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Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong: A neighbourhood guide

In partnership with Hong Kong Tourism Board

While most visitors have ventured up Victoria Peak and boogied down in Lan Kwai Fong, there’s so much more of Hong Kong to explore. Sham Shui Po is one such area. The densely populated, working class neighbourhood offers a cityscape not seen in other parts of the territory, housing thousands of factories, wholesalers, shops and stalls. For visitors it’s a hub of shopportunity – markets selling everything from electronics to DIY supplies – and home to some of the best food in Hong Kong. 

Whether it’s your first time visiting the Fragrant Harbour, or you’re wanting to experience a different side on your next trip, be sure to add Sham Shui Po to your Hong Kong itinerary.

Where to Eat

Sun Hang Yuen 

Local workers and families flock to no-frills cha chaan teng (tea restaurant) Sun Hang Yuen [新香園 (堅記)] (38 Kweilin St). Dishing out various Hong Kong comfort foods – crispy french toast, pork knuckle noodles, wonton soup – the bolthole is best known for its gloriously greasy scrambled egg and corned beef sandwiches.

Urban Coffee Roaster at Wontonmeen

Set below art-inspired hostel Wontonmeen, Urban Coffee Roaster (135 Lai Chi Kok Rd) is a hip little coffee spot championing locally-roasted beans. Choose a brew from the extensive coffee list or something from their Western-leaning menu. Beans, brewing equipment and accessories make for cute caffeine souvenirs.

Cafe Sausalito

Another speciality coffee shop, Cafe Sausalito‘s flagship post (201 Tai Nan St) does more than just serve excellent java and cafe fare – it’s a space connecting the community with a calendar of live music, workshops and events. Check out their Facebook page to see what’s on. 

Hop Yik Tai

If you haven’t already, add cheung fun (steamed rice rolls) to your list of things to eat in Hong Kong. Hop Yik Tai [合益泰小食] (121 Kweilin St) serves up some of the best in town. Push through the busy kitchen and seat yourself at a communal table, or grab a plate to devour in the alley. 

Block 18 Doggie’s Noodle

Don’t worry, you won’t find Fido on the menu of this popular street food spot. Block 18 Doggie’s Noodle [十八座狗仔粉] (88 Fuk Wing St) is known for its short, fat rice noodles, served in a thick, rich broth with lard, dried shrimp and mushrooms. The mock shark fin soup is worth a slurp too.

Kung Wo Bean Curd Factory

Kung Wo Bean Curd [公和荳品廠] is king at this charming, retro restaurant (118 Pei Ho St). The menu features different styles of tofu both fried and cold – sweet tofu pudding is the most popular choice. Tuck in at a communal table and grab a fresh soy milk to go.

Tim Ho Wan

Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan (9-11 Fuk Wing St) is said to produce some of the best dim sum in Hong Kong. It’s hard to disagree – their famously fluffy, perfectly crusted barbeque pork buns are well worth the queue.

Lau Sum Kee Noodles

Kweilin Street classic Lau Sum Kee [劉森記麵家] (48 Kweilin St) is one of the few remaining eateries that make their noodles from scratch, kneading dough with a heavy bamboo pole. Their famed noodles doused in dried shrimp roe are sure to please rumbling tums.

Keung Kee Dai Pai Dong

While many of Hong Kong’s Dai Pai Dongs [大排檔] (traditional open-air restaurants) have been forced indoors, Keung Kee [強記大排檔] is still flinging cheap Cantonese fare down dingy Yiu Tung Street. Perch curbside for je- je chicken and other wonders from the roaring wok.

Where to Shop

Apliu Street Electronics Flea Market

This iconic Sham Shui Po market is one of the best places to visit in Hong Kong if you’re seeking cheap electronics. From LED lights and phone accessories to second-hand power tools, the packaway stalls sell almost every electronic imaginable. Behind you’ll find brick and mortar stores housing more of the same. Do a lap and check for quality before you buy.

Golden Computer Arcade

Stocking monitors, motherboards and more, Golden Computer Arcade (146-152 Fuk Wa St) is a jam-packed computer mecca. Gamers will also be pleased with the consoles and games on offer. 

Cheung Sha Wan Road

The myriad of retail and wholesale fashion stores along Cheung Sha Wan Road stock women’s, men’s and children’s clothing direct from factories in China – expect low prices and differing levels of quality. Make time to nip into Vinyl Hero (Flat D, 5/F 239 Cheung Sha Wan Rd), a treasure trove of vintage vinyl housed in an unassuming residential building.

