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Category Archive for Hong Kong + Macau

Osaka, Japan Halloween shops! Japanese weird beauty products, costumes, makeup. Auxiliary Magazine modeling.

hong kong fashion model modeling

It’s getting close to Halloween! To get you in the mood, I’m doling out two Treats from Asia. (And no Tricks, promise.)

1) Scroll on to see dozens of cute photos of Halloween shops in Osaka! As you’d expect, Japan celebrates the October holiday in kawaii-scary style. Read on to see the spooky beauty products and costumes found only in Japanese stores.

2) And… I’m thrilled to finally release my Hong Kong photoshoot, which was published in the spring issue of Auxiliary Magazine!

lush halloween 2017 bath bombs pumpkns

Bonus treat: isn’t the new Lush Halloween collection to die for? I’m excited to try them all (I’ll share snaps on my Instagram stories @lacarmina).

I look forward to taking a black cat bubble bath, and fizzling the glitter pumpkin, monster and “Lord of Misrule” bath bombs in my tub.

Also perfect for Goths: the Black Rose lip scrub and gloss (which appears black but turns pink), and Goth Fairy shimmer bar. The Hedgewitch and Magic Wand soaps promise to leave you with “boo-tiful, spellbinding skin!” There’s a video on my Instagram with close-ups of Lush’s spooky collection — which one is your favorite?

chinese model hong kong magazine

Now, let me share one of my favorite photo editorials to date. The images are by the brilliant Hong Kong based photographer, Rose Conway.

As always, my hair cut and color are by Stephanie Hoy (you can tell that we took these photos a while back, as my hair is pink and longer now).

Outfit details: I’m wearing this exact Michi Onyx bra, and a crescent moon silver necklace.

disturbia lovecraft shirt top

We shot these photos in – where else? – the streets of Hong Kong. I’m standing in front of a Buddhist temple in Kowloon. 

I’m wearing these exact Michael Kors black suede pumps. More items from my outfit below:

old hong kong streets

Hong Kong truly has a Blade Runner vibe: alleyways lit by neon lights, juxtaposed with old Chinese signs. My Lovecraft “Necronomicon gate” top is by Disturbia Clothing.

hong kong fashion blog, street style

It was an honor to have these photos appear in the Spring 2017 issue of Auxiliary Magazine.

hong kong chinese herbal medicine store

An absolute pleasure to work with HK based photographer Rose Conway.

lgbt gay hong kong china

We looked for interesting storefronts and colors to shoot. This Chinese shop sold statues of folk gods, incense, and other ritual items. The flamboyant owner insisted on coming out to pose for a photo!

hong kong heavy metal hard rock

Red and gold are the signature lucky colors of Hong Kong. (The brick wall matches my devil horns as well).

china goth subcultures gothic

I’ve been going to Hong Kong since I was a child, and certain scents and images are quintessential to the city. The Chinese butcher, with BBQ duck hanging under bright lights, for example.

hong kong top style blogger

I like how you can see “real world” Hong Kong in these images. Citizens live in close quarters, and carry themselves with an upfront attitude. It can seem brash at first, but you grow to love it for what it is.

best hong kong fashion bloggers

Kawaii culture and street style are as popular in Hong Kong as they are in Japan. I paid tribute with a cat-ears headband and a white tulle skirt.

chinese fashion influencer

A curtsy for a hunk of meat? (Find my Michi top here.)

auxiliary magazine alternative model

Perhaps Lady Gaga got her “meat dress” from this Chinese street market vendor!

hong kong alternative goth clothing

Major thanks you to Rose Conway for photographing me in Hong Kong! Hair is by the fabulous Stephanie Hoy, and makeup / styling is by yours truly. You can get copies in print in the current issue of Auxiliary Magazine (and stay tuned for the next one… I’ll be doing something more with them!).

If you like what I’m wearing, click below to shop my look:

pompompurin sanrio halloween

Now, let’s get you excited for All Hallow’s Eve — the best time of the year! When I was in Osaka last September, I took lots of snaps of the ghoulish-sweet items found in Japanese stores. 

