Tucked away behind the hustle and bustle of Causeway Bay is the charming little district of Tai Hang. This area is a sort of Soho in the making, and has come a long way from being purely car repair shops!
Hong Kong’s best kept secret is just a brief walk from the Tin Hau MTR (well worth the exercise) and is packed full of cute little restaurants, bars and shops. Things seems to pop up here faster than you can say ‘new opening’, so keep an eye out for any hotspots to try out. Equally, things seem to close pretty suddenly, but this rapid turnover is a great reason to keep coming back to see what’s new! So get out of the Soho bubble and venture towards this quaint neighbourhood for an afternoon or evening of easy vibes and chilling out…
WHERE TO EAT
Renowned throughout Hong Kong, we don’t need to expand too much on what Classified serves up (cheese, cheese and more cheese!). Tai Hang has it’s very own branch with an open front and big wooden tables – perfect for groups and families. The relaxed, rustic vibe makes this is one of our favourite semi-alfresco places to go for breakfast or leisurely brunch. Eggs Benedict, homemade lemonade, people-watching… what more could you want from a Sunday morning?
Classified, 1-9 Lin Fa Kung Street West, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2857 3454, www.classifiedfoodshops.com.hk
La Brezza is a great stop off for quick coffee or brunch during the day, and at night becomes the perfect place to rendezvous with a couple of friends over some vino. This small eatery has a simple but sleek interior, complete with a little courtyard in the back. It doesn’t have many seats, so we recommend making a reservation if you want to avoid waiting. The menu is simple, comprised mainly of snacks and starters (great for sharing), sandwiches, pasta dishes, a few main courses and a dessert list that changes daily. The set dinners here are very reasonably priced, and the intimate, casual vibe is great if you’re looking for a bit of privacy. The standard Western fare isn’t exactly thrilling, but it’s a great safe option if you’re looking for something quick and easy.
La Brezza, 5 King Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2504 3077
Known for their generous portions, fresh ingredients and attentive service, if you’re in the mood for some Italian, why not head on down to PizzaZaZa. They have a great selection of pizzas and pastas with delicious homemade sauces for take-aways or dine-ins, all at pretty reasonable prices! Though quite small, PizzaZaZa is decorated nicely, with high ceilings and artwork covering all the walls – ideal for a lazy afternoon catching up with old friends or a snack break while exploring the little streets of Tai Hang!
PizzaZaZa, G/F, 7 Wun Sha Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2881 8287, mmm-hk.com/Pizzazaza/index.html
Cafe Locomotive is cleverly decorated like a classic train, complete with luggage racks filled with old fashioned suitcases! The lines of people outside (we recommend booking a table!) will swear by the delicious Vietnamese food served here. Cafe Locomotive serves a mean pho, as well as other traditional Vietnamese dishes, and their food is simple, quick and delicious. It’s also very reasonably priced with their Pho Dai (Vietnamese noodles with raw beef) being a steal at only $38. We suggest finishing your meal with one of their irresistible desserts!
Cafe Locomotive, G/F, 11 Wun Sha Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2882 8227, www.cafelocomotive.com
Hong Kong seems to be overflowing with Sushi places (check out our sushi guide here), but what makes Sushi Shin stand out is the high quality food, friendly service and cosy atmosphere! Sushi Shin offers amazing authentic Japanese food at a price. If money’s not an issue, go for the omakase menu, but if you’re on a budget, their lunch menu offers excellent value for money. Book in advance if you want to sit at the bar and watch the chefs do their thing, and make sure to ask about their seasonal off-the-menu goodies!
Sushi Shin, Wing Hing Court, 110-114 Tung Lo Wan Road, Hong Kong, 2398 8000, www.sushishin.com
They say one should judge a Vietnamese restaurant by their pho, and Vietnam Station certainly hits all the right notes with us! Their ‘station pho’ is fresh and flavourful and is definitely worth a return visit. The locals swear by not only the great food served here, but the great value too!
Vietnam Station, G/F, 136 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2895 0788
Panevino brings a slice of Italy to Hong Kong, serving up traditional Italian comfort food. The much-loved Panevino in the Mid-Levels is almost as old as me, and the latest Tai Hang location is a welcome addition to the Hong Kong food scene. This spacious restaurant is great for groups and has a gorgeous al fresco area in the back! Their set lunch (an antipasti buffet with dessert and a classic pasta dish) is available everyday from 12-3pm at just $98 per person, whilst happy hour is from 5-8pm, so you can enjoy a cool drink with Italian style tapas. We love their long list of starters that are all great for sharing. Check our their Facebook page to find out more about their great deals or read our full review here!
Panevino, 36-40 Tung Lo Wan Road, G/F Intelligent Court, Tai Hang, 2881 5525, www.panevino.com.hk
Entering Stones is like entering a vintage American diner… The charming vibe here is hard to find anywhere else, and Stones is a guaranteed solid meal. The delicious burgers here are not to be missed, but the menu also features some great salads if you’re looking for something a little healthier. Make sure to save some space for one of their tempting desserts (we know you won’t be able to resist one of those!). The set dinner menu and great selection of beers, wine and cocktails make Stones the perfect place to spend an evening… comfort food for those lazy days!
