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The Best Of Hong Kong
Lifestyle News
By Joseph Lam | February 27th, 2017
  • HK Island, Sheung Wan

Ah, Sheung Wan: the undisputed hipster central and coffee capital of Hong Kong. There are honestly way too many sights and sounds in this district for any neighborhood guide to do it justice. But we gave it a try anyway. Without further ado:

More from our neighborhood guide series. 


Newcomer

There are always uber-trendy restaurants popping up in Sheung Wan, and exclusive sushi bar UMI is one of the latest. Read about it in our dining listing here.

UMI
UMI

 


Old Timer

The Pak Sing Ancestral Hall in the Tai Ping Shan / PoHo area is a reminder of a bygone era. The incense-filled temple, accessed by a narrow set of steps from the entrance, houses not only Taoist/Buddhist deities — but also a backroom filled with plaques of black and white portraits of deceased migrant workers. It is said that back in the day, these workers — mostly men — left their families in mainland China for jobs in Hong Kong, but they also ended up dying in Hong Kong. The plaques were consequently made in the hopes of family members one day coming to claim them.

Another must-see is the famous Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road, housing the gods of literature (Man Cheong) and martial arts (Mo Tai). Man Cheong in particular is popular with students needing to ace that next exam — you’ll see them rubbing his spear for good luck at the altar: its pointy end is in the shape of a calligraphy brush.

Man Mo Temple
Man Mo Temple. Photo: HKTB

Pak Sing Ancestral Hall: 42 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan.
Man Mo Temple: 124-126 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan. 

 


Grab your morning joe here

The perfect Italian breakfast: a cappuccino and something sweet. Why50. Photo: Joseph Lam
The perfect Italian breakfast: a cappuccino and something sweet at Why50. Photo: Joseph Lam

Why50

We’d be lying if we told you this cosy, laptop-friendly spot was not a favorite for many (ourselves included). One of the founding partners is a former Hong Kong Airlines pilot from France, who brings with him a wealth of coffee knowledge from countries all around the world. If you’re after something light, try the pain au chocolat ($18). For something a little larger, try the toasted reuben or the avocado tartine.
27 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, 5239-8013. www.facebook.com/why50hk

Barista Jam

This quaint coffee shop serves all your Italian favorites as well as French press, Japanese syphon and pour-over coffee. On the second floor is a retail area with a range of coffee utensils, equipment and tools for sale. Grab a lemon tart with your cuppa: you won’t regret it.
126-128 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, 2854-2211. www.baristajam.com.hk

Brew Bros

Another of our top recommendations in Western District is this Australian-style coffee shop which made it’s way from Melbourne to Hong Kong not so long ago. It’s often hard to find a seat in the narrow little café, which is constantly buzzing with caffeine addicts (probably thanks to the rich, fruity Ethiopian house blend on offer). All in all, it’s a cute little outpost with white-tiled countertops, wooden touches and a decent breakfast and lunch menu too. There’s an outdoor counter where you can spread out a bit — or bring your pooch — if you don’t mind standing.
Shop F2, LG/F, 33 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, 2572-0238. www.facebook.com/brewbroscoffee


Drink up

Crafty Cow Craft Beer
It’s called Crafty Cow for a reason…

Crafty Cow

Sheung Wan is home to one of Hong Kong’s best craft beer bars where craft beer (of course) as well as steak take center stage. Crafty Cow takes its craft brews seriously — alongside IPAs and pale ales, there are pilsners and Belgian beers, and brown and red ales. If you’re into sweeter drinks, try the dessert-like stouts like the Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout from the US, with dark chocolate, caramel and toffee on the palate.
3 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan, 2915-8988.

Three Monkeys

Japanese yakitori joint Three Monkeys opened back in 2013 and is still going strong. On weekends, a good-looking crowd gathers, spilling out onto the streets with drinks in hand — it’s the perfect bar for people-watching. Take your pick from Japanese craft brews and draught beers as well as a selection of sake and shochu.
151-155 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 3151-7771.