The Sanrio store puts a whimsical Halloween twist on Hello Kitty and Friends. Above, you can see Dear Daniel as Frankenstein, and Hello Kitty and Pompompurin (the yellow dog) as witches!

sanrio halloween collection hello kitty

Sanrio’s favorite “kawaii” characters get a spooky makeover, while retaining their adorable look. On the right, Kuromi yells “Noooo!” while surrounded by smiling pumpkins, and Chococat with a cobweb.

"osaka

The usually sweet bunny Cinnamonroll transforms into a red-eyed vampire. Pom Pom Purin gets a sewn-up skeleton look, and a deathly green pallor to his fur.

vampire hello kitty cinnamonroll

Sanrio releases a special Halloween collection each year in Japan. However, the store continues to sell its regular pastel cute merchandise as well. Witness Gudetama (the lazy egg) in many forms, and what appear to be… My Melody Crocs meets Uggs slippers? 

my melody kawaii japanese souvenirs

Many of these designs can be only found in Japan (they aren’t sold online, as they are produced here). If you’re a rabid Hello Kitty fan, it’s reason enough to make a pilgrimage to Japan.

halloween ghost pumpkin nail art

I went around to various Osaka beauty / 100 yen stores, especially in the Amerikamura and Umeda districts (two of my favorite shopping hubs). Since it was mid-late September, there were lots of Halloween designs available — such as these “come on!!” Halloween stick-on nails.

disney evil queens makeup japan

Fancy eyelashes and colored contact lenses remain very popular among Japanese youths. When I saw the Disney “Evil Queens” collection on the right, I thought of Yukiro.

halloween makeup beauty

I love how creative Japanese makeup can be. In spooky season, there are tutorials on how to use “hypersharp eyeliner” to create Day of the Dead, spiderweb and undead effects around the eyes and lips.

etude house halloween makeup korea

The Korean makeup brand, Etude House, is big in Japan as well. How sweet are the heart-eyed pumpkins and pink skulls, which contain product inside? The panda and kitten keychains also stole my heart.

kawaii japanese halloween makeup nails

More examples of Halloween cosplay makeup. This time: how to be a cute cat, or a Snow White witch.

japanese gyaru halloween costumes

Disturbed, yet cute as a button. That’s the spirit of Japanese Halloween! (These female models are showing off glitter and rainbow face / body tattoos.)

japan halloween makeup costume

From bloody wounds to fake blood, Japanese dollar stores have you covered.

stick on fake moustaches japan

Jelly moustache, anyone? For 450 yen ($4), why not.

crazy japanese cell phone cases

My friends and I tend to stock up around Halloween, such many items (like the dark eyeshadows) can be used year round. Not sure about the impractical stuffed animals clinging to the smartphone cases though…

halloween food tokyo japan

Japan also gets into the Halloween mood with themed food. At Chococro, the addictive chocolate croissants come in a haunted house box.

japanese halloween desserts

Namba-Land (the Osaka arcade and amusement park) has Halloween celebrations each year. Above, the same flyer advertises a pumpkin pudding and tart that made my mouth water.

osaka vintage gothic lolita secondhand

Now, let’s look at some street fashion in Osaka. The neighborhood America Mura is your best bet for Gothic Lolita and underground styles. There are several secondhand stores dedicated to these style tribes here…

gothic lolita halloween print pumpkin dress

… as well as department stores that cater to youth fashion. Snoopy on the left; pumpkin-printed Sweet and Goth Lolita outfits on the right.

menhara kei japan pastel fashion

Follow the white rabbit to cute stores. Oversize pastel and monochrome garments are everywhere recently.

bizarre crazy japanese clothing

No matter how many times you visit Japan, you’ll undoubtedly encounter something that leaves you scratching your head. At Funky Fruit, I was perplexed to see sweatshirts… with giant, heavy nooses around the necks! 

