Sham Shui Po epitomises the urban vigour of Hong Kong with its clamorous market stalls and visual maze of brightly-painted buildings baring neon signs. Between iconic pawn shops and decades-old family businesses hide dai pai dongs that hold onto their old-school charm, one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, and a handful of cool cafes and art galleries that have sprung up in recent years. Thanks to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), which until this year had a campus here, and the fashion retailers and design firms in neighbouring Lai Chi Kok, Sham Shui Po has been reinvigorated by a young audience interested in art, culture and places for an all-important caffeine hit.


Tim Ho Wan

Photo: NORA TAM/South China Morning Post at Getty Images

Photo: NORA TAM/South China Morning Post at Getty Images

This is the second branch of the Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant Tim Ho Wan, which was founded by Chef Mak Kwai Pui (formerly of the Four Seasons’ Lung King Heen) and Chef Leung Fai Keung. It’s beloved for the char siu bao (BBQ-pork buns), shrimp dumplings, steamed egg cakes and vermicelli rolls with pig’s liver, which draw crowds around the block from 10am when it opens. Once one of the cheapest restaurants to have won a Michelin-star, Tim Ho Wan has since expanded to 46 further outposts in Hong Kong and beyond. 

9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po;

Man Kee Cart Noodles

Join the queues at this unpretentious eatery to order a steaming hot bowl of noodles in beef brisket broth. Established more than a decade ago, the shop maintains its homely interiors with wooden tables and dividers, and large sketches on the walls. Noodles are served in rustic blue and white bowls, with a variety of toppings — the Chinese chive dumpling and Swiss chicken wings come highly recommended. 

121 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po

Kung Wo Beancurd Factory

Proudly baring it’s name in red clerical script, Kung Wo has been in Sham Shui Po for more than fifty years but the company was established in 1893 to sell silken tofu in all forms: pan-fried, in puffs and as sugar-free milk. But it’s the sweet tofu pudding dung faa, a classic Hong Kong dish that’s rich in soy bean flavour and that’s been made for more than  2,000 years, that keeps regulars coming back. The factory itself is worth checking out – it’s compact and splendidly imperfect with retro furnishings that include tiled floors and walls that harken back to an earlier era.

118 Pei Ho Street, Sham Shui Po

Oi Man Sang

As one of Hong Kong’s few remaining dai pai dongs, this buzzy spot thrums off the sound of a blazing stove and food sizzling in a large single wok. The black pepper beef with potatoes is the speciality, but the seafood dishes are good too with plenty of Cantonese classics. Hunker down in this Sham Shui Po stalwart with a Tsingtao beer, and excellent street food. 

Sham Shui Po Building, 1A-1C Shek Kip Mei St, Sham Shui Po




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This coffee shop on trendy Tai Nan Street serves strong brews, art books, vinyl, turntables, and accessories. It’s a two-storey space of brushed concrete and white-washed walls where the owner curates an inspiring selection of design-forward treats for customers to browse. Come for coffee and a cake of the day — they change every other day and can include caneles and a sesame cheesecake — and stay for talks by local artists, whose work is highlighted in the café-gallery. 

G/F, 198 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po;

Coffee of the Day


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Coffee of the Day is a minimalist spot with interiors as simple as its name. There’s a stylishly-positioned plum tree below a mirror, but apart from that the space is almost completely white with hard cube stools and brushed concrete on the ground. It’s cash only and the menu is short, listed on a weighing scale at the counter. There’s a selection of brews, as well as matcha, home-made lemonades and a hojicha, each served up with a message on a slip of paper. 

Shop B, G/F, 172-174 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po;

Le Petit Salon


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Le Petit Salon is a pocket-sized spot in Sham Shui Po’s notorious Dragoncentre, a nine-storey shopping mall firmly stuck in  the 90s. Hiding in a sprawling maze of massage parlours, eateries and boutique stores, as well as a now-defunct indoor roller coaster, is the wood-fronted shop serving good strong coffee. The shop has a platform and training center on the ground floor of Dragoncentre too, teaching the community about well-crafted coffee.

