Formally a flourishing, licensed red light district back in the early 1900’s , Shek Tong Tsui is now a rapidly growing hotspot for unique cafés and trendy eateries.
You wouldn’t think that at one stage Shek Tong Tsui was home to over 500 brothels, but in the last few years the area has rapidly become an extension of Sai Ying Pun, offering up local gems and modern bistros. Popular amongst university students, the area is still growing but it’s worth a trip over on the tram, or ducking out at HKU station to see what all the fuss is, and will continue to be about. Not sure where to start? Our neighbourhood guide is on hand to help…
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide to Kennedy Town
Where to Eat and Drink:
Salt & Barrel – Taproom and Kebaberie *Now BlackSalt Tavern*
We’ve got our knives and forks at the ready and eager to tuck in to this new eatery brought to you by Chef, Taran Chadha of long-time fave, BlackSalt. Now in its soft opening, Salt & Barrel promises exciting flavours as it whips up kebabs “fit for royalty” through a unique blend of spices and a “modern adaptation of age-old cooking techniques.” Partnering with local breweries, Black Kite, Kowloon Bay, and The Tramline Liquor Co. The restaurant has also partnered with local breweries, Black Kite, Kowloon Bay, and The Tramline Liquor Co., so you can be sure you’ll be covered when it comes to the drinks, too.
Salt & Barrel, One South Lane, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, www.saltandbarrel.hk
A friendly pitstop for a cold one and a quick bite to eat, The Junk Yard Dog is a popular hangout amongst residents in the area. Happy Hour gets going from 4pm to 9pm everyday (with special discounts for HKU students), so be sure to grab a shisha and some snacks as you catch up on the week with a few friends.
The Junk Yard Dog, Shop 1A, G/F, South Lane, 14-16 Woo Hop Street, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/The-Junk-Yard-Dog
You’ll often come across couples sipping on fine wine (or freshly roasted coffee), and tasting Artisan Room‘s selection of sandwiches and french pastries at any time of the day here. Next door’s COBO House is also home to a selection of lunch favourites such as salads, flatbreads, pastas and burgers if you’re on the hunt for something hearty. If you can withstand the heat, its outside area is dog friendly, and you get bonus points (and $5 off) for bringing your own reusable mug with you.
No Milkshake No Life
Tucked away on Hill Road, we were initially drawn to this quirky resto for its selection of boozy milkshakes, but upon further inspection, No Milkshake No Life’s seriously Instagrammable menu is worth stopping by for, too. Its burgers, pancakes and own take on poutine (hello, cheese steak fries) are sure to hit the spot, but it’s ‘Sexy Cheezy Goodies’ is where it’s at.
No Milkshake No Life, G/F, 31-37 Hill Road, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/nomilkshakenolife
Read more: The Best Grilled Cheese in Hong Kong
Praised by many for serving up some of the most tasty Sambal and multicultural Malaysian, Singaporean and other Southeast Asian delights in the 852, Jen Hotel’s Café Malacca is high on the list for must-tries in Shek Tong Tsui. Make sure to make a reservation however, as this popular spot attracts many a Nasi Lemak enthusiast throughout the week.
Café Malacca, 508 Queen’s Road West, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, www.hoteljen.com/hongkong/westerndistrict/taste/restaurants/cafe-malacca
Read more: The Best Thai Restaurants in Hong Kong
Exactly what it says on the tin, Meeting Point is, well, a great place to meet up with friends for a few after work. Its happy hour prices are worth staying for more than ‘just one drink,’ starting at $38 for a bottle of beer (all day!) and its set dinner menu (from 6pm to 10pm) is good value if you do decide to stay on for dinner.
Meeting Point, 188 Connaught Road West, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, www.meetingpointhk.com
You could argue that Po Tuck Street is more Sai Ying Pun than Shek Tong Tsui, but either way this quaint little hidden street is lined with breakfast gems and good coffee – and Artisan Garden Café is no exception! This Aussie-style watering hole serves up a mean brekkie, offering up the works with your choice of sweets, savoury or both (we’d go for the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Waffles if we were you), as well as House-Made Bircher Museli and Superfood Salads – if you’re “being good”.
