Travel Diary | For Jade Lai, of Creatures of Comfort, a Relaxed Hong Kong Homecoming
“Most people, when they talk about Hong Kong, they’re like, ‘Oh, the parties, the bars, the shopping,’” says Jade Lai (top row, center), the Hong Kong-raised owner of Creatures of Comfort — a boutique with locations in New York and Los Angeles — and the designer of its in-house clothing and accessories line. “That’s all nice, but for me it’s about spending time with family — hiking, going to the beach, food.”
“大多数人谈起香港时会说，‘哦，派对、酒吧、买东西，’”在香港长大的杰德·黎（Jade Lai，上排中）说。她是Creatures of Comfort的老板——这家服装精品店在纽约和洛杉矶有店铺——也是这家店自己的服装和配饰系列的设计师。“那些都蛮好的，但是对我来说，香港是和家人共度时光的地方——远足，去海滩，享用美食。”
A memorable day out during Jade Lai's trip to Hong Kong, clockwise from top left: Lai's niece Meg on the family boat; Lai exploring Kau Sai Fisherman Village; a view of the Shek O hills; fresh-caught shrimp; a sign welcoming Lai's family to the village; Cantonese-style whole crab.
Lai’s recent 10-day escape to the city included all of those things, and she was often in the company of her father, brothers, nieces and nephews (a niece, Meg, is pictured above at left). One highlight was a jaunt on her father’s boat to the island of Kau Sai Chau and its small fishing village. The Lais ate at a small storefront run by an elderly couple. “You can call in ahead of time and say you want seafood, and the man will go out and catch it himself,” says Lai, whose lunch that day featured shrimp (bottom right) and crab (bottom left, pictured next to a Peruvian hat she’s thinking about reproducing). Her favorite hiking and sunning spot? Shek O (top right), a verdant peninsula extending from the southeastern part of Hong Kong Island. “There are beaches and hills, and you can walk up and get a great view of the ocean,” she says.
Below, Lai shares a handful of other Hong Kong highlights.
“Close to my dad’s house, there’s a park area and this area called the Bird Market. These stores open at 5 a.m. and all the old men bring their birdcages and hang out. The birds sing to each other. You can buy birds, cages, crickets and all this weird stuff. My dad doesn’t have any birds, but he has this wooden box with a cricket inside that he carries with him when he travels, to have the sound of crickets nearby.”
“The Australia Dairy Company is this very old-school Hong Kong diner. You can get macaroni in soup with a piece of ham, or toast with condensed milk, or scrambled eggs. The famous Hong Kong drink is a duet, which is half instant coffee, half Lipton tea, mixed together with a lot of condensed milk. I like the aesthetic of this place — it’s very Wong Kar-wai.”
“澳洲牛奶公司(Australia Dairy Company)是个非常老式的香港小餐馆。你可以点带一片火腿的汤通心粉，配炼乳的烤面包，或者炒蛋。还有那种二合一的香港名饮——一半是速溶咖啡，一半是立顿茶，混合在一起，加入很多炼乳。我喜欢这个地方的审美——很有王家卫电影的感觉。”
“This area called Sheung Wan has a lot of old pharmacies that sell dried seafood for medicinal use — you can get dried lizard and starfish and stuff, and supposedly you go and make it into a soup and drink it. I’ve never done that before. But I get dried scallops and stuff for congee.”