This often overlooked area is just a short stroll from the glitz and glamour of Causeway Bay.
Known for its power station and some of Hong Kong’s largest housing estates, North Point has otherwise remained unremarkable to most of us, yet there is plenty of charm and excitement to soak up. Where to begin? From hidden hole-in-the-walls and cooked food markets to Instagram spots and indoor sports parks, here’s how to get right into the beating heart of what’s good to eat, drink, see and do in this culturally rich part of the Eastern District.
Editor’s Note: The situation in Hong Kong regarding closures and restrictions on opening hours due to the coronavirus is constantly evolving. Many businesses are taking extra precautions, but please make sure you follow the latest government advice and stay home if you have recently travelled overseas, have interacted with anyone who has been away, or display any symptoms.
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Tseung Kwan O
Where To Eat & Drink In North Point
Bichotan is at the heart of Koji Charcoal Grill. This expensive fuel from Japan is the hallmark of the restaurant’s charcoal cooking menu. It burns at a high temperature and for a long time, allowing any lucky chef to better control the scorching and glazing of the dishes.
High-end Japanese dishes are on display here, fed no doubt by sister restaurant and neighbour, Le Bec Fin, where East meets West in a fine dining set up with innovative cooking techniques. But here at Koji, it’s all about the grilling, not least Kushiyaki items (a cheffy category that includes both poultry and non-poultry items, which are skewered and grilled).
I recommend trying the more interesting cuts such as Chicken Gizzard and Wagyu Ox Tongue. Hiroshima’s oysters have worldwide acclaim so you’d be remiss to pass up on these fritters by way of a small bites option, and pair them with the best ginjo grade sake that your budget will allow!
The vast cooked food centre on the top floor of the Java Road Market is largely monopolised by Cheung Fat Kitchen, as much a unique must-try for new expats to the area as it is a regular dining spot for locals and market workers alike.
The hearty dishes that are served bring a convivial feel to an otherwise uninspiring space. There’s plenty of cheap Blue Girl lager to cheers an hour or two away, chomping through longstanding market favourites like Drunken Chicken In A Pot and Steamed Eel With Black Bean Sauce. Coming as a group makes trying a wider range of dishes more feasible.
Cheung Fat Kitchen, Shop 7-9, Cooked Food Centre, Java Road Municipal Services Building, 99 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong, 9831 5692
After a mid-day snack or after-dinner treat? Head straight to this beloved hole-in-the-wall for arguably the best gai daan zai in the area. There will likely be a queue, but don’t let that turn you away. We assure you the supremely fluffy egg waffles here are worth the wait!
Lee Keung Kee North Point Egg Waffles, 492 King’s Road, North Point, Hong Kong
While the service is a bit frantic, head to North Point institution Tung Po for the full local experience! The food really does speak for itself at this popular seafood restaurant within the Java Road Cooked Food Centre. Drink your beer out of a bowl and fill your round table with favourites such as the Squid Ink Spaghetti with Cuttlefish Balls, Crispy Roast Chicken and Steamed Clams in Lotus Leaf.
Tung Po, 2/F, Java Road Municipal Services Building, 99 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Yau Won Chinese Barbecue Braised Snack Stall (有運燒味鹵味店)
North Point is home to a handful of food markets offering plentiful vegetable, meat and fish options for the home cook. These local ingredients are put to excellent use by the stall’s proficient cleaver-wielding owners at the Electric Road Market, who have a roadside location at the western end of North Point, just a short walk from Fortress Hill MTR.
What’s on offer isn’t anything different to what you’ll see at any hot meat purveyor across the city, but there’s an orderliness to the operation and finesse to the service that seems to be an upgrade to much of the competition out there.
There’s Soy Sauce Chicken and Roasted Goose, but it’s the Char Siu with Rice that is the go-to choice for hungry neighbours who have the good fortune to live close by. This little stall seems to never close, and puts all the glossy branded imitations to shame with the quality on offer.
Yau Won Chinese Barbecue Braised Snack Stall, Electric Road Market & Cooked Food Centre, 229 Electric Road, North Point, Hong Kong, 2566 8241
Barely 200 yards away from the Market, on the border with Causeway Bay’s suburbs, is Menraku. Not strictly a shop of course, the restaurant layout is the familiar cramped corridor format, allowing just a handful of diners in at any one time.
But it’s worth queueing for! The red lanterns are a beacon to North Point’s ramen junkies who flock here for the Hokkaido style noodles. The Prefecture’s twist is simple but delicious – a generous slice of butter is floated on top of the deeply rich bone broth, melting into a slick of rich goodness that coats each noodle.
