A guide to neighbourhood favourites
Sai Kung is known as Hong Kong’s back garden and there are plenty of reasons why. This charming former fishing village with its bustling public pier has much to offer. Whether you are after a full on active hike, a boat trip to a white sandy beach, or a visit to one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites, Sai Kung has something for the entire family. The lush mountains, clear blue sea and abundant wildlife are a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life. As a resident and a mum, here are a few of my favourite local spots for dining, shopping and more.
Where to Eat:
Sai Kung’s Hoi Pong Square is the hub for family friendly dining. Most of the restaurants offer al fresco seating around an open area with a colourful children’s playground. Parents can look on as their little people scoot and run between bites of food!
Chez Raymond De Paris
Chez Raymond de Paris is a little cosy steakhouse with a great atmosphere, top quality service and top quality meat. Try the Tenderloin Rossini and Ribeye or opt for one of it’s many French classics (from duck to foie gras to melt-in-your-mouth lamb). A three-course menu for dinner is about $850, and you can be sure you’re getting the highest grade of meat available in the 852.
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A visit to Sai Kung would not be complete without a stroll along its bustling waterfront. Seafood Street is home to several impressive seafood restaurants. The live seafood is displayed in huge tanks. Diners can make a choice from the vast variety of freshly caught seafood (think tiger shrimp, razor clams, king crabs, lobster and cuttlefish) and have it cooked to taste, or order off the set menu with plenty of guidance from the knowledgeable staff. Don’t be surprised to see some pampered pets sitting on chairs next to their owners. The Sai Kung pier is teaming with dogs of all shapes and sizes.
With its breezy, leafy interior, The Conservatory (part of the Enoteca restaurant group) is arguably the chicest eatery in the Square. The delectable sharing plate menu boasts creative pizzas, a refreshing mint and quinoa salad, seared sesame tuna bites, and even a classic chicken tikka. The children’s menu serves up crowd pleasers like fish goujons and potato wedges as well as a unique Tiffins selection of veg packed options! Afternoon tea is served from 3pm to 6pm for those who might fancy a cuppa with a scone.
The Conservatory, 26 Wan King Path, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2792 1105 www.facebook.com/conservatorysaikung
Cena’s inviting wooden tables, great tunes and Latin flare bring a cool vibe to the Square. The tapas style menu delivers on both variety and flavour. Favourites include pulled pork nachos and baja fish with adobo sauce. Its range of homemade sodas (including a cola with far less sugar!) are a hit with the kids.
Cena, 9 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2757 1020, www.facebook.com/CENASAIKUNG
Another Square eatery is Big Fish. Serving – you guessed it – mainly seafood dishes including tasty fish tacos, a signature cold fish platter and daily specials. This comfy spot is good for something different and has kids menu to boot!
Big Fish, Wan King Path, 18號西貢 號 地下, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2751 9177 www.facebook.com/Big-Fish
American Style Mexican favourites are what you’ll find at this outpost of HK’s popular taco joint. Fill up on tasty quesadillas and tacos with your choice of fillings and toppings.
Cali-Mex, 22 Wan King Path, Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung, Hong Kong https://cali-mex.com
If you fancy some authentic American BBQ, look just beyond the square for an enormous ox head, wagon wheel and American Indian adorning the front of this wild west-themed favourite. Smoky BBQ ribs, crispy buffalo chicken wings and a solid burger are the way forward at this unique spot.
Anthony’s Ranch, 28 Yi Chun St, Sai Kung, 西貢宜春街28號地下, Hong Kong, 2791 6113 www.anthonysranch.com
Chuen Kee Seafood Restaurant
For a decent breakfast and yummy dim sum, Sai Kung gives you quite a few options. If it’s not too busy, find a spot by the waterfront (we recommend Chuen Kee) or visit the Fat Duck Den for something a little quieter (and air conditioned).
Chuen Kee Seafood Restaurant, 96 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2792 6938
Fat Duck Den, G/F, 79-81 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2205 0399
Located across from the main pier, Momentai is a refurbished waterfront newcomer offering seafood, burgers, and pasta staples along with an extensive craft beer selection. Live music on weekends makes this a popular local spot.
Momentai, Kiosk 1, Waterfront, Wai Man Road, Sai Kung, Hong Kong 2792 8991, www.fb.com/mentaila
Little Cove Espresso
Its Instagram message says it best: A laneway cafe taking care of the good people of Sai Kung and those passing by, one cup at a time”. Locally owned and run, Little Cove offers much more than great coffee and a cool beachy vibe. Their healthy, tasty, menu focuses on organic ingredients. Top choices include Brioche French Toast, any of the creative smoothie bowls (the fav of the moment is the Spirulina bowl with coconut honey and strawberries) or the hearty Harissa Pulled Pork on homemade sourdough.