Malt Whisky Bar

This understated address is easy enough to pass right by, but behind a heavy door is a tiny whisky enclave that is one of the coolest in the city. Inside, you’ll find a few small tables as well as leather stools stationed by the bar. It’s a small space, but smartly laid out to offer intimacy for couples and more socializing at the bar. Whisky enthusiasts will delight in the long list of hard-to-find bottles with over 300 varieties available. There’s a focus on Asian labels, including lots of  Kavalan, Hibiki, Ichiro’s Malt, Akashi, Nikka and more. The kitchen serves a modest list of goose liver terrine, cheese platters and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and there’s also a whisky gelato by XTC. For an element of surprise, ask bartender Ted for one his custom cocktails.
19 New Street, Sheung Wan, 2858-0058. Open Monday-Saturday 5pm-11pm. malt.com.hk

Ginger

Ginger. Photo: Joseph Lam
Ginger. Photo: Joseph Lam

Behind the sliding concrete door of an identically colored building on On Wo Lane (pictured above) you’ll find one of Hong Kong’s top whisky bars, home to nearly 400 different blends. Step inside and you’ll find a loft-like speakeasy illuminated by warm yellow lights and polished wooden bar and tables — the kind of place you’d take someone for a quiet drink. The menu has almost two dozen pages all devoted to whisky, with brands ranging from Japan to Ireland. If you’re new to whisky, then they’ve got you covered with tasting sets starting at a mere $120 — start your night as an amateur and leave with not only an appetite for whisky but some knowledge, too.
12 On Wo Lane, Central, 2868-0468. Open Monday-Thursday 5pm-midnight; Friday – Saturday 4:30pm-1:30am. www.facebook.com/barginger.hk


Grab a bite to eat

Kau Kee

Kau Kee
Kau Kee

Everyone’s seen the line on Gough Street and we all know why: Kau Kee is the best beef brisket in Hong Kong. After sampling one of the go-to curry beef brisket noodle bowls, we’re definitely not arguing. At roughly just $60 per bowl, we see exactly why it keeps both locals and tourists returning again and again.
21 Gough Street, Sheung Wan, 2850-5967.

Ronin

Just a few meters down from Ginger, you’ll find On Wo Lane’s second hidden venue, this time an izakaya restaurant that also boasts a plentiful, 100-bottle strong whisky collection. Inside is a long, narrow restaurant with an ever-changing menu based off of whatever the chef finds that day. If you are a fan of Yardbird and Sunday’s Grocery, then you’re going to what’s on offer here. Our advice: do plan ahead as there are only two seatings: 6:30pm and 8:30pm.
8 On Wo Lane, Central, 2547-5263. Open Monday-Saturday 6pm-midnight. ronin.hk.com.

Schragels

Schragels' bagels. Photo: Joseph Lam
Schragels’ bagels. Photo: Joseph Lam

Bagel lovers rejoice: Lunchtimes are covered by Schragels Bagels, one the city’s best bagel shops and Hong Kong’s only New York-style bagelry run by Chicago-born Jewish girl Rebecca Schragel. Her hand-rolled bagels start from $25 for plain or with schmear from $35. Bagel sandwiches include the like of the Schturkey ($80), which comes with honey and pecan schmear, green apple, cream cheese and turkey. In the fridge you’ll also find Redback’s Australian-style cold brew, Stewart’s root beer and cream soda.
17 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan, 9730-6727. Monday-Sunday 8:30am-4pm. www.facebook.com/Schragels.

Sing Heung Yuen

Sitting directly opposite Kau Kee and surrounded by Gough Street’s street art is one of our favorite dai pai dongs, famous for its tomato broth instant noodles and macaroni. It’s said that Sing Heung Yuen opened in the 1950s, although its current space is not its original location. We recommend coming slightly later in the afternoon to enjoy the macaroni and beef in tomato soup (茄牛通 ), lemon honey crispy sweet buns (檸蜜脆脆), and an iced drink of your choice. Have a spoonful of the tomato soup, followed by a bite of that crunchy bun — so satisfying.

