There are days in Hong Kong when you thank your lucky stars for covered pedestrian walkways to shield you from the rain, and air conditioned everything to cool off your sticky mess of a shirt. But there are also plenty of times throughout the year when the weather is in that superb state of sunny and dry – and that’s when a lovely picnic is in order! We’re blessed with plenty of green open spaces and beaches, just the spots for laying out the ol’ blanket for an al fresco feast. Next time you plan a picnic, leave the basket at home and let someone else do the packing for you. From fresh boxed salads to luxurious wicker hampers, these places sort everything you need for a splendid picnic, Hong Kong-style.
The best of the bunch if you’re looking for a true gourmet picnic, as Invisible Kitchen’s elegant wicker basket (yours to keep) comes stuffed with seven courses courtesy of Executive Chef Tom Burney. Start off with some lovely canapés and savour every little bite right through to dessert (a scrumptious Eton Mess and peppermint chocolate brownies). There’s also just as exquisite vegetarian or family hampers, and they can even throw in a bottle of Champagne for a special meal under the sun. They deliver the baskets directly to you, making picnic planning a breeze.
Cost: Seven course picnic basket $395 per person (minimum four people); seven course picnic basket for two with Champagne $1190; family picnic basket $1220 (for four people)
Unit 08, 24/F, Honour Industrial Building, 6 Sun Yip Street, Siu Sai Wan, 2711 5788
You’ve enjoyed the British fare at Brick Lane’s restaurants throughout the city, so now bring a taste of the UK outdoors with their British-themed picnic baskets. Choose from “Baron”, “Earl” or “Duke” for some classic prawn salad, corned beef sandwiches, scones, plus lots of extras if you’re feeding a crowd (whole roast chicken, kebabs, Caesar salad and more). Vegetarians are not forgotten, and their basket comes with a roasted organic pumpkin salad, delicious finger sandwiches, and like the other baskets, bottled water and wine. Bonus: for those who aren’t equipped with picnic gear, fear not, as all baskets also come with a blanket, crockery and cutlery on loan.
Cost: Baron Basket (for two) $450; Vegetarian Basket (for two) $450; Earl Basket (for four) $590; Duke Basket (for six) $980; extra bites start at $35
Admiralty – 4/F, CITIC Tower, 1 Tim Mei Avenue, 2363 2500; Causeway Bay – G/F, Lee Garden Six, 2736 8893; Tsim Sha Tsui – G/F, 17-23 Minden Avenue, Kowloon, 2721 0628
One of the originals for helping us stock our shelves at home with beloved products from abroad, you can also rely on Oliver’s for helping you plan the perfect picnic. Their baskets are made to order and start at $190, while food hampers range in price depending on how much you want to put in there – fruit, deli meats, cheese, salads, wine and sweets. Just choose away and they’ll pack it all in a basket for you.
Cost: Baskets start at $190
201-205, 231-237 & 250, 2/F, Landmark Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central, 2810 7710
Nothing but quality goods from Feather & Bone, whether you’re popping into their deli, restaurant or getting a luxurious food hamper to go. Their build-your-own baskets contain all the premium cuts of hand-sliced meat you’re used to from the team behind “Three Butchers”, along with market-fresh fruits and vegetables, olives, organic salads, freshly-baked baguettes, sparkling cider and fine cheese. Break out the fancy cutlery for this picnic, because it’s no plastic plate affair.
Cost: Baskets start at $550
Shop 1, G/F Bohemian House, 321 Des Vouex Road West, Sai Ying Pun, 3705 0280
Pomegranate should be on your speed dial for those times when you just don’t want to cook (they do great private dining and catering), and this applies to planning a picnic too. The bespoke service allows you to drum up the ideal basket of goodies for a wonderful day of munching away on the grass, with Mediterranean eats like babaganoush and hummus for dipping, fresh herb salads and sumptuous mains to stuff yourself silly.
Cost: A la carte bites start at $18 per piece to build your own basket
4B, Sing Tech Factory Building, 44 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, 2580 0663
A casual picnic in the park calls for something easy and convenient to tote – enter FOODBOX. It doesn’t get easier than their little boxes of healthy treats tailored to your tastes. Their sandwich sets offer an excellent selection of your favourite fixings between two slices of bread (smoked salmon, avocado and cheese, pulled pork, roasted turkey to name a few) and are paired with soup or a mini green salad. Then there’s the salad sets, served also with a soup and dressing on the side, or you can have your choice of dressing tossed into fresh greens and vegetables – the beetroot and chickpea salad is a firm favourite, but we also love the ahi tuna or papaya chicken set.