Little Cove Espresso, 34 See Cheung Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong www.facebook.com/littlecoveespresso
Not far from the waterfront, near the mini bus hub is this tiny Mediterranean spot offering authentic chicken shish, beef kofte, falafel, fresh salads, and delicious Greek yoghurt combinations. It is a perfect grab-and-go option.
Zeugma, Shop A, 74 Fuk Man Road Sai Kung, Hong Kong www.facebook.com/ZeugmaHK
Man Nin Wah Roasted Meat Restaurant
Truly a local legend. It’s been around since the 70s and serves up some proper char siu fan.
Man Nin Wah Roasted Meat Restaurant, 28 Wan King Path, Sai Kung, Hong Kong
Jaspa’s and Piccolo’s
Hong Kong’s beloved Costello Concepts has two family favourite outposts in the square: Jaspa’s and Piccolo. Both offer eclectic twists on Western fare, as well as a popular kids menu. These are go-to in a pinch when you want consistently family-friendly food and a fun atmosphere.
Jaspa’s, 3 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2792 6388
Piccolo’s, G/F, 20 Wan King Path Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2791 9233
Ali Oli Bakery Café
Craving something sweet? Pop by Ali Oli for a homemade pastry. This is the best spot to take in the hustle and bustle of the famous Sai Kung square. Oh, and we hear the breakfast baps are “top notch”.
Ali Oli Bakery Café, 11 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2792 2655, www.alioli.com.hk
Where to Shop
Sai Kung’s Old Town is a warren of little alleys with surprises around every corner. It’s a mix of local eateries, spas, and a host of off-the-beaten-path shops. We suggest you begin at the Tin Hau Temple, which just celebrated its 100th year and is worth a visit. Work your way through the winding narrow streets until you end up on See Cheung Street parallel to the seafront.
Old Town Shops:
Maven stocks home décor, clothing, and bed and bath products sourced from India and Europe. Beautiful patterned quilts and scarves catch the eye, and the gorgeous line of candles, soaps and diffusers please your senses. The helpful staff are happy to help with anything you may need.
Maven, 1/F 37 See Cheung Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 6388 4398 www.mavenhk.com
Owned by a Frenchman who has made HK his home, this charming establishment sells a range of tempting products. Superb well-priced wines, jams, French cutlery and tableware, donkey’s milk soaps, and ooh the cheese! There is even a selection of penny sweets that will please the wee ones and allow extra time to linger and shop.
Le Magasin, 21 Sai Kung Tai Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2791 0292 www.lemagasin21.com
Be Candle is a gem of a shop offering artisan scented candles. Treat the family to a bespoke candle-making workshop. Its DIY class lets you tap into your creative side. Choose your own, unique, scent by blending specialty fragrance oils and dried flowers, and learn the art of candle making. Be sure to book your experience in advance!
Be Candle, G/F, 8 Wang Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 3586 0320 www.becandle.com.hk
Top shop picks in Sai Kung Town:
If your trip to Sai Kung involves water sport of any sort, look no further than Island Wake to kit you and your little ones out. Here you’ll find sunscreen, swimwear, rash vests, rad sunglasses, beachwear, and array of colourful flip-flops. The shop also specialises in surf and skateboard gear.
Island Wake, G/F, 19 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2623 6340 www.islandwake.com
Named after the 1886 classic, Kidnapped Bookshop is a local treasure. The largely English language bookshop has a second floor devoted to kids of all ages. Books are thoughtfully categorized by age and interest. There is also a section with many educational toys and games; perfect for that last minute birthday present!
Kidnapped Bookshop, G/F No. 7 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2791 9110 www.facebook.com/kidnappedbookshop
Goods Of Desire
G.O.D. is the quintessentially Hong Kong shopping experience. Its east-meets-west line includes clothing, gifts and lifestyle products. The Nathan Road cushion cover and the letterbox placemats are always popular. Peruse through its one of a kind designs and you’ll be sure to pick up a trinket!
Goods Of Desire, G/F, 2 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung Town, Hong Kong 2791 7122 god.com.hk/pages/locations
What to Do
Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark and Volcano Discovery Centre
Located at the Waterfront Park (18 Wai Man Rd in Sai Kung), this centre is a good place to stop into and plan your visit to one of the many islands and beaches around Sai Kung. Click here for hours and more info.
