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HK restaurants with young children

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Does anyone have any suggestions for restaurants for a family with 3 young children (ages 1, 5, and 8). We are in kowloon (tsmi). We've been to Dan Ryans and Fat Angelos. We have also been to Time Flies (or Frys??) on Stanton st off escalators--which we liked. My kids are horrible eaters, (exist on pb and j), but thought maybe there was somewhere new that we all might enjoy as a family. Hotel buffets or themed nights are wastes of money because my kids eat a slice of toast for the $25.00 child's price. thanks Joanne

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    OK if you are saying that your kids will ONLY eat Western food, and you don't want to go to a hotel, see some suggestions below. I assume they will eat hamburgers and hotdogs, pizza and spaghetti/pasta. The first few actually have very good views.

    For a little more ambience for dinner, you might also try a Continental restaurant in the Soho area (ie. Staunton Street) like Tribute (tribute.com.hk) or in the Star Street area like Ingredients 23 Wing Fung Street, 2544-5133) or Cincecitta (9 Star Street 2529-0199). These restaurants may make a plate of plain pasta for a child, you might ask. It is a shame to limit yourself to just the restaurants your kids will eat in. Don't forget about babysitters......I know you are here for a while. For a more upscale dinner, I think Harlan's would work as they can have pizza while you have real food, which is very good there, and they have views. I hesitate to list more expensive restaurants unless you are willing to pay for the kids there, let me know, for example Tuscany by H is an excellent Italian place, not sure if you want to take 3 kids there.

    There are many pubs in the Soho and Lan Kwai Fong area (like Dublin Jack, see below) that serve pub fare that kids would like I think and are fine for lunch or an early dinner, they are not bar like until later in the evening. There are some of these in Kowloon and also along Jaffe and Lockhart Roads in Wan Chai (this area is just a tiny bit seedy, safe but some girly bars and sad old men)

    I don't know a restaurant called Time Flies or Time Fries, do you mean The Flying Pan? See below. That is on Old Bailey Street, not far from the escalator.

    Habitu -The Pier
    Shop 63
    Ground Floor, Ocean Terminal
    (waterfront opposite Star Ferry)
    Tel: 852-3101-0901

    Good Italian, pastas and pizzas. Casual, modern decor, wood floors, a bit of a nautical theme. The attraction of this place IMO are the superb views, esp from the deck (they have heaters and umbrellas) which are only slightly marred by the Star Ferry piers but generally great. A deck seat or an inside table nearest the deck is really why you would want to come here; the food is good but I don't think I would travel here otherwise just for Italian food or if you could not get a window seat. The restaurant is on the ground floor of Ocean Terminal, about 100 yards to the right of the Star Ferry piers. Facing the Star Ferry piers, turn right and follow along the edge of the water, you will then come to/see a big flight of steps leading up on your right, stay to the left of these and on the ground level, and you will see the deck and restaurant on your farther left.

    Quarterdeck Club Seafood Restaurant and Grill
    Shop 53 ,Ground Floor
    Ocean Terminal, Harbour City
    Kowloon
    Tel: 2735-8881

    Good seafood but also steaks, pasta, pizza and burgers were all in evidence. Great deserts like Chocolate pie and Mars pie. Big portions. No outdoor area but get a seat right at the windows and you will have very good views. They have an outlet on the Hong Kong side with an outdoor deck right on the water with excellent views as well.

    Quarterdeck Club Seafood Restaurant and Grill
    Fleet Arcade Branch
    Fenwick Pier
    1 Lung King Street
    Wan Chai
    Tel 2827 8882

    This is the sister restaurant of the Quarterdeck which is on the Kowloon side as well. The Fenwick Pier outlet is the only place with outdoor seating right on the waterfront on Hong Kong Island. It is literally on the water and views are excellent.

    Harlan's
    Shop 2075
    IFC Mall
    tel 2805 0566
    http://www.harlans-ifc.com/serv_menus.php

    Eclectic menu of continental and Asian, with some Tapas, pastas, and wood oven pizzas. Good deserts too. Very nice harbour view although only from a lowish elevation. Cigar bar and oyster bar. I think this place is better for lunch than dinner. He has sort of a private kitchen restaurant upstairs called H One which may have views too, I have not been.

    Café Deco
    Peak Galleria
    118 Peak Road
    The Peak Hong Kong
    Tel: 852.2849 5111
    http://www.cafedecogroup.com/cafed/v_deco.asp

    On the Peak in the mall across from the Peak Tram, a casual place with an extensive menu of Western and Asian dishes. Great views IF you get a window seat. They have a small balcony where they serve as well. View is somewhat better than the food.