japanese noose, funky fruit fashion

You saw it here first. Hangman-chic. 

silver ring chokers japan

Funky Fruit carries all sorts of fetish-Gothic fashion, like these chokers with silver rings. 

bondage harness skirts japanese

Punk and fetish influences, combined with sportswear. Weird.

japan skull print sweaters

Around Halloween, many of the Goth / Lolita / Kawaii labels put out spooky-themed garments. The Jack-o-Lantern print top on the left caught my eye.

rydia world wide love

Rydia / World Wide Love remain one of my favorite designers. I tried on the “Night Wander” devil-ghost on the left, and left a note in the black cat post office box on the right!

osaka street style department stores

Vampire fangs, floating ghosts, crescent moons, plaid and leopard print. You can tell why I’m into Rydia / World Wide Love.

antique vintage kitty purses

I also made a stop at EST, the Umeda department store by Hep Five and the Osaka Ferris wheel. Inside EST, you’ll find indie boutiques with out-of-the-ordinary items — like these vintage-style cat carpet bags.

est mall osaka, hep stores

Near the entrance, I found this eccentric pop-up.

osaka hipster shops, boutiques

These colorful critters have chains through their nostrils… more creepy than cute, in this case.

halloween hair ties earrings accessories

Trick or Treat — Halloween in Japan is sweet! Did you enjoy these snapshots from my trip last year in Osaka? Have you stocked up on any bat, ghost, zombie, Dracula or pumpkin goodies yet?

halloween cosplay costumes japanese sale

PS: If you’re looking for a Halloween costumes — I have some of mine for sale on my Depop! Above are some of the many available (size small), which you may recognize from past Halloweens. If you’d like any, shoot me an email at gothiccarmina (att) gmail (dott-comm) and I’ll send it to you. More details and prices here on my shop; lots of clothes available.

Here’s to the spookiest time of the year!

Better Late Than Never, Hong Kong: travel TV show with William Shatner, Henry Winkler! Sydney Opera House.

better late than never hong kong episode

Thank you for your fantastic response to the Hong Kong episode of Better Late Than Never, the new NBC show travel TV show!

It was a dream come true to hang with The Fonz, Henry Winkler (of Happy Days fame)…

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

… and William Shatner, aka Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek. That is indeed me, dancing with Shatner in the streets of Mongkok, for this travel TV shoot! (Thanks to Thomas for this epic shot — full photo credits below.)

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

I’m very happy that “Better Late Than Never” has been raising lots of laughs and positive reactions! I couldn’t believe it when the producers contacted me to be part of the series. I was flown to Hong Kong and got to take part in this second episode.

This hilarious travel-reality show stars Terry Bradshaw (quarterback and broadcaster), William Shatner (Star Trek’s Capt. Kirk), Henry Winkler (The Fonz on Happy Days) and George Foreman (boxer and grill-master). Along with comedian Jeff Dye, these funny guys travel around Asia in search of adventures and Zen, with lots of mishaps along the way.  

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

Their journey throughout Asia includes Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I was thrilled to have them be in Hong Kong with me — my friends and family even got to join the big dance scene in Mongkok.

(My dress is Spider by Natalie Lam. I’m currently selling a lot of my personal wardrobe; let me know if you’re interested in any of my fashion/accessories! Take a look at my store listings here, and email me to let me know what you’d like.)

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

The weather was a little iffy that day, but the rain and clouds cleared in time for the big dance number. Believe it or not, we took over one of the busiest streets of Hong Kong!

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

The Fab Four arrived on the scene — Henry Winkler turned his camera on us for this shot. Terry Bradshaw whipped out a microphone and burst into song!

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

Then it was time to dance, dance, dance. I was impressed by their ability to pull off a choreographed number!

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

So much fun, to dance in the streets with Captain Kirk and Fonzie! 

(All of the amazing photos above are by Thomas Sandfield of Sandfield Productions. Thank you for capturing this epic day.)

