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Living Like a Local Sham Shui Po Edition

Living Like a Local Sham Shui Po Edition

In need of a budget-friendly lodging in space-starved Hong Kong? Local hostel Wontonmeen — named for the quintessential grassroots Hong Kong dish — provides just that. Proprietor Patricia Choi, an interior architect by training, decided to transform one floor of an 11-storey tenement building on Lai Chi Kok Road into a backpacker-friendly accommodation. She wanted the building, originally built by her grandfather, to continue to serve the needs of the Sham Shui Po community and blend in with its unpretentious surroundings, while also serving a new purpose at the same time.

Living Like a Local Sham Shui Po Edition

The resulting hostel is a trendy dorm-like setup linked to a ground floor communal space that pays tribute to old Hong Kong, with carefully curated vintage memorabilia like postboxes, lamps, pictures and other knick knacks hanging off the ceiling and walls.

Living Like a Local Sham Shui Po Edition

“I decided to convert one floor into a hostel because I wanted to have more interesting people coming into the building,” Patricia says. “Also, back then, there weren’t so many interesting backpackers’ accommodations in Hong Kong.”

Living Like a Local Sham Shui Po Edition

Patricia also uses the hostel to give back to her neighbourhood. “We run community workshops with less privileged young kids to build tong lau (tenement building) models,” she says. “We introduce the tong lau to them, its history, and why we should feel proud of this kind of architecture.”

Living Like a Local Sham Shui Po Edition

The hostel is now a hotspot for young travellers from all over the world. “We have guests who want to shop in Mong Kok or around here, we have guests who are interested in local culture — like the Tin Hau Temple a few blocks away,” Patricia explains.

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