Make the short trek to this interesting part of Hong Kong
How often have you found yourself planning a weekend for out-of-towners? There are some spots that you have to tick off, usually a hike, the Star Ferry, a list of restaurants and bars, and the ‘not often visited.’ One of my go-tos is Kowloon City. Named after the former Kowloon Walled City – check out the amazing photos here – the district has an intoxicating ethnic mix and an array of restaurants to choose from.
From my time being a weekend tourist, and after consulting a local Kowloon City resident, here are some of my recommended spots…
Sassy note: If you happen to know a great spot that we’ve missed, please let us know! Email us at [email protected]
Places To Go:
While all Asian cuisines are available in Kowloon City, Thai prevails. There are more Thai restaurants in Kowloon City than you could realistically aspire to visit – even if you are a die-hard Thai food fan. Head to Mini Bangkok or Lung Jie on Nam Kok Road or to Tak Ku Ling Road for traditional pad thai, fresh curry crab and pineapple fried rice. Wander the streets to find the Thai groceries that are hard to find on the island, or check out the wares sold at the street stalls. A few hours here will transport you to Bangkok.
Cattle Depot Artist Village
This Grade II historical building used to be the community slaughterhouse, however it’s had a much-needed renovation since then and has been turned into a village for artists. Distinctive in style with red brick and pointed roofs tiled in Western style, it’s now home to around 20 art groups. They hold regular exhibitions with both local and international art, alongside concerts and theatrical performances.
Find it at 63 Ma Tau Kok Road, To Kwa Wan, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Kowloon City Wet Market
Rumor has it that this is one of the best wet markets in the city. Certainly one of the biggest wet markets in Hong Kong, you’ll get a good dose of old school Hong Kong at one of the 500+ stalls. From vegetables to high grade cuts of American beef, you’ll head home bags a-brimming.
Find it at 100 Nga Tsin Wai Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Kowloon Walled City Park
Walk off your Thai food in Kowloon Walled City Park. Originally this site was home to a number of lawless dwellings and factories under the influence of the triads. It was cleaned up in the 90’s and now houses a stunning landscaped park. Set among waterfalls and pavilions, this is the perfect spot to wander around and while away a few hours – weather permitting of course!
Find it at Tung Tsing Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Get your dose of culture at the Chi-Lin Nunnery, a large temple complex of elegant wooden architecture, treasured Buddhist relics and calming lotus ponds. Enter the complex through the Sam Mun – a series of three gates; wander through the Hall of Celestial Kings and gaze in awe at the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha.
Find it at 5 Chi Lin Drive, Sheung Luen Leng, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Seven Kee Closet
Whilst Kowloon City has become a foodie destination, it’s not all noodles and egg tarts. Check out Seven Kee Closet, a small fashion outlet selling the best of vintage designs. It’s hard to walk out of here without a new statement necklace – you’ve been warned!
Find it at 50-52, Lion Rock Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Places To Eat:
This is the other dominant cuisine in Kowloon City. Hailing from the north-east Guangdong province, wander the tangle of streets that make up Kowloon City and you’ll find a host of offerings including Chiu Chow Hop Shing Dessert, specializing in Chinese sweet soups (apparently a healthy, not guilty pleasure), Lok Hau Fook which has been open for over 50 years and is the go-to for special occasion dishes and the traditional chiu chow bakery Kwai Yue Woo Kee Lung.
If you’re in Kowloon City and craving something a bit different, Futurus Gourmet is worth a gander. A tapas bar and restaurant serving delicious Spanish dishes alongside special Jamon Iberico and deli specials, it’s one of a handful of Western restaurants in this ‘hood.
Find it at 49 Tak Ku Ling Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/futurusgourmet
I’ll put my hands up here and say I really don’t like egg tarts. That said, these egg tarts were pretty dang good. It also happens to be one of Hong Kong’s most famous egg tart spots. The restaurant’s record stands at selling 3,000 egg tarts in one day – scrap my vote – it clearly has the public’s vote too!
Find it at 136 Nga Tsin Wai Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, hoovercakeshop.hk
A favourite of one of the Sassy girls, renowned Pastry Chef Tony Wong creates everything from desserts to cakes and coffees, not to mention some yummy parfaits and pancakes. He uses all natural ingredients, and the presentation is pretty spectacular, too!
Find it at 65 Fuk Lo Tsun Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon, Hong Kong, patisserietonywon.com
While home to Little Thailand and an abundance of local eateries, Kowloon City also has an array of little cafes and bakeries – this being one of them. Its stand out is the authentic style French country bread. Take one of the high window chairs to watch the hustle and bustle of Kowloon City from afar.
Find it at 19 Fuk Lo Tsun Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/pages/Ceres-Boulangerie-Et-Patisserie
Walled City Pub
Karaoke is kind of a big deal in Kowloon City. There are singing joints on every corner, but Walled City Pub is one of the district’s better known bars, playing host to a true and grimy night out. Think flowing beer, regulars and friendly staff against a backdrop of loud karaoke – what could possibly go wrong?
Find it at 7 Lung Kong Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon, Hong Kong
If you’re like me and crave a glass of vino come the weekend, make sure you check out Balcony, a cute little cocktail and whisky bar. Head down on a Friday or Saturday to enjoy its live jazz music and relaxed vibe – the perfect alternative to Central’s spenny and hectic atmosphere.
Find it at Balcony 57 Sa Po Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Featured image of Kowloon City sourced via Wikipedia