Hong Kong is a city of extremes, and few places better embody its multiplicities than Tai Hang, a quiet and quaint corner of frenetic Causeway Bay. Located to the south of Victoria Park, a pleasant stroll away from some of the city’s most congested thoroughfares, Tai Hang is an unhurried enclave with working-class roots. A slum until its redevelopment in the 1990s, it retains the distinctive charms of old Hong Kong, even in the face of gentrification. By day, auto-repair shops clang and clatter and dai pai dongs do a steady trade of steaming milk tea and glistening char siu barbecue pork. When night falls, it comes to life again, this time with the chatter of the city’s millennials, who gather to savour modern Cantonese bites and sip on craft brews.
To get a real feel for Tai Hang, daylight-to-dark visits are encouraged, and, although compact, its grid-like warren of narrow streets and side passages are a delight to explore. Architect Tommy Pao-Watari, who worked on a project in the area, was attracted to what he calls its beautiful mistakes. “The streets are small and riddled with alleyways, the buildings have quirky outcrops and small repurposed alterations, and the charming scale of the blocks hints at a past life of a very closely-knit community,” he says.
Of the hipster haunts that succeed,is worth whiling away an evening at. The second project from local hero and Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2017, May Chow, in collaboration with Young Master Ales, the city’s leading craft brewery, the spacious spot is perennially packed with Hong Kong’s bright young things. A true gastropub, the dishes excite as much as the beers, and although both menus are constantly evolving, bold interpretations of classic local flavours are guaranteed.
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