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

I was glad to have my local friends with me, to take part in the scene.

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

Chaos, color, song… that’s the spirit of Hong Kong! Can you see me dancing with William Shatner in the middle?

(Above two photos by K. Lau of Bright Production.)

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

I also filmed a scene on the minibus, where I talked about Hong Kong’s travel attractions and general awesomeness. (Love the V-fingers photobomb behind me.)

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

What a joy to joke and riff with Henry Winkler and George Foreman, for this TV scene. They’re truly kind and humble, and up for anything!

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

Here are more black and white images from Thomas Sandfield of Sandfield Productions. It was a genius idea to pair “culture and Zen” William Shatner with “let’s roughhouse and sing” Terry Bradshaw on a travel show!

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

We were dancing along to the Otis Day and the Knights song “Shout (You Make me Wanna).”

captain kirk travel tv show asia

Above shots by Arthur Rash. Thanks to everyone who supported the TV shoot, and for watching NBC’s Better Late Than Never!

travel influencers snapchat account

On that note… I never got around to posting about my travels in Sydney, Australia. But better late than never, right?

If you have me on your Snapchat (@lacarmina), then you’ll have glimpsed me taking selfies under Harbour Bridge, earlier this year. (Since many of you asked, I’m wearing Karen Walker sunglasses.)

sydney harbour bridge fashion blogger

I’m wearing a Black Milk top and skirt: this Great Wave maxi-skirt is one of my favorites (see me wearing it at New Zealand’s Hobbit Town). Blackmilk’s designs are fantastic for travel because they’re lightweight and don’t crease, and easy to pack in luggage. (And stylish, of course). My fuzzy purse is from Mercibeaucoup in Shinjuku.

sydney opera house architecture

I had never been to Australia, and had very little time to explore. However, it was worth the trip to go down under and at least see Sydney. I’ll have to come back soon to see the Gold Coast, Melbourne and more.

As a first-timer, I had to visit the Sydney Opera House. I took the subway to Circular Quay, and walked over.

harbour bridge, famoous sydney australia bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is also located here. Many travellers do the “bridge climb” where they walk on top of the structure for panoramic views. I’m not afraid of heights, but you aren’t allowed to take your own photos, and must wear a not-so-stylish jumpsuit… I’d prefer to pose below, wearing Black Milk!

sydney fashion blogging, hair

Even from “down under” the bridge, you can’t beat these views of the harbor.

(My sunglasses are Karen Walker, similar to these round ones by her. More of her styles below.)

sydney opera house tour

I don’t usually like to do “tourist” activities in cities, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Sydney Opera House tourThis guided tour lets you go inside the concert halls and see Jorn Utzon’s masterful architecture up close. 

I learned, for example, that the “white” sails of the roof are actually made over a million chevron tiles, in two shades of cream. Our guide spoke about the politics involved in the construction process, and how the Danish architect eventually left the project. (He’s never even been inside the completed structure, which opened in 1973.)

Jørn Utzon room, sydney opera house

I had the opportunity to see Jørn Utzon’s room, defined by concrete structural beams and a 14 meter long tapestry of his own design. On the opposite end, giant windows overlook the harbour waters.

circular quay, australia harbor

Our guide spoke about how Utzon solved design problems in innovative ways, such as by peeling an orange to see how the curved sails could fit together.

As you can tell, I learned so much from the multimedia Opera House tour. Anyone who is interested in modern architecture should check it out.

lunch restaurant sydney opera house

I selected the Tour and Tasting Plate, which ends with an al fresco meal underneath the sails.

opera kitchen menu, food

At Opera Kitchen, I got to try a three-tiered lunch set with a range of finger foods: sushi, mini burgers, dumplings, salad and more.

restaurant with view, sydney harbor

The perfect lunch for sharing with a friend, especially when paired with Australian pinot noir. I got to enjoy the sunshine, and bask in this uninterrupted view of the Harbour Bridge and waters. 