2 Mee Lun Street, Sheung Wan. Hours: Mon-Sat, 8am-5:30pm.


Enjoy a little fresh air

Elephant Grounds at WOAW

Elephant Grounds Sheung Wan. Photo: Chantich Kongchanmitkul
Elephant Grounds Sheung Wan. Photo: Chantich Kongchanmitkul

Tucked into the back of World of Amazing Wonders (WOAW) is another one of Western District’s best coffee shops, which offers ice-cream sandwiches, soft cookies and Swiss choc mochas. More importantly, there’s a beautiful balcony at the back of store with a few pot plants, seating and a great view of the Kau U Fong lane.
11 Gough Street, Sheung Wan, 2253-1313. www.elephantgrounds.com.

Craftissimo

Although it’s not technically a bar, this craft beer specialist keeps at least one of every beer on the shelf (from several different countries) in the fridge, as well as having six beers on tap. Here you can grab individual beers, 3-piece take home packs (from $100) and growlers which all can be enjoyed on one of a dozen stools outside that back onto Old Kat Cheong Street.
22-24A Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, 6274-3130. craftissimo.hk.

Teakha

Just a couple of meters down from Craftissimo is Nana Chan‘s original Teakha branch, which also offers a cosy outdoor seating area, also in Old Kat Cheong Street. Here, you can enjoy some fresh air while you sip some of the signature floral or herbal tea (either brewed or cooked), and munch on a pineapple bun sandwich with scrambled eggs, tomato basil and ham or some homemade pancakes with bacon and caramelized banana ($72).
18 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, 2858-9185. teakha.com.


Admire some local art

Photo: Boom Art Gallery Bar Facebook
Photo: Boom Art Gallery Bar Facebook

Boom Art Gallery Bar

Sheung Wan is full of artsy galleries, and Boom channels this creative side as a small art cafe/bar that doubles as a galleria and event space that welcomes local artists and photographers to showcase their work. The decor is rather minimalistic, sporting bare concrete floors, wooden tables and a leather couch complemented by warm lighting. Things kick off on weekdays from 4pm, beginning with a 4-hour happy hour which sees beers go for as little as $25 and glasses of wine from $30. For something a little more fun, try the Scream, Boom’s special take on the espresso martini.
48 Sai Street, Sheung Wan, 9844-1688. Open Monday-Friday 4pm-12am, Saturday 2pm-12am, Sunday 2pm-8pm. facebook.com/boom.hk.


Get something sweet

 

Oddies Foodies

Oddies Foodies whips up one of the best egg waffles in Hong Kong by combining low-fat Italian gelato with street-made egg waffles — the perfect global dessert. It’s one of our favorite HK Island dessert stores because who doesn’t love scrumptious waffle pastries injected with chocolate chips, pumped full of rice pudding filling, or infused with matcha? Honestly, all you need to worry about is what topping to add – crispy meringue, candied chestnut, blackberry compote are just the start.
45 Gough Street, Sheung Wan, 2750-2111, facebook.com/oddiesfoodies

Hing Kee | 興記咖啡室

This small neighborhood cha chaan teng is one of our favorites. It’s intimate, serves great noodles with lots of toppings, awesome Hong Kong-style milk tea, and of course, some of the best Hong Kong-style French toasts. The French toast’s got just the right amount of crisp and a soft layer of peanut butter in the middle. While many CCTs put sugar syrup on their toasts, Hing Kee tops it with condensed milk — sweet and indulgent, just the way we like it. For a perfect afternoon snack, we always go for a bowl of pork liver noodles in tomato soup base.
182 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2549-3419.


Around the Block

To the east is Central, and to the west are rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods Sai Ying Pun and Shek Tong Tsui.

Getting Here:

Do you know Sheung Wan like the back of your palm? Take this quiz and find out.