Our favourite Hong Kong cafés

Hong Kong is in the midst of a café boom and I’m doing my best to keep up! If you’re in the 852 and on the lookout for a new ‘local’ or simply just need to be pointed in the direction of good latte and bite to eat, here five of my favourite coffee joints of the moment. Enjoy!

Elephant Grounds

Located right at the back of cult speciality store WAOW on Gough Street, Elephant Grounds is an independent roaster and purveyor of seriously good coffee in a modern, quirky setting. Along with serving ridiculously amazing ice cream sandwiches (the Hong Kong style milk tea one with honey comb and white choc flakes is insane), their beverage menu is also standout. One drink that separates Elephant Grounds from the rest of the Hong Kong herd is their bulletproof coffee. The bulletproof latte is a mix of coffee, milk, un-salted butter and MCT oil. While it’s a bit on the heavy side, it’s quite tasty and delivers a slow-burning seven-hour caffeine hit. If you’re craving something different (and slightly healthier) the almond milk latte also gets a big BGBC tick!

 Elephant Grounds

ZAI FÉ

Along with their flagship Quarry Bay branch, ZAI FÉ has opened two new locations in Central and in Kwun Tong! Their Central location is a hidden gem, tucked out of sight at the back of Bo Concept on Wyndham Street. Set on a sheltered outdoor terrace, this café has to be one of the best kept secrets in the district (a friend actually asked me not to tell anyone about it because she didn’t want word getting out about how good it is). Along with serving stellar coffee, ZAI FÉ’s deli-style food menu is also fantastic. Healthy, simple and not out of a packet, this is the place to hit this winter if you’re craving some hearty soup, a delicious toastie or gourmet pie. If you’re with someone who isn’t much of a coffee drinker, steer them in the direction of ZAI FÉ’s blueberry jamtini – it’s a game changer.

Zai Fe

NOSH

Nosh is one of those neighbourhood cafés you walk into and instantly like. As the name suggests, it has an awesome food menu (the breakfast, brunch and lunch options are delicious and slightly more creative than the standard fodder on other café menus around town).  The coffee is really well made, and, given how busy the place is with people dining in and constantly swinging by to take away, it seems that’s no secret. If you’re craving something cool and sweet, the iced caramel latte here is sure to hit the spot.

 NOSH

Coco Espresso

Good coffee is no longer hard to find in Wanchai – actually, it’s becoming increasingly harder for cafés and espresso bars to stand out from the crowd. A spot that never fails to deliver on the quality front is Coco Espresso. Along with having a really nice team behind the counter (who genuinely try to remember your order if you’re a regular – a Hong Kong rarity), their coffee is skillfully made. If you’re feeling hungry, Coco Espresso’s homemade banana bread is top notch (next level when heated and served with a dollop of butter).

 Coco Espresso

18 Grams

I’d heard lots about 18 Grams before finally getting around to visit their Sheung Wan branch. One thing’s for sure, this is a place for serious coffee drinkers – people who really appreciate the art and science of a good brew. In terms of atmos it’s a bit lacking so I normally opt to grab my coffee (and slab of their home-made banana loaf) to go.

18 Grams - lattte

 

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An adapted version of this post originally ran on Sassy Hong Kong

Taking on the Macau Tower Bungy

When Virgin Atlantic recently got in touch with Sassy Hong Kong (a website I – and that Charlotte used to – write for) to issue a challenge for someone to take on the Macau Tower bungy jump, I threw my hand up to do it. As the team’s token Kiwi and having bungeed twice before – both times at the Auckland Harbour Bridge site in New Zealand – I figured it was a good opportunity to brush off some cobwebs, get the blood pumping and heart racing.

Then I crunched the numbers…

While the Auckland Harbour Bridge jump is 40m high (and pretty scary), the Macau Tower site dwarves that by standing at a whopping 233m! Not only did I realise it was more than five times the height, I discovered it’s the current title holder of highest commercial bungy in the world (my hands get sweaty just typing those words). I immediately freaked out. What was I thinking signing up for something so extreme?! So high?! So extremely high?!

Once I got my head around the task that lay ahead, I locked in the time and date of the jump and the countdown began…

In the days leading up it, I become increasingly nervous. I tried psyching myself up by reading reviews and watching as many videos of people doing it as I could. I kept imagining what it would be like when it came time to stand on the edge of the platform. Unlike a skydive (where you’re strapped to the instructor and therefore don’t actually make the decision to jump out of the plane yourself, you just get taken for the ride), with a bungy it’s all down to you to jump, step or fall off the ledge. And the moment when you make that decision is intense.

After telling anyone who would listen about my impending jump, the big day finally arrived.

The Macau bungy site is managed by AJ Hackett. For those unfamiliar with the brand name, AJ is in fact the man who invented bungy jumping – the godfather of the sport. Did I mention he’s Kiwi too? Anyway, it’s needless to say the technology, safety and professionalism makes for one slick operation.

Macau Tower Bungy 1

There’s no mucking around when you reach the observation deck of the Macau Tower. With dance music pumping, things happen pretty swiftly once you’ve been registered,   weighed and suited up in the harness. The team is awesome. Not only are staff relaxed, friendly and insanely knowledgeable (they have detailed answers for every bungy-related question under the sun), the set-up process makes you feel really secure.

After watching four people (successfully) jump ahead of me, it was my turn.

Macau Tower Bungy 2

With my harness pulled tight, I tried my best to keep it together as I shuffled out to the edge of the platform. I was told to stay calm and – rather than jumping – to fall forward as though I was landing on the end of a bed. My plan was to avoid looking down at this point, but curiousity got the better of me. I started screaming as soon as I locked eyes on the ground below. A few more safety checks were carried out and then it was time: 5,4,3,2,1 BUNGY!

