Once a lively fishing port, then a military base for the British army who gave Sai Ying Pun it’s name – “western camps”- this Hong Kong neighbourhood has evolved to become one of the city’s coolest corners, complete with street art, an alternative food scene, hidden bars and galleries. 





An ode to the mustard-tinged coastal town of Pondicherry in southern India that was colonised by the French in the 17th century, Pondi serves up classical French food with vibrant Indian flavours. It’s from the people behind Sai Ying Pun’s former Indian BlackSalt (Taran Chadha) and wine bar Brut! (Camille Glass), who have created a white-washed space that welcomes the outside in with lush botanicals, beautiful rattan chairs and hefty wooden tables. Their summertime patio is a big draw, with its likeable sense of informality that encourages long evenings spent enjoying their eclectic small plates that range from hung yoghurt croquettes with tamarind beets and pickled onions to a prawn etouffee or baked aubergine with flowering cauliflower, coriander sauce vierge and capers. Everything is made using seasonal, high quality ingredients sourced from producers the seasoned restaurateurs know and trust. 

14 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun; pondi.hk

Okra Hong Kong

Okra Kitchen is a low-fuss, rowdy, ground-floor izakaya that approaches Japanese food with a global twist. It’s menu features the usual sashimi and seaweed salads, alongside more international offerings like crispy fried Brussel sprouts and a moreish El Pollo Loco — fried chicken burger in an Okinawan purple sweet potato bun. Upstairs, Okra Bar is more high spec with an eight-person white tile counter hosting a seasonally changing omakase set menu designed by New Orleans-born chef Max Levy, who uses vegetables grown on Okra’s rooftop garden. A curated list of unpasteurised sake can be paired to each dish.

G/F, 110 Queen’s Rd W, Sai Ying Pun; okrahk.com


This laid-back neighbourhood trattoria tucked away down an alleyway off Third Street, is smart while the food is kept simple, celebrating carefully sourced ingredients. It’s a quietly confident Italian from seasoned Hong Kong chefs Lucas De Berardinis and Alessandro Angelini, who fused their names to become LucAle. Homemade ravioli with ricotta lets sweet, fresh tomatoes take centre stage, while a chitarra-style spaghetti that’s made in house is dished up al dente with black truffle and pecorino cheese. The selection of cheeses is a good place to start — a creamy gorgonzola packs a punch, while burrata oozes to perfection. And don’t miss the Tiramisù Di LucAle, which has a burnt sugar crunch.

Shop A, 100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun; lucalehk.com


Catering to the wellness whims of Sai Ying Pun, this organic cafe works closely with Hong Kong farms to use produce free of pesticides and chemicals. The menu is a global affair that spans from quesadillas to coconut curry served with gluten-free cauliflower rice but it’s their Fama Bowls that get our seal of approval. There’s a cajun tiger prawn and roasted veggie one, a baked miso eggplant with chickpea, or guests can design their own. Locofama follows the natural wine zeitgeist too with a drinks list sourced from small production biodynamic vineyards, while fresh juices are pressed to order.

9, 13 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun; locofama.com

Test Kitchen 

Featuring a changing rota of local and global chefs — some with Michelin stars, others James Beard award-winners, or owners of restaurants ranked in Asia’s 50 best — Test Kitchen hosts a series of pop-up restaurants that celebrates creative cooking. The 40-cover establishment, dreamt up by founder Vincent Mui was inspired by the Dinner Lab pop-ups he helped out with while living in New York. The restaurant is set in a concrete-floored loft conversion behind heavy steel doors where chefs from around the world are invited to cook up a tasting menu of their choosing for three to five nights. See their website to find out who’s up next.

Shop 3, Kwan Yick Building Phase 3, 158A Connaught Rd W, Sai Ying Pun; testkitchen.com.hk

Potato Head

Designed by Indonesian architect Andra Matin, Potato Head is a multi-concept space that recreates the tropical mood of its original Balinese beach club, where world renowned DJs play in sun-drenched Seminyak. There’s the Eksotika Bar in a huge plant-filled space that serves up extravagant cocktails by mixologist Dre Masso, while fine dining restaurant Kaum has an impressive facade of coloured antique shutters, recovered from around Indonesia. Translated, Kaum means “clan” and offers authentic small plates, soups and larger dishes that combine the eclectic flavours of the country’s 300+ ethnic groups.

100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun; potatohead.co/hong-kong

Eng Kee Noodle Shop 

Sai Ying Pun locals still refer to Eng Kee as the “noodles by the sea,” remembering a time when the harbour could be seen from Centre Street, where the owners once had a food stall. Since 1994, the family run business has been serving up their signature beef brisket, braised overnight until tender and cha siu noodles that gained the Cantonese restaurant a spot on the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand list, which is awarded to institutions serving delicious food at reasonable prices. 

28 High St, Sai Ying Pun


Ping Pong 129 Gintonería

Ping Pong 129

Ping Pong 129

Behind an unmarked red door on quiet Second Street, between cha cha tengs and jumble shops, is this Spanish gin bar in a former ping pong hall. To enter, guests must descend a steep staircase that opens into the huge industrial space, decked out with mid-century modern furnishings and walls adorned with locally sourced art. The neon sign above the bar has become an iconic symbol of Hong Kong nightlife, just like their goblet-sized glasses of gin garnished with juniper berries, lemongrass or fruit. The Spanish tapas is worth staying for: we like the Padron peppers, tortilla and perfectly crisp croquettes.