lion statues, royal botanic gardens sydney

From Circular Quay, it’s a short walk to the Royal Botanic Garden. This large park is filled with different themed gardens, and has a pond and Asian pavilion.

bondi beach, sydney australia

It would be tragic if went to Sydney and skipped out on Bondi beach. I rode the subway to Bondi Junction, and then hopped on the bus that runs frequently to the beach. When you see this curving cove of sand, you’ve arrived.

famous sydney beaches, bondi surfing

This 1 km long beach is classic Sydney. I watched surfers ride the waves, and walked barefoot on Bondi’s warm and soft sand. 

best sydney brunch breakfast cafe

Time to chow down. I’ve heard that Sydney is famous for its breakfasts, and found this to be true. This salmon eggs Benedict, with an almond milk flat white, was as good as it looked on my Instagram.

ceru restaurant, sydney levantine cuisine

I loved the breakfast at Ceru Restaurant so much that I came back for dinner. (I went to the Potts Point location, but the restaurant is currently moving to a new spot.)

I was accompanied by my friend Leanne, writer at Trashtastika. We were charmed by the Middle Eastern ceramics near the windows.

ceru restsaurant menu, mezze appetizers

British chef Tom Kime launched Ceru as a celebration of Levantine cuisine. He incorporates flavors and recipes from the Eastern Mediterranean, infusing them with a modern interpretation.

We started by sharing a spread of mezzes and salads. Beetroot and chickpea purees, with cucumber sticks and pita — everything is organic, and the menu is vegan and gluten free friendly.

ceru middle eastern food

Fresh pomegranate, mint, and pistachio add dimension to this lamb dish. These Levant spices pair marvellously with Ceru’s craft cocktails and cold-pressed juices.

sydney dessert house

I’m still thinking about Ceru’s honeycomb baklava ice cream… with flavors of burnt caramel and roasted nut. Possibly the tastiest and most creative dessert I’ve had all year.

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

PS – you can find out more about Better Late Than Never on their website, including viewing times and clips.

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

I leave you with a few more scenes from this huge network shoot. There were so many moving parts, but the team pulled it off.

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

“We-eee-eeel…. / You know you make me wanna (Shout!) / Kick my heels up and (Shout!) / Throw my hands up and (Shout!)”

nbc better late than never hong kong episode

For more Hong Kong adventures and travel tips, check out all my posts here. And don’t forget to take a glimpse at my wardrobe sale.

Have a happy weekend!

Alien Botany dresses by Zoetica Ebb: cyber futuristic fashion! Hong Kong’s The One & K11 art mall.

fashion blogger brooklyn new york

What will we humans wear, in the year 2100? My bet is on this Alien Botany dress, designed by my talented friend Zoetica Ebb

I’m excited to reveal that her futuristic dress collection is back, in a limited quantity run. I’ve been wearing mine like a second skin — this truly is wearable art, designed with the body in mind.

biorequium designs, zoetica

Artist Zoetica Ebb and I have known each other for years, and I’ve long admired her multimedia work.

Her Alien Botany collection reflects her fascination with the cosmos and alternate history. Tentacles and alien flora slink over the fabric, creating a form-flattering effect.

alien fabric cyber clothing

The Alien Botany dresses are made with a breathable heavy spandex. Zoetica’s hyper-detailed drawings are custom printed in ornate, dazzling detail. A square collar and dip hem add to the elegance of the design.

I love the versatility of the garment: I’ve worn it at a crazy underground party, a family wedding, and a gathering with friends. Bonus for travelers: the fabric doesn’t crease, so it’s easy to pack in a suitcase. 

alien print dress

I’m always looking for unique fashion that reflects my love of the future, technology and subcultures. Alien Botany’s “neon space punk” is unlike anything I’ve seen in stores.

