MJ’s top HK spots
I moved to Hong Kong in 2013 and lived there for three years.
I love designy things, delicious and affordable food, and sweet views. The items in red are my absolute top picks for first-timers, but I would say everything on here is great.
- From Victoria Peak (taxi ride is the best way to get there, bus is second best, don’t bother with the Peak Tram).
- The view from the glass-bottomed Gondolas on the way to the Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha). This trip is amazing and a must-do. Definitely splurge and get the glass bottoms!
- From the top of the Dragon’s Back, a super lovely hike.
- Nan Lian Gardens at Chi Lin Monastery, a gorgeous traditional garden + high quality vegetarian Chinese restaurant.
- Ozone, the bar atop the Ritz Carlton at ICC in Tsim Sha Tsui
Top Shopping Spots:
- PoHo in Sheung Wan (Kapok, Po’s Atelier, Teakha, etc)
- PMQ in Sheung Wan
- Times Square and Lee Theater (MUJI, UNIQLO, Åland) in Causeway Bay
- Hipster shops (Monocle, Kapok) on Star Street (Wan Chai)
- Gough Street (Elephant Grounds, Homeless) in Central
- K-11 Art Mall in TST
Top Dim Sum:
- Dim Sum Square, Sheung Wan – cheap and delicious
- Pure Veggie House Vegetarian Dim Sum, Mid-Levels
- Tim Ho Wan (Sham Shui Po, get the crispy bbq pork buns)
- Heichinrou (pricier but tasty)
- One Dim Sum at Prince Edward (this is supposed to be good, haven’t tried it yet)
Top Desserts & Snacks:
- Yee Shun Milk Company – Warm Steamed Milk Pudding (if you like vanilla-y, milky desserts)
- Egg tarts at Tai Cheong (if you like eggy desserts), a classic HK treat
- Pineapple buns, Mexican Custard Buns, and condensed milk toast from Tsui Wah (lots of locations)
- Mango desserts at Hui Lau Shan (several locations). My all-time favorite is the Green / White / Yellow mango drink; it has aloe, coconut, and mango <3
- Baked goodies at Po’s Atelier
- Xian Tian Gu, a famous & delicious Japanese-inspired Cantonese dessert place in Tai Hang, Tin Hau.
- On weekends, the delicious but expen$ive ice cream sandwiches at Elephant Grounds on Gough Street, Central
Top Cafes / Teahouses:
- Teakha, PoHo, Sheung Wan
- Kubrick bookstore cafe, Yau Ma Tei
- Cafe Corridor, Causeway Bay
- Heard it’s good – Mido Cafe, Yau Ma Tei
- 121 BC, super delicious Italian food. A bit pricy, $460 HKD or so for an 11-course menu, or order a la carte.
- Brass Spoon, yummy Vietnamese pho in Wan Chai
- Bun Cha, delicious Vietnamese near PMQ in Sheung Wan/Central.
- Syut, hidden away in an industrial building in Ngau Tau Kok/Kwun Tong.
- This place in Tai Hang with no English name.
- Mana for healthy vegan food in Central.
- CATCH on Catchick in Kennedy Town has GREAT brunch.
- This list from my lovely friend Anne is superb.
- This list from That Food Cray is really solid.
- While they still exist, try a Dai Pai Dong, a general term for the classic Hong Kong alleyway street food.
- 民聲冰室, super super good hole in the wall in Tai Hang. It really helps if you have a local with you for this place, but if you don’t it’s still worth a try.
- Choi’s Kitchen, a pricy but delicious private kitchen / clay pot restaurant in Tai Hang. They have English menus!
Top Street Markets:
- Temple Street Night Market (and nearby Yau Ma Tei for streets full of cheap cookware and kitchen gizmos)
- For designers, a must-visit – Sham Shui Po crafting mecca – bead street, fabrics galore, toy shops, leather shops, trinkets, the electronics market, fashion street… oh my! PS: Sassy’s SSP guide is purty good!
- Beef & Liberty (Wan Chai)
- Butchers Club (Wan Chai/TST)
Top Day Trips:
- Lamma Island
- Dragon’s Back Hike starting from Chai Wan Cemetery + Bus to Shek O Village (the photos in this walkthrough get a bit murky at the cemetery: you want to go basically up the middle-left of the cemetery, not way off to the right like we mistakenly did.)
My favorite HK stuff by geographical location
HONG KONG ISLAND
* Victoria Peak: 1/3 – 1/2 day
If you only have one day in Hong Kong as a first timer, and it’s a clear-sky day, you must go here. It’s a breathtaking view of an amazing city.
If you like hiking you can actually get here via the Morning Trail, which is a sweet little 1-2 hour hike up Victoria Peak. Not advised during summer – it gets ridiculously muggy and hot.
Also check out:
G.O.D. For HK-themed souvenirs
* Eat at Pure Veggie House on the way down – fantastic and affordable vegetarian dim sum.