    Shake 'em Buns
    Star Street
    Wan Chai
    tel: 2866-2060

    Hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, chilli fries, onion rings, milkshakes, the whole fried food experience if you are homesick for the US. They also have salads and smoothies. Tiny shop with stools and counters only; but there is also a nice public picnic table area down the street at Pacific Place 3 where you can take your food instead with a deck, tables and umbrellas. (There is no street number for the restaurant, place is on the left side of the street if you are walking up from Wing Fung Street off of Queen’s Road. )

    Flying Pan
    Ground Floor
    9 Old Bailey Street
    Central (Hollywood Road area)
    Tel: 2140-6333

    3rd Floor
    81-85 Lockhart Road (Wan Chai)
    Tel: 2528-9997

    Open 24 hours, offers the "all day” breakfast. Eggs, French toast, good bagels. Has grilled cheese, etc so good for kids. I believe they have PB&J. Also good for lunch. Good prices.

    Dublin Jack
    17 Lan Kwai Fong
    First Floor Central.
    852 2543 0081
    http://www.delaneys.com.hk/dj.html

    In the Lan Kwai Fong/Soho area serving hamburgers, fries, etc the typical pub fare, fine and filling. Fine with kids if you aren't there late in the evening, it's really a lunch or early dinner place for kids. They also have locations in Wan Chai and Kowloon.

    Al's Diner
    27-37 D'Aguilar Street
    Lan Kwai Fong (Central)
    Tel: 2869-1869
    In Lan Kwai Fong, the trendy bar area, they serve comfort food like grilled cheese, burgers, etc. Good for lunch or dinner. More of a bar than a diner, but the bar really does not get going until late.

    Bobsy
    10 Shelley Street
    SOHO
    Tel: 852-2810-9777
    http://www.lifecafe.com.hk/globe.swf

    Organic vegetarian. This is next on the left of the escalator in Soho just before Staunton Street (i.e., get off at Staunton and walk down hill). It has a small take-away section downstairs, mostly salads, and then a café upstairs. Lots of health-conscious choices here.

    L16 Café & Bar
    Hong Kong Park
    1st Cotton Tree Drive
    Tel: 2522 6333

    In Hong Kong Park with nice outdoor setting. Basic food, pizza, pastas and curries. Good but not outstanding, good for lunch in nice ambience, close to Peak Tram, so this is a good option before or after going up to the Peak if you don’t want to eat on the Peak. Also good if you have been in Wan Chai and want to eat outdoors, easily walkable from Central and you can then see Hong Kong Park which is quite pretty and has an nice aviary and the Tea Museum. They have a set menu that is a good value. Maybe US$20 for lunch with service included.

    Red
    2 IFC Mall
    8 Finance Street
    Central
    Tel: 8129 8882

    This is run the Pure Fitness gym which is next door, so there is an emphasis on health foods, salads, etc. It's a mix of cuisines from around the world. They have some really good smoothies. I like it because they have a wonderful outdoor terrace with a view of the harbor. I would not go all the way there just for lunch if you are in say Kowloon or Causeway Bay, but it is walkable from the Star Ferry and the Queens Road areas and at the end of the escalator (walk all the way across several roads via pedestrian overpasses) so you can come down from those areas too, so pretty convenient and nice to have the outdoor area. Not expensive.

    Grappa's
    88 Queensway
    tel: 2868 0086

    Casual, good Italian, in the Pacific Place mall. No view. They also have an outlet in the Peak Galleria on the Peak (no view either).

    Il Bel Paese
    25 Queen's Road East
    Wan Chai

    A gourmet Italian grocery and deli, they do take-away and also have seating upstairs. They have pastas, salads, sandwiches. This is near Star Street and also walkable to the Wan Chai food markets.

    Spaghetti House
    http://www.spaghettihouse.com/spaghetti/eng/index.html

    Basic Italian fare and pizzas. I have to confess to never having eaten at one, but they always seem full. Several locations in town, check the website.

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    Thank you Cicerone. You are truly amazing. I've been reading your posts for years. You should publish them.
    You are such a wealth of knowledge.

    Yes, I meant the Frying Pan. I think the waiters had Time flies on their shirts, so I was confused. My kids will only consider eating Western food, and not much besides plain spaghetti and pb & j (as I mentioned). It makes eating out so difficult.

    We come here for a month every January. Last year we hired a babysitter from Rent-a-Mum which is run by a woman named Shirley. Are you familiar with this service? Many of the babysitters are college-aged girls and are very lovely. If I have a babysitter, perhaps I could try Tuscany by H, as you have recommended.

