Category Archive for Fashion

Whitby Goth Weekend: Travel Tips & Accommodations! Steampunk Gothic fashion, Andi Sex Gang.

kato steamgirl, steampunk band abney park

Thousands of Goths came out to play… at Whitby Goth Weekend 2015! (Above — ran into steampunk designer/model Kato Steamgirl, and Derek Brown of the band Abney Park.)

WGW began as a small gathering in 1994, and is now one of the world’s biggest celebrations of Gothic music, fashion and culture. Twice a year, the festival brings alternative types together, in the charming seaside town of Whitby, England.

furry costume, animal mascot

It’s quite the sight… Locals mixing with Victorian gentlemen, steampunk ladies, and even furries! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the travel basics, followed by style snaps and a performance by Andi Sex Gang.

First, how do you get to Whitby Goth Weekend? Most people first travel to a nearby city, such as Liverpool or even London. I was already in Manchester with my crew, so we easily rode the train and changed tracks at Darlington or Middlesbrough. Our ride was about 5 hours long, and gave us a gorgeous view of the English countryside. However if you have a car, driving is usually the most direct way to get to Whitby. The festival also runs a “late bus” to nearby Scarborough, which is where some people stay.

captain cook cottages, whitby uk

Now, how can you find accommodations during Whitby Goth Weekend? Let me warn you: on these festival dates, Whitby hotels and rentals get booked up months in advance! Plan ahead, and don’t expect to “wing it” or you’ll be in trouble.

I stayed in a Sykes Cottages rental with my friends, and it was the perfect solution. We got a cute cottage to ourselves, within walking distance of the city center. The location (Captain Cook haven) was picture-perfect, as you can see above. We even saw bunnies in our yard!

sykes cottages vacation rental

We rented this Sykes Sunnybrae cottage, which mixed countryside charm with modern appliances. I did my best to haunt the kitchen. (Perhaps that explains the mystery of the disappearing cookies?)

whitby goth weekend accommodation, sykes holiday rentals

Sykes makes it easy for you to search and book cottages all over the UK, via their siteOur cottage had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a spacious living room and kitchen — what a deal, especially when shared between a few friends. Sykes even provided us with snacks and everything we needed for English afternoon tea! (I’ll show you more in the next post.)

larpool viaduct, whitby

We were a stone’s throw away from the Larpool Viaduct, which was built in the late 19th century and spans the River Esk.

da vinci corset, dracula clothing model

My friends and I walked on the viaduct, and it led us straight to Whitby town center. I’m wearing a Victorian dress and Da Vinci print corset from Dracula Clothing.

(Shop corsets and steam punk clothing below)

whitby gothic weekend travel guide

How gorgeous is Yorkshire, Northern England? This was my first time in this county, and it’s so different from London: lush landscapes, friendly folk.

Tip: wear good walking shoes (I wore “trainers” and carried my heels in a bag). While this is a pleasant walk, it’s a long one and there are some steep areas. Bring a coat too, since the weather can get chilly especially near the ocean.

whitby boats, seaside

At the end of the path, we descended a steep set of stairs and arrived at this adorable row of boats. While Whitby is a small resort town, there are a good number of shops and restaurants, so you’ll have plenty to see and do.

british fishing nets

Seagulls chirped and circled though the air. Whitby is known as a prime fishing port, and their fish and chips are considered the best in Britain.

la carmina whitby goth weekend

Why is Whitby the location of a Goth festival? Because Bram Stoker wrote Dracula while staying in this fishing town. Whitby Abbey (to my left) provided dark inspiration for his vampire novel.

whitby gothic landscape, sea

The ruins of the Abbey called to me… We went there later, to shoot a magazine cover. Stay tuned, and I’ll take you up there. (All photos by Joey Wong)

elder goths, whitby gothic festival

Everywhere we walked, there was a Goth! We saw people of all ages in alternative fashion, ranging from Steampunk to Fairy to Cyber to Horror. (I’ll show you more snaps of festival-goers in the next post.)

magpie cafe, best whitby restaurants, fish chips

The walk worked up our appetite. We stopped for lunch at the Magpie Cafe, one of the top-rated restaurants in Whitby. They’re famed for their fish & chips, and have a extensive menu featuring fresh seafood. (Tip: go during off-hours. We went on a Friday afternoon, and were lucky to get a table. On Saturday and Sunday evenings, the lineup will snake around the block).