* Stop by the Hong Kong Aviary and HK Park afterwards, a short walk away 🙂
Central (the main downtown area): 1/3 day
Dai Pai Dong, classic Hong Kong alleyway street food
The Mid-Levels Escalator
121 BC, super delicious Italian food. A bit pricy, $460 HKD or so for an 11-course menu, or order a la carte.
The Globe’s extensive beer selection
G.O.D. For HK-themed souvenirs
SoHo area for cocktails, trendy restaurants (Try Little Lab, 50 Staunton Street)
Egg tarts at Tai Cheong (if you like eggy desserts), a classic HK treat
* Roundhouse Taproom, to die for short rib and great beer selection
* Sheung Wan: 1/3 day, or 1/2 Day if you peruse PMQ
* Teakha tea house & the shopping nearby (I like Konzepp)
* Po’s Atelier – insanely delicious baked goods
* Dim Sum Square, delicious and cheap!!
* PMQ: a neat collection of artsy/designy pop-up shops and boutiques, installed in the former HK Police family dormitory building.
Yet to try: Yardbird, a very popular yakitori joint
Wan Chai (for burgers and cute designy boutiques; legit wet markets): 1/3 day
Star Street /St Francis Yard Area Shopping (Especially Kapok)
* Beef & Liberty, great burger place above Pizza Express
Butcher’s Club, another amazing burger place nearby
Wet markets and the temple on Stone Nullah Ln
Causeway Bay (for good shopping and crowds) 1/3 to 1/2 day
* MUJI! With a cafe! Two stories! <3 + UNIQLO downstairs.
Lei Garden – the most insanely delicous crispy bbq pork in my life
Top of SOGO if you like Japanese-only books and mags
Butao, delicious ramen (worth the wait)
Cafe Corridor, great espresso and yummy snacks
Lei Shun Court: (menswear and burgers) Luddite, Hola, Burgerroom
Tai Hang (Tin Hau) (just for lunch or dinner)
Super cute restaurant district; reminds me of Japan!
Delicious secret / private clay pot restaurant Choi’s Kitchen
Famous & delicious Japanese-inspired Cantonese dessert place around the corner, Xiau Tian Gu
TST (bustly, touristy shopping district): 1/3 to 1/2 day
Star ferry over to/from Central on HK Island
Malls on Malls on Malls. Try K-11 Art mall if you want designy gifts or hip up-and-coming designer shopping.
Tallest bar in the world at Ozone @ the Ritz. Expensive but fantastic views.
Yau Ma Tei / Mong Kok (favorite cafe + indie movie theater, and awesome industrial CHEAP kitchen goods shops): 1/3 day
* Kubrick Bookstore/Cafe and arthouse cinema: my favorite cafe! A slice of New York City in HK
Great cookware shopping in random industrial-looking shops
GIANT Stationery store – CN Square – right by Yau Ma Tei MTR station.
The walk through Kowloon Park and up Shanghai street is very colorful and there are lots of shops to browse in!
HK Reader – sweet tiny little indie bookshop with a cat <3
Yet to try: Mido Cafe, a Cha chaan teng
Sham Shui Po (electronics and fashion/jewelry supply mecca): 1/3 day
The original Tim Ho Wan (cheapest Michelin starred restaurant) (dim sum)
Electronics market, fabric street, Cheung Sha Wan cheap clothing shops
Diamond Hill (super gorgeous free Chinese gardens + semi-fancy vegetarian Chinese lunch)
* The super beautiful Nan Lian gardens and attached Chi Lin Nunnery Vegetarian Restaurant. Yum!
Note: the beauty of the garden is ruined by harsh midday sun, go before or after noon
Kwun Tong / Ngau Tau Kok (super industrial area where MJ works!)
* tvfsjs, a lovely and delicious hidden cafe in the corner of a nondescript industrial building in Ngau Tau Kok. Totally worth having to actually find it. Hint: Walk down Kwun Tong Road, and when you find the building at the end of a stretch, walk around to the backside of to find the elevator lobby.
APM, a giant 9-story mall with a MUJI, LOG-ON, etc.
Kowloon City: “Little Thailand” (GREAT Thai food!!! and groceries.) + Kowloon Walled City Park: 1/2 day
HIKES, DAY TRIPS, AND OUTLYING ISLANDS
Lamma Island: (2/3 of a day)
Super cute day trip! Quaint seaside village feeling.
Seafood, a short hike to the windmill, trinkets.
+ Sai Kung seaside village
Great seafood! About an hour outside of town.
+ Dragon’s back
+ Big Buddha
Crispy Pork (Lei Garden)
Dim Sum (Dim Sum Square)
BBQ Pork Bun (Tim Ho Wan)
Mango / Coconut drinks and Mango Mocchi (Hui Lau Shan)
Mexican Custard Bun / Pineapple Bun (Tsui Wah)
Egg Tart (Sheung Wan)
Muji Lunch (CWB)