Wednesday, 20.8.2014

Six Summer Coolers

The days are heating up, summer is in the air and you know what that means – barbeques, beach trips, junk parties, alfresco dining and plenty of summer-themed cocktails. Here are some of the seasonal concoctions you need to look out for this summer.


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Tradition with a Twist

Go to most dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong and it’s easy to see that little has changed over the past decades. For good or ill, there is little innovation going on within those bamboo steam buckets, and heaven forbid you ask for a bloody mary or mimosa to ease your way into your weekend.


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The Ultimate Private Party

There’s nothing wrong with being selective. You choose your clothing each day with deduction and analysis; you took your job after balancing the pros and cons; and you select who you date based on a predetermined list of attractions – after all isn’t that what instinct really is? Although you like to think you’re as spontaneous as the next guy, and at times you are, the reality is that much of your life is the result of careful consideration.


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A Thoroughly Adult Escape

You might have gone to Bali for “schoolies”, during gap year, or even for an end of university bash with other bright-eyed youths. You probably hired scooters, donned Bintang singlets, brought cheap sarongs and knock off Ray Bans, and hit the bars of Kuta and Legian with the masses, looking to knock boots with virtually anyone willing. But that was an age ago, and now you’re looking for something else from the Island of the Gods.


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Detroit is not a city we readily associate with techno music. We get its car industry; this is where General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are headquartered, after all. With Eminem and Xhibit, we even get its affiliation with rap…let’s just ignore the fact that Detroit also produced Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker. But thanks to Put Your Hands Up For Detroit by Fedde Le Grande, which probably powered your big nights out around 2006 and 2007, it became realistic to mention techno and Detroit in the same breath.


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The Making of an Icon


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Putting the Wow Back into the Bao

It’s true that Hong Kong seems to have only recently discovered the delectable satisfaction of the traditional Taiwanese bao, with a plethora of specialists opening up, and the humble Chinese hamburger being added to menus across town. But as we’ve found with past forays into the biosphere, not everyone has adopted the laid back, blue collar roots of these simple snacks, instead adding a thin veneer of authenticity and a price tag that belongs in the city’s tourist traps.


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When Old is Good

While many of us are obsessed with the latest technology, new fashion trends, emerging destinations, and cutting-edge cuisine, there are also many situations when a few years can make all the difference. Wine ages beautifully, the right car can increase in value with the passing of time, and of course, there are those oh-so-rare The Graduate-esque moments when age and experience opens all sorts of new doors.


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The Pearl of the Spice Islands

Let us paint a picture for you. A gleaming 96ft schooner designed by one of the best naval architects to come out of Holland; a crew of hardened but jovial Indonesian sailors; twin masts and countless billowing sails; and a horizon dotted with yet-to-be-explored tropical isles famed for their spices and lithe locals. Below are some of the world’s deepest oceans, boasting some of the planet’s best and least visited dive sites, and above, an endless blue sky, perfect for clear sailing.


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Eatin’ Meets Lovin’

It’s amazing the effect certain ingredients can have on…well, other, even more pleasurable bodily functions. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew a thing or two, stockpiling a wide spectrum of aphrodisiacs, including oysters, which were the fleshy symbols of respective goddesses Aphrodite and Venus. The ancient Egyptians were fond of mixing pomegranate juice with wine, and some even added opium for a little extra thrust, while in China, a shot of cobra’s blood is still considered as good as Barry White’s greatest hits for setting the mood.


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It’s Time to Bond

There are few ancient traditions as suitable for male bonding as brewing your own beer. Ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Sumerian gentlemen knew a thing or two about male bonding, getting together as far back as the 5th millennium to celebrate the marriage of water, grain, hops, and yeast, and the birth of a sweet, timeless elixir that’s fuelled revolution and celebration ever since. Today, in a modern day homage to the patron goddess of brewing, Ninkasi, the global micro-brewing industry is booming, as craft beer is made and enjoyed by innovative lads from Amsterdam to Auckland and everywhere in between.


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Open Yourself to the Fire

Did you know that Sichuan pepper, a common spice used in Asian cuisine (and also in five-spice powder on your authentic jerk chicken) is not related to either black pepper or chili pepper? It’s a flavour element all of its own; a bold, acquired taste guaranteed to tingle the tongue, numb the lips and increase the circulation.


