Get ready to explore Sham Shui Po…
Where in the world can you find street vendors selling miscellaneous computer hardware next to Michelin-recommended restaurants, a prestigious art university just a stone’s throw away from local street-food vendors, and flea-market clothes stalls next door to a craft-a-holic’s dream? Sham Shui Po is truly one of a kind, and this busy district is anything but boring. So put on a pair of comfortable shoes and get ready to explore! Keep in mind this area isn’t particularly pram-friendly so if you have younger children you might want to use this guide to plan a day out without the kids. If you have a budding crafter, on the other hand, this area is a fantastic day out.
Where to Eat
Nobody does Char Siu Baos quite like Tim Ho Wan, and this branch may possibly serve up the best. We’re not sure if it’s the hunger that inevitably kicks in after a day of exploring Sham Shui Po or whether it’s the little open kitchen where you can watch your dumplings being steamed, but something about this particular Tim Ho Wan makes dim sum just taste extra good. Be prepared to wait – but it will be worth it!
Tim Ho Wan, 9-11 Fuk Wing St, Sham Shui Po, 2788 1226, www.timhowan.hk
Heritage Tea House
Just a short walk from downtown Sham Shui Po and with an atmosphere so tranquil it’s a bit like eating in a zen spa, the Heritage Tea House is your best bet for a moment of peace and quiet in one of Hong Kong’s busiest areas. The real winner is this restaurant’s homemade dumplings and noodle soup, served with healthy iced herbal tea. Order a plate of vegetarian tofu rolls to start with and voila, you’ve found yourself a little spot of heaven. This spot is best with older children.
Heritage Tea House, Shek Kip Mei, Pak Tin St, Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, L1-06, 2779 1030
Nothing satisfies food cravings quite like a good burger, and Burgerman never fails to deliver. There’s something for everyone’s taste as you can choose from a variety of options including Wagyu beef, Portobello mushroom, pineapple chicken and the creatively named Mermaid Burger. A side of sweet potato fries wouldn’t go amiss, either – after all, you need to keep those energy levels up if you’re going to brave shopping in Sham Shui Po.
Burgerman, G/F, 65-71 Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po, 2361 1330, www.burgerman.com.hk
Garden Bakery Cafe
If you’ve lived in Hong Kong for a while, you’ll be familiar with this beloved bakery – perhaps, like many, you’ve grown up eating Garden’s cakes and breads. Keep the tradition going by bringing the kids. This factory building is where the magic happens, and the cafe on the ground floor serves up some pretty delicious goods made fresh daily. Avoid the carb coma by taking a little walk down memory lane with their display of retro biscuit tins.
Garden Cafe, G/F, Garden Company, 58 Castle Peak Road, Sham Shui Po, 2720 0155
Hop Yik Tai
While Mong Kok is famed for its street food, Sham Shui Po offers just as good a selection in a slightly less hectic environment. This particular stall is famed for their Cheong Fun, or rice noodle rolls, which are made fresh every day and rather than stuffed (as you might find in a dim sum restaurant), they are served up with a variety of rich sauces. This popular little eatery was recommended in the Michelin Guide, so prepare to queue – but trust us when we say it’s worth it.
Hop Yik Tai, 121 Kwelin Street, Sham Shui Po
Kakurega Ramen Factory
Who doesn’t love Tsukumen? Hidden in Sham Shui Po’s largest mall, this ramen joint may not be much to look at, but don’t let appearances fool you. Serving up just 100 bowls a day – 50 for lunch and 50 for dinner – guests should expect to queue, but once seated, be served some seriously good nosh. Noodles are handmade, laboriously kneaded, shaped and cut every morning, and the short menu offers three types of broth which come with a half-boiled egg, scallions, and thinly-sliced pork.
Kakurega Ramen Factory, 7083, Dragon Centre, Yen Chow St, Sham Shui Po, 3487 0989
Tian Tian Di Dessert House
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, head to popular dessert spot Tian Tian Di Dessert House, recognizable by their large, bright-green signage. The shop serves up local delights including sticky rice balls in ginger soup and flavoured shaved-ice mountains, and their molten mango puddings are a must-try. While English menus are available, they’re not as detailed, so be prepared to experiment a little! If you have picky eaters and can’t risk an experimental order, stick to our other suggestions!