Sharp Island/Hap Mun Bay – There are two beaches at Sharp Island. We recommend that you take a boat (which should cost about $30 round trip) from Sai Kung Pier to the first beach, Kiu Tsui. From there, you can see the Tombolo land bridge connecting Sharp Island to Kiu Tau. Take a walk across this natural wonder at low tide (usually around 3pm) for a short outing. If you have more time, hike the 1.7 km over to Hap Mun Bay beach and take a boat back from the pier there. The welcoming, white sandy beach is a perfect place for a swim. While this is a kid friendly hike, it’s not suitable for buggies due to the number of stairs. There are facilities, and lifeguards during peak season.
Kitty’s Boat Service: 9357 5698 or 9033 1083
Yim Tin Tsai
Fifteen minutes on a boat from Sai Kung Pier will transport the family to one of the most unique spots in Hong Kong. “Ghost Island” is an abandoned village that has been lovingly restored by the descendants of the original Hakka settlers. Start your tour with a visit to the charming St. Joseph’s Chapel built in 1890. Take a stroll by the empty homes, many of which still have the villager’s belongings in them. The old school is now a heritage exhibition that gives a glimpse of what life on the island was like. Stop by the ceramic museum and then finish your trip by checking out the fully functioning salt flats surrounded by mangrove trees. Click here for the ferry terminal information.
Sai Kung East Beaches
Home to Hong Kong’s most stunning beaches, the Sai Kung Country Park promises a stellar family day out. Our top pics for the kiddos are Sai Wan and Tai Long Wan. For a big adventure, you can even make a night of it by camping. There are a couple of ways to navigate these scenic spots:
- Sai Wan Beach: Take a taxi to Wong Shek Pier in Sai Kung Country Park. Once there, you can take a sampan directly to the beach. The boat ride is fun for the kids! Alternatively, you can take a boat from Sai Kung Pier to Chek Keng where you will embark on a one-hour hike to the beach. There are a few initial stairs, but the hike is generally pram friendly.
- Tai Long Wan Beach: Take a taxi to the Sai Wan Pavillion (you might need to change to a New Territories green taxi in Sai Kung Town). Follow the signposts and paths to Sai Wan. From there follow the beach path to Ham Tin, and then on to Tai Long Wan. Alternatively, you can take a sampan from Sai Kung Pier directly to the beach for about $150 per person.
Lions Nature Education Centre
Located just beyond Sai Kung Town is a UNESCO recognized Nature preserve. This is a great one for little people who like to run and explore. Start your outing in the visitor centre where the young ones can learn about the geological history of Hong Kong with interactive displays, then follow any trail that strikes your fancy. There are maps and information plaques dotted about which will guide you to a dragonfly pond, a wetland paradise and many different types of groves and orchards. There are field crops with a Chinese herbal garden to check out, as well as an Insectarium and a Shell House. When hunger and thirst strike there is a cafeteria run by the society for the deaf serving lite bites and refreshments. You can also pack a picnic and relax in the many open green areas. For more information, click here.
Fivelements Hong Kong
Nestled in the Sai Kung hillside is the Balinese inspired holistic health and wellness centre Fivelements. This totally unique HK treasure, located within the Hong Kong Golf and Tennis Club, offers a wide range of family focused spa and wellness treatments. There are “Teen Rituals” suitable for 12 to 17 year olds, as well as “Little Angel Rituals” for 5 to 11 year olds. Bespoke family day experiences can be booked by the spa’s knowledgeable Wellness Concierge. On Sundays you and the kiddos can also enjoy a nourishing, plant based brunch in the award winning Sakti dining room.
Fivelements, 81 Tai Chung Hau Road Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 3959 0000 www.hk.fivelements.org
Ah Kwok Water Sport Centre
Watersport is one of Sai Kung’s specialties. Ah Kwok Water Sport Centre covers the bases with kayaks, canoes, windsurfing, SUPs and even wakeboarding. Rental prices vary by length of time and sport.
Ah Kwok Water Sport Centre, Sai Kung Tai Mong Tsai Sha Ha Village 9, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2792 1600, or 2792 5700 www.skbeach.com.hk/skcontacts
What’s not to love about gathering family and friends for a night at an open-air cinema? Literally nothing, which is why the Hive is first on this list. With classics like Grease and The Goonies on show – well, we’re peachy keen, jellybean.
The Hive, 5 Tai Moong Tsai Road, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, 2780 5844, www.thehivesaikung.com.hk
Tiki Tiki Bowling Bar
For the perfect rainy-day activity, why not opt for an hour or two of bowling at the Tiki Tiki Bowling Bar? Look out for one of its many deals, enjoy the retro music videos on the giant screens (slightly distracting but great for dancing) and nibble on some sweet potato fries. Guaranteed fun for the whole family.
Tiki Tiki Bowling Bar, 4/F Centro, 1A, Chui Tong Road, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, www.tikitiki.hk
This article was originally published 28 September, 2018 by Melissa Albarus and has been updated.