Dubbed as “Asia’s World City,” Hong Kong is famous for its towering skyscrapers, modern infrastructure, and state-of-the-art facilities.
People from all over the world flock to this megacity to experience luxury: shopping, dining and entertainment. It is safe to say that it’s not cheap to travel Hong Kong.
But this former British colony is not devoid of the “ordinary.” For people who are budget-conscious and looking to experience the raw Hong Kong style of living back in the day, look no further because only a few stations away from TsimShaTsui on the MTR (mass transit railway) is a district called Sham Shui Po.
Previously overlooked because of its reputation of being “shabby” and “less glamorous”, Sham Shui Po is now getting the attention of tourists who are curious to experience the authentic Hong Kong and see the city in a different perspective.
INQUIRER.net recently visited Sham Shui Po and here are our top picks of the things not to miss in one of Hong Kong’s earliest and busiest commercial centers:
- Michelin Street Food Tasting at Kwan Kee
Kwan Kee’s glutinous rice, red bean bun (pictured) and other pastries are famous Michelin-guide-recommended street food in Hong Kong. The shop has been serving its patrons since the 1960s.
Address: Shop 10, G/F Pei Ho Building, 115-117 FukWa Street
- Shia Wong Hip Snake Restaurant
Feeling a little adventurous? Head over to Shia Wong Hip to try its specialty snake soup that is said to strengthen the body, cure bodily ailments and improve skin quality. Other food on the menu are soft-shelled turtle soup and deep-fried spiced snake.
Address: G/F 170 Apliu Street
- Street Art
Singapore, Penang, Melbourne, Berlin and Paris are cities known for their street art. Hong Kong, is not to be left behind. As a matter of fact, there are 10 shutter artworks that are created by talented locals and students spread all over Sham Shui Po. Each one promises to add life and color to your Instagram!
- Soapmaking Workshop
If DIY is your thing, there’s one shop in Sham Shui Po that offers workshops on soapmaking. Here, visitors get to choose the scent, shape and color of the soaps that they will make. Of course they get to bring home the soaps as well after they’ve cooled down.
Address: Savon Workshop, G/F No. 191 Tai Nam Street
- Men’s Market
Looking for electronic devices and handyman tools? The Men’s Market on Apliu Street sells brand new and second-hand gadgets of all kinds that dads and grandpas out there will surely love. Other shopping areas in Sham Shui Po include the Golden Computer Arcade, obviously, for anything computer-related, and the Cheung Sha Wan Road for fabrics and other raw materials.
- Kung Wo Beancurd Factory
Simply put, this place is soybean heaven. The family of Renee So has been running this shop for over 60 years. They make all their soybean products from scratch in their kitchen that runs for 18 hours every day. Their bestsellers? Deep-fried tofu with fish paste, silky beancurd pudding with cane sugar, and the refreshing soy milk.
Address: 118 Pei Ho Streeet
- Tim Ho Wan
Tim Ho Wan is a popular Michelin-star restaurant chain that has over 40 branches all over the world; its flagship store can be found in Sham Shui Po. From a small dimsum restaurant, it has now become a global brand famous for its delicious yet affordable dishes. Be prepared to queue outside as it is usually packed especially during lunchtime.
Address: G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street
- SCAD Hong Kong
The prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has re-imagined the North Kowloon Magistrate Building in Sham Shui Po to house its Hong Kong campus. Its world-class undergraduate and graduate programs include fashion design, interior design, animation, photography, painting, advertising, illustration and visual effect. It also offers English guided tours for the public Mondays to Saturdays, starting at 11am but please contact them first to make an appointment.
Address: 292 Tai Po Road
- Mei Ho House
Mei Ho House used to be the oldest public housing estate in Sham Shui Po. Visitors will learn about Hong Kong’s subsidized public housing system in its Live Museum. Currently a youth hostel, it also offers rooms and dorm beds for guests needing a place to stay in the area.
Address: 70 Berwick Street, Shek Kip Mei
- WaiKee Noodle Cafe/Lo Fung Restaurant
Patrons keep on coming back to WaiKee for its signature pork liver and beef noodle dish. For variety, the noodles can be an option between vermicelli, macaroni and instant, which can be paired with ham, egg or sausage in replacement of the beef and liver. It is best partnered with Hong Kong-style French toast and a choice of lemon soda or milk tea.
Address: G/F 62 & 67 Fuk Wing Street
- Lui Seng Chun
Lui Seng Chun is a heritage building completed in 1931. It may be familiar to those who have seen the movie “Doctor Strange” because a replica of this building has been used as one of its filming locations. Today, locals go here to avail of traditional Chinese medicine and healing methods such as acupuncture. Tourists, meanwhile, get to try Chinese herbal and flower tea at the building’s ground floor.
Address: 119 Lai Chi Kok Road
- Garden Hill
Just when you thought you’ve already seen and done everything in Sham Shui Po, you’re wrong. Just some 15-20 minutes hike from Mei Ho House Youth Hostel is a place called Garden Hill where tourists can enjoy a panoramic view of the city, breathe in some fresh air and revel in a beautiful sunset.