(Joey Wong shot these photos of me in Brooklyn, NY. My hair is colored and styled by Stephanie Hoy of Vancouver, Canada).

zoetica ebb, alien botany

With my purple hair, this dress seems to be made for me. Here’s a close-up of the stand-out detailing and colors.

tentacle aliens bodycon dress

Happy news: these Alien Botany dresses have re-launched today, in two styles! You can find out more on Zoetica Ebb’s web shop

I have the Venenum (left), and it also comes in the Theca (monochrome).

alien botany dress

On May 3rd, you’ll be able to see Zoetica’s editorial for the Spring 2016 issue of Auxiliary Magazine. She styled and art-directed a showcase of her Alien Botany dresses, for this alternative fashion magazine.

la carmina hair, goth model

Zoetica is an independent designer, and her collections are released only in small batches. If you like what you see, I encourage you to act now — once pieces are gone, they may not be available again…

The Alien Botany dresses are available internationally at www.zoeticaebb.com, along with Zoetica’s original prints and art. Let me know what you think of my friend’s designs, and it would be fantastic if you can share this post to support her!

chinese robot costume

Since this post has to do with the future… it makes sense to continue our adventures in Hong Kong. 

I still have photos to share with you, from my last trip to this tech-happy, pop culture city. 

robot anime statues

Hong Kong’s malls always have life-size displays for people to pose with. I came across these fighter robots and a special merchandise pop-up.

rubber ducky statues, isquare hong kong

Outside iSquare mall, I found circus statues starring B. Duck, the rubber ducky.

cute goth purses, black white japanese handbag

I’ve photographed most of Hong Kong’s streetwear malls for you, but never got the chance to showcase The One in Tsim Sha Tsui until now.

Causeway Bay remains my favorite shopping district, but TST is a close second. It has several malls dedicated to Chinese streetstyle, all within walking distance of the subway.

hello kitty haute couture, fashion collection

I could easily spend several hours in The One, a mall with dozens of levels. (Address: 100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon)

I walked in, and immediately saw rocker fashion featuring Hello Kitty! I’d wear that leather jacket and clothes with all-over graphics.

asian mens streetwear

Malls like The One are in my “sweet spot” for price and quality. The designs are unique (found only in Asia) and well made, but not overly expensive.

cute designer clothes hong kong

Here’s my old favorite, Hyoma x Mini Cream. The sale prices are truly insane in Hong Kong. For example, I paid $26 US for a pair of metallic shoes from this brand — originally, they were over $200.

kawaii street fashion brand

The label’s black devil cat with round googly-eyes is irresistible.

mr happy clothing, tshirts

Other boutiques in The One had collaborations with characters popular in the 1980s and 90s. The streetwear shop Ginger teamed up with Mr Happy and friends.

b duck, garfield fashion

This mall seems to be dedicated to mascots. Garfield and Rubber Ducky are the faces of the label B. Duck.

The One is also home to the Gudetama theme restaurant, which serves dim sum that looks like the Sanrio egg character.

crying miffy, the one hong kong mall

And then, there’s the one who rules them all: Miffy the bunny! The purse with her crying face and plush dangling ears… yes.

miffy t-shirt, clothing

I got a black and white graphic sweater at the Miffy x Two Percent store. She remains my favorite cute character.

murakami dog face statue

Hong Kong’s TST district is home to another favorite shopping plaza: K11 Art Mall. As the name suggests, the boutiques all have an artistic bent.

As I walked in, I bowed to the smiling dog by Japanese artist Murakami. (More photos below after the jump…)

More here!

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Visiting Cheung Chau Island by ferry! Hong Kong cute character stores, FoFo Spanish restaurant, Bindaas Indian.

nu goth fashion, disturbia shirt

Believe it or not… the above photo was taken in Hong Kong!

The city is known for its tall skyscrapers and hectic atmosphere. However, you can escape into nature — simply by taking the ferry to several nearby islands, including Cheung Chau and Lamma Island.

