As a neighbourhood that merges heritage and hip together seamlessly, you can experience the best of both all within a short walk. From heritage restaurants to the hippest artisan shops, and revitalised heritage buildings, you can find them all in Wan Chai.
Here are some of our top picks.
There’s a good reason Hong Kong institution Sang Kee has been around for 30+ years — the traditional Cantonese food is delicious, with seafood a speciality. Order the famous fish congee, with limited availability, or the salt baked chicken, sweet and sour pork, prawns in soy sauce or perfectly cooked Chinese greens. They’ve been buying from the same seafood supplier for decades, and many dishes are still painstakingly made the old-fashioned way. Don’t expect fancy stemware and fawning service, however — this restaurant is best enjoyed with friends and family who like it casual, loud and affordable.
Less is more at, a rustic-chic bolthole of a Thai restaurant run by Aussie chef Adam Cliff, with a small but hugely tempting street food-inspired menu. Ask if the off-menu khao soi, a classic northern-Thai curried-chicken noodle dish, is available and if it is, order it. Other standouts include the pad Thai and pad see ew, made using the silkiest of rice noodles, and the signature wagyu beef boat noodles, by far the most popular item. No reservations are taken and there is always a queue, so it’s best to rock up early.
is one of the preeminent purveyors of cool in Hong Kong. What started out as a small shop founded by its French owner in Tin Hau is now a mini empire of Gallic flair, with stores in Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and even Singapore. Its flagships, however, constitute two boutiques in Wan Chai, one selling on-trend clothing, bags, jewellery and other accessories, another all sorts of beautiful things like fragrances, candles, lamps and stationery sourced from Europe and elsewhere around the world. If you can’t get to it, many of their products are also available to buy online.
Part of the joy ofis finding it, hidden away in a secret laneway, Sau Wa Fong. You will know it when you see it, a fuchsia façade signalling for you to enter. The riot of colour continues inside in whimsical pieces of furniture, wallpaper, cloisonné tiles, lighting, tableware, cushions and a heap of other adorable objects, most with an Asian twist. It’s a Hong Kong brand that injects fun and the occasional bit of kitsch into its modern designs, while at the same time seeking to preserve the artisan spirit of times past.
Take 10 historic four-storey tong lau, give them a fresh lick of vibrant green paint and you have one of Wan Chai’s most distinctive heritage landmarks, the literally named Green House. Like the arguably better-known Blue House, these former tenement buildings, which front Mallory Street and Burrows Street, sport French doors and distinctive balconies with iron railings.
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