129 Second Street L/G Nam Cheong House, Sai Ying Pun; pingpong129.com


This pocket-sized wine bar in Sai Ying Pun, with dim lights and exposed concrete walls, is the ultimate neighbourhood haunt. Locals-in-the-know head here for an extensive wine selection and excellent tapas, written out on a short single-page menu that lists international-dishes that include miso aubergine with homemade ricotta and beetroot, pumpkin gyoza and a drunken chicken. Carefully sourced from mostly organic and biodynamic farmers around the world, Brut!’s wines by the glass constantly change, keeping regulars excited. 

Shop C, G/F, Tung Cheung Building. 1, 11 Second St, Sai Ying Pun; brut.com.hk 


Coffee shop by day, cocktail bar by night, with the lights dimmed and music turned up, Winston’s is a pocket-sized neighbourhood favourite. It’s impossible to miss on Queens Road West, with its retro movie theatre-style sign outside that shares a changing slogan each day: there was “Love is in the air” on Valentines Day, and “Hong Kong forever,” when the city needed some support. Come for craft beer, a glass of wine or a cocktail — their espresso martini is (unsurprisingly) delicious.

Shop 4, G/F Rich Court, 213 Queen’s Rd W, Sai Ying Pun; winstonscoffee.com

NOC Roastery

NOC might stand for “not only coffee” but strong brews are the reason to come to this huge coffee shop and roastery that monitors everything from the bean’s origin to the water quality used in the end pour. The healthy, seasonally changing food menu features some impressive dishes too, like the caramelised banana on toast or the NOC Shakshuka, dished out in an industrial, light-filled space with floor-to-ceiling windows, lots of brushed concrete and steel. 

321 Des Voeux Rd W, Sai Ying Pun; noccoffeeco.com

Polygon Cafe

Head to this street art decorated hole-in-the-wall for good, strong coffee and people watching. The plant-covered outside terrace is worth checking out, complete with fairy lights at night and floral cushions. It’s run by Russian-American Yuri Ezhkov who predominantly sources coffee from Chicago roastery Intelligentsia, but the signature Black Cat Classic blend is sourced from South America and best sipped New York-style with a bagel or muffin.

4 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun; polygon-cafe.launchrock.com


Unlike the coffee here which packs a punch, this small neighbourhood staple is minimalist when it comes to decor. By night, the white-washed spot turns into an organic wine bar, serving hearty and impressive dishes of smoked brisket and squid ink, or spinach pesto orzo with burnt lemon sprinkles of gochugar. It’s named Detour after the 1945 film noir directed by Edgar G.Ulmer about a piano player in a sleazy New York nightclub who assumes a hitch hikers identity — co-owner and musician Matt Cousins’ favourite movie.

G/F, Shop A, 35-37 First Street, Sai Ying Pun; facebook.com/detour.coffee.wine


Bamboo Scenes

Bamboo Scenes

Bamboo Scenes

This local art gallery showcases and sells the affordable work of Hong Kong-based photographers, with 10% profits donated to charities such as ImpactHK, which helps the homeless. It was initially founded by Madelon de Grave in 2017 as an online-only platform to help local photographers share their work with a wider audience but they soon found this bricks-and-mortar home in Sai Ying Pun, where they now host regular exhibitions.

13 Fuk Sau Ln, Sai Ying Pun; bambooscenes.com


An urban renewal project by developers Henderson Land has seen buildings between Ki Ling Lane, Shek Chan Lane and Chung Ching Street spruced up with street art. Outside Sai Ying Pun’s MTR station exit B3 there’s an assortment of colourful scenes by nine local and international artists including Zue Chan, whose ‘Music Town’ was inspired by shops in Vienna, and Blessy Man and Henry Lau’s ‘Rainbow Staircase.’ 

Chung Ching Street, Sai Wan


Tak Chong Sum Kee Bamboo Steamer Company

One of the last bamboo steamer craftsmen working in Hong Kong today, Raymond Lam has been trading from Sai Ying Pun for more than three decades with no plan to move. He inherited the business from his family, who set up the company more than 70 years ago, when they fled to Hong Kong from mainland China. As the population of the city swells, and more restaurants open to cater to them, Tak Chong Sum Kee Bamboo Steamer Company continues to thrive. 

12 Western St, Sai Wan

Live Zero

Live Zero

Live Zero

Founded by young entrepreneur Tamsin Thornburrow, this is Hong Kong’s first zero waste store selling sustainable, eco-friendly, plastic free products. Missing the green goods she could find in her home country, she decided to set up shop to share her favourite things. There’s bulk liquid bath products, sulfate-free soaps, stainless steel straws, beeswax food wraps, bamboo toothbrushes, and S’well water bottles . Plus an extensive range of organic certified dried fruits, nuts and pulses.

G/F, 33 High St, Sai Ying Pun; livezero.hk

Books & Co. 

Calling all bookworms. This humble establishment in a red-brick building at the top of Sai Ying Pun has an extensive collection of pre-loved books for visitors to sift through. Stacked from floor to ceiling on shelves and in crates, readers are invited  to sit at one of Books & Co’s brown retro vinyl tables, flick through the books and sip on a cup of tea or freshly-brewed coffee from the cafe.

10 Park Road; facebook.com/BooksAndCo