I posed at the Magpie Cafe entrance with my friends Nyx and Truls, who is the designer of Dracula Clothing. We’re all wearing his dark designs.

yorkshire beaches, whitby

The “Bizarre Bazaar” and concerts are all held at “The Spa” Pavilion. Where is this venue exactly? On the cliff, not far from the whale bones sculpture. (Address: West Cliff, Whitby, North Yorkshire)

Below the Spa is a long stretch of beach. Some cheeky Goths drew a giant pentagram in the sand.

dracula clothing, steampunk top hat

It was wonderful to see so many “creatures of the night” gathered in one place. I loved how people dressed and expressed themselves in their own ways, like this steampunk lad playing a ukelele. My friends found a Dracula store that matched their aesthetic!

purple blue colored hair, steampunk goggles

Dracula Clothing also designed the brass goggles that I’m wearing as a necklace. My purple-blue hair is the work of Stephanie Hoy at Stratosphere Salon in Vancouver.

goth car, gothic license plate

We passed by a row of decorated Goth cars. This license plate says it all.

goth decorated cars

Now that’s “Dead-ication” to the spooky lifestyle.

whitby goth photography, costumes

There were a lot of photographers asking to take images. Some have complained that “looky-loos” are turning the weekend into too much a “circus attraction,” but aside for a few moments on the busiest streets, I didn’t feel hounded or on display.

goth dog costume, victorian goths

21 years after the first Whitby Gothic Weekend, the scene retains an inclusive, genuine atmosphere. Many of the attendees have been part of the lifestyle for decades, and still going strong.

andi sex gang singer

During the day, anyone is welcome to browse the shopping “bazaars” (there are three locations) and attend free events, like a pool and golf tournament. However, when night falls, only wristband-wearers are allowed into the Spa pavilion, where the bands perform.

This year, WGW performers included Cruxshadows, The Birthday Massacre and Abney Park. I only attended Friday and Saturday night, so I didn’t see all the shows. However, I was front and center for Andi Sex Gang (above).

justin minister, andi sex gang bassist

My friend Justin Minister was playing bass in Andi Sex Gang. (Remember I saw him play with Amy’s Arms in Toronto?)

sex gang children performing

Oh, Andi. The founder and singer of Sex Gang Children (seminal 1980s Goth band) is powerful as ever, in his solo incarnation. He crouched and splayed his hands, moving like a Japanese butoh artist. Paint divided his face in two halves, which shone in different colors as the lights changed.

whitby goth weekend 2015 bands

The group played tracks from the past, and from their new album Achilles In The Eurozone. The latest songs are as evocative at ever, pulsing with a modern sound — Andi is always stepping up his game.

(We had press passes, so Joey got to shoot these dramatic photos from the foot of the stage.)

andi whitby goth band concert

He’s a study in stage presence: scuttling across the stage like a spider, and hitting every note with intensity. Between songs, Andi wished Whitby Goth Weekend a happy birthday, in his best horror-film voice.

goth bands, whitby lineup

The band grounded the tracks with dark, pulsing rhythms. The background showed eccentric film clips, like a Hindu god spreading a multitude of arms.

famous goth band singer

If Uncle Fester could sing… Bravo to Andi Sex Gang for a magnificent headlining performance. They’re currently on tour in Europe; check out their Facebook for upcoming show dates.

I filmed some clips of Whitby bands performing — I hope these give you a sense of the energy on stage. Watch the compilation video above and on VideofyMe.

whitby festival goth girl

Attending Whitby Goth Weekend was a dream come true! I have a lot more to share with you — please take a moment to bookmark this site and add me on Facebook, to make sure you won’t miss it.

yorkshire ocean, resort town

The next Whitby Goth Weekend takes place October 30 to November 1 (Halloween 2015!) More info about tickets, performers etc can be found on their website.

Have you heard of WGW? What’s your impression of this Gothic festival so far?

(Shop my favorite Steampunk fashion, shoes and accessories below)

Taipei has a Barbie Cafe! Weird Taiwan theme restaurants, hip cocktail bars & art shops.

barbie cafe logo taiwan

Where can you find the world’s most bizarre theme restaurants? Japan still has the most madcap ones, but Taiwan is coming in at a close second.

