Exploring Hong Kong and London through art and food

Elvina Chan, White Cube gallery, Hong Kong – Roomorama blog


Elvina Chan works at the White Cube gallery in Hong Kong. Before moving back to Hong Kong, she lived in London for 13 years. She shares with us her journey through the two cities closest to her heart.

What kind of traveler are you?

I would say that I am a laid back traveller with no fixed itinerary but I am a curious person who likes to explore. I am also always up for learning more about local traditions and cultures.

What is your favourite destination to date and why?

It's hard for me to pick a favourite. However, I do love Tokyo for its food and Boracay for the white sand beaches.

Can you tell us where and what to eat there?

I am obsessed with ramen, so when I am in Tokyo, I make sure that I eat it everyday. I really like Mutekiya in Ikebukuro.

In Boracay, I like the grilled pineapple at Hawaiian BBQ. So juicy!


Pictured above: Mutekiya (credit: teerapat)

You've lived in both Hong Kong and London - what are some of your favourite galleries to visit in each city?

White Cube in both Hong Kong and London. The Hong Kong space has two floors and an excellent book shop. The Bermondsey space in London is almost like a museum with different gallery spaces, an auditorium and exhibition programmes.

White Cube in London Pictured above: White Cube in London (credit: Jay Jopling)

I'm sure you travel to different art fairs around the world - which are your favourites so far, and why?

Art Basel Hong Kong is a very exciting fair with big international galleries but they also have sections that focus on local and regional artists. The fair brings in collectors and gallerists from all over the world, and there are so many events that happen every night of the week! There is also an Absolut Pop-up Bar that is designed by different local artists every year and it is always packed with a fun crowd.

Art Basel Hong Kong Pictured above: Art Basel Hong Kong (credit: ARNDT)

What's your strategy to find sanity in art fair madness?

I am an old school girl at heart, so I make sure that I have my moleskin diary with me everywhere I go. A portable charger is also a must for my phone as the battery dies quickly especially during the art fairs.

What is the difference between the art scene in Hong Kong and London, and how can a visitor to each city get a good sense of the scene in each place?

It's so different! London has lots of great art museums and it has more than 200 commercial galleries in the city. There are the more established ones with well known artists and there are also small independent ones with just a few young artists. The art scene in London is very vibrant and dynamic, there is just so much to see and to be discovered.

Hong Kong is fairly new to the international art scene. However, with Art Basel Hong Kong and overseas galleries setting up spaces in Hong Kong, it has so much potential to grow.

The galleries in Hong Kong are all very close to each other. I always recommend my visitor friends to spend a morning gallery hopping in Central, then take the escalators up to SoHo for lunch. After lunch, you can visit the smaller local galleries on Hollywood Road and explore NoHo in the afternoon.

What is something unique you do in each city that you can't do in the other?

In Hong Kong I love the fact that there are so many excellent hiking trails. A good hike really recharges me and clears up my mind.

I miss the beautiful parks in London. Especially Kensington Gardens where you can go to the lido for a swim in the summer and then spend an afternoon looking at art pieces in the excellent Serpentine gallery. Everything I want is all in one park!

What is your favourite brunch place in each city?

In Hong Kong I like to take my dog KK with me to Cafe Deadend for brunch. Hong Kong is not really a pet friendly place and the options are also quite limited but Cafe Deadend is one of the best bruch places in the NoHo area.

Whenever I am in London, I like to go to the Electric on Portobello Road. Their steak sandwiches and Bloody Mary are simply the best.

Electric Pictured above: Electric (credit: Electric Diner)

What are your favourite bars in each city?

My favourite bar in Hong Kong is probably 001. It's a 'secret bar' hidden in a wet market in Central, you just have to go and find that black door!

In London, I like to go to Sketch for a casual drink with my girlfriends. The interior there is so fun!

001 Pictured above: 001 (credit: Yi Li Dawson)

What are some of your must do's when you travel?

I am a big foodie, so I make sure I try the local food. Also, I like to wander around local markets if I can.

I also make sure that I check out at least one or two museums and galleries in each city.

What are your 5 travel essentials?

  • Yogi tea bags
  • Medicine pouch
  • Adaptor
  • Mints
  • Eyedrops

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