The metropolis of Hong Kong is better known for its futuristic architecture and neon-lit skyline than for its quaint and quiet corners. But behind Causeway Bay—the city’s most frenetic fashion district—the Tai Hang neighborhood offers a laid-back alternative. Slow-paced yet rapidly evolving, the enclave is home to a wellspring of restaurants, vintage stores, artisanal coffee shops, and a growing lineup of design-driven boutiques.
EAT & DRINK
You can’t take a step in Tai Hang without seeing café diners spilling out onto pavements, dai pai dong (local outdoor café)-style. For a taste of the area’s best culinary chops, try Second Draft—on the ground floor of the Little Tai Hang hotel. The contemporary gastropub is a collaboration between local craft brewer Young Master Ales and one of Asia’s top chefs, May Chow. There are dozens of craft beers on tap, as well as one of the city’s most delicious Negronis and a menu full of Asian-inspired pub food—think squid-ink croquettes and Sichuan-esque “mapo” burrata.
Upstairs, Bond offers a breezy terrace where you can unwind with wine and European comfort food, made with ingredients from Hong Kong’s local wet markets. Inside, the raw-industrial decor has made a popular space for big groups looking to unwind over truffle spaghetti and homemade strozzapreti pasta.
Offering a taste of Asian cuisine, Gu Ma Ma is always overflowing with diners. It might have something to do with the family-style dishes, including the likes of Shandong dumplings, spicy dandan noodles, and Taiwanese-style fried chicken. Around the corner, a string of Japanese ramen, teppanyaki, and sushi restaurants make for intimate date spots, especially I M Teppanyaki & Wine, which earned a star in the 2017 Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau.
Unar Coffee Company is somewhat of an institution. You can usually spot the hole-in-the-wall address by the stylish crowd mingling outside—as the café has just a handful of seats. While the baristas know how to press an excellent espresso, they also get experimental with an Iced Cucumber Latte or Mocha Shakerato, which is shaken like a cocktail for a light and frothy result.
Tea lovers will appreciate Jrink, with its 120 house-made tea blends—some of which are prepared in a Steampunk brewing system. This colorful spot takes its style seriously, offering a lineup of pretty tea and phone accessories to take home with you.
An always-packed Din Tai Fung promises steamed baskets of its famous hand-folded xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Though originally from Taiwan, the restaurant has stolen many a Hong Kong heart with its all-day dim sum menu.
One of Tai Hang’s most popular wine bars is La Brezza—a no-frills address with a charming courtyard and European vibe. Where the neighborhood lacks in trendy cocktail bars, it makes up for in desserts. There’s Lab Made, serving liquid nitrogen ice cream, as well as Le Goût and BlissHive Bakery Café—both brimming with cakes and pastries.
While Causeway Bay might be the epicenter of style, the quiet streets of Tai Hang and Tin Hau have a few indie boutiques worth seeking out. Microwave, a buttonhole boutique in Tai Hang, is one of the city’s most beloved vintage shops. A stroll through this high-voltage shop will take you back to the ’80s with loud retro looks, but there are also a few contemporary finds from independent designers. Among the racks, look for experimental art and fashion collective Andrea Crews, German designer Bernhard Willhelm, and Copenhagen-based Rene Gurskov.
For luxury streetwear, Indie shop Ink eschews mainstream names in favour of avant-garde brands, such as Paris-based label Aganovich and breakout Chinese fashion designer Uma Wang, who showed during London, Paris, and Milan Fashion Weeks.
Incredible Shop promises a mix of menswear and gender-neutral options, much of which are exclusive to the store. The boutique stocks a curated collection of accessories and apparel, including backpacks from Bagjack that are handmade in Berlin, plus ID Dailywear chinos and supersoft Good On tees from Japan.
For loading up on Gucci and Louis Vuitton, head to Lee Gardens, or explore Japanese and Korean labels at Hysan Place.
DO & SEE
A wander around the neighborhood will take you past the 19th-century Lin Fa Temple with its graceful eaves and unique octagonal front hall. It’s here where the annual Fire Dragon Dance takes place during Mid-Autumn Festival, usually in September. A centuries-old ritual, the traditional dance features some 300 performers with incense sticks and firecrackers—believed to extinguish bad luck.
Behind the temple, Lin Fa Kung Garden provides a peaceful green spot. Larger in size, Victoria Park offers jogging paths, tennis courts, shady corners, and Tai Chi sessions every morning.
Injecting new energy into the neighborhood, Little Tai Hang opened earlier this year. The design-driven hotel exudes a contemporary British feel, with vintage furniture in the lobby, and its 91 rooms feature quirky illustrations and bright artwork. Each room benefits from floor-to-ceiling windows, framing either the iconic Victoria Harbour and Victoria Park to the north, or the Lin Fa Temple and forested hills to the south.
CreditHeader image courtesy of Little Tai Hang