Cost: Salad sets start at $78; sandwich sets start at $88
Central – MTR Hong Kong Station, Central, 2386-2968; Bonham Strand – 14 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, 2907-1988; Lai Chi Kok – Shop 102, D2 Place ONE, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Kowloon, 2680-9099
Always a good lean-to when we want familiar, comforting food in a relaxed setting, Classified also helps us out when it comes to dining outside. Their gourmet boxes are a great option when you’re getting a group of friends together, as there’s a minimum order of eight (ten if you’re going the bento box route). We love that the cute boxes with a wee handle come equipped for breakfast (with a choice of sandwich, pastry or muffin, yogurt, fresh fruit and juice) as sometimes you just want to wake up and picnic with the early sun. Lunch is also covered (choice of sandwich, salad, cake and small bites, cheese or fresh fruit) and there’s also bento boxes (a selection of small plates, salad, a main and dessert), all nicely packed and starting at a reasonable $100. You may find yourself coming back for non-picnic activities too.
Cost: Breakfast boxes (minimum order of eight) $100 each; lunch boxes (minimum order of eight) $120 each; bento boxes (minimum order of 10) $200 each
Locations in Sheung Wan, Wan Chai, Exchange Square, Stanley, Said Kung, Tai Hang, Happy Valley, New World Tower, Repulse Bay and San Jing Pun (full location details here), 2525 3454
We simply can’t walk by any La Rotisserie location without stopping in for their succulent, dripping-with-juices, tender French rotisserie chicken for takeaway – the aroma always lures us in. So imagine our delight when we learned we could take this goodness with us and our blanket for un pique-nique with one of their individual boxes (including cutlery and napkins) of 1/4 roast chicken, roasted potatoes (which are just as divine as the chicken) and veggies. However, they only cater for large affairs (minimum order of 20 boxes), so it’s a better bet for a junk party or a picnic for those with large social circles. Alternatively, you can get one hot or cold whole roast chicken (with gravy or mayonnaise) in a tray, cut into four or eight pieces and conveniently served with cutlery and napkins to wipe away the wonderful juices.
Cost: Individual boxes (minimum order of 20) $59 each; one hot whole roast chicken and gravy $178; one cold whole roast chicken and mayonnaise $178
Sai Ying Pun- G/F, 71 Third Street, 9791 9047; Sheung Wan – G/F, 33 Hillier Street, 9791 9045; Wan Chai – G/F, 19 Amoy Street, 9791 9051; Quarry Bay – 2-10, 12A -12H Westlands Road, 9791 9054
Not the usual picnic, as the location is chosen for you – namely, Urban Park’s stunning 3,000 square-foot space complete with a gorgeous outdoor terrace covered in greenery. All you have to do is bring your friends, park yourselves down on the classic checkered blanket, and a picnic basket filled with beautifully-presented nibbles will be laid out for you at their “Picnic in the Park”. Kick back and indulge in savouries like gingerbread blinis with Roquefort cream and pepper, red velvet mini cupcakes and double Parisian macarons for dessert, with some sparkling wine for a special weekend afternoon (it only takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from 3.30pm to 5.30 pm).
Cost: $500 for two (plus 10% service charge)
4/F, 20-22 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, 2751 1999, or
If you haven’t already done this, stop admiring your friend’s Facebook photos where they’re dining en plein air in elegant white attire and check it out for yourself. Le Dîner en Blanc takes place in more than 70 cities worldwide, including right here under the skyscrapers of Hong Kong. Or sometimes by the water – you won’t know where you’ll be eating until the last minute, when the secret location is revealed. Once you know, bring your gear, and take note as it’s strict: guests must bring a square folding table and two white chairs, a white picnic basket and/or bag including a gourmet meal for two, a white tablecloth and cloth napkins, cutlery, dishes, glasses and finally, a garbage bag. Don’t panic if you’re not sure how to go about creating a gourmet meal in a white hamper, the Diner en Blanc team do provide catering options if you book well in advance. This “chic picnic” is done on a mass scale, and it’s quite the spectacle, with guests dressed head-to-toe in white, mingling with others on their best behaviour (decorum and etiquette are key) and eventually sitting down for a truly memorable meal.
Cost: $310 + $71 membership fee (per person)
Nancy Matos is a lifestyle and culture writer currently based in Hong Kong and London. She hails from Vancouver, Canada, where picnics mean beach and beer.