Stones, G/F, China Tower, 1-9 Lin Fa Street West, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2570 6858, www.facebook.com/stonestaihang
Daruma Ramen House
Owner Charlie Chan vowed to bring “real Japanese ramen to Hong Kong”, and he’s doing a great job with Daruma Ramen House. Get in on the action and try some of their mouth-watering Japanese dishes, made using only the highest quality ingredients. Though their ramen is said to be unbeatable, don’t over look some of their other dishes. The simple menu does include dishes such as chicken wings stuffed with fish roe (yum!)… This place is super popular, so head there early if you want to miss the big queues.
Daruma Ramen House, Shop E, G/F, Ming Sun Building, 92 Tung Lo Wan Rd., Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2565 6600, www.daruma.com.hk
WHERE TO DRINK
Unar coffee company
Seating is limited at Unar (unless you fancy sitting curb-side!), but if you need a coffee on-the-go, then look no further! This little hole-in-the-wall proves that size doesn’t matter, and the long line of eager customers waiting outside pays testament to Unar’s delicious and high quality coffee, using only the finest Italian coffee beans! We’ve heard their banana caramel cake is a must-try too. Check out more of our favourite coffee spots here!
Unar coffee company, G/F, 4 Second Lane, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2838 5231, www.facebook.com/unarcoffeecompany
If you’re looking for a spot to relax after work, then Zanzo, a contemporary Japanese sake bar is the place to be. Their open-air layout makes it the perfect spot to enjoy a cool breeze on a hot summer day. The reasonably priced and extensive drink selection (including hard-to-find sakes and Japanese beers) is paired perfectly with a fine selection of Japanese nibbles. Try get a seat at the counter that acts as the centrepiece of this bar to watch the bartenders mix your drinks up close!
Zanzo, 15-16 School Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2750 6490, www.zanzo.hk
‘Guay’ in Spanish means cool, fantastic or super (quite a standard to set!), and this bar most definitely lives up to its name. It brings together delightful drinks and small-bites to create the perfect place to chill, unwind or mingle with friends. This bar is the perfect place to escape the Soho crowds and have a relaxed night out, blending in perfectly with Tai Hang’s chilled out vibe. You’ve got to try one of their signature cocktails; we recommend the Bitter Grapefruit at $98 or the Graveyard at $138 if you’re in need of a serious shot of alcohol! Both are thirst-quenchingly good and are favourites of Guay’s regular customers. Read more here!
GUAY, 9A Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2618 8782, www.guayhk.com
This intimate and welcoming neighbourhood bar is the Tai Hang equivalent of the British pub. The drinks here are very reasonably priced, with cocktails only setting you back around $70! Join the friendly crowd of regulars who swear by it’s great service and wide selection of craft beer. A great place for a chilled out evening!
Buddy, G/F, 22 School St., Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2882 9780
Whether you’re a chocoholic (we suggest the chocolate parfait) or you want something a little more fruity (apple pie and kiwi sorbet!), you will definitely find something in this little neighbourhood hangout to satisfy those sugar cravings. The milkshakes are dangerously addictive too!
Pudding, G/F, 17A, King Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 3482 3925
Lab Made is Hong Kong’s first – and only – purveyor of liquid nitrogen frozen ice-cream. Their creamy creations are frozen right before your eyes in under two minutes and are made to order. With crazy flavours that change every week (many have a Hong Kong slant) we can’t resist going back frequently to see what mouth-watering (and sometimes unusual) ingredients they’re using to create the smoothest scoops we’ve ever had! Check out our full review here.
Lab Made, G/F, 6,Brown Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2670 0071, www.labmade.com.hk
We’ve only heard good things about Le Gout. Tucked away in the heart of Tai Hang lies fabulous French desserts from a top pastry chef at very reasonable prices!
Le Gout, Shop C, GF, 8 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2805 6622
Papabubble is a sweet shop unlike any other and feels like a modern Willy Wonka factory. They sell a range of rock candies and lollipops, and you can even have them custom made! The walls are lined with bright little jars of delectable sweets; from all-time traditional favourites to exotic ones from places you’ve never heard of, make sure to try them all. You can even watch the master confectioners (candy masters, as they like to be called!) at work in the back of the store as they create their specialty candies. We love the little HK candies… the perfect gifts for visitors!
Papabubble, 34 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, 2367 4807, www.papabubble.com.hk
Lin Fa Temple
Beyond all the new shops and bars, Tai Hang is a real cultural hub too. The streets are lined with little stalls selling incense and temple offerings, which goes hand in hand with the beautiful Lin Fa Temple nearby. This historic building is over 150 years old, and though small, plays an important part in local celebrations including Mid-Autumn festival. Built to worship the Goddess of Mercy, this temple is set in a peaceful environment next to the huge ‘Lotus’ rock. You’ll also find beautiful lotus lanterns lighting up the chamber of the temple inside… perfect for some zen.
Fire Dragon Dance
Tai Hang is also famous for its Fire Dragon Dance (which will be happening on the 7th-9th of September this year). This has been an annual tradition since the 19th century, when the people of the fishing village that once was Tai Hang stopped a trend of bad luck with this dance – including a plague! Though Tai Hang is obviously not a fishing village anymore, 300 performers, 72,000 incense sticks and a 67-metre dragon recreate this ancient ritual every year!
Tai Hang is also where the very cool Harbour Artisanal host their outdoor markets to showcase the city’s best boutique food vendors. Check out their Facebook page or website to see when their next market will be on so you can drop by and savour something you won’t find in the supermarkets!
All businesses were open at the time of writing!