spotlight on hong kong | jessica baird walsh.
Name: Jessica Baird Walsh
Star sign: Gemini
Hometown: I’m originally from a beautiful farm near Coffs Harbour (and part of my heart will always be there), but these days I think of Sydney as home.
How long have you lived in HK? Almost three years.
What brought you here? My husband’s job; however Hong Kong is proving to be an incredible place for me as I work on launching my own business. The energy and vibrancy of the city is extremely motivating, and it’s full of inspiring entrepreneurs. Add to that the proximity to suppliers and Hong Kong’s central location and you have a pretty interesting mix for someone starting their own business.
Describe yourself in 3 words or less: Happy, lucky, grateful.
What gets you out of bed each day? Usually my children, and usually at a pretty unsociable hour! Once I am up however, there is plenty to keep me busy. When I’m not working or hanging out with my gorgeous girls I love exploring the city or getting out on the hiking trails. For me fitness is crucial to stay sane in such a busy town, and I’m so thankful to have easy access to amazing walks and runs.
When you have visitors in town, how do you show off your new city? We regularly have family or friends in town and for us it’s all about exploring the food side of the city. There is no shortage of high-end dining options, but I find traditional fine-dining pretty boring. I like to mix it up and take people to places that are a little unique. Tung Po in North Point is a favorite for great Chinese. It’s on the top floor of the local wet market so super low-key and a very authentic experience. Yard Bird is always excellent, and the KFC (Korean Fried Cauliflower) dish there is something you’ll never forget. China Club is fun if you can get a booking. For a special occasion Bibo is outstanding. There are always new places opening – Chino in Kennedy Town is a new favorite and Mrs Pound is the next on our list to try.
To offset the food we like to take our guests hiking if they are up for it. It’s a side of Hong Kong most people have no idea even exists.
Where can we find the best coffee? I don’t touch the black stuff but I love to drink tea. I really like Café Deadend on Po Hing Fong – it’s a chic little oasis.
Favorite place for dim sum? City Hall is a family favorite and something of a ritual for us on Sunday mornings. It’s one of the last places in the city that still serves dim sum from trolleys. The Lei Garden chain does dim sum very, very well….and everyone should try the baked pork buns from Tim Ho Wan once in their life.
Best drink with a view? It’s no hidden gem but I love Café Grey Deluxe at the top of the Upper House. Killer cocktails, great view and central location. Favorite bar without a view is currently Ping Pong.
Any shopping secrets you can share? The best fashion finds, if you have time to look, can often be found in cut-label stores across the city - Buttonhole and Betty Blue in Soho are my favorites – but you often have to sift through a lot of polyester before you spot a gem so this is not for the faint hearted.
Hong Kong rents mean that independent boutiques don’t usually thrive. Shopping for clothes can be hard because there is not that much between Zara and Prada. Of the high street brands, COS has been a welcome addition.
The PMQ development which opened earlier this year is really unique for Hong Kong. It has given a lot of independent designers and retailers a platform they would otherwise never have been able to afford.
Sheung Wan, Wan Chai (Star and Moon Streets) and Aberdeen Streets are my favorite areas for browsing.
If you work in fashion, are crafty or really appreciate fabrics, Sham Shui Po is an amazing experience.
Who is inspiring you right now? I love talking to other entrepreneurs about their businesses and journeys, and am often humbled and inspired by how helpful they are and how much they are willing to share. I'm really lucky to have a lot of interesting, creative and driven people in my life - in the best possible way it motivates me to make the most out of every day.
And what is on your stereo? I wish I could say it was something cool or interesting, but the last few weeks have been all about Christmas music with my children. Plus, everyone who knows me well would agree that I have a pretty sad music collection and that my taste is terrible. Thank god for Spotify!
Words you live by... There's no one sentence that sums it up, but I try to be kind, loving, compassionate, loyal, respectful and work hard.
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