Wah Ngai Canvas

Opened in 1954, Wah Ngai Canvas (212 Yee Kuk St) is the birthplace of the iconic red, white and blue nylon bag. Cheap and durable, the carryalls became extremely popular in the 1970s and ’80s, going on to inspire international brands such as Louis Vuitton. Today, the bags are a symbol of Hong Kong culture – visit the store to nab one for yourself (what better way to carry all of your Sham Shui Po finds?).

Tai Nan Street

Shoppers can pick up leathers and tools, join a workshop or commission a bespoke design at the workshops lining Tai Nan Street – Brothers Leathercraft (208 Tai Nan St) and Alri Star Leather Factory (236 Tai Nan St) are two top picks for quality and price. 

Fuk Wing Street (“Toy Street”)

If you’re in Hong Kong with kids, beeline to Fuk Wing Street to shop the extensive offering of toys – think beach inflatables, knock-off LEGO sets, emoji cushions, water pistols, costumes, stationery… anything and everything you’ll need to keep youngsters entertained. 

Yu Chau Street (“Bead Street”)

Don’t be fooled into thinking this street is limited to beads – Yu Chau Street’s stores are packed to the brim with ribbons, buttons, rhinestones, feathers, lace, fabrics and everything else your crafty heart desires. DIY heaven!

Things to do 

Heritage Tour of SCAD Hong Kong

Away from the market madness, Hong Kong’s Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is housed in the tastefully-restored, UNESCO-award-winning former North Kowloon Magistracy Building (292 Tai Po Rd). Visitors can pre-register for a free 45 minute tour of the neoclassical building, during which you’ll be shown the first and second landings, original detention cell and courtroom.

Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre

Just around the corner from SCAD, factory-turned-art-hub Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC) showcases over 140 artists and art organisations, with a rooftop exhibition space and basement black box theatre (30 Pak Tin St). Tucked away on level 1, Heritage Tea House offers mid-peruse fuel in the form of cha and homemade dumplings.

Be sure to keep an eye out for JCCAC’s year-round events, including the annual JCCAC Festival in December and the quarterly Handicraft Fair, along with themed exhibitions, stage performances, rooftop film screenings and art workshops. For more info, go to the program page.

Nam Cheong Park

All shopped out? Nam Cheong Park (20 Sham Mong Rd) is ideal for those wanting to experience Hong Kong free and easy: there’s a running track, open grassy spaces (perfect for picnics), children’s play equipment and fitness stations for the elderly. The park is particularly pretty March-May, when the Tabebuia Chrysantha trees flower a brilliant yellow.

Man Fung Building

While you’re in Sham Shui Po, be sure to snap a shot of Man Fung Building (180 Tai Nan St). The multi-coloured, geometric mural was painted by street artist Okuda San Miguel during HK Walls in 2016, and has been Instagrammed countless times since.

Garden Hill

Just a short 15 minute hike from Mei Ho House, Garden Hill is fantastic spot to admire the sunset over Kowloon. Make sure you stay on a little longer – the view only gets better as night falls and the city lights up.  

Jao Tsung-I Academy

Perched on a verdant hillside in Lai Chi Kok, the Jao Tsung-I Academy building (800 Castle Peak Rd) has served many purposes over the years, housing everything from a customs station in the Qing Dynasty to a psychiatric rehabilitation centre more recently. The restored landmark now operates as a cultural hub, hosting guided tours, exhibitions, performances, weekend markets, workshops, seminars and various other activities (see their events calendar for more info). The building also features Heritage Lodge, 89 guest rooms tastefully fitted out in traditional Chinese furnishings.

Where to Stay

While Heritage Lodge offers respite from Sham Shui Po’s bustling market streets, YHA Mei Ho House Youth Hostel (Block 41, 70 Berwick St) is a great option for those wanting to stay a little closer to the action. Housed in the only surviving Mark I H-shaped resettlement block, the hostel comprises of 129 nostalgic-themed dorm and private rooms, a retro-styled café and heritage museum – just a short stroll from the best restaurants and shopping in Sham Shui Po.

Other quality hotel offerings in the neighbourhood are slim, so you may want to look for accommodation further south in Mong Kok, Jordan or Tsim Sha Tsui where there are more options ranging budget to luxe. Sham Shui Po is easily accessible by MTR on the Tsuen Wan Line (red) – no matter where you stay, there’s no excuse not to spend a day.