If you are thinking of finding new skills while getting to understand Hong Kong culture through a local lens, you can find a variety of workshops across the city. These workshops include baking your own Hong Kong-style pastries, mahjong, Tai Chi martial arts, and other various Chinese cultural activities. As opposed to recurring classes, workshops are usually a one-time learning experience where you get the opportunity of hands-on experience and guidance to practice a particular skill. Here are eight workshops where you can deep-dive into Hong Kong’s cultural traditions and embrace your inner child’s passion to express your creativity.

Chinese Calligraphy/Ink Painting

man painting a chinese fan with traditional calligraphy
Traditional fan ink painting (© Gauthier Delecroix — Flickr)

Chinese calligraphy is an activity of using ink on a brush to write Chinese characters in an artistic form. This method is an important expression to show appreciation to traditional Chinese culture, art, and history. There are a total of five major styles of Chinese Calligraphy, such as Zuan, Li, Tsao, Hsin, and Kai. These styles have evolved and branched off in time. A great way to learn is the Spring Festival couplets, which is a common form of Chinese calligraphy. During the new year, people write couplets to express blessings and wishes for the new year. Chinese ink paintings use a similar concept to calligraphy, but the paintings depict mountains, flowers, animals, and architecture. Check out the below workshop to learn Chinese Calligraphy and Ink Painting.

Art Connect and Communication

Introduction to Wood-Fired Pottery 

tung yao ceramics hong kong storefront
© Tung Yao Ceramics

Wood-fired clay is a unique form of pottery art. Clay was a significant material to use for buildings and crafting containers for food and drink storage in ancient times. In the modern world, Chinese ceramics is now a form of art to show as a decoration instead of for its traditional uses. Many people will decorate their ceramics with traditional art forms or wherever their creativity leads. Wood firing is an ancient method of firing clay (i.e. heating the clay to make it hard) that involves burning wood in a kiln and allowing the resulting ashes to fall on the surface of the clay, creating an ash glaze. The workshops are designed with different levels: the beginner course covers the throwing technique, which is the use of a pottery wheel to shape the ceramics. There are other options where students can learn more about mastering the turning wheel and the final glazing. Students will have their own time to practice ceramics skills and have the option to decide if they want to fire the finished product at the end of the workshop with additional fees. 

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Tung Yao Ceramics

  • Address: No. 4 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan
  • The standard workshop is the throwing trial class, priced at HKD$420. There are other course options available which can be booked on the official website.
  • Website: https://www.tungyaoceramics.com/workshop

Introduction to Chinese Cuisine Cooking

xiao long bao in large dim sum basket
Learn how to make these delicate xiao long bao from Martha (© Martha Sherpa’s Cooking Class)

Traditional Chinese food is best described as delicate, crafty, and flavorful. If you love dim sum or Cantonese roast and would love to learn how to cook, you can learn with a professional chef in Martha Sherpa’s Cooking Class. You will experience cooking stirfry with an authentic Chinese wok by making steamed buns, dumplings, siu mai, Chinese roast, vegetarian food, and Thai cuisine. While the class is currently suspended due to COVID-19 safety concerns, this workshop is definitely a must-check out when it resumes.

Chinese Culinary Institute – Martha Sherpa’s Cooking Class

Traditional Pastry Baking: Egg Tart, Wife Biscuit, and Milky Mooncake

snowy green mooncake with gold leaf
Milky or snowy mooncake are filled with sweet custard and served cold (© Scribbling Geek — Pixabay)

Local traditional snack pastries have been the legacy of Hong Kong food culture. They are the famous icons of Hong Kong and known as a must-try delicacy. From the crunchy shell of an egg tart with pudding-like egg filling to the soft baked crust of a flaky wife biscuit, to a snowy mooncake filled with custard that is a great Mid-Autumn festival treat, you can learn to bake your own traditional snacks in a workshop and bring these skills home. The best part is you can take away the finished product with you to enjoy. The workshop will provide ingredients, digital recipes, and support by working with baking ambassadors. 

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Bake Your Own

Chinese Tea Tasting and Dim Sum Pairing

chinese tea ceremony
© David Bote Estrada — Flickr

Tea is a traditional drink in Chinese cuisine, especially with the yum cha culture in Hong Kong. If you want to learn more about the flavor of tea and what tea is best to pair with dim sum, you will love the tea tasting and dim sum pairing workshop at Ming Cha Teahouse. You can enjoy four kinds of tea, each paired with a dim sum and steamed rice dish with toppings freshly made by a local chef. You get to practice using chopsticks and learn the customs of yum cha

Ming Cha Teahouse

Mahjong Class for Beginners 

four pairs of hands playing mahjong
© LazarCatt — Pixabay

Mahjong is a Chinese national treasure. It is a brain teaser game with numbers and symbols that test for skills and luck. It also can involve gambling, depending on how people play. Mahjong helps to enhance skills such as  probability thinking, problem-solving, and patience. It is an activity with a minimum of four and a maximum of six players that is great for gathering, chatting and enjoying time together. Playing Mahjong has been known to be a great benefit to those looking to increase critical thinking and even help prevent Alzheimer’s according to a research article published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

See also
The Cultural Guide To Mid-Autumn Festival, When We Worship The Largest Full Moon Of The Year

Humid with a Chance of Fishballs

  • Location: Guests pick the location, usually their residence.
  • Class length is a total of 5 hours, which will be separated into two sessions of 2 ½ hours by appointment. For pricing and time availability, please contact the workshop facilitator at +852 3916 7664.
  • Website: https://humidwithachanceoffishballs.com/mahjong-course/

Crafting Origami Paper Lamps 

various colors origami paper
© allochka22ru — Flickr

Do you enjoy the patience and meticulousness of paper art? Origami paper lamps are one of the many craft paper art forms you can use to decorate your home. Originating from Japan and now with a blossoming culture unique to Hong Kong, origami is the art of paper-folding and creating sculptures as an end result. These decorative lamps can pop up and have a unique glow. This workshop hosted by HappiKami is beginner-friendly and attendees can keep their finished work. 

HappiKami Workshop

Traditional Chen Style Tai Chi Lesson 

chen zhenglei demonstrating chen style tai chi
Grand Master Chen Zhenglei, a 19th generation descendant of the Chen family (© pcdazero — Pixabay)

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art form that is commonly used as defensive training or as relaxation. Tai Chi believes in the concept of yin and yang, as the balance of bad and good. It is a relaxing breathing exercise to help find your inner peace and to strengthen your overall mental and physical wellbeing. Tai Chi can help to improve your balance, flexibility, focus, and self-confidence. It also helps build strength for your legs and cardiovascular endurance.

Chen Style Tai Chi Institute

  • Address: Room No. 5 on 11/F, 135 Bonham Strand Trade Centre, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
  • Price: The starting price is four classes a month for HKD$1500. There are also different prices for longer courses such as 12 months, 24 months and 48 months.
  • Website: https://www.taichielite.com/eng/course.php?page=course1_2

Food, art and entertainment are the center of Hong Kong culture and living. These workshops are a glimpse of the variety of cultural learning experiences available to help you appreciate Hong Kong deeply. Indeed, enjoying a cultural workshop at your convenience is a great way to pick up a new skill or test your boundaries.

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Angela studied Culinary Art & Food Service Management and had lived in the United States for several years. She has traveled to several countries and experienced their unique cultures of food and life. Having grown up with a passion for food she seeks to try any specialty food wherever she goes. You can learn more about her journey on her website.

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