The perfect place to sample succulent Peking duck while watching the chef hand-pull traditional noodles.

    Posto Pubblico A New York-style trattoria with a focus on fresh, locally-grown produce and house-made cheese. The burrata is not to be missed.

    Yardbird Hipsters flock to Sheung Wan to feast on skewered chicken and vegetables. No reservations, so expect a merry wait by the bar.

    Affordable 
    Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao The name might be a mouthful (just call it ‘Crystal Jade’) but it’s nothing compared to this bustling chain’s signature soup dumplings. The menu calls them ‘a flavourful explosion’ and we have to agree.

    Din Tai Fung This Taipei transport is universally beloved for its dim sum.

    Rainbow Seafood If you’re willing to take a (free) ferry to Lamma Island, you’ll be rewarded by fabulously fresh seafood you can choose from the tank.
  • On April 20, 2013
    Madeline Gressel answered the question: Madeline Gressel

    What are the best stores for designer clothes in Hong Kong?

    If you’re looking for luxury, skip the flagships and head to one of Hong Kong’s carefully curated top department stores.

    At Lane Crawford, Hong Kong’s oldest department store, you’ll find an au courant mix of favorite international names, including Proenza Schouler, Chloe, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Kenzo, and Stella McCartney, plus a large menswear department. Lane Crawford has recently become the first J.Crew stockist in Asia.

    Lane Crawford’s little sister, LAB Concept, in Admiralty, trafficks in slightly less expensive street brands like JBrand, Rag&Bone, Maje, and Markus Lupfer. You’ll also find some cool, lesser-known lines, like China’s Mo&Co.

    Both stores cultivate an irreverent, funky atmosphere quite like the Barney’s of yore. You won't find anything fussy or stuffy on the racks. 

    Joyce is both smaller and more sophisticated than Lane Crawford. At Joyce, you’ll find a handpicked selection of the top-shelf, cutting-edge brands. Think Altuzarra, Dries Van Noten, Comme des Garcons, and Haider Ackermann. Joyce also incorporates a mouth-watering beauty section.

    Lane Crawford and Joyce both house huge outlet stores at Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau. It’s a trek, but worth it if you’re serious about bargains.
  • On April 17, 2013
    Sarah Gleim is now following Madeline Gressel