Hong Kong Asia's World City

Kwun Tong

Kwun Tong

An insight into industry

“I like the new face of Kwun Tong which is full of energy with young people, new office buildings and commercial centers,” says local entrepreneur Ben Lau.

Industrial Buildings

As Hong Kong was recovering from the Second World War, manufacturing centers began popping up around the city. By the 1950s, the Kwun Tong district was emerging as one of the area’s key industrial villages—with refugees pouring over the border from Mainland China and capitalists descending on the harborside community to provide jobs. As the growth of the community continued and more and more public houses were springing up for the influx of workers, Kwun Tong became formally known as the Satellite City: Hong Kong’s city-within-a-city. The introduction of the MTR to the district in the 1980s brought further convenience, property development, and with it, an urban feel to the neighborhood.

Ben Lau

However, by the end of the 80s and the start of the 90s, the economy in Hong Kong switched from industry-based to service-based, and so Kwun Tong began to change. As traditional manufacturing activities relocated to the Mainland, many industrial buildings were either left vacant or under-utilized. If you take a wander around Kwun Tong today, you’ll see how this shift has left the area in flux. Peek into the old industrial buildings and you’ll find a new generation of workers is setting up business there: young artists, entrepreneurs and restaurateurs in search of larger spaces and cheaper rents. Business owner Ben Lau has been in Kwun Tong for more than 30 years and has witnessed the changes: “In the past, Kwun Tong was an old town where you were surrounded by factory buildings and most of the people you could meet here were blue-collar workers. Now the area has been revitalized and Kwun Tong has completely changed. I like the new face of Kwun Tong which is full of energy with young people, new office buildings and commercial centers.”

Home and lifestyle pieces of KaCaMa Design Lab

These old spaces don’t just provide a roof for these new creatives; they’re providing inspiration. Pop into the KaCaMa Design Lab and you’ll see how these young designers are turning waste into art—using hangers, corks and natural food dyes, the team creates innovative home and lifestyle pieces. Bon Appetit Cooking Studio (which offers practical classes) have made good use of former industrial building to start up their own business. Even the world–class gallery Osage Sigma has opened up an exhibition space in the district. It’s not just artists and designers who are moving in; retailers are fast catching on too. The most popular industrial building, the Camel Paint Building, is a retail outlet paradise for shoppers from all over Hong Kong and beyond: you’ll find the latest fashions and cosmetics, plus wholesale food and even an urban farm. This cluster has helped Kwun Tong reach prominence as a shopping and cultural district.

MIC Kitchen

Kwun Tong is a great destination location for foodies, packed with lots of gems hidden down its backstreets. The new Landmark East tower is a diamond in the rough and home to the famously innovative MIC Kitchen, a new concept by “demon chef” Alvin Leung, who was awarded three Michelin stars for his Bo Innovation restaurant in Wan Chai. Whether you’re searching for Thai or Japanese cuisine, local or international flavors, fine dining venues or family-run canteens, you’ll find it here. As Kwun Tong sits just on the harbor, it’s a haven for seafood connoisseurs who make a beeline for the Lei Yue Mun Seafood Bazaar. Make sure to stop here for some of Hong Kong’s best fresh seafood— you can pick live from the market, take it to one of the 20-plus Chinese restaurants by the water and tell them how you want it cooked. It will be steamed, fried or poached and on your table in a matter of minutes.

As well as the revitalization of old buildings, there are many new projects that are changing the character of Kwun Tong. The 700-square-meter, two-storey Jockey Club Lei Yue Mun Plus was repurposed from an old school in 2011 and is used to promote arts and culture in the community. It comprises spaces for performing arts, a ceramic workshop, a café and a rooftop garden overlooking the Lei Yue Mun Pass. Visitors can take part in year-round workshops, educational tours, exhibitions and other cultural programs. The Kwun Tong Town Centre Project is a future development to regenerate the area that will cover more than 50,000 square meters and include new commercial buildings, residential properties, leisure and recreational amenities, open landscaped spaces and other facilities. These numerous projects—both new and old—are changing the face of Kwun Tong, creating a focal point for East Kowloon’s thriving cultural scene.

 

