Local traditions and culture in Hong Kong

  • One of the races.
    One of the races.
    by IreneMcKay
  • One of the races.
    One of the races.
    by IreneMcKay
  • Monument for a horse.
    Monument for a horse.
    by IreneMcKay

Most Viewed Local Customs in Hong Kong

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    Hong Kong Dollar

    by SLLiew Updated Oct 5, 2006

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    It is interesting to note that 3 different banks issued the Hong Kong currency - China Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Hong Kong Shanghai Bank each with their own design.

    Hong Kong Dollar has been pegged to the US dollar.
    HKD 7.8 = USD 1

    Coins: 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, $1, $2, $5, $10

    Banknotes: Freq. used $10, $20, $50, $100, $500
    Rarely used $1000

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    Big Bowl Feast

    by gloopgloop Updated Sep 22, 2006

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    "Poon Choi" or "Big Bowl Feast" - a type of food served in metal basins, this feast has become so popular that many people visit the New Territories specifically to try this age-old delicacy. Used to be wooded basins but changed to metal basins for health reasons.

    Poon Choi often includes pork, beef, lamb, chicken, duck, abalone, ginseng, shark's fin, fish maw, prawn, crab, dried mushroom, fish ball, squid, dried eel, dried shrimp, pig skin, bean curd sticks and radish. The ingredients vary village to village.

    Once cooked the ingredients are layered in a basin, with ingredients that can absorb sauces such as radish, dried eel, dried shrimp, pig skin and bean curd on the bottom. Braised pork is placed in the middle layer while traditional village delicacies such as chicken, duck, fish and prawn are left till last.

    Poon Choi is normally eaten layer by layer instead of "stirring everything up", but those who cannot wait will often choose to pick up the juicy radish at the bottom first using shared chopsticks.

    Formerly a dish exclusive to villages and served only during religious rituals, festivals, special occasions and wedding banquets, Poon Choi can now be enjoyed at many restaurants in the autumn and winter or on special occasions throughout the year.

    I personally prefer the village version as restaurants don't have the village atmosphere.

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    Watch your hands

    by gloopgloop Written Sep 5, 2006

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    Always hand a piece of paper to somebody using both hands. This shows respect. This especially rings true if the receiver is somebody important.

    You will notice that Hong Kong Chinese always hand business cards with two hands (coupled with a slight lowering of the head). If you use one hand, you will be considered rude.

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    Gift Giving

    by gloopgloop Written Sep 5, 2006

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    It's good manners when visiting people to bring some sort of gift, such as flowers or chocolates, especially if you've been invited for a meal. Money is generally not appropriate (and indeed would be an insult), but there are times when you are supposed to give money - weddings, funerals and the Chinese Lunar New Year. The money should be given in a red envelope. The equivalent of the hongbao, or red package containing money given at the time of the Chinese spring festival, is called laisee in Hong Kong.

    To complicate matters further, a Chinese person with good manners is supposed to refuse (at least once, maybe twice) any gift you offer. You are supposed to insist. They will then 'reluctantly' accept. To accept a gift too readily is considered greedy and will cause the recipient to lose face. This makes it really hard to know if the person is trying to refuse the gift because they don't want it.

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    Levels of respect in bowing

    by gloopgloop Written Sep 4, 2006

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    There are different levels of respect shown in bowing. For normal circumstances, such as paying respect to ancestors, three bows standing up or on the knees followed by three bows (kowtow) are used. Kowtow is kneeling down and bowing till the head touches the ground. Bowing is done after joss sticks and paper tokens have been set alight and presented.

    On occasions where great respect needs to be shown (i.e. paying homage to a god), "three kneels and nine bows", are called for. The person goes down on their knees in front of the altar, and completes three kowtows, then advances a step forward on their knees to complete another three kowtows followed by the final step forward to complete the last set of three kowtows.

    Related to:
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    Happy Birthday

    by cjg1 Written Mar 4, 2006

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    While I was staying at the Conrad I was surprised to receive a birthday card signed by then entire executive level staff as well as a piece of tiramisu. Thank you to you all.