Macau Tower Bungy 3

It’s best to let the video do the talking from this point but I will say, IT WAS A MASSIVE FREE-FALL. It was long enough for my brain to register what was happening about halfway down – a very weird realisation to have mid-drop. It’s hard (almost impossible) to explain how it feels to be completely aware of falling.

And then it was done. I had done it! And I’d survived! The rush was insane –a feeling of complete, adrenaline-induced euphoria. It was absolutely awesome.

So, do I think you should take the plunge too? Short answer: YES!

If you’re an adventure seeker and in need of a thrill that revs the system, the Macau Tower bungy is a way of pushing your limits in a really safe, controlled environment. The sense of satisfaction once it’s all said and done is indescribable. Given how scared I was in the build-up, if someone like me can go through with this, I think anyone can – and I challenge you to give it a go. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience (and pretty cool to say you’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt for conquering the world’s highest bungy)!

Thanks to Virgin Atlantic for making this happen. To check out what else they recommend doing in this corner of the world, check out this great article.

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An adapted version of this post originally ran on Sassy Hong Kong

BGBC supports Movember

Movember-Iconic-Mo-Pin-Blue

It’s Movember eve and we’re getting set to ring in another Movember. With official campaigns in Hong Kong and Australia (the home of this hairy campaign), we’re registered and ready to fly the Mo Sista flag throughout the month.

For those unfamiliar with how Movember works, let us run you through it. Held in November each year, it’s a month-long global charity event that encourages men (Mo Bros) and women (Mo Sistas) to support the active growth of moustaches in order to raise awareness and funds for men’s health. Simple!

Changing one’s appearance naturally prompts people to ask why (especially when a Mo isn’t normally part of their everyday look). Guys essentially become walking, talking billboards for the campaign and their moustaches spark conversations about men’s health that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. People can donate to the Mo-growing efforts of those taking part, helping raise vital funds for men’s health.

Now, because men are the ones who grow the Mos, you might be sitting there questioning how girls can get involved. The reality is, Movember wouldn’t be what it is today without the support and inspiration of the Mo Sistahood. In a nutshell: behind every great Mo Bro, there is almost always a greater Mo Sista.

One of the easiest, most effective ways ladies can play their part during Movember is not stand in the way Mo-gress – don’t be the girl that hates on the ‘tache. Tell your boyfriend or husband you’re cool with him registering to take part in the campaign, and encourage the other men in your life – dad, brothers, friends, colleagues – to do the same. The more Mos, the better!

Keep tabs on our Mo Sista happenings via our Mo Space.

Mo on!

E & C x

Sydney Weekends

It’s only been three weeks since I relocated to Sydney but I feel like I’ve never lived anywhere else! As well as ticking the touristy boxes, I’ve been lucky to explore the ‘local’ side of Sydney too. I’m still getting my feet on the ground – finding the best places to get waxed, my favorite coffee sports and, of course, weekend getaways (something we love at BGBC!) – all of this I will share with you in due course… but, for now, I thought I’d share my first weekend with you; consider it a sneak peak of what’s to come! Sydney Friday night drinks – Palmer and Co Whoever told me that Sydney was going to be “dull” or “boring” having come from Hong Kong has obviously never ventured to this fabulous underground hangout. With waitresses dressed as flapper girls, this speakeasy hot spot with amazing cocktails will have you coming back for more. Friday night dinner – Mr Wong’s I was already craving Chinese food when I stepped off the plane, so I was kindly taken to Mr Wong’s – Sydney’s latest Cantonese favorite that is scoring big with foodies. The food and the atmosphere were incredible – I’m still thinking about the deserts! Think a less pretentious China Club with drinks and dinner to match. Booking isn’t possible so get in early (or late). Saturday – Yoga In an attempt to sweat out the night before and prepare for another night of food, I ventured to donation based yoga studio, Barefoot Yoga, in Paddington. Perfect if you’re in town for a short period or looking to get into yoga, this studio ticked all my yoga boxes! Saturday night – Njij Sushi  More Asian food! Admittedly, all I have had since I arrived is Asian. I live right next door to Din Tai Fung which is dangerous for all involved. A sushi snob, I’m always very wary of “foreign” sushi. Canned tuna and mayonnaise just don’t do it for me, but Niji Sushi hit all the right spots with authentic and super seafood delicious options. Pop into Missy Sippy next door for a few cocktails after dinner. Sydney Sunday – Bay Run and brunch One of the many reasons I moved to Sydney was to breathe fresh air and live a more active lifestyle. With the Bay Run just up the road, I ventured to Balmain for a 7k loop around Iron Cove Bay followed by the most amazing brunch at Ungaro Raw. Sydney Sunday evenings tend to wrap up with multiple Skype sessions so I can brag about how much fun I’m having. So far, I really can’t complain! More to come as I get my feet on Aussie ground… C.x

Hong Kong hike: Lion Rock

Until last weekend, something that had been on my Hong Kong ‘to do’ list for way too long was to hike up to Lion Rock.

Whether you live in Hong Kong or are just passing through, this hike is exceptional and definitely worth doing. It’s easy to get to the starting point via the MTR, the trail is well-maintained, AND the view is out of this world (you’ll be scrambling to capture the outlook from all camera angles).

Lion Rock Hong Kong

If it sounds like your sort of thing, here are the directions we followed, courtesy of Hike Hong Kong.

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