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Sham Shui Po

Sham Shui Po

A Taste of Old Hong Kong

“I was born and raised in Sham Shui Po and I feel that people show each other care and sympathy here. I have plenty of friends on every street, and I still see friends who moved away years ago returning to shop.” – Henry Yau, lifelong Sham Shui Po resident.

Barely changed since the 1960s, Sham Shui Po is one of Hong Kong’s oldest districts. Gritty and urban, its charms may not be immediately apparent at first glance, but underneath the rough-and-ready exterior is a fascinating area that offers a glimpse into how Hong Kong used to be.

Sham Shui Po is best known these days for the vast array of electronics that are on offer here—the Golden Shopping Centre and Golden Computer Arcade form a world-famous plaza crammed top to bottom with gadgets, gizmos and anything a technology enthusiast could hope for. Nearby Apliu Street is an open-air market with vintage electronics, photography equipment and other miscellanea.

22 Degrees North

Although Sham Shui Po is one of the oldest districts in Hong Kong, young artists and designers from all over the city congregate here. Brand-new concept store 22 Degrees North was opened by three young entrepreneurs who saw the district as an exciting place to showcase their funky wares. Co-founder Rex Yam says he chose Sham Shui Po because “it is home to many of Hong Kong’s famous shopping streets—rows of shops dedicated to everything from garments to fabrics and leather to haberdashery.” The central hub for these stores is Yu Chau Street, also known as “Bead Street,” with “Ribbon Street” (Nam Cheong Street), “Leather Street” (Tai Nan Street) and “Button Street” (Ki Lung Street) just around the corner. “Everyone sources from these streets, from design students to professionals,” adds Yam. The designer describes Sham Shui Po as a bit of a “raw” town, but buzzing with energy. The neighborhood is filled with passion for life—it’s like a window back into the 80s, when entrepreneurial Hongkongers worked hard to transform themselves and their city. In Sham Shui Po, there’s a sense that you can make anything happen.

Umbrella shop owner Henry Yau

Umbrella shop owner Henry Yau has lived in Sham Shui Po for more than 60 years, and has seen how the area has evolved. “I was born and raised in Sham Shui Po and I feel that people show each other care and sympathy here. I have plenty of friends on every street, and I still see friends who moved away years ago returning to shop.” Yau says that living in Sham Shui Po has taught him loyalty and friendliness, which he emphasizes in his business. Yau expounds on the many facets of the neighborhood: “If you are interested in art, you can also find folk art and antique pieces in shops along Fuk Wing Street,” he says.

Elsewhere in Sham Shui Po, you’ll find officially conserved and revitalized heritage sites and historical buildings. These include the Jao Tsung-I Academy, the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, Mei Ho House and the Savannah College of Art and Design–all are worth a visit, and each building taps into the vibrant spirit of creativity that pervades the district.

Pork chop noodles of So Kee

Any journey through this neighborhood is not complete without sampling the classic Hong Kong fare available at the distinctive outdoor Hong Kong food stalls, known as Dai Pai Dongs. The classic rice and noodle dishes at these food stalls have come to represent the down-home street-style uniqueness of Hong Kong cuisine. So Kee is a favorite dai pai dong in the neighborhood with its dirt-cheap but satisfying food; and warm, friendly staff. Having been in the same spot for 30 years, So Kee has a steady base of loyal regulars. Must-try dishes: pork chop noodles and beef noodles.

For all its historic charms, the neighborhood is also forward-looking. With young students exploring and photographing the area, the rest of Hong Kong has realized the heritage value of Sham Shui Po and its 100-year-old Chinese medicine practices, tong lau tenement houses and other colonial structures that are scattered throughout the neighborhood, giving the area its distinctive flavor.

For a tour of the area’s popular family-run eateries, check out the Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour.

Or alternatively for a tour of Sham Shui Po’s many historic features, check out the Revitalization Experience.

