Pretty much everyone knows Kowloon City is Hong Kong’s Little Thailand, full of some amazing Thai restaurants. But that’s not all this neighbourhood has to offer. The area is also well-known for its spacious public parks – namely Kowloon Walled City Park – quaint coffeeshops like Rings Coffee and Tai Wo Tang that offer unique brews, and notable dessert shops like Chiu Chow Hop Shing Dessert and Golden Hall Dessert that dish out some of the best sweet soups in town. Start here to discover the rich history and culture of Kowloon City.
RECOMMENDED: Don’t just stop at Kowloon City. There’s a wealth of other wonderful neighbourhoods in Hong Kong, each boasting a unique characteristic and packed with hidden gems.
The best things to do and eat in Kowloon City
Hidden inside Kowloon City’s cooked food centre, Amporn Thai Food serves a mean pad thai packed full of meaty prawns, peanuts and crunchy green onions. It goes great with just about any dish on the deliciously varied menu and the chefs don’t skimp on the spice either.
There may be a wealth of Thai restaurants in Kowloon City but what makes Cambo popular with the area’s Thai community is its authentic flavours and fresh ingredients. While the décor is pretty rustic, it’s a great spot for an authentic Thai meal at a reasonable price. Two signature dishes not to be missed are the fried shrimp balls and the raw shrimp sashimi.
A visit to this renowned dessert shop is a must whenever you’re in Kowloon City. Serving up delicious, soul-warming Teochew sweet soups since 1955, Hop Shing now offers more than 90 types of desserts, including both traditional and modernised items that allow you to mix and match based on your preference of ingredients. Signature desserts include black sesame dumplings, water chestnut sweet soup and green bean soup.
Another one for those with a sweet tooth. Golden Hall caters to both traditionalist and the adventurous by offering foodies a wide range of classic Chinese desserts and mouth-watering original creations like Malteser truffles, syrup-showered shaved ice and the very popular coconut milk custard served in a coconut shell. You can pick from a variety of flavours including durian, mango and even one served with sweet dumplings. Whichever option you choose, it's bound to be sinfully soothing and refreshing.
Okay, so Hong Kong has no shortage of traditional Chinese temples, but this particular one is well worth visiting at least once. Now a declared monument, the historic site is said to have been built in the 18th century and is especially remarkable for its collection of relics that can be traced back to the garrison of the Kowloon Walled City. On the walls, you’ll also find Chinese calligraphy and plaques that date back centuries.
Acclaimed by many as Hong Kong’s egg tart king, Hoover’s version of the baked goodies uses duck eggs to produce a smoother, stronger-flavoured custard filling. The velvety coconut tarts, whipped-cream buns and large swiss rolls (with flavours like coffee and pandan) also draw in the crowds. Be warned though – the bakery’s queue can sometimes stretch as far as the next block.
People come from all corners of Hong Kong for a helping of the signature Islamic beef patties at this Kowloon City institution. Among one of the few, and best, halal restaurants in Hong Kong, Islam Food keeps winning over loyal patrons thanks to those juice-packed patties, as well as the tender lamb curry and beef brisket noodles. Everything here is cheap as chips and tasty as hell but prepare to wait in line for a taste.
Although once used as a fort by Chinese imperial officials, this site became most famous – or infamous – in the 20th century when it became known as the Kowloon Walled City, an area rampant with crime and poverty. The entire neighbourhood was eventually demolished in the early 1990s and reopened as a Jiangnan-style garden. A far cry from what was once among the world’s most densely populated areas, the serene park now boasts impressive water features and beautiful pavilions, as well as traces of the preserved walled city.
You wouldn’t think it from its shabby appearance but this is one of the very best Thai restaurants in Hong Kong. Try the green and red curries and the tom kha soup too. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, go for the raw prawns, topped with garlic and chillies and served with a lip-numbingly hot sauce on the side. Don’t forget to cool that burn with a bottle of Chang beer fresh from the motherland.
With 30 years of culinary experience, renowned pastry chef Tony Wong injects all his passion into his creations. His signature chocolate truffles and mango napoleons attract the young and old alike who line up outside for the delicious sweet treats. Try the rose-shaped cake, which is one of the most Insta-worthy desserts this side of town.