Where to go and what to do in this buzzing part of the 852
My first flat in Hong Kong was in Wan Chai, just off Lockhart Road. While my friends thought I was mad for living in Hong Kong’s infamous red light district, I loved the buzz. Aside from the infamous nightlife scene (a guilty pleasure), this amazing district has so much to offer. The rest of Wan Chai is a melting pot of cute boutiques, eclectic restaurants, hip cafés and local markets. Even though I can’t add everything this area has to offer, I’m highlighting a few of my faves.
What to eat and drink:
Whether you watch the chefs cooking up a storm in the open kitchen or sip on a glass of sangria while people watching, it’s easy to while away lunch or dinner at this trendy tapas restaurant. I highly recommend the scallop ceviche and suckling pig. Best for a lazy date night or a family meal with older kids.
22 Ships, 22 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.22ships.hk
Most only eat here when they have guests in town, but I have it on my list of top restaurants in Honkers. It serves good, tasty (and possibly MSG-laden!) Chinese food. It’s the Chinese food I miss from the UK – think Sweet and Sour Prawns and Chili Beef. Service is non-existent and you can’t hear yourself speak, but there’s something about it that calls me back time again. Think packed-out dim sum hall.
American Restaurant, 20 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Located down an alleyway, this hip hidden bar is fab for a mama’s night out. The laid-back vibe, deliciously yummy drinks, its take on the Bellini – which happens to be my fave cocktail – and the many hipsters make it an uber cool hangout.
Djiboutii, G/F, 2 Landale Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
A bold statement, but this is currently my favourite restaurant in Hong Kong. The dining room is light, spacious and welcoming. The menu offers a range of Italian seafood dishes and the service is the best. Try its lunch set for an incredibly good value, three-course meal. Great for hearty family meals!
Fishteria Seafood Place, 111 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong, www.fishsteria.hk
The coffee here is good – serving arguably the best mocha in Hong Kong. Beans are roasted on site, which means if you’re a true coffee connoisseur, you can order a custom blend. When I’m channeling my ‘roaming office’ vibe, this is often where I head. Get there early though – it gets busy very quickly.
Coffee Academics, 35-45 Johnston Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong, www.the-coffeeacademics.com
It’s unforgivable to not take out-of-towners to Wooloomooloo. It’s a classic Hong Kong rooftop bar, with insane views. Drinks are affordable, and there’s nothing quite like sipping on a G&T as the sun goes down panoramic style over your city. Check out all our favourite rooftop and terrace bars around town here.
Wooloomooloo, 31/F & Rooftop, The Hennessy, 256 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.wooloo-mooloo.com
This is another Wan Chai hidden gem. Tucked away just off Queen’s Road East, this quirky bar harks back to Hong Kong past, with cute interior detailing. The prices are reasonable and there is always a fun crowd with a common goal – to enjoy a drink after a long working day.
Tai Lung Fung Bar, The Archive, 5-9 Hing Wan Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/TAI-LUNG-FUNG
I often crave good Thai food, and Samsen offers just that – authentic Thai noodles alongside an array of Thai street food classics. The noodle dishes are perfect for Hong Kong’s cooler days, while the Fried Marinated Pork Neck takes you straight to the streets of Bangkok. Be prepared to wait in line – there is a no reservations policy (so it may be best to leave the littles in bed beforehand).
Samsen, 68 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/SamsenHK
If you’re in Wan Chai and craving a cold glass of rosé and a cheeseboard, you must head here immediately. The service is friendly, the ambience is relaxing and stepping through the doors transports you instantly to France – especially after you’ve had a glass or three of wine.
Le Bistro Wine Beast, 15 McGregor Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.wine-beast.com/le-bistro
Tucked away around the corner from the buzzing Star Street, Ted’s Look Out is one of Wan Chai’s most popular bars. With its industrial chic vibe and extensive cocktail list, the spot to spend a Friday night. Pair your cocktail with one of their signature burgers or the yummy tacos.
Ted’s Lookout, 17A Moon Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/tedslookout
Tucked away on the quiet side of Ship Street, this unpretentious and homely spot is perfect for a Saturday catchup spot. Pair your drink with the Chorizo Jalapeno Mac n Cheese or risotto balls.
Three Blind Mice, 35 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/threeblindmicehk
Pici Pasta Bar serves a selection of traditional Italian starters, and a whopping list of pastas from the different regions in Italy. If you’re like me, and enjoy indulging in regular carb overloads, go for the Pasta Tasting Menu. It won’t disappoint.
Pici, 16 St Francis Yard, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, pici.hk
Looking for a family friendly option? This one tops the charts. Housed in a colonial building on Johnston Road, it’s hard to miss this beautiful restaurant. The space is huge, with a botanicals bar and restaurant set over three floors. I’ll be honest, we often end up here on a Sunday for brunch. Think free flow meets play area! Read more about the lunch and brunch options at The Pawn here.
The Pawn, 62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.thepawn.com.hk
Sushi, sashimi, ramen and udon – a few of my favorite words, and all served at BA Sushi in Wan Chai. The restaurant interiors are nothing fancy, but if you’re a Japanese fan, this should be on your list. Make sure you order the Shrimp Tempura Roll – you won’t look back.
BA Sushi, 14 Burrows Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Live music lovers go here to check out all the latest talent. It’s been HK’s home of live music for 30 years, and most people consider it an institution. The thing we like best is we can experience original live music without paying a cover charge, so we can get our fix of great music without having to break the bank.
The Wanch, 54 Jaffe Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.thewanch.hk
Where To Shop and Explore:
It’s not all about the food… Wan Chai attracts some of Hong Kong’s most stylish residents, and this comes as no surprise when you look at the shops dotted around the district.
This is a gorgeous, casual-chic, lifestyle store inspired by modern, French style. It’s the best place to find one-of-a kind pieces of affordable jewelry or gifts for friends.
Uber Tunique, 3 St Francis St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.tunique.com
Known as the British cool kid on the newsstands, this retail store sells back issues of Monocle magazine, beautiful designer stationary and bags curated from brands such as Comme Des Garcons.
Monocle, Shop 1, Bo Fung Mansion, 1-4 St Francis Yard, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, monocle.com/shop
This is a treasure trove for all things design. The store is filled with funky greeting cards from Europe, beautiful cushions from Scandinavia, all things DIY, quirky knickknacks and stunning home furnishing pieces; basically, it’s a hoarder’s paradise.
Mr Blacksmith, 88 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong, www.mrblacksmith.hk
Kapok sells a range of beautiful unisex products; think canvas tote bags, laptop cases and lovely stationary. They also serve coffee – the perfect post-shopping pick-me up.
Kapok, 5 Francis Yard, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.ka-pok.com
Wanchai Street Market
You can shop ‘till you drop at this open-air market. Known to locals as ‘Toy Street,’ this is the go-to for novelty bits and pieces. If shopping’s not your thing, chill at one of the local diners lining the market streets, which offer a selection of Chinese gems, from snake stews to herbal broths.
Wanchai Street Market, 258 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Looking for something off the beaten path? Hong Kong House of Stories is presenting a Wan Chai Community Walk (conducted in English!). The aims is to preserve and share the cultural essence of Wan Chai through exhibitions, cultural tours, workshops and other activities. As part of the preservation work, it has also trained Wan Chai inhabitants and culture preservationists to lead students and the general public through exciting and insightful cultural tours of this diverse neighbourhood. The quirky, informative exhibitions are great for the little learners in the family
Featured image sourced via Gary Pepper Girl on Pinterest. Images sourced via respective businesses.