(My top is by Disturbia. More fashion by this Gothic brand below.)

cat ears headband

I’ll also show you some of the newest restaurants and kawaii pop culture in Hong Kong, such as this Sailor Moon makeup collection at SaSa. 

star ferry hong kong central

One of Hong Kong’s icons is the Star Ferry, this open-air boat that runs from Tsim Sha Tsui (on the Kowloon side) to Central Pier. From there, you can hop onto ferries that take you to the outer-lying islands.

hong kong skyscrapers skyline

The most popular islands are the beach-y Discovery Bay, and Cheung Chau (home to the annual bun festival, where brave or foolhardy participants climb up a giant tower made of Chinese buns). It takes about 40-60 minutes for the ferry to reach these islands.

As you sail, you’ll get to take in spectacular views of Hong Kong’ skyscrapers. However, be prepared for choppy waters that can rock you off your feet.

cat museum, lamma island

I recommend visiting the lesser-known Lamma Island, which has a relaxed hippie vibe. Lamma is home to a cat museum (or Mewseum), small seafood restaurants, and plenty of secluded natural spots for swimming and hiking.

cheung chau island boats

I also went to the larger Cheung Chau island for the first time. This is a popular day-trip destination for both locals and tourists, as it lets them escape the “Hong Kong hustle” for a fishing village atmosphere.

superman cat costume

When you step onto the boardwalk, you’ll see rows of little shops selling island specialties: dried squid, fish balls on a stick, and the famous stamped buns.

At this grocer, we spotted a cat in a Superman costume. “It’s a bird… it’s a plane… It’s Super-Maoo!”

bicycles cheung chau island

It’s possible to walk around Cheung Chau — but the winding paths around the island are made for cycling. There are plenty of stores that rent out bicycles and canopy-covered tricycles.

It’s a must do. I had so much fun zipping around and taking in the ocean views. With a bike, it’s easy to stop by landmarks such as the Cheung Po Tsai pirate cave.

miffy lamp, nijntje

I enjoyed my island getaways, as a way to slow down and relax in nature. However, there’s no place like Hong Kong to get your cute shopping on! 

little twin stars kiki lala statue

Causeway Bay remains the best neighborhood of Sanrio goods, and all things kawaii. (Here’s my comprehensive guide to shopping in Causeway Bay.)

exotic shorthair kittens in basket

Is there anything as cute as a basket of squishy-faced kittens? Whenever I’m in the Causeway Bay district, I stop by this cute cat store (more info and photos here.)

orange exotic shorthair cat sleeping

It’s the best concept ever. All of the cats inside this store… have flat faces!

grey scottish fold kitten

There’s always a Scottish Fold and Exotic Shorthair in there. You can say hi to them, and pick up cat toys or food.

laforet hong kong japanese mall

As you’ll recall from my Causeway Bay travel guide, this area is known for its Japanese malls.

Laforet always has changing themed displays. When I went, it was covered with pictures of Sanrio’s Little Twin Stars.

little twin stars sanrio statue

The pastel shades of the 1980s are back in style. Kiki and Lala haven’t aged a day.

my melody, sanrio clothing line

In Hong Kong, Sanrio characters are everywhere — and they’re not only for kids. You’ll find high quality purses, wallets, shoes and clothes with subtle designs featuring the characaters. ANS and KiLaRa are two Asian brands that often collaborate with Sanrio.

hong kong street signs

Kawaii is sometimes a bit twisted, in Hong Kong. Everywhere you go, there are cute-meets-weird signs and public displays.

cute faced mooncakes

You know I’m addicted to Miffy the bunny… Arome Bakery has dozens of location around the city, and this season, they carried Miffy moon cakes that came in tin boxes. 

dark chocolate miffy cake, arome hong hong

Arome has a new dark chocolate truffle Miffy cake with gold eyes and an X mouth. It’s scrumptious: layers of moist pudding and cake, spongy and not too sugary.

miffy stuffed toys

Isn’t it funny how Miffy, a character from the Netherlands, has taken over Hong Kong? In Japan and Korea, you won’t find nearly as many Miffy toys and products — and there are no such cakes.

