Mention the word ‘escalator’ to someone who has never set foot in Hong Kong and they’ll probably think of the exercise avoidance method of moving between floors in their local department store. Tell them that Hong Kong has 800 metres of outdoor escalator zig-zagging around the centre and climbing 135 metres uphill, and they’ll probably think you’re a bit daft.
Of course to the 87,000 residents of Hong Kong who ride daily, the Central – Mid-levels escalator and walkway system is anything but a joke. The world’s longest outdoor moving walkway system was built in 1993 to relieve congestion in Central’s streets, and while it’s original purpose may not have been achieved, the escalator has become a landmark for Hong Kong, taking people downhill to work from 8am-10am and ferrying weary commuters back uphill after 10am. It’s also a landmark of the silver screen – part of 2007’s The Dark Knight starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger was filmed here.
With our lovely infographic below, we pay tribute to how amazing and special Hong Kong can be, as well as celebrating the escalator and showcasing the best restaurants, bars and shops along the way. Join us!
Level 1 QRC – Cochrane – Stanley – Wellington
Let’s get started by looking at 2 healthy options on the lowest level of the escalators. Mana! Fast Slow Food has brought organic slow-food to Hong Kong, serving delicious and healthy fare to match their impressive environmental credentials. Newly-opened Catch Juicery is already well-known for their ‘juice cleanses’ aimed at flushing harmful toxins out of the body and aiding weight loss. Their rich, intensely flavoured juices are also 100% organic.
Not everyone’s into this super-healthy stuff. If you love those little bite-sized balls of pork and veg, and you like them homemade and served in a cosy environment, Dumpling Yuan is your place. Super-stylish Wah Fung is another option in Central, boasting roasted meats and fried rice on their extensive menu.
Of course, no hill climb should ever be attempted sober (even if you have the escalator to help), so let’s head to HK Brewcraft. Homebrewing enthusiasts will no doubt be aware of this place, with its extensive collection of brewing equipment, ingredients and craft beers. For those who prefer just to drink their beer, the loft-style Social Room serves a wide of range of beers and cocktails in modern, comfortable surroundings.
Level 2 Lyndhust – Hollywood
Moving up to the next level, sitting in the shadow of the escalator (literally) is Tartine. This effortlessly elegant French eatery, serves topped toasts (tartines), salads and soups – often described as comfort food. Continuing with that theme, Paisiano’s offers classic Italian-American fare including deep-pan pizza, al dente pasta and sandwiches. Burger Circus, a typical American diner, is decorated in a carriage theme, with a menu that provides everything you could hope from this kind of place. Think burgers, wings and milkshakes.
If you’re in the mood for something a little spicier, check out Jashan – an impeccably presented restaurant, serving award-winning Indian cuisine (they’re mentioned in the Michelin guide) since 2003. North Africa is well represented by Egyptian eatery The Nile, with excellent dishes on offer including mezze platters, salads and mixed grills.
Ending this level the way we did the last, Scottish craft beer producer Brewdog supplies some of the world’s best ales including the fresh and hoppy Punk IPA. A must visit for any self-respecting beer connoisseur.
Level 3 Shelley – Staunton – Old Bailey – Elgin
We’ve reached the last level of the escalator. Staunton Street is host to many outstanding restaurants including Posto Pubblico, a stylish Italian chain with authentic pizza and pasta, along with a truly excellent tiramisu on the menu. Just across the street, you’ll find the cosy Bouchon Bistro Francais. The classic French decor (close your eyes and imagine a French bistro – that’s this place) makes this the perfect place to get your steak frites.
Staying on Staunton Street and the Southern European theme, Iberico and Co. provides a range of tapas including jamon serrano, croquetas and for those with a sweet tooth, delicious chocolatey churros. Prices are reasonable and they have regular promotions for bargain hunters. Santorini Greek Restaurant is a short trip up the escalator. The real highlight here is the fish of the day, which is freshly caught and prepared. Typical Greek fare such as Moussaka and baklava completes the menu.
Of course, you don’t have to go all the way to the Mediterranean for exceptional food. For something closer to home, try Elgin Szechuan. This unpretentious restaurant has quietly built up a reputation for serving tasty Chinese cuisine.
Our last stop is, and you may have noticed a pattern emerging here, a beer drinking place. Craft brew Co. eschews mass-produced lagers in favour of micro-produced craft ales, offers tasting sessions and also serves artisan beer drinking snacks.
Thank you for joining us on our celebration of the escalator!