 

Do-it-Yourself

Morning
  • Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists
    Dim sum for breakfast
    Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists
    Opened by the former dim sum chef of three-Michelin-starred Lung King Heen, Pui Gor, it’s not hard to see why Tim Ho Wan won a Michelin-star of its own in 2010. Start your day with his must-try items such as baked barbecue pork buns and steamed shrimp rice rolls, both of which will leave your stomach (and your wallet) happy. Get there early, as the queues tend to form quickly.
    Address:
    G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2788 1226
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sham Shui Po Station, Exit B2. Walk along Fuk Wa Street, crossing Nam Cheong Street, to Wong Chuk Street. Then turn left onto Fuk Wing Street.
  • Heritage of Mei Ho House
    Check in to the museum
    Heritage of Mei Ho House
    Just a short walk away you’ll find Mei Ho House, which was built as part of the Shek Kip Mei Estate to settle more than 50,000 refugees from China displaced by the Shek Kip Mei shantytown fire of 1953. When the rest of the estate was redeveloped to improve living conditions, the Grade II listed building was abandoned in 2005. It reopened in late 2013 as a youth hostel, once again fulfilling the building’s original purpose: affordable accommodation. The Youth Hostels Association, which developed the site, has also incorporated stories and memories of the past in a museum.
    Address:
    Block 41, Shek Kip Mei Estate, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 3728 3500
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sham Shui Po Station Exit D2. Walk along Kweilin Street to Tai Po Road.
  • Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC)
    Tap into Hong Kong’s industrial history
    Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC)
    Pop just around the corner for coffee at the Jockey Club Creative Arts Center (JCCAC), an arts village built in a converted factory estate in the Shek Kip Mei neighborhood. Hong Kong was famed as a manufacturing hub during the 1970s, with the “Made in Hong Kong” tagline becoming emblematic of the city’s status as one of the “Asian Tiger” economies. While the days of manufacturing are long gone, you can still visit a relic of this important period here. The JCCAC provides studios and facilities for artists and some of the city’s most famous design firms, such as homeware store, G.O.D.
    Address:
    30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2353 1311
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sheuk Kip Mei Exit C, walk along Wai Chi Street and turn left onto Pak Tin Street. It’s about a 10-minute walk.
  • SCAD Hong Kong
    Visit a creative campus
    SCAD Hong Kong
    Head to the majestic North Kowloon Magistracy Building, a former courthouse built in the Neoclassical style, which is now the Hong Kong headquarters for American creative arts institution, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Instead of the courthouse, you’ll find a comfortable campus (complete with a library, media rooms and lecture halls) for SCAD’s Hong Kong-based students. Members of the public can learn more about the history of the site through SCAD’s regular guided tours.
    Address:
    292 Tai Po Road, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2253 8000
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sham Shui Po Station Exit D2. Walk along Kweilin Street to Tai Po Road.
Afternoon
  • Hon Fat Noodle Specialist
    Traditional Chinese noodles for lunch
    Hon Fat Noodle Specialist
    After all that visiting, pull up a stool at Hon Fat Noodle Specialist. Hunt for it and you’ll see a small metal stall surrounded by a scattered crowd of fold-up tables and stacking chairs. Inside the stall, Hon Fat’s owner, Kwok, mans three boiling pots. He throws a cake of noodles into one, just as he scoops up a mass of cooked noodles into a plastic bowl before passing it to his staff to bring to his waiting customers, who come from all over Hong Kong for his unique take on pig trotter’s noodles and wontons.
    Address:
    192 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2380 7068
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sham Shui Po Station, Exit A2. Walk down Apliu Street, crossing Nam Cheong Street, for about 5 minutes. Turn right onto Shek Kip Mei Street, and Tai Nan Street is on the left.
  • Yu Chau Street, Tai Nan Street, Ki Lung Street, Nam Cheong Street
    Shop for fabrics
    Yu Chau Street, Tai Nan Street, Ki Lung Street, Nam Cheong Street
    Lunch finished, it’s time to hit the shops: row upon row of shops in fact, dedicated to everything from garments to haberdashery. Yu Chau Street is known as “Bead Street” and a few blocks away are “Leather Street”–Tai Nan Street–and Ki Lung Street, which is nicknamed “Button Street”. “Ribbon Street” on Nam Cheong Street is also just around the corner.
    Address:
    Yu Chau Street, Tai Nan Street, Ki Lung Street, Nam Cheong Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sham Shui Po Station, Exit A2. Walk 2 minutes along Pei Ho Street to Yu Chau Street.
  • Apliu Street Flea Market (Electronics)
    Build a collection
    Apliu Street Flea Market (Electronics)
    Then wander over to the nearby Apliu Street, which is the famous assortment of miscellaneous electronic goods that has given Hong Kong its reputation as a collector’s paradise for anything from rare, vintage hi-fis to other, more obscure collectables.
    Address:
    Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sham Shui Po Station, Exit C2
  • Golden Shopping Centre and Golden Computer Arcade
    Stock up on electronics
    Golden Shopping Centre and Golden Computer Arcade
    Hop into the Golden Shopping Centre and Golden Computer Arcade, often considered home to the best deals on personal computers and vintage video games in the world.
    Address:
    Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sham Shui Po Station, Exit D2. Walk along Kewilin Street for about 2 minutes and turn left onto Fuk Wing Street.
  • 22 Degrees North
    Find something new
    22 Degrees North
    Try out the new concept store 22 Degrees North for hip and trendy art, designer handmade goods and leather satchels.
    Address:
    88 Nam Cheong Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2568 1148
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sham Shui Po Station, Exit A2. Walk down Apliu Street, then turn right along Nam Cheong Street. It’s about a 5-minute walk.
Evening
  • So Kee Dai Pai Dong
    Beef noodles and milk tea for dinner
    So Kee Dai Pai Dong
    For some well-deserved dinner, head to So Kee, a neighborhood dai pai dong which is a favorite with locals for its dirt-cheap but satisfying food, and warm, friendly staff. Having been in the same spot for 30 years, So Kee has a steady base of loyal regulars.
    Address:
    Yiu Tung Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2779 1182
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sham Shui Po Station, Exit B2. Walk right along Fuk Wa Street and turn left along Nam Cheong Street. Cross Tai Po Road and take the first right. So Kee is just in front of a church. It’s about a 7-minute walk.
Others
  • Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum
    Visit an ancient monument
    Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum
    Take a look in the Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum, one of the city's most fascinating monuments and home to a 2,000-year-old tomb. As well as being the site of the four-chambered Han tomb (discovered in 1955), the gallery features 58 items that were excavated from the area. Research into the calligraphy and the content of the inscriptions on tomb bricks has led historians to believe the tomb was built in the Eastern Han Dynasty, sometime between 25 and 220 AD.
    Address:
    41 Tonkin Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2386 2863
    How to Get There:
    • MTR Cheung Sha Wan Station, Exit A. Walk along Tonkin Street for approximately five minutes.
    • Bus 2 from Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry pier bus terminus and alight at Po On Street, then walk two minutes along Tonkin Street.
  • Jao Tsung-I Academy
    Visit a former hospital
    Jao Tsung-I Academy
    The Jao Tsung-I Academy was once a hospital compound perched on a hillside of Lai Chi Kok. Before land reclamation in the area, the site had been a seaside customs station and in the early 20th century, a British company built living quarters for Chinese laborers on the site. Subsequently, the compound served as a quarantine station, a prison, an infectious disease hospital and a psychiatric rehabilitation center. Today, this place takes on a brand new role: the Academy is a platform for the rebirth of Chinese culture.
    Address:
    800 Castle Peak Road, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2100 2828
    How to Get There:
    MTR Mei Foo Station, Exit B. Walk in the direction of HKU SPACE until the CLP Power Substation. Get on the footbridge and turn left to the Castle Peak Road Sitting-out Area. Cross the road at the pedestrian crossing.

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This guide was produced by HK Magazine Media Group from 2014-2015.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board disclaims any liability as to the quality or fitness for purpose of third party products and services; and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.

Information in this guide is subject to changes without advance notice. Please contact the relevant product or service providers for enquiries.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this guide, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and HK Magazine accept no responsibility for any obsolescence, errors or omissions contained herein.

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