    I am also the person who asked about traveling to Shek-O. I will read your post in more detail on that subject. I don't have a backpack for the baby, and can only travel where i can push a stroller. My husband works 14 hours days while here, so I am on my own with whatever I chose to do with my children.

    Because we have been coming here for so many years, and because we spend a month with nothing to do but sightsee, I feel I have done everything that comes to mind first at least 10x. I'm trying to branch out to new places, that are somewhat realistic to do with my young children,

    I am considering traveling to the Wet Land park in New Terriories. Have you been there? I am also considering traveling to Tao-O to the fishing village.
    I have been to Repulse Bay many times, so was thinking perhaps Shek-O would be somewhere new to see.

    Thank you again for all your help you provide my family, and all the travelers on this website.

    Joanne

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    I have not been to the new wetland park, but have been to the Mai Po Marshes country park nearby, so either or both would be fine. Before venturing out there, please make sure that the park is open, as this area was recently closed due a case of bird flu. The private park is probably a bit more geared toward children, so may be better for you. I would go on a weekday just to avoid crowds (as you have probably learned). For info on the country park in the marshes which is operated under the auspices of the World Wildlife Fund, see http://www.wwf.org.hk/eng/maipo/publicvisit/publictour.html. I believe that you can rent bicycles in this area as well and bike around the marshes, I do not know that they would have child seats, but it may be something worth exploring to make more of a day of it.

    Another thing in the area and on the way is the Tsing Yi Bridge visitors centre where you can get some amazing views of underneath the bridge. See the Lantau Link Visitors Centre info page at http://www.info.gov.hk/archive/napco/visitors.html.

    I like Tai-O, and think this is a fun trip. I believe that the cable car up to the Big Buddha is running (I believe it started up again New Year's Eve), so you could make a day trip to Lantau to include that and Tai-O. I assume your kid are not going to eat any of the seafood or the vegetarian fare at the monastery in Po Lin, so consider packing a picnic lunch. Don't forget that places like Starbucks and MIX (see (http://www.mix-world.com/default.asp for locations) have ready-made sandwiches which you can bring for a picnic.

    Some other things you could also consider doing with your kids that spring to mind are below; there are others, you can check my post “Cicerone’s Reccos for What the Locals Do for Fun in Hong Kong (Hint: We DON’T Go to those Awful Night Markets....)” and also check the Hong Kong Tourism Board website at discoverhongkong.com for other ideas for kids.

    1. Kids art classes at Artastic in TST (see http://www.art-tastichobbiescentre.com) or Creative Kids in midlevels or Taikoo Shing (http://www.creativekids.com.hk) or one of the YMCAs in town, see the Salisbury YMCA which is near you, website for all YMCAs is http://www.ymcahk.org.hk/. There are a myriad of classes offered by the YMCA as well. You can pick this up for free in many places like supermarkets and coffee shops. You could try "art jamming" in Central, the kids may be a bit young, but see http://www.artjamming.com/, you could also try the weaving classes at also Cloth Haven (see http://www.clothhaven.com/contact.htm.). You might try the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, not sure they have kids programs, but see http://www.hkac.org.hk/index.html. The Science Museum may offer programs, that is basically at the Star Ferry pier in TST, see
    http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Science/eindex.php. You can find other ideas for kids classes in the Hong Kong Dollarsaver, see http://www.dollarsaver.com.hk/, and either read past issues or look under subject headings.

    2. You can join a boat trip to see the pink dolphins which are native to the waters of Hong Kong, take a look at http://www.hkdolphinwatch.com. Winter months are best for this.

    3. The Lamma Island family walk, which CAN be done with a stroller (disclaimer: you will be pushing it up some inclines on this walk.). However, this is a very easy walk with great views, which takes about an hour to go between Yung Shue Wah where the ferry drops you off, and Sok Kwu Wan, where you can get the ferry back (unless you choose to go to Aberdeen, see below). On the way, you can stop at the very nice beach at Hung Shing Yeh, and also take a little detour down to the even nicer beach at Lo So Shing Beach (some stairs here, but not many). There is a little Tin Hau temple at Sok Kwu Wan. As your kids won't eat seafood most likely, I would not stop at any of the seafood restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan, but would walk another 20 minutes to the seaside area of Mo Tat, there is a very decent continental restaurant there called The Bay which has pasta and an excellent view (http://www.thebayhk.com/). From there, you can take the little wooden kaido ferry boat over to Aberdeen and see the harbour. (You could also take the kaido back over to Sok Kwu Wan, about a 3 minute ride, and catch the big ferry back to Central). Kaido ferry schedules are on the website for The Bay restaurant. Once in Aberdeen, you can go visit the Jumbo Floating Restaurant (which now has shops) and you can hire a little bum boat to take you around Aberdeen harbour if you have not seen that before. Ocean Park is quite close to Aberdeen as well.

