Jun 24, 2010|
For 20 years, HK Magazine’s advice columnist Mr. Know-It-All has been uncovering Hong Kong’s secrets for his readers, helping to solve their urban conundrums. From buying plus-size shoes to finding a habitat for a pet lizard, no question is too strange or obscure for the city’s favorite smart aleck.
But there have been a couple of skilled people and secret places so special that not even Mr. Know-It-All himself can bear to share—that is, until now. For the first time ever, we can reveal the contents of Mr. Know-It-All’s Little Black Book, a collection of his most important and valuable contacts.
From super seamstresses, to old-school photo retouching services, these people are all here to give your life that personal touch.
This ain’t your run-of-the-mill alteration shop. Jennifer at T&F won’t just shorten your shirtsleeves—with a quick run of the sewing machine, she can completely reinvigorate your wardrobe, transforming last season’s Dolce & Gabbana skirt into a statement dress, or even your mom’s old sweatshirt into a funky tube top. She can also rework old designer handbags, but no Shenzhen knockoffs, please. Just let Jennifer know what you want and she will make it for you. Sure, it’s a roll of the dice, but she has a huge fanbase and we know she has never failed a customer.
T&F, Shop 9, Basement, Apple Mall, 15-31 Hysan Rd., Causeway Bay, 2882-4284.
Bargain Tailored Shirts
There’s a gazillion tailors in town, but with so many standalones sending their measurements to be made over in Shenzhen, how can you pick one and be assured of good quality? Give online tailor Made in Original a go. Not only does it tailor shirts for just $350-$650, all its tailors are based locally, and best of all, they’ll come to your home or office to take measurements. They’ll bring more than 500 types of fabric and buttons with them for you to choose from. Orders take about a week to finish.
Made in Original, 3751-6921, www.madeinoriginal.com.
Up on Wing Lee Street you’ll find Mr. Yip’s silversmith shop. It’s been standing there for almost 50 years, and the little store has crafted handmade silver medals and trophies for the Hong Kong Jockey Club for years. Next time you need something wrought in silver (never know when you might need a plaque!), go find Mr. Yip.
Mr. Yip’s shop, corner of Wing Lee and Shing Wong Streets, Sheung Wan.
The Ultimate Costume Store
Yeah yeah, so everyone knows that you can get overpriced costumes on Pottinger Street, but the real mecca for fancy dress fans is Choi Chi in Mong Kok. It stocks absolutely everything you can imagine, and in every color too, from wigs and gloves to Hawaiian skirts and even a full manga character costume. Looking for a Michael Jackson or Gaga outfit? It’ll be here. Oh, and it’s dirt-cheap too.
Choi Chi, 13 Tung Choi St. (Ladies St.), Mong Kok, 2770-2868.
Lomography (photography using basic retro cameras and film) is a huge hobby in Hong Kong, but most run-of-the-mill instant photo developers have no idea how to process the photos for a truly spectacular result. For the best lomography photo developing in town, pay a visit to Golden-Photo, a tiny shop in Mong Kok that knows how to play with colors and treatments to help you get the results you want. Need a camera first? Visit Lomography Asia (2 Po Yan St., Sheung Wan, 2915-2205, www.lomographyasia.com).
Golden-Photo, 57 Sai Yee St., Mong Kok, 2783-7087.
Make your life run a little smoother with the help of your support crew.
If like me you’re stiff and aching from a long day’s sleuthing, then pick up the phone and call a YWCA-trained masseuse for a home visit. The program offers foot massage at just $128, or an hour’s head, neck and shoulder massage for $140. All the therapists have been trained through the government’s employee retraining scheme, so you’ll be helping out the local community too.
YWCA Healthcare Massage Integrated Service, 2246-6433. Registration is required prior to booking the service the first time.
There’s nothing more annoying than being stranded with a dead phone when you’re out in the middle of town. Sure, some 7-Elevens offer a battery charging service for a small fee, but if you go to Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui, the friendly concierge will help you charge your phone for free. They use a charging pad, so no need for the right plug. It takes 30 minutes, meaning you have a spare half-hour to shop while you wait. Harbour City, 5 Canton Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2118-8601.
Pick Your Bra
Ladies, if you’re sick of your badly-fitting bras, then pay a visit to “Dr. Bra” Mrs. Choi. She is famous for her ability to exactly measure women’s bodies and sell them bras which will fit perfectly, providing lift and support in all the right places.
Dr. Bra, Shop 33A, Basement, President Shopping Centre, Causeway Bay, 2833-0188.
Next time something breaks, rather than throwing it out, why not take it to one of these fix-anything repairmen?
Designer Bags and Leather Goods
Best Skill aren’t shy about their abilities to mend just about anything—so long as it’s made with leather, that is. Best Skill originally started out as a locksmith before branching into repair work. Proprietors Mr. And Mrs. Hui are so good that even designer boutiques ask them to mend their expensive stuff. “It’s a bit stressful sometimes,” the couple admits.
Best Skill, Flat B, 1/F, 1-2 Canal Rd. East, Causeway Bay, 3156-1483.
Sick of slipping and sliding down Hong Kong’s steep slopes on a night out? Here’s a secret: along the little shoe repair shops off Pedder Street (right by Shanghai Tang’s side entrance), you’ll find Chan Fu Kee. It offers rubber soles for your skyscraper heels to provide extra support and help you grip better when roaming around town.
Chan Fu Kee, Shop 6, alley next to Pedder St., Central, 9216-3870.
Umbrellas are crucial for surviving Hong Kong’s downpours, but they often break after a particularly heavy shower. Get your beloved brolly mended by Mr. Ho, who runs an umbrella making and repair shop in a tin stall right at the top of Peel Street.
72 Peel St., Central, 2778-4306.
Mr. Li is one of the city’s last knife sharpeners. He roves Hong Kong Island every day, from Hollywood Road to Causeway Bay, sharpening knives for just $20 each.
Mr. Li, 9572-0322.
If your thermos has a crack, then pay a visit to the Shuiwu Hospital, where Mr. Wong will lovingly restore your old hot and cold drinks container to its former glory. The store has been running for more than 50 years, and is famous for its gigantic thermos outside, which Wong’s family used to store water during the 1960s water rations.
2 Ki Lung St., Prince Edward, 2394-2444.
See also: Mr. Know-It-All's Big Red Book