While in Taipei, I visited some of these quirky theme cafes — which include a Barbie dream house, and a fake European castle. Let’s start with the blonde plastic doll, shall we?

barbie themed restaurant taipei

She’s a Barbie girl, and this theme cafe is her world. The glowing staircase is a prelude to the spacious, neon-pink restaurant upstairs. (Address: 2F, #128 Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an, Taipei)

barbie home decor, interior design

If your friends are late, you can sit on the plush handbag-shaped sofa and relax on poodle pillows.

barbie pink house, chairs

Mattel opened this “dream house” in 2013, and it is the first officially licensed Barbie cafe in the world.

barbie cakes, desserts

A glass case displays cakes and other sweets stamped with Barbie’s ponytailed profile. Other pastries are topped with hearts and bows (colored pink, what else?)

mattel barbie museum exhibit

In the back, there are Mattel dolls for sale. I saw Barbie, Ken and friends in various outfits.

rare barbie doll display

Here’s a princess Barbie, wearing what looks like a cake dress with swirls of icing. (All photos by Ken Yuen and noircorner).

barbie cafe costume, waitress uniforms

The waitresses even get in the spirit by wearing hot pink skirts and tops, topped with tiaras. None of them had blonde hair, however.

barbie purse shaped sofa, poodle pillows

As typical in theme restaurants, the food is nothing special and on the pricey side: a set lunch with salad, curry and cake costs $15-20 US.

barbie cafe taipei taiwan

Still, it’s a unique venue for a girly-girl bonding session. The Barbie cafe is not far from Zhongxiao Fuxing station exit 2, and next to the SOGO department store — in case you suddenly get the urge to dress in pink ruffles.

(Personally, I will stick to Gothic dresses! Purchase a skull dress like mine here.)

soma tea mocktails

Walking around this district, you’ll come across cute shops and unique eateries. My film team and I stopped by Soma, a “tea and mocktail” parlor.

taiwanese tea boba shop

I had a grapefruit mix, which had chewy, gelatinous basil seeds in it. Such a bizarre texture, like a mouthful of little eyeballs.

jay chou deja vu restaurant

While I’ve visited plenty of theme restaurants, I haven’t seen anything quite like Deja Vu. It’s located in Huashan Creative Park (Address: No.1, Section 1, Bade Road, Taipei).

castle themed restaurant

The velvet curtains open into what looks like a tall European castle, with royal portraits and gargoyles staring down from the high stone walls.

jay chou piano, taipei

This restaurant is the brainchild of Jay Chou, Taiwan’s most popular singer-actor-idol. Fans love to take photos of the personalized decor, which includes his Batmobile and an aristocratic piano.

jay chou's deja vu restaurant

The food, however, is nothing to sing about: mediocre and over-priced Italian (around $12-15 US a plate). I suggest coming just for a coffee and to pose in the grand space.

taipei secret bar, alchemy cocktails

How about Taipei’s nightlife? My friend Boris took me to several laid-back, artsy bars in the Xinyi district (by Taipei 101). For those in the know, there’s a secret bar inside the popular nightclub, Barcode. (Address: 22 Songshou Rd, Taipei)

Walk in and to the right, and look for an unmarked door. It leads to a narrow staircase, which ends at a bookshelf. But if you slide the shelf open, you’ll find yourself in Alchemy. The speakeasy theme matches the “insiders only” cozy feel, featuring a fireplace and dark leather seats.

barcode, alchemy bar taipei

Try a signature Prohibition cocktail, made with whisky and wrapped in an American newspaper announcing the 1920s ban on alcohol. The Miso-Tini comes in a miso soup bowl, and smells like bonito flakes — but when you take a sip, it’s sake and wasabi with a light, pleasant sweetness. Cocktails are around $12-15 US each.

taipei cocktails, mod bar

Boris also took me to Mod bar, and his favorite MonoMono, which has architectural photographs on the walls. We ended our final night at “F-king Place”  (above) — yes, that is the actual name — and drank cocktails while listening to a retro-rock playlist!

Go on a pub crawl to all these Taipei bars, and you’re guaranteed a fun night.