A small refrigerator at the far end of the shop chills a small range of soft drinks, beers and sakes to help wash down the ramen, and there are some decent grilled options to accompany the main event for those with a big appetite.
Menraku Japanese Noodle Shop, Shop D, G/F, Chung Nam Mansion, 163 King’s Road, North Point, Hong Kong, 3580 2909
Keeping with the Japanese theme, Shuto holds a commanding pitch on the quaint little food enclave that is Kam Ping Street. Four large taru sake casks mark the entrance.
Mostly counter seating puts the diner at eye level with the skilful hands that slice a wide range of fresh marine life for sushi and sashimi. The yakitori is pretty good too, the chicken wings come wing tip and mid-joint, trussed with a wooden skewer taking the strategies for gnawing all that grilled goodness to a whole new level.
But the food claims second spot to the drinks, with Shuto offering a significant printed sake menu with the bottles listed by brewery and Prefecture, each with an informative write up. Sake is offered from all over Japan by 60ml o-choko cup, 180ml tokkuri carafe and 720ml bottle.
Sassy Tip: Bring a Cantonese speaking friend to unpick the sake menu for you, it’s not available in English.
Yu Ngan Ting Izakaya (羽銀亭居酒屋)
Just down from Shuto is this vibrant izakaya, where people come for raw plates, grilled skewers and tasty rice dishes. Decent Asahi comes in almost pint-sized chunky glassware and sake in thimble sized cups, allowing you and your dining companions to regularly pour for each other and kanpai.
The hero dish from the kitchen is a grilled mackerel fillet, meaty and heaving with omega-3 goodness – it’s a great healthy balance to the beer. Another must-try is the hearty and aromatic Uni Fried Rice.
Yu Ngan Ting Izakaya, G/F, Maylun Apartment, 9 Shu Kuk Street, North Point, Hong Kong, 2613 1223
Right next to North Point MTR’s B4 exit is this Michelin recommendation. This is one of four outlets across the city, showcasing the two owners’ sizeable experience and cooking abilities.
There’s over 130 dishes to choose from, with several set menus available for anyone too bamboozled by the overwhelming selection. We suggest going with a Dal, either black lentil Makhani or yellow lentil Tarka, plus some bread to mop it all up – you won’t be disappointed. The Butter Chicken is another easy choice, served Westerner-friendly without any bones.
Stop by Coffee 101 for a cold-brew or hand-dripped coffee, available using a selection of seasonal beans. And if you’re in the mood for food, this cafe serves a mean All-Day Breakfast or Veggie Breakfast for those who don’t eat meat. The Pasta of the Day option, which comes in at only $58, is also hard to resist.
Satisfying our stomachs time after time with delectable dim sum that’s easy on our wallets is Tim Ho Wan. With its perfectly plump har gao and mouth-watering baked buns with barbecue pork, it’s not hard to see why this international franchise has earned its Michelin status.
Be sure to put a tick by the Steamed Egg Cake. It might not sound all that appetising, but the featherlight warm pillow of airy sponge that arrives has a good hint of brown sugar sweetness and will have you fighting with your fellow diners for the last bite.
Where To Shop In North Point
It’s just a couple of MTR stops or a 15-minute walk to the shopping mecca of Causeway Bay from the eastern end of North Point, but there’s enough right on the doorstep to go at for most shoppers.
With three phases of Harbour North now well and truly open, sportswear, eyewear, footwear, electronics and jewellery all have representation, as does beauty, which seems to over index if anything, versus the other categories.
There’s a broad spectrum of food and beverage here too, some with low level harbour terraces or views. Expect to find a decent range of cuisines covering most Asian favourites, as well as a handful of more Western casual dining brands. Best of all, head down to B1’s YATA Supermarket and its array of well merchandised aisles of high quality, often niche, Asian ingredients, in addition to fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood.
Sassy Tip: The mall’s website has a live update on the length of the restroom queues – invaluable intel!
At the other extreme is La Cave, situated in the shadow of the City Garden Hotel. Its exterior facade has seen better days, but inside this broom cupboard-sized space is a staggering number of wine and spirit bottles. Wine enthusiasts may well be able to pick up a real bargain amongst the dusty shelves heaving with largely Old World wines.
WORFU is in its early development as the community’s next big retail destination,with more than 100 shops predicted to stretch it the entire length of Wharf Road. Expect a mix of dining concepts, household shops and outlet stores.
With a prime location at the AIA building crossroad near Fortress Hill MTR, this tiny shop barely has space amongst the greenery to whip out your Octopus Card. Nevertheless, whatever fauna you need to freshen up the home, it’s likely to be here, somewhere.