Tian Tian Di Dessert House, G/F, 120 Fuk Wa Street, Sham Shui Po
Where to Drink
While other areas in Hong Kong are admittedly more hailed for their coffee shops, Sham Shui Po does offer a pretty good cuppa to those who seek it. Café Sausalito, located a short walk outside of the craziness, offers all the usual suspects as well as single origin pour over coffee and a few original concoctions. We love that they also work hard to protect the environment and add to the local community by encouraging customers to bring their own cups, providing free water for those who want to refill bottles, and work with partnerships to minimise food waste and host live music on weekends.
Cafe Sausalito, 201 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, 3689 3292, www.cafesausalitohk.com
King of Coconut
Nothing says summer quite like coconuts, and where else would you get your fix than at King of Coconut? Serving up the triple whammy of fresh coconut juice, coconut water and evaporated milk in one smooth, delicious concoction, this mother of all coconut drinks is sure to satisfy.
King of Coconut, 94 Yen Chow St, Sham Shui Po
At Common Room & Co., coffee, art and crafts come together, and what better place to combine the three than Sham Shui Po, the crafts mecca of Hong Kong? Enjoy a cup of their single origin brew and browse the many books lining their shelves, explore the artisanal products on display, or simply sit back and watch the crowd of hipster creatives.
Common Room & Co., G/F 198 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, 2865 6880, www.facebook.com/commonroomandco
Fresh Juice Stall
There’s no better way to refuel during a day spent exploring one of Hong Kong’s oldest districts than with a freshly pressed fruit and veg juice. Though it doesn’t have an English name, this shop is impossible to miss, with its eye-catching green posters and (albeit slightly dusty) decorations of fake fruit and plants adorning the street-side stall. The abundant menus are all in Chinese, so if you can’t read the language, just point out some fruit and veg you’d like juiced. It’s bound to be delicious, refreshing and might even get the kids to ingest some greens!
Fresh Juice Stall, corner of Fuk Wing Street and Nam Cheong Street
Where to Shop
The market on Apliu Street can be a bit of a shock to the system at first, but for those with a keen eye and serious stamina, it will quickly prove to be a treasure trove of electronic trinkets. Oh, you’re throwing a party and looking for fairy lights? Or planning a weekend of serious home improvement and need an antenna, a jackhammer or a shower head? Or perhaps you’re looking for a last-minute gift idea and have your heart set on a drone? Located directly outside MTR exit A2, the stalls lining Apliu Street are overflowing with electronics, so whatever it is you’re looking for, this is a pretty good bet.
Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po, MTR exit A2
Leather Stores: Alri Star, The Lederer and Teepee Leather Workshop
There’s no shortage of leather stores in Sham Shui Po, and one of our favourites is Alri Star. With the tell-tale smell of leather drawing you in, this high-ceilinged shop holds everything you could ever need for leather crafts, including some lovely handmade items. If by some ill fate you can’t find what you’re looking for, try one of the other stores in the area: There’s The Lederer, where you can pick up DIY leather stitching packs or the Teepee Leather Workshop, where you can learn the craft itself.
Alri Star, 236 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, 3791 2217, www.alristar.com
The Lederer, 219 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, 2614 5221, www.thelederer.co/en
Teepee Leather Workshop, 217 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, 2488 9101, www.facebook.com/Teepee-Leather-Workshop
There are all sorts of ways to get crafty, so why not pick one that allows you to smell good, too? A family-run business, Savon Workshop is the place to head for soap-making enthusiasts, stocked from floor to ceiling with deliciously fragrant oils, dried herbs and flowers, and handmade soaps and skincare. Not ready to experiment at home by yourself? The store also runs soap-making workshops.
Savon Workshop, 191 – 193 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, 2677-8173, www.savonworkshop.com
For crafty DIY-ers, stores like Lucky Weaving Lace Co. are a veritable goldmine. Anything that can be tied into a knot is sold here: there are rows upon rows of ribbons and string, from old-fashioned lace and floral embroidery to leather cords and strands of pompoms; they have it all! Rather than spending a fortune on gift wrap, why not dress up presents with a little visit to Lucky Weaving?