Huashan Creative Park entrance

During the daytime, I encourage you to check out Taipei’s contemporary art scene. Many of these exhibits are free, and found in the unique Huashan 1914 Creative Park.

In 1997, a group of young actors discovered an abandoned factory that used to produce wines and breed moths. They took it over and started putting on experimental performances. More artists set up workspaces, and today, Huashan is a protected center for art.

Huashan creative art park taipei

When I visited, there was an exhibit dedicated to the Japanese manga One Piece, and a shop for the Korean Line characters. I loved poking my head into the local design shops, which sold creative goods like the “color-me” robot toy above. Have a look at Huashan 1914’s website for upcoming event listings; the hands-on art workshops are excellent for children of all ages.

shima risu bookstore taipei

Where else can you find cute character goods in Taipei? At Shima Risu picture books store. “Shimarisu” means “chipmunk” in Japanese, so this children’s shop is designed like a fairytale forest hideaway.

children's toys bookstore asia

The books are in Chinese and English; I found my childhood favorites like Miffy, Tintin, Babar, Moomin, Peter Rabbit. The shelves also stock gorgeously bound and illustrated works by new authors, especially from Taiwan. There are miniature seats all around, and parents are encouraged to read to their children right in the bookstore.

kawaii toys, cute taipei

The little ones, however, might be more interested in the plush toys and mascot accessories placed all around Shima Risu. I picked up a small stuffed Miffy bunny for $320 TWD, or $11 US.

robot hello kitty, toy store taipei

Toys aren’t just for children. Taipei has many anime collectible stores, like Hot Dog Toyz in Da’an. A Robot Hello Kitty beckoned us to enter.

doraemon collectible statues

All your favorite Japanese mascots are here, including collectible figures of Doraemon the earless robot cat.

stayreal clothing taipei disney

As you can see, “kawaii” is big in every part of Asia. The subway had a poster for StayReal’s Disney clothing collaboration.

songshan park eslite mall

Songshan Park is another creative art destintaion, and home to the Eslite Spectrum mall. Be prepared to spend hours inside, mesmerized by the selection of cute gifts like these cat-in-hat notebooks. The bottom floor is a cluster of speciality cafes, including a stall for Ice Man shaved ice.

cute panda bear art

Upstairs is a seemingly endless hall of hip design: I spotted panda bear soap, owl pillows, plants in beakers, oversized fringe pillows and more, mostly by local designers.

taiwan character mascots shops

The top floor is an Eslite bookstore with an immense collection of photography and art books. Look for the traditional tea house hidden among the racks, which go well with the sun biscuits also sold in the mall.

taipei night market entrance

I leave you with a shot from the entrance of the Raohe Street Night Market. So many bizarre street foods inside…

Taipei has more strange theme restaurants, including Modern Toilet, Sky Kitchen (which looks like an Airbus A380), and DS Music (hospital themed). There’s also a Hello Kitty Sweets Restaurant! However, since I went to the one in Seoul, and John covered the Hello Kitty pop-up in Hong Kong, I decided not to visit it. (I did, however, go to the Sanrio exhibition in Taipei’s Songshan Design Park, which I’ll show you soon…)

Have you tried Taiwanese food? Would you eat at any of these theme cafes?

Odaiba Robot cafe, Gundam statue & Hello Kitty store! Trip planning with Odigo Tokyo travel app.

odigo tokyo travel trip planning

There’s no place like Tokyo. A city filled with cute shops, theme cafes and game centers. As you know, I love to write about these wonderful places on my blog.

However, Japan can be a confusing place to visit. It’s hard to figure out where to go and how to get around. But I’ve been working on a project with Odigo, to make trip-planning a whole lot easier.

Read on to see the Gundam giant robot, Hello Kitty shops and much more kawaii!

killstar goth outfit post blog

I visited the Odigo team at their Tokyo office. They’ve built a community of passionate experts like me, who want to help travelers get off the beaten track in Japan.

What I’m wearing: Killstar skirt with witchy patterns, and a Nightmare Before Christmas sweater from Lumine Shinjuku. My blue coat with a zig-zag front is by Alice’s Pig.

nightmare before christmas top, shirt

Odigo is a newly-launched website that lets you create your own custom trip. You can search for cool local spots, and link them together in a customized trip.