Artisan Garden Café, 23 Po Tuck Street, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/artisangardencafe1
On first take, BBM Lounge is unassuming, and quite honestly, somewhere you’d probably not start your evening off in, but it’s free-flow happy hour says differently. For just $280, you can kick-off Friday night with two hours of endless Belaire (that’s sparking wine to us) from 4pm to 8pm, or if you’re taking it ‘easier’ its buy-one-free-one for house drinks. Try your hand on one of the gaming machines while you’ve got two hours to spare, and start a spontaneous darts competition.
Another popular spot on Po Tuck Street, Brew Bros‘ Melbourne-style coffee is sure to hit the spot and clear a few cobwebs. Serving up cappuccinos and lattes galore, make time to tuck in to its all-day brunch and breakfast menu thats boats the usual brekkie culprits like Smashed Avo on Sourdough and Scrambled Eggs.
Brew Bros Coffee, 1 Po Tuck Street, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/brewbroshillroad
Po Kee BBQ Restaurant
Cheap, cheerful and full of flavour, Po Kee BBQ Restaurant is on the Michelin Recommended list for 2018 and well worth making your way to for a satisfying meal. For over 40 years Hong Kongers have slurped their way through bowls of Rice Noodles with Roasted Duck Leg and in-house prepared roasted meats. Be sure to get there before 2pm which is when the pork tends to sell out!
Po Kee BBQ Restaurant, 425 Queen’s Road West, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong
The head chef here hails from Hunan, preparing a whole array of Xiang cuisine for hungry city dwellers to get stuck in to. The menu is vast, offering up a ton of spicy and savoury options, so come hungry as there is plenty to go around! Walk off your food baby with a stroll around HK Wall’s exhibit next door and get a few shots for the gram.
Jiang Hunan Chef, Fu Ga Building, 13 Yat Fu Lane, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/jiangshunanchef
More than just cake, LIFETASTIC’S Australian owners strive to bring good ‘ol Aussie café culture to the 852 with its hand-crafted, fresh bakes made without artificial flavours, colouring or preservatives. Unlike its Tsim Sha Tsui and Tsuen Wan locations, its Hill Road café also offers comfort food (think pastas, Maryland Crab Cakes and pizza), as well as a variety of specialty drinks – we’re all about the smoothies.
LIFETASTIC, 31 Hill Road, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/lifetastic.official
This café come lifestyle store serves up coffee and brunch, with a side of stationery and homeware. A great spot to browse gifts and get a much-needed hit of caffeine, Ethos has all of your bases covered, really.
Ethos, 93-99 Hill Road, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/ethosstores
Where to Go:
Instagram Pier (Sai Wan Shipping Dock)
A dog park, jogging track and impromptu dance studio all in one, Instagram Pier is a hive for activity. Expect to encounter brides, kids learning to ride bikes and the Instagram-hungry all in one outing, but it’s worth a walk around just for views and a bit of people watching in the evening or on a weekend. Remember that it is a fully functioning shipping dock, so it’s not safe for members of the public to enter during work hours.
Instagram Pier, 8 Fung Mat Road, Sai Wan, Hong Kong
If you’re a fan of street art, HK Walls is one to keep on top of as they move around the city, painting the town an array of colours as they go. There’s currently an ‘exhibit’ on Yat Fu Lane, so if you’re in the area, it’s worth taking a quick detour.
HK Walls, Yat Fu Lane, 554-560 Queen’s Road West, Shek Tong Tsui, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong www.hkwalls.org
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash, image #1 courtesy of Salf & Barrel via Instagram, image #2 credited to No Milkshake No Life via Facebook, image #3 credited to Meeting Point via Facebook, image #4 credited to Brew Bros via Facebook, image #5 credited to LIFETASTIC via Facebook, image #6 credited to @lexdav92