Homeless design store hong kong

One of my favorite stores is Homeless, the interior design shop with locations in Central and Sha Tin. They sell lots of Miffy goods — I picked up “Nijntje” keychains (that is her Dutch name).

miffy 60th anniversary museum

In the Hung Hom mall next to Harbour Plaza Metropolis hotel, I stumbled upon a holiday display.

Since this is Miffy’s 60th anniversary, the bunny with the X-mouth is everywhere. (She currently has Miffy cafe and big displays at Hysan Place and other Causeway Bay locations.)

miffy backpack, lion

Every time I’m in Hong Kong, I stop by the Miffy TwoPercent fashion boutiques. I usually go to the Miffy shop in Causeway Bay’s WTC, but saw these backpacks in The One TST. (I’ll do a full report about this mall soon.)

miniso cute stuffed toys

Japanese kawaii designs are found in every part of Hong Kong — and usually for much lower prices. I couldn’t resist getting the fat mouse from the MiniSo store. Each toy is about $4 US.

minions theme cafe, lattes

Minions is currently the rage in Hong Kong, and I saw their smiling faces on lattes.

fortune cat statues, both paws raised

Cats remain popular as ever. You can find maneki nekos (fortune cats) everywhere for sale. These ones have both paws raised, for extra luck!

fofo by el willy chef

Another reason to love Hong Kong: the international dining. I had a magnificent dinner at the award-winning Spanish restaurant, FoFo by el Willy (address: 2-8 Wellington St). The smiling chef, Alex Fargas, skillfully designed the menu with influences from his native Barcelona and travels abroad.

I felt at home in the minimal space, decorated with rows of white penguins on the shelves and chandeliers. The server introduced me to a cute, round bull statue and explained that he is the mascot — since the word “fofo” means plump!

fofo spanish restaurant, paella

From the 20th floor window, we had a fantastic view of Central’s bright lights. Our server walked us up to the laid back rooftop, where people lounged and enjoyed cocktails. (I loved the rose sangria, with fresh cut strawberries and apples.)

The chef is a master at traditional Spanish dishes, which he delivers with a contemporary execution. We ate up every bite of the “bikini” sandwiches made with the finest cheese and Iberian ham, and juicy paella with seafood (above).

hong kong central spanish cuisine

El Willy gets especially inventive with its tapas, or bite-sized shareable plates. I popped a “Salmon Explosive Air Bag” in my mouth, and the pastry burst into a delight of truffle sour cream and smoked salmon. Also home runs: paella crackers with sea urchin, and scallop ceviche with avocado and crispy shallots.

fofo desserts, menu fine dining

The desserts hit the spot with a freshly baked apple tart, churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce, and a creative “mojito” made with mint, jelly and sorbet.

With a laid back atmosphere and exceptional cuisine, FoFo is now on my short-list of favorite restaurants in Hong Kong.

bindaas hong kong restaurant

My friends and I also went to the newly-opened Bindaas Bar + Kitchen, an Indian restaurant near the PMQ art center. (Address: LG/F, 33 Aberdeen Street, Central, HK).

The chefs recently came here from India, and brought their expertise to each dish. Nothing is heavy-handed: the ingredients are fresh, and the spices are a delight to the palate.

top indian food hong kong

At the same time, Bindaas is not afraid to get creative, and excels at fusion. Their naan pizza is a must eat: it comes with several varieties of toppings, and brilliantly merges two comfort foods into one.

Bindaas also serves wonderful original cocktails with Indian flavors, such as yogurt lassi. (Photos from this restaurant by Sniper Chau)

bindaas hong kong central pmq

The seafood curries and tandoori dishes are stand-outs, and the small plates are great for sharing with a group of friends.

Bindaas is brilliant at Indian fusion, and is a welcome entry to the Hong Kong food scene.

maneki neko largest cat collection

Do these food and cute cat photos make you want to visit Hong Kong? In the next post, I’ll announce my April destinations, so stay tuned…

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