Thursday, 20 March 2014

Shopping for Kawaii in Hong Kong

Shopping and Hong Kong are synonymous but how many people do you know who equate shopping for kawaii with Hong Kong?  Its no secret that after Japan, Hong Kong scores as the best place to shop for kawaii. Besides, the prices promise you more 'cuteness' for the buck. Here's what I found.

Let's start with Bento boxes. These moulds can transform the five essential food groups into little morsels of yummy cuteness.
Little animal themed containers, a little surprise in each one.
Food picks, irresistible aren't they? I resisted and I regret now.
All these bento box essentials and more can be bought at City Super's four locations in Central, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Shatin.
If the culinary arts and kawaii are your thing then head to Yau Ma Tei in Kowloon to browse the wholesale crockery and cutlery shops. Great place to buy that long yearned for Hello Kitty cake pan, bamboo picks topped with little wooden hearts and smiley faces and cute chocolate fondue sets in bright happy colours which only requires a tea light to keep the chocolate warm and molten. You can also stock up on cupcake cases and doilies which are sold in large wholesale packs.

Sham Shui Po which is haberdashery heaven and needless to say a treasure trove of kawaii. I spent half a day in a quandary trying to make up my mind about what not to buy. I couldn't resist tiny centimetre and a half maneki neko bells which make adorable cellphone charms and miniature wooden clothes pegs with tiny wooden ladybirds stuck on them. There are ribbons, buttons, sew on patches,beads of different sizes and shapes and an array of fabrics.
Visit Sasa, a chain of cosmetic stores where I saw the most amazing range of Dolly Wink false eyelashes and if its kawaii and cosmetics you seek Sasa won't disappoint.
The 7 Eleven chain in Hong Kong celebrated the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty with a special 'Hello Party' themed edition of thirty collectable toy editions of Hello Kitty and her friends. Hello Kitty and her friends are dressed up as popular fairytale characters and aristocrats. Hello Kitty is a princess, Dear Daniel a prince, Kerookerokeroppi as a bishop. HK$ 20 spent at any 7 Eleven got you a special bonus sticker.You had to collect 16 special bonus stickers or 6 stickers and HK$ 20 in order to redeem a collectable toy. I managed to acquire Patty and Jimmy dressed up as guards and I've left instructions with my nephew to collect bonus stickers for any future kawaii promotions.
Hong Kong's Octopus Card Company has had launches of their cards in conjunction with Hello Kitty products in the past. You might want to check if there is a promotion running when you visit Hong Kong, after all you may need to buy yourself an Octopus card to get around.  
McDonalds is another good place to garner yourself some kawaii merchandise.

Sanrio has multiple stores in Hong Kong for Hello Kitty products and San-X's Rilakkuma is equally popular.
Kawaii extends to food as well. There is a Hello Kitty Le Petit Cafe  in the SOGO store in Causeway Bay. The cute horse themed mochi in the picture above were photographed in City Super. Look out for kawaii themed food and beverages in the little bakeries and cafes that dot the city.

Two other must visit locations are Stanley Market in Stanley and Fa Yeun Street in Central. There's Fa Yeun Street East and West which are alleyways between huge office towers. The small stalls and shops sell inexpensive souvenirs, knick knacks, clothing and accessories.I had a modest collection of kawaii after a morning of shopping at Elegant Tang Dynasty on Fa Yeun Street.

Kawaii is serious business and I've barely scratched the surface in this post. I've decided when I get a chance to visit Japan, the mothership of all things kawaii, it will be dedicated to the aquisition of unique kawaii merchandise.
I'm keeping in touch with the world of kawaii through vlogs on YouTube and blogs which are dedicated to the pursuit and purchase of kawaii. I'm creating a list and on it are squishies and Re-Ment boxes and the elusive Konapun kits. The list will grow as I delve into this sub culture of all things cute.  

If you shop on line I would appreciate it if you would click on the Amazon link here or the Flipkart link here to browse and make your purchases.
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