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Just in Time for Summer

You can probably already feel it; the chill is leaving Hong Kong’s air, the mornings are more bearable, and the evenings positively balmy – the stinking hot months of the Hong Kong summer are almost here again, and that means it’s time for a few important things: al fresco cocktails, tie-free offices, miniskirts by the dozen, and above all, a chance to strut what God gave you on every strip of sand you can find.


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Find Your Breaking Point

Of all the recreational sports that captivate the imagination, few have the cult following of surfing. Not only does the sport breed its own territorial tribalism and generate billions in merchandising, but it’s also a great upper body workout and remains an all-but-guaranteed way to thrill the lovelies under the summer sun. But it’s not enough to simply hang out at the shore, board in hand, and rattle off a few lines from Big Wednesday or quote FBI Special Agent Johnny Utah – at some stage you’re going to have to get wet and learn the basics.


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Away Games Done Right

Men and sports are a match made in heaven, much like cigars and whiskey. With a potent combination of competitive spirit and athletic prowess – and eye candy that can be spotted at half-time, or hanging out in the VIP section – it’s as if sports were tailor-made to appeal to men. And whatever form it comes in, it’s the ultimate male bonding experience. Whether you and the lads are working up a sweat in a pick-up game, watching the big match over a few pints, or debating the finer points of a classic rivalry, sports can make or break a bromance. 


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The Year of the Horse has kicked off and with its frantic business trips, holidays away with the lovelies and plenty of time sitting in airport lounges, noisy trains and roaring jets. It’s time you did your ears a favour with our pick of the top headphones on the market.


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The Inbox, Streamlined

It’s a new year, and most of us have probably made a number of resolutions for improving our fitness/eating right/staying organised/[insert other random life-improving sentiment]. We all start the year meaning well, but proving the truth of the road to hell being paved with good intentions, our aspirations to that nebulous state of ‘being a better person’ are usually waylaid before the end of January. For corporate combatants, managing emails is a never-ending headache, and staying on top of them is chief among those resolutions which are quickly crushed when we head back into the office. Suddenly, you realise that another year of battling the inbox is staring you in the face.


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When the Going Gets Tough

The need for comfort in some way, shape or form is a universal one; but how we seek solace can differ wildly. Some hit the gym, hoping to find satisfaction in the repetitive motion that comes with hitting the treadmill or lifting weights; others look for it in the emotional and physical stimulation of mutual companionship – you know what we mean. But most of us turn to favourite foods and drinks – there’s a reason we coined the term ‘comfort food’ – seeking the warm glow and intense satisfaction that comes with the first few sips of a favourite tipple, or bites of a delectable meal.


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Food that Hugs You from the Inside

Although you’ll not admit it now to anyone but your shrink, statistically most of us, at some stage during our childhoods, had a security blanket – a comfort object as the pointy heads call them – a special blanket, a well-loved pillow, or a soft toy with which you connected on an emotional level. As a saucer-eyed toddler, thumb in mouth, drool on chin, the world can be a very large and unpredictable place, and it was nice to have something to hold on to, something dependable, stable and consistent; something that brought an instantaneous gratification to hold us over until other, more mature distractions became apparent. Such a simple object made it all better and although you may not know where ‘blankie’ is now (or perhaps only you and a manager of a Swiss bank vault does), you’ll never forget that feeling.


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Dirty Dancing

 Not all of us are blessed with the ability to dance. Many of us may be effortlessly suave and charismatic in general, but put us on a dance floor and suddenly we’re more Napoleon Dynamite than Patrick Swayze. And yet, we have to battle with the notion that many of the fairer sex seem to subscribe to, that being smooth operators on the dance floor equates to prowess in other parts of our lives. So what’s a man with two left feet and a light-footed partner to do?