    PS. I wish you made the bears like in the card. :-))

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  • Sailing in a Sampan

    by Mariajoy Updated Feb 23, 2006

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    Thousands upon thousands of Chinese lived on board their boats, working and raising children and carrying on with their daily lives, doing their washing, cooking, shopping and everything they needed to do, aboard their home. We had the privilege to sail in one of these sampans, where 4 little boys played while their mum skilfully navigated the boat to our destination.

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    Noon Day Gun

    by travelswithsteve Written Dec 20, 2005

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    Sadly a Custom no more since the 1997 handover to the PRC, was the firing of the Noon Day Gun.
    Started originally as a signal by the trading house Jardine Matheson (one of the oldest trading companies in HK and still in existance today) to welcome home their ships.

    After a dissagreement with the then Govenor of HK they were made to fire the cannon at noon every day.

    Located near the Excelsior Hotel.

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    A Hong Kong wedding!

    by idy Updated Dec 1, 2005

    We chanced upon a wedding couple while we were having a go at the swings in a quiet neighbourhood playground in Tai O village on Lantau Island.

    As is typical of a Chinese wedding, the bride is dressed a in bright red gown (red is an auspicious colour to bring good fortune and happiness), while the groom is wearing a western-style suit. One of the bridesmaids carry a red umbrella with which to shield the bride.

    The wedding party arrives at the groom's parent's home in a procession of bridal cars (decorated with ribbons) carrying the bridesmaids, the groomsmen and the photographer and videographer. In certain cases, the bride's parents come along too. They bear a variety of gifts, most likely including a fruit basket and a roasted piglet.

    A wedding couple at Tai O village, Lantau Island

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    Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy

    by bryINpoland Written Sep 30, 2005

    The Kuan Yin statue at Repulse Bay, has to be one of the most photographed statues of all the statues at Repulse Bay. Kuan Yin is most widely known as the Goddess of Mercy in China, and ussually depicted as a beautiful white robed woman. You can find her statue at many harbours throughout China, for fisherman often pray to her.

    My Goddess of Love, Nadine infront of Kuan Yin
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
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    Bamboo Scaffolding

    by CandS Updated Aug 7, 2005

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    We saw a very funny thing in Hong Kong...the bamboo scaffolding... To me it doesn't look very safe but I'm sure it is... :)

    I still think you should be a little careful when walking near by...keep an eye on what's going on up above...those bamboo sticks could be very dangerous!

    Bamboo Scaffolding
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Architecture

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    About Yum Cha

    by mashimashi Written Jul 27, 2005

    You might come across "Yum Cha" this term in many books or foreign visitors.

    Yum = Drink
    Cha = Tea

    In the place where we Yum Cha, they have dim sum provided. I will recommend you try once at least in Hong Kong, at resturant like Maxim.

    But it is not true that we have to Yum Cha everyday as breakfast. Those who can afford to Yum Cha daily are elderly people or retired people. And most Hong Kong (younger generation) will prefer sleep till noon on weekends, then the Yum Cha time will pass.

    I think I only Yum Cha once per month or two months. I don't like line up for table for 45 minutes.

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    Keep smiling / keep attitude

    by Vita500 Written Jun 17, 2005

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    One of the worst things for Asians to happen is loosing face in front of other people.
    Therefore, always try to keep attitude and smiling. Don't try to force your opinion onto someone.

    People are also much more polite and at your service if you treat them with respect and you might find it easier to get what you were looking for at the end!!!

    Keep smiling!

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    Piles of People

    by Gage17 Updated Apr 25, 2005

    Hong Kong is an incredibly crowded place. I could not get over how many people packed the sidewalks at all hours of the day. It was not oppressive (like the heat), but it was something I was conscious of daily.

    The masses at midnight in Mongkok

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  • yeah_baby's Profile Photo

    A day spent in Hong Kong is a...

    by yeah_baby Updated Mar 28, 2005

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    A day spent in Hong Kong is a lifetime spent anywhere else in the world. There is so much to see and do in Hong Kong and there are numerous tours that offer a wide variety of sightseeing and shopping experiences to suit everyone. The question is not what is there but what do you feel like?

    An adventure to remote islands with century-old Chinese traditions, a breathtaking hike over rolling green hills to stunning white beaches, a trek to charming Chinese fishing villages or a fascinating city tour of art, history and modern museums.

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