Do-it-Yourself

Morning
  • KaCaMa Design Lab
    Shop for handicrafts
    KaCaMa Design Lab
    KaCaMa Design Lab was set up in 2011 by Kay Chan, Catherine Suen and Match Chen, three Hong Kong-based product designers. Inspired by the artists’ joint background in product design, packaging and eco-design, the lab specializes in repurposing consumer waste. From lamps to candles, handkerchiefs and home décor accessories, their designs are both eye-catching and inventive. Check out the Hanger Collection: homeware products made from used hangers and minimal additional resources. Book a viewing appointment through their website.
    Address:
    Room C, 3/F Easy-pack Industrial Building, 140 Wai Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Ngau Tau Kok Station, Exit B6. Walk along Lai Yip Street and turn left at the first block to Wai Yip Street. It’s about a 15-minute walk.
  • Smith Confectionery
    Feed your sweet tooth
    Smith Confectionery
    Located on the ninth floor of an industrial building in Kwun Tong, Smith Confectionery is one of the last companies in Hong Kong that still manufactures its own candy. And at the factory, most of the candy-making is still done by hand. Workers still dash the coloring and flavoring into the cooling mixture by hand, measuring the amounts in their palms. On all their little plastic bags, workers proudly stamp the old industrial slogan: “Made in Hong Kong.”
    Address:
    9/F Luen Pang Industrial Building, 116 Wai Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2341 3013
    How to Get There:
    MTR Ngau Tau Kok Station, Exit B6. Walk along Lai Yip Street and turn left at the first block to Wai Yip Street. It’s about a 15-minute walk.
Afternoon
  • MIC Kitchen
    Enjoy a gastronomic lunch
    MIC Kitchen
    MIC Kitchen is new concept by “demon chef” Alvin Leung—who was awarded three Michelin stars for his Bo Innovation restaurant in Wan Chai—and his protégé Lo Ka-ki. The menu here screams innovative fusion; a marriage of Eastern and Western cooking techniques with molecular gastronomy thrown in. Try the refreshingly creative Hamachi ceviche with iced wasabi and tangy yuzu foam; Ibérico paired with porcini-braised vermicelli; or the handmade pasta with red prawn and prawn-chili oil. Leave room for the palm sugar ice cream with coconut milk jellies that burst in the mouth.
    Address:
    G/F AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 3758 2239
    How to Get There:
    MTR Kwun Tong Station, Exit A2. Walk through apm shopping mall and turn right to walk along How Ming Street. It’s about a 10-minute walk.
  • initial
    Hunt for bargains
    initial
    The Camel Building is a retail outlet paradise for shoppers. Here you can find the latest fashions and cosmetics, plus wholesale food and even a farm. The Hong Kong fashion brand “initial” which was created in 2000 has opened its first fashion outlet here. Initial offers a range of Japanese-inspired designer clothing. It now has 13 outlets around Hong Kong and is highly sought after by local fashionistas and vintage lovers alike.
    Address:
    Factory B1, G/F, Block I & II, Camelpaint Buildings, 62 Hoi Yuen Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2345 9913
  • Jockey Club Lei Yue Mun Plus
    Discover an old Hong Kong
    Jockey Club Lei Yue Mun Plus
    An abandoned school was repurposed in 2011 to create the Jockey Club Lei Yue Mun Plus, an educational, heritage and arts center. It comprises space for performing arts, a ceramic workshop, a café and a rooftop garden overlooking the Lei Yue Mun Pass. This building was created for the local community from an HK$5.48 million donation from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
    Address:
    45 Hoi Pong Road Central, Lei Yue Mun, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2205 8100
    How to Get There:
    MTR Yau Tong Station, Exit A2. Take minibus 24 to Sam Ka Tsuen Ferry Pier and follow the signs. It takes about 15 minutes to walk there.
Evening
  • Lei Yue Mun
    Dine by the sea
    Lei Yue Mun
    Hong Kong was once just a fishing village and Lei Yue Mun remains one of the old villages where you can still relive the old days. From the 1960s onwards, Lei Yue Mun began to gain a reputation as a good spot for alfresco seafood dining. The ordering method is quite unusual: buy your fish from a tank in a market stall and take it to one of the nearby restaurants, which will prepare it for a reasonable fee.
    Address:
    , Lei Yue Mun, Kowloon
    How to Get There:
    Take a taxi from MTR Yau Tong Station or a ferry from MTR Sai Wan Ho Station.
Others
  • Kwun Tong Promenade
    Take a promenade
    Kwun Tong Promenade
    Go for a wander along Kwun Tong Promenade – this is a picturesque harborside boardwalk and open space that used to be a working cargo area. Now you can stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the sitting-out areas. There’s even an artistic sculpture inspired by the stacks of recycled paper that used to be compressed here, which lights up at night.
    Address:
    Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2346 8538
    How to Get There:
    MTR Kwun Tong Station, Exit B1. Walk along Hoi Yuen Road and turn right on Wai Yip Street. Take a left on Tsun Yip Street and follow this to the promenade. It’s about a 15-minute walk.
  • Bon Appetit Cooking Studio
    Become a home chef
    Bon Appetit Cooking Studio
    If you have an appetite for cooking—or just want to learn the basics—there are many cooking workshops dotted around Kwun Tong’s industrial buildings. Bon Appetit Cooking Studio is one of the workshops providing different cooking classes and coordinated cooking events for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversary celebrations or reunions. Just make sure to book a spot in advance.
    Address:
    Flat C1, 10/F, Wing Hing Industrial Building, 14 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 3460 3570
    How to Get There:
    MTR Kwun Tong Station, Exit B2. Walk along Hoi Yuen Road and turn left at the second block on Hing Yip Street. It's about a 5-minute walk.
  • Osage Gallery
    Let your senses lead the way
    Osage Gallery
    Not strictly a gallery, the organization Osage Sigma does event-oriented, multi-sensory-exhibition-style presentations of contemporary art media—sometimes live, sometimes interactive. It’s a little of what Hong Kong’s art scene was once lacking. Osage Gallery is located in a large space in Kwun Tong and the Osage Art Foundation often sponsors exhibitions here (see their website for more information).
    Address:
    4/F Union Hing Yip Factory Building, 20 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
    Tel:
    +852 2793 4817
    How to Get There:
    MTR Kwun Tong Station, Exit B1. Walk along Hoi Yuen Road and turn left at the second block to Hing Yip Street. It’s about a 10-minute walk.

Map

More to See & Do

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

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