    4. Renting bicycles in Shatin (at the Tai Wai MTR stop) and bicycling up the Shatin River and up and around Tolo Harbour to Tai Po. Again, not sure about the child seats, but a fun day if you can get one.

    4. Taking out a paddle boat on Wong Nei Chong Reservoir; this is a pond-like size lake, but your kids will still think the paddle boats are fun. The reservoir is on Tai Tam Reservoir Road, just before the huge Parkview apartments. This can be done as part of a trip to Stanley, Repulse Bay or anything on the South Side of the Island. You can take a taxi up from the Central area (about 10 minutes) or the 6 bus, but you have to alight at a gas station at the top of Wai Nai Chung Gap Road, and walk up from there, it may be hard to find. IMO it's better to take a taxi up, and then walk down to the bus station afterwards if you want to continue on to the Southside from there. There is also a walk in this area of WW II gun emplacements which older kids may find interesting, it is not a difficult walk.

    Since you are here for a long time and have kids, you might want to start thinking more like a local than like a tourist. Besides art and YMCA classes, there may be other activities the kids may want to do, esp the 8 year old. A good source I info is a book called "Setting Up in Hong Kong" by Fiona Campbell. You can usually buy it here at Dymocks bookstores (see http://www.dymocks.com.hk/ for locations). This will give you suggestions for other activities for kids and is just chock full of practical information.

    I would also suggest you consider getting the “Countryside Series” of maps for each area of Hong Kong. They cost like HK$5 each. They show all walking/hiking trails and give difficulty and estimated walking times for most of them, they also show locations of ferry piers, bbq sites (for picnics), public bathrooms, MTR stations, bus routes, etc. These maps are invaluable in planning a trip into the countryside, or around the Southside of Hong Kong Island, IMO and will give you a good feeling for the layout of Hong Kong. They include most of the outlying islands like Lamma and Cheung Chau. There is one for Hong Kong Island, one for Lantau and tow for the New Territories, as they have divided them up into east and west. These maps are sometimes available at Dymocks, you can definitely buy them at the Government Publications Office, located in the Murray Building, Room 402, 22 Garden Road (tel 2537-1910). This is an office building right next to the bottom station for the Peak Tram. They are open 9-6 pm Mon-Fri.

    Finally, as your husband is putting in 14-hour day and you are on your own with three kids, IMO you deserve to hire a car and driver to make these trips to outlying areas. This will make your life immeasurably easier when going to a place like the wetland park rather than trying to deal by yourself with 3 kids (including an infant and stroller) on public transport. You can usually hire these through your hotel. You could also rent a car yourself, there are Hertz and Avis outlets here, it involves driving on the other side of the road (I assume you are from the US), so unless you already know how to do this, it may not be worth it. However, a car will give you easier access to further parts of the New Territories. While getting around the tip of TST and most parts of Hong Kong Island is fine with public transport, longer trips outside these areas are made much easier with a car.


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    Hi Cicerone,

    We have been enjoying all your recommendations. We went to the Wetlands Park which was very nice and peaceful. It was interesting to walk along the nature preserve and see the towering residential buildings in the background. We made it to Tao-O, which was great and fun the see the "old Hong Kong" life. Also went to Lamma Island. Fun also, but only made it as far as the first beach. It's amazing how many hours it takes to propel three young children forward. They veered off to chase every stray cat and pick up every rock and bit of "treasure" they found off the walkway. It's frustrating sometimes, but I have to remember I can't do the things I used to do "before children."

    Tomorrow we are going to Shek-O.

    Also, we made it up to Shake 'Em Buns and the Flying Pan in Wan Chai which was fun. Also, had lunch at Al's Diner but I could not bring my children inside! I think every establishment in LKF has a "no under 18 policy"---interesting. So we picniced on the steps of LKF.

    I have 3 random questions. The first time I came here was about 18 yrs ago. One of my favorite spots was Central Market to see the butcher and fish stalls. I know it has long closed down and is part of the escalator system. Are these type markets slowly disappearing? If yes, why? Is it real estate prices or bird flu fear? And what's to become of Central Market. Seems a skyscraper would have been built by now.

    Second question. What is being created between the Star ferry terminal and Convention center. I saw posters for a "Venice Canal" looking park last year, is that still the case?