You can then download the itinerary to my phone, or print out a pocket-sized version. That way, you have all the necessary info — addresses, opening hours, subway routes — right on hand.

antler chandelier, ryozan park office

I’ve been helping the team with ideas. Our goal is to make Odigo as helpful as possible for English-speaking visitors to Japan. It’s free to use, and anyone can add their own writeups to the site. If you’re intrigued, you can also keep track of our collaboration on Odigo’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

japan travel reviews website

For example, when I search for Gundam… the site shows me there’s a giant robot exhibition in Odaiba! I can click to see photos, prices, and a review by a local expert.

riding japanese subway train

Thanks to Odigo, I know exactly how to get to “Tokyo Teleport” station (how sci-fi!) and walk to the Gundam Front.

odaiba fuji tv building

It’s located in Odaiba, the Japanese man-made island. You can spend a whole day here, shopping and enjoying the various entertainment activities.

On previous occasions, I ate at the King of the Pirates theme restaurant, visited the Tokyo Trick museum, and played retro video games.

tokyo fuji tv building architecture

On the way, we passed by the Fuji TV headquarters. I’m digging this futuristic glass building, with a big “hachidama” ball at the top that serves as an observation room. hachidama ball

big gundam robot statue, tokyo japan

Odigo’s travel tips including arriving at the top of the hour, to see the robot in action. We got to Diver City just in time, to see the Gundam’s head turn and lights flash.

giant japanese robot statue, gunpla

Somehow, this towering metal mecha fits into the Japanese landscape.

diver city odaiba, gundam front

I felt so tiny, looking up at the Gundam’s bright yellow eyes. The statue rises 18 meters from the ground. 

gundam theme cafe menu tokyo

DiverCity mall also has a Gundam Cafe, which serves roboto-themed drinks and food. (There’s one in Akihabara too.)

gundam haro latte

I ordered a green tea Haro latte. I suppose matcha tastes better when it’s decorated like a cute little robot.

funny japanese english sign

You know you’re in Japan when you are ordering coffee from the Gundam cafe, and the signs tell you to “cooperate with judgment.”

jpop concert odaiba

Later that evening, a colorful Jpop boy band performed at the foot of the Gundam. Their look and dance moves reminded me of the Power Rangers.

Hundreds of Japanese teen girls gathered and screamed, while waving neon lights above their heads.

Gachapin green monster, ガチャピン

Odaiba is a great place to visit on rainy days, since most of the attractions are indoors. In addition, you can usually take photos and videos without a storeperson running up to you and screeching “Dame-ehh!”

sweets paradise odaiba, gachapin statue

I said hello to children’s TV character, Gachapin the green monster, at the Sweets Paradise  cafe.

Chikin Ramen mascot chicken character

Odaiba is full of cute characters gift stores. You’ll even find obscure mascots like Chikin the ramen chicken. I found Miffy coin purses and cards in other parts of Diver City.

kawaii cute toy stores, tokyo

So many big-eyed cuties, everywhere you go!

hello kitty in kimono, sanrio store

Of course, there’s a Sanrio store. This one features traditional Japanese-themed goodies, like Hello Kitty in a pink kimono.

hello kitty pancake, food

One side of the shop sells My Melody and Hello Kitty pancakes. The batter goes into special molds, to make the shape of these characters.

odaiba rainbow bridge, lights

Odaiba is home to Rainbow Bridge, and this electric tunnel that leads to Venus Fort. The colors change every second.

tokyo lights tunnel

Illuminated in space-purple. Odaiba is full of wonders. (Photography by Melissa Rundle and Eric Bergemann)

odaiba venus fort car museum

Random… there was an antique car show inside MegaWeb and VenusFort. This mall is decorated like ancient Italy, with Roman-style fountains and a sky-painted ceiling.

odaiba game center

We continued to this humongous game center. So many video games, crane machines… and even robot pandas and lions that you can ride for a 100 yen coin.

sumo video game japan

I tried this sumo fighting game, where you lean on this stocky wrestler and try to push him back. I lost…

big black horse sculpture, statue

I hope my Jpop adventure showed what you can experience, with travel website Odigo! Soon, they will also have a mobile app that lets you add your own discoveries, and be part of a community of travellers.