Lucky Weaving Lace Co., 122 Nam Cheong Street, Sham Shui Po, www.luckyweaving.com
Tin Fu is the place to go if you’re looking for beads, trims and other accessories. This open corner store is impossible to miss – its plastic crates are full to the brim with garishly bright beads in all shapes and sizes. The beads sold here come in all imaginable colours, from neon to silver and gold, and further in to the store you’ll find a huge array of charms and pendants.
Tin Fu International, 222A Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, www.tinfultd.com
Bead Box Ltd.
If DIY jewellery is more up your alley, head to Bead Box instead. You can’t miss the store – just look out for the fake and slightly dusty European-style brick walls with windowsills overflowing with plastic greenery. The shop itself boasts a huge selection of pendants, beads and pretty much anything else that can be hung from a piece of string; you’ll find everything from animals, snowflakes, skulls and the whole alphabet, as well as googly eyes in all sizes (because you can never have enough googly eyes).
Bead Box Ltd., 221 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po
Going to a really fancy dress party? Kiwi’s range of dazzling accessories will ensure you will stand out in a crowd: think bejewelled and entirely OTT earrings, necklaces, pendants, tiaras, hair clips, brooches…and those tiny lacy hats with elaborate decorations that mysteriously cover half your face with netting.
Kiwi Accessories, 219 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po
Wong Kee Flea Market
We’ll admit that we’re not 100% sure on the name of this store – it’s entirely possible that it’s a combination of the current and previous owners’ signage – but despite the confusing name, this is hands-down one of our favourite places to head for plastic flowers. The store entrance hints at this, but it’s not until you delve right into the back that you find the synthetic jungle. While they’re not high-quality enough to pass for stylish home décor, they do make pretty good handmade flower crowns and other accessories. Perfect to dress up your next tea party!
Wong Kee Flea Market, 81 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po
Music lovers, this one’s for you. With records from the vinyl heyday of the seventies and eighties, Ah Paul’s (the owner who is a true enthusiast and a bit of a legend) tiny space is chock-a-block full of musical gems, stacked high from floor to ceiling. Be warned, though – prepare to spend some time browsing, and if you have OCD tendencies, it’s best to just stay away.
Vinyl Hero, 239 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po, 9841 7136
Places to Go
If you’re looking for respite from Sham Shui Po’s busy, market-lined streets, take the stairs behind the Garden Bakery Building up to the park. It’s not spectacular – don’t go looking for flamingos – but it is a quiet, green and sheltered spot where you can enjoy a sweet bun and watch some Tai Chi. Sounds pretty relaxing to us.
The Park, Tai Po Road, opposite SCAD Hong Kong / behind the Garden Bakery Building, Sham Shui Po
With Sham Shui Po being the crafts mecca of Hong Kong, it’s no surprise that this is where a prestigious art and design university decided to open its local campus. If you’re feeling a little uninspired, head up Tai Po Road and participate in one of SCAD Hong Kong’s tours, which are open to the public. The building itself is the UNESCO award-winning former North Kowloon Magistracy, and a wide-range of beautiful artwork graces the walls inside.
If you’re keen on exploring some local arts and crafts, follow quiet Pak Tin Street to the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre. This multi-storey former housing estate has a courtyard in the middle and is best described as a multidisciplinary arts ‘village’. The charity-run space provides studios to the local arts community and is a great place to soak up the creative spirit. Visitors are welcome to stroll around at any time and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch an exhibition day.
Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, 30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei, 2353 1311, www.jccac.org.hk
Surprise! Sham Shui Po isn’t all about shopping and food. Discover some of Hong Kong’s ancient history at the Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb, which was uncovered in 1955 during construction work and is believed to be from the Eastern Han dynasty ca. 25-220AD. The tomb can be seen behind glass panelling, and the exhibition hall next door is full of pottery and bronze artefacts excavated from the tomb.
Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum, 41 Tonkin Street, Sham Shui Po, www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum, 2386 2863
Image #1 courtesy via unsplash, Image #2 courtesy via Burgerman, Image #3 courtesy via unsplash, Image #4 courtesy via Café Sausalito ,Image #5 courtesy via Common Room & Co. Image #6 courtesy via Alri Star, Image #7 courtesy via unsplash ,Image #8 courtesy via Tin Fu Intl., Image #9 courtesy via unsplash, Image #10 courtesy via SCAD Hong Kong, Image #11 courtesy via JCCAC