    Third. My husband's chinese business associates here have very kindly given me their company driver at my disposal for the week. (Which is how I got to wetlands..etc) I will give the driver a gift at the end of the week (he likes Starbucks and will purchase a gift card) What i am wondering is there something I can buy a Chinese trading company owner who is a multimillionaire. I'm sure this man needs nothing, but he is always kind to me and my children. Any tradional gifts that you know of?

    Thank you Cicerone.

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    Glad you are enjoying your trip, I am amazed you get three kids dressed and out of the hotel in the morning, let alone to Lamma!

    Yes, the Central Market has been closed as the land is going to be re-developed, although I believe there has been a move to try to save the market building, which is not really of architectural interest, so it has been sitting there while the debate goes on. However, you can still find butchers in other areas, the one I mostly go to is in Wan Chai, in an area of narrow streets running between Johnston Road and Queen's Road East, starting at Spring Garden Lane and ending at Wan Chai Road. The meat and fish mongers are there, and there are still a surprising number of live birds in this market as well, given the bird flu that has been around. There are medicine shops, vegetable stands and other small shops, and a shop selling paper money, incense and other offerings for the dead. A map is helpful, the MTR actually has a good map of the this area of Wan Chai, which you can enlarge and print, go to http://www.mtr.com.hk/jplanner/jplanner/images/maps/wac.gif. The market area is directly south and across the street from the Wan Chai MTR station. This area starts probably 6 blocks or so east of where Star Street/Shake Em Buns is.

    Another easily accessible market area in Centreal is the Graham Street/Peel Street area, right near the old Central Market building. Peel and Graham Streets from Queen’s Road Central to Caine Street and the cross streets of Gage St and Wellington are all interesting. This can easily be combined with a walk along Hollywood Road and a visit to the Man Mo Temple and a walk up to Soho, with lunch or dinner in Soho.

    They are filling in the land between the old Star Ferry terminal and down toward the convention centre. Plans are somewhat for a pedestrian walkway, but I think in the end an bigger version of the existing expressway is probably going to go in at least part of that land, and more offices too. Again, under debate, subject to controversy. The closing of the old Star Ferry building was a big hoopla last year.

    On the gift thing (and how nice that they have lent you the car), I would definitely get something as a gesture. It doesn't matter that the guy already has so much money. It's hard to say what is right, I can think of a few things that are considered unlucky: (i) clocks (they represent death/time ticking away; this may include watches to some people), and (ii) books (to gamblers they represent a loss of luck. I am assuming this guy likes to bet on the horses. If he is a devout Christian and anti-gambler, then you are probably OK, then consider a Bible). You might give him a very nice bottle of wine, that is more and more appreciated here, or a bottle of XO Brandy which is also popular here (very few Chinese have any taboos regarding liquor). Chocolates are neutral in terms of luck and universally liked, a name brand like Godiva which is readily available here would be good. If there is a particular food or liquor from your home area (e.g., Kentucky Bourbon, California wine, jams, etc ) that would make a nice gift as a momento. If he has kids of his own, then gifts for his kids may be the best thing rather than something for himself, could be clothes or toys (assuming they are young kids). Flowers (not too many white ones, they are associated with funerals) or even better perhaps a big basket of fruit would be a good gift, no unlucky associations with most of that. Chinese New Year is coming up next month and oranges and other lucky fruit could be put in the basket.

    I would not expect that any gift you give would be opened by the recipient. This is considered impolite. The recipient will smile and thank you, but the gift will generally be put aside to be opened later. If they know Western customs, they may ask if they should open it in front of you then, it is up to you to say yes or not. It may save face for everyone overall if you send something when you leave, as if you present a gift and he has nothing to give you in return, he may actually feel bad (even though he has given you the car; it's the whole face thing).

    Hey, sorry did not know about the under 18 rule in LKF (I have no kids and I guess have never been with anyone who tried to bring young kids to any restaurants there, I will need to update my posts on kids restaurants reccos...)

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    Like Cicerone says, traditional markets still exist, but more and more people just buy groceries at the supermarkets; and many younger people just stop eating at home altogether. Not too long ago - I mean 20-30 years ago - most Chinese will not eat anything frozen and not fresh. They go to the market twice a day to buy food items and bring them home to cook. Imagine that. Now, it's going to Wellcome or Park'n Shop to get most things twice a week.

    Yes, there will be a new expressway along the shore of the to-be-reclaimed land between Central and Causeway Bay. Parts of it will also be used for the new Government HQ.

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    Canal Street Market in Hong Kong between Wanchai and Causeway Bay is another interesting market. If you have the use of a car, you should consider going out to SaiKung area. I remember Cicerone's reccos on that.

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