For the greener fingered there are seeds for sale, but for most of us less patient types, take your pick from bamboo seedlings, hanging baskets, pot plants, roses, carnations and all manners of floral sprays.
Last but by no means least, take a walk around AIA tower, a North Point landmark. Office workers are spoiled with a broad range of cuisines from Vietnamese to Indian, Tex-Mex to Cantonese. It’s a one-stop shop for any lunchtime shopping dash with the usual pharmacy, cosmetic and stationery options all there.
AIA Tower, 183 Electric Road, North Point, Hong Kong
What To Do In North Point
North Point’s history and rich cultural past has given rise to some iconic landmarks that remain largely as they were in today’s cityscape, and all the more poignant.
Chun Yeung Street Market
Far removed from the plastic wrapped veggies and meat aisles of your local supermarket is the al fresco shopping experience that is Chun Yeung Street. Beyond the polystyrene box towers are some really great scenes for the budding photographer to capture, in amongst picking up some of Hong Kong’s freshest produce of course.
Chun Yeung Street, 91-103 Chun Yeung Street, North Point, Hong Kong
Opposite AIA and Fang Nga Place flower shop sits the Grade 2 historic 1908 clubhouse of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, now simply Oi!, that works closely with the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre to connect the local community and its visitors to art.
Pop-up installations and projects run by the two galleries revolve on a multiple week or multiple month format, and can include immersive experiences using light and digital, as well as more traditional styles (head here for more details). There’s also a small organic farm that runs weekly Thursday tastings and a frequently-run tour of the building itself.
Oi!, 12 Oil Street, North Point, Hong Kong, 2512 3000, www.lcsd.gov.hk
Opened in 1952, Hong Kong’s oldest surviving post-war cinema is a fantastic building that wouldn’t look out of place in a James Cameron apocalyptic film set. But that’s soon to change with plans afoot to revitalise this Grade 1 listed piece of history, using the same team that injected new life into Tai Kwun.
State Theatre, corner of King’s Road and Tin Chong Street, North Point, Hong Kong
A little further down King’s Road lies the landmark theatre that is Sunbeam. Specialising in Cantonese opera, Sunbeam traces its history back to those mid-twentieth century emigrants from Shanghai.
We recommend an evening visit when the iconic neon signage and lobby ceiling lighting are at their brightest and most striking. For those keen on seeing a production, a small TV in the entrance gives a taste of what Chinese opera can offer. If you want to make a booking, you’ll need a Cantonese speaker if you don’t speak the language yourself.
Just 10 minutes away from North Point MTR station is Hong Kong’s largest climbing gym, Verm City. If you’re new to the sport of rock climbing, the gym offers beginner lessons on bouldering and top rope climbing. The friendly instructors will have you scaling up the walls in no time!
Climbing not your thing? Directly below Verm you’ll find extreme indoor sports park Ryze, where you can enjoy over 7,000 square feet of trampolines, foam pits and rope swings. Don’t miss Club Ryze every Friday and Saturday night, when the trampoline park turns down the lights and turns up the music.
Fortress Hill Steps
Our last Insta-sight is the iconic zigzagging of steps that rise up from beside Fortress Hill MTR in a pastel patchwork of colour. Plentiful tree greenery frames the shot perfectly, along with the yellow crisscross road markings in the foreground. Time your photo to include a red taxi, a stark contrast to the rest of the scene, and you’ve got your money shot!
Fortress Hill Steps, located beside Fortress Hill MTR Exit A
North Point Promenade
One of our favourite walks in the area is the 500-metre-or-so promenade from Tong Shui Road to Tin Chiu Street. It boasts plentiful expanses of greenery and plant life, with a good level of strategically located seating, as well as the two North Point Piers, giving cross harbour access to Hung Hom, Kowloon City and Kwun Tong.
Harbour North Mall is right in the middle and a good spot for dining and shelter from any unexpected rains. Canine companions can also follow cute blue paw prints to their very own pet garden to take some R&R and meet other four-legged pals.
North Point Promenade, between Tong Shui Road and Tin Chiu Street, North Point, Hong Kong
Featured image courtesy of Joel Fulgencio via Unsplash, image 1 courtesy of Koji Charcoal Grill via Instagram, image 2 courtesy of Sassy Media Group, image 3 courtesy of Shuto via Facebook, image 4 courtesy of Coffee 101 via Instagram, image 5 courtesy of WORFU via Instagram, image 6 courtesy of CHUNYIP WONG via Getty, image 7 courtesy of Elton Yung via Unsplash, image 8 courtesy of Chapman Chow via Unsplash.