What type of features would you find most helpful, in planning a trip to Japan? Stay tuned, and we’ll release a video of my adventures in Tokyo.

H0les prism sunglasses in Hong Kong! Italian restaurant Nom, Linguini Fini, Check-In Taipei.

hong kong fashion blogger, blog

I’ll never get tired of writing about Hong Kong — I discover something new, every time I visit. The above image sums up the eccentric energy of the city, especially in the Central district. I was trying to take an outfit photo, but this dapper old Chinese man stole the show!

Read on for my favorite memories from HK: including food, fashion, lucky cats, and Miffy galore. 

cyber rave sunglasses, makeup

First, my outfit of the day. I’m looking out from the balcony of my suite at Hotel Sav in Kowloon. (Remember how I celebrated Chinese New Year with this new hotel?)

I adore my Black Milk leggings, which have an Art Nouveau print by my favorite artist: Alphonse Mucha. (You can also galaxy printed leggings from BlackMilk here.)

I’m also wearing wood sunglasses by Moat House Eyewear, and a blue coat by Alice’s Pig.

h0les prism crystal round sunglasses

And what are these prismatic marvels on my forehead! Round, trippy, kaleidoscope glasses from H0les Eyewear Lady Gaga and others are fans of these light-refracting sunglasses. I wore them as forehead goggles, since I can’t actually see clearly through them (everything shatters into a prism).

black milk leggings, street fashion

My cyber-kitty look fit with the colors and chaos of Hong Kong. In the Central district, be prepared to walk uphill and on uneven steps.

purple pink hair color

My Pirate crew and I had lunch at NOM, which stands for “Not Only Meatballs” (Address: 1-5 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, HK)

John Skeleton gives it five stars: “NOM lived up to its name by serving up one surprising twist on rustic Italian comfort food after another. ”

nom restaurant not only meatballs

Chef Fabrizio Napolitano told us that he wanted NOM to be the kind of place you go with family and close friends to enjoy an intimate atmosphere. With each dish, the chef personally came to our table to tell us about the story and inspiration behind each dish, including some of his own grandmother’s recipes.

red cocktail with herbs

“We tasted an array of cocktails, my personal favorite being a red beet whiskey concoction with hint of thyme.”

burrata cheese salad

I could have eaten five plates of NOM’s burrata (cheese) and tomato salad. What appears to be simple ingredients are chosen with the utmost care.

meatballs, central hong kong restaurant

The classic meatballs lived up to their name: nom, nom, nom! Chef Napolitano only purchases beef from family businesses in New Zealand and Australia, which take an ethical approach to raising livestock.

mini burger sliders

The sliders were also a hit, and a perfect example of how the chef brings modern interpretations to heritage flavors.

shredded coconut paleo dessert

We lapped up every bite of the caramelized banana/ginger/sesame seed dessert topped wdith goat milk gelato. I also adored the lemon tart, and ordered a second scoop of the cardamom gelato. (You can order this for yourself, at NOM in Central.)

homeless furniture store hong kong

We walked down the street to visit an interior design store, Homeless. Look who is peering from the window… Miffehhh!

miffy toys, homeless central

This lifestyle store sells a wide array of modern furniture, lights, home decor and gifts… Such as these fat-faced Miffy bunny toys.

cat ears hairstyle, holes sunglasses lady gaga

Their ears look a bit like my horns hairstyle, which is the work of Stephanie Hoy at Stratosphere Hair in Vancouver. (Can’t get enough of these prismatic H0les Sunglasses.)

miffy lamp, interior design store

John Skeleton ponders the Mr. Maria Miffy XL lamp. (Remember I have one in my room?)

hong kong modern furniture

The Netherlands lighting designer also has a smiling child and bear lamp, both carried in the HK Homeless store.

year of goat statue pmq

We continued our walk to PMQ, a constantly changing hub of artist studios and shops. (I wrote about PMQ in this post, with tons of photos from inside.)

heavy metal hand pose

Posing in front of the deconstructed, meat-like Year of the Goat statue.

year of sheep decorations

It was inspiring to see how artists created modern works that celebrated Chinese New Year. This one strings together gold origami to form a giant sheep.

pmq sheep bicycles

On the cute and weird side… There was a sheep-carousel that let children pedal tricycles in a circle.