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Macau’s Newest Sensation

 

We all wanted to be different things when we were growing up – an astronaut, a race car driver, Elle McPherson’s pool boy. But, with life’s cruel humor, many of us never rose to those fantastic heights, choosing instead stability over adrenalin, a sensible pension plan over late afternoon poolside encounters. However, if you’d ever fancied yourself a member of Japan’s secretive yakuza, we have a dinner theme that will thrust you straight from the boardroom into a scene straight from the inner circle of the Japanese underworld, thanks to the clever chaps at Macaustag, our favourite XY party planners.


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The Internet, Where You Want It

For 21st century men used to instant gratification, there’s nothing more annoying than not having when-I-want-it-where-I-want-it access to the internet while travelling (unless you’re willing to pay exorbitant prices). Need to double-check that route you’re driving while on the road? Sorry, you can’t access Google Maps. Need to urgently respond to an email? The office will have to wait until you’re in Wi-Fi range. Worst of all, you can’t instantly Instagram your epic adventures - #nobraggingrights.


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Far from the Maddening Crowds

Space is not something you expect to have much of in Hong Kong. In a city where millions are crammed onto a postage-stamp sized plot of land, we’ve become complacent towards living in close quarters, resigned to the demise of personal space, and accepting of restaurants where we sit in our neighbours’ laps and have them eavesdrop on our dinner conversations. But recently, a few little gems have popped on the city’s overcrowded dining scene, offering meals amid roomy, airy spaces and the brand spanking new Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant is one such eatery.


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Few things are more fulfilling than recognition. It may come in different ways – perhaps the bartender at your favourite watering hole greets you with ‘the usual?’ instead of asking what you want; or perhaps it’s the recognition of your hard work and outstanding achievements. We all like the feeling of being recognised, of knowing we’ve made some impact, whether big or small. And benefitting from that recognition only sweetens the sensation.


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Shaking Things Up

Getting stuck in a rut is part of life. We get comfortable at work, complacent in our relationships, and cozy in our homes. Being comfortable is not always a bad thing, but as the saying goes, variety is the spice of life, and sometimes, a good shake-up is just what the doctor would order (just ask any couples’ therapist worth his hourly consultation fee). Shaking things up doesn’t always need to involve big changes, sometimes, just the smallest adjustments are enough to keep things from going stale. 


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Cause Sharing is Caring

 Hong Kong can’t seem to get enough of Spanish cuisine these days, and with good reason. Not only are the delectable tapas dishes and heart-warming mains of Spanish cuisine food for the soul, but they’re among the most perfect culinary styles to share. The Spanish tradition of sobremesa, or “over the table”, refers to Spanish diners’ tendency to savor the company of their companions, and wine-soaked, raucous meals that linger into the wee hours and are shared with friends new and old are par for the course in España, which is why a Spanish private kitchen like Western’s Comilonas is the ideal spot for some post-festive season togetherness to herald the New Year.


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Award-Winning mixologist and head bartender at The Savoy’s iconic American Bar Erik Lorincz talks with NecesCity about Slovakia’s cocktail credentials, Hong Kong’s top tipples and the creation of fountain punch.


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It Ain’t Easy Bein’ a Man

 

It can be a lot of pressure, being a man in this politically correct age. Often, we find ourselves in ‘polite society’ where we’re forced to suppress our natural urges. So we find ourselves living largely in a constant state of monotony when we want excitement, of mundane conversation when we’d rather tell suggestive jokes, of acceptable behavior when we’d rather do as we please. But man was not built to function this way, and every so often, it’s healthy to take a little time-out with the lads and act as men do for a few days.


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The Blissful Essentials

While there are certain times when it’s okay – nay, prudent – to be picky, most men pride themselves on their ability to find sweet contentment in the simplest of circumstances. We can spend a day fishing with mates, without caring if we catch anything. We love road trips for their camaraderie, not for their final destination; and we revel in the company at our table more than the artistry of the plate before us. As men, we can find solace in elegant simplicity, a ‘joy of nothing’ to quote the recent Foy Vance hit, especially when it comes to dining. 


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Shot Through the Heart

Whatever your thoughts on Valentine’s Day, and whatever she might say, this is one night your femme du jour secretly hopes you’ll suit up and surprise her with an evening of wining and dining. We’ve rounded up some choice spots for Valentine’s Day in Hong Kong, some special, some decadent, and one that’s a throwback to a less complicated time. 


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