Shop 111A, 1/F, Dragoncentre Mall, Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po;

Phvlo Hatch X Colour Brown

Stop by for coffee on the ground floor of this green-fronted space in Sham Shui Po. Phvlo Hatch collaborate with coffee makers Colour Brown, who actively promote sustainability in the industry. Stay for art exhibitions, pop-up clothes shops and talks. Phvlo Hatch is dedicated to giving back to the community and promotes sustainability by providing job opportunities and skill enhancement for families around the neighbourhood. It offers educational programmes to inspire those who are interested in fashion, film, music, art and design. 

9-13 Wong Chuk Street, Sham Shui Po;

Café Sausalito

Founder Michael Tam grew up among Sham Shui Po’s wet market vendors, local cha chan tengs, and wholesale shops selling fabric rolls, and has returned to bring speciality coffee to the area. His Café Sausalito is a community hub, with live music at the weekends and hosts everything from indie markets to art shows. The menu lists all the usuals, as well as a single origin drip coffee and a cucumber flavoured coffee and soda water drink they call the cucumberano.

201 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po;


Vinyl Hero

Photo: SCMP / Thomas Yau

Photo: SCMP / Thomas Yau

In a tiny 300-square foot room hidden inside a residential building on Cheung Sha Wan Road, is Paul Au’s treasure trove packed full of over 400,000 vinyl records, spanning all genres. The self proclaimed ‘vinyl hero’ has collected for more than 30-years, with boxes stacked to the roof of everything from 60s records left by American GIs in his native Vietnam to bootlegs from Taiwan, and pop to classical.  

Flat D, 5/F, Wai Hong Building , 239 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po; Visitors should call before visiting 9841 7136.

Apliu Street

Just a stone’s throw from the MTR station is Apliu Street’s bustling market that’s scattered with brick-a-brack collectables. While the majority of the products here are classic market fare, there are some diamonds in the rough. Find vendors selling vintage electronics — 1960s point and shoots and flat-bed cameras — antique watches and jewellery. 

Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po, MTR exit A2, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Ki Lung Street, Yu Chau Street, Nam Cheong Street and Tai Nan Street

During Hong Kong’s manufacturing boom in the 50s and 60s, Sham Shui Po was home to many factories that produced leather, fabrics and accessories. Today, only a handful of vendors remain — on Tai Nan Street find locally made, vegetable tanned leather items at Luen Cheong Leather Hong Kong, which was established in 1948. Head to Nam Cheong Street for wholesale rolls of lace and ribbon in all colours, shapes and sizes. Yu Chau Street for beads, and Ki Lung Street for buttons, zippers and clasps. For fabric, head to a variety of stores where Chinese mills sell off their deadstock — Po Tat Textile Co. is where to go for denim, or the Yen Chow Fabric Market has a wide selection of textiles.

Luen Cheong Leather Hong Kong, 173 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po


Mudheytong Gallery


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Named Mud-Hey-Tong, which means clay, ware and space, this gallery and workshop in Sham Shui Po was established by three Hong Kong ceramicists. They provide a location for working ceramicists to nurture their talents with a series of residencies, as well as running workshops for beginners. To engage with the wider community and promote public awareness of the ceramic arts, they run courses for a variety of levels (these start at $500 for two hours) and host public events that include lectures and local and international art exhibitions. Check out their shop that sells the work of local artisans too. 

No. 175 Tai Nan St, Sham Shui Po;

Parallel Space


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This independently run art gallery by Kim Lam is a blank canvas for art exhibitions, pop-up stores and other events. It’s at the heart of trendy Tai Nan Street, where creatives flock for a variety of art initiatives. Past events in the space have included a series of images from Hong Kong based illustration studio Don Mak, photographs by Alex Chung Po Lun and a pop-up show of live plants. 

202 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po;

Sam Tai Tsz Temple and Pak Tai Temple

Built in 1898 by Hakka immigrants to honour their patron deity Sam Tai Tsz, after a deadly plague swept through Sham Shui Po, the temple is small but beautiful. It sits beside the Pak Tai Temple which was erected by local fishermen in 1920. 

196 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po