elizabeth lau, refinery hong kong

We stopped by to see our designer friend Elizabeth Lau at The Refinery HK. (Remember we filmed at her shop last time?)

video games print dress

The Refinery always has something quirky on the racks, such as this Nelson Blackle dress with a retro video game motif.

check in taipei food

Time to eat again (that’s what locals do, in Hong Kong!) I was intrigued by Check-In Taipei, a new restaurant that takes inspiration from Taiwanese street food. (Address: G/F, 27 Hollywood Road, Central)

My Pirate team and I sampled the Chinese New Year “lucky menu”. We were impressed by the creative dishes, like purple yam mochi balls served on a Ping Pong platter. 

creative hong kong cocktails

John writes: “I have to admit that I wasn’t all that aware of what kinds of dishes defined Taiwanese cuisine, but after checking out of Check-In Taipei, I felt like I had taken a grand tour of the country’s finest. Everything is taken one step beyond to elevate each aspect of the dining experience. The pearls in the bubble tea are not just handmade every day, but they are also only kept for a few hours before being replaced in order to ensure that every single one has the right texture and consistency.”

modern taiwanese fusion restaurant

I enjoyed hearing the folktakes that inspired the “lucky” dishes. Braised Pork Nachos are mixed to symbolize success, pepper pig ears remind you to “listen and learn,” while barbeque prawns encourage you to “laugh out loud.”

John recommends the chicken and waffles, which is “elevated to haute cuisine here. The chicken is marinated in an array of spices, and pineapple chutney joins the waffle to create a satisfying combination of texture and flavor.”

tiramisu dessert cocktail, check-in taipei

Don’t leave without trying the “Tea-Ramisu” cocktail. John says, “The Taiwanese are apparently known for their hospitality, and Check-In Taipei certainly takes that to heart, as I left with a full stomach and a warm feeling that told me it wouldn’t be long before I checked in again.”

central hong kong stairs, graffiti

It’s a good thing that you walk a lot in Hong Kong… because we seem to eat nonstop here! As you probably gleamed by now, the hottest new restaurants are usually in the Central district.

(Photos by Naomiyaki, Eric Bergemann, Melissa Rundle and La Carmina.)

hong kong italian restaurant, linguini fini

We had a cozy meal together at Linguini Fini (49 Elgin Street, Central). John writes: “Home-style Italian cooking is the name of the game here, and judging by the packed seating and lively atmosphere that we experienced, it’s definitely a hit with the locals in Hong Kong.”

“Linguini Fini keeps it simple and casual, the perfect place to relax with a group of friends and share a few slices of mouthwatering brick-oven pizza and a bowl of pasta. The Radiatore alla Vodka was particularly memorable, with the vodka adding an unusual but surprisingly delicious touch to the mix of homemade pasta, ‘Nduja, mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil.”

lucky waving cat gold statue

I’ll leave you with photos of “fortune cats” in Hong Kong. This one was guarding the back of our taxi.

maneki neko lucky cats

Manek nekos aren’t only popular in Japan. You’ll see them everywhere in Hong Kong, waving their paws to bring in luck.

hello kitty christmas lights

Hello Kitty is also huge in Hong Kong. Literally: this light display took up the front of a building.

big cat statue tsim sha tsui

Yet another “maoo maoo”, towering over pedestrians in Tsim Sha Tsui. Love the random-ness of HK.

steampunk clockwork nail art, chinese new year nails

I leave you with my two latest nail art designs, by Glam Nail Studio. Chinese New Year and sakura blossom nails, with my Scottish Fold cat raising his paw. Currently, I have steampunk Gothic nail art… in time for my trip to England and Iceland!

rupaul battle of seasons tour poster

And I just confirmed… I’ll be reporting from the RuPaul’s Battle of the Seasons extravaganza in Reykjavik! These all-star drag queens will be heating it up, in the land of ice. Can’t wait to cheer on my favorites like Sharon Needles and Bianca del Rio (who I saw in San Francisco).

You too can see the ladies in the UK, Iceland and Barcelona during their world tour, happening now. Join me and pick up tickets on the RuPaul BOTS World Tour site.

I’ll be interviewing the performers backstage — got questions for your favorite drag queen? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to keep track of my Iceland adventures on my Instagram @lacarmina.

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