Since Sheung Wan reached its allotted quota of cool, Sai Ying Pun, helped by the arrival of the extended Island Line in 2015, has become Hong Kong’s new hipster central. Much like its neighbouring part of town, this trendy part of Western District is home to a number of brilliant cafés and coffee shops, as well as fantastic international cuisine, from Spanish to Korean fried chicken. And that’s not all. SYP is also home to some of the trendiest art galleries in Hong Kong, ones which are much less stuffy than the ones around Hollywood Road. Interested? Read on to discover the best things to do and the best places to eat in Sai Ying Pun.
Best things to do and eat in Sai Ying Pun
The third and largest branch of NOC Coffee – co-founded by 2011 Hong Kong Barista Champion Chan Chak Sum – is a popular stomping ground for coffee lovers. This coffee roastery expertly brews up your favourite javas while the robust food menu is packed with healthy salads, all-day breakfasts and fruit bowls. An ideal chill out spot for a quick lunch or weekend hang-out session.
Located towards the harbour on Connaught Road West, this laid-back modern café quickly became a neighbourhood favourite. Aside from the usual offerings – which does include a bulletproof, consisting of virgin coconut oil and butter, that’s worth trying if you’ve never sampled one before – Opendoor has a fantastic smoothie menu featuring both fruity varieties and protein powder-based options. Venture out to the hidden courtyard for some fresh air, or a smoke, and take advantage of the pet-friendly policy if you’ve got a canine friend!
A former ping-pong hall revamped as a stylish Spanish gin bar, Ping Pong 129 Gintoneria is a pretty snazzy venue housing glorious high ceilings, retro-Hong Kong windows, and a red neon sign – all finished with Mediterranean-esque tiling and works by local artists like photographer Paul Yeung and notorious graffitist Tsang Tsou Cho. There’s ample bar seating and tables to meet the demands of large groups.
Polygon’s owner, Yuri, is a New Yorker who really knows his beans. Stocking the much-lauded Intelligentsia coffee and custom tea blends, Polygon carefully preps its brews at precise temperatures depending on the individual tea or coffee to ensure that customers get the best possible cup. With both indoor and outdoor seating and a beautiful private garden terrace, this is great place to unwind with a quality brew.
Founded in 2010 by Adriana Alvarez-Nichol, Puerta Roja is the only art gallery in Hong Kong that specialises and promotes established and emerging contemporary Latin American and Spanish artists. Within these gallery walls, you can admire stunning works by artists like Carlos Cruz-Diez, known for his kinetic pop-art works, and renowned Argentinian artist Gladys Nistor.
This funky little SYP corner spot dishes up sweet and savoury pancake ‘tapas’ paired with original cocktails. The menu is simple and creative: eight pancakes matched with cocktails, plus a handful of sides. Available in both sweet and savoury flavours, the Running Honey is a definite winner that combines succulently fluffy pancakes with honey butter and plenty of honeycomb shards.
This taquería plates up the sort of flavours you’d get from a taco truck on the West Coast or a family-run stand somewhere in southern Texas. It’s casual, affordable and exists purely to serve mouth-watering Mexican snacks. Here, you can order up all kinds of tacos, burritos, quesadillas and enchiladas, as well as nachos. The specialty fries include chilli cheese, chipotle and Papa al Horno (bacon bits with caramelized onion and jalapeños) and should not be missed.
Imagine all your favourite Pinterest home décor products and designs crammed into a single shop. That’s what Thorn and Burrow is. This awesome concept store sources textiles and materials globally, offering Hongkongers a range of colourful, eco-friendly furniture and rugs – with gorgeous patterns too. Shop for everything from locally-designed cushions to Turkish towels as well as chalk paint in a wide spectrum of colours.
Craving some fried chicken that’s not KFC? This Korean fried chicken and beer hole-in-the-wall joint should do the trick. There are a few flavours to pick from: spicy, ranch, barbecue, sweet and spicy, soy and spicy soy. If you can’t make up your mind, just go for the half and half option. Whatever you select, it’s all delicious. For sides, the rice balls and egg rolls are popular choices, and there’s even ramen if you’re in need of some carbs.
You can easily spot Winstons Coffee on Queen’s Road West by its black facade and retro cinema signage. This trendy coffee joint boasts some well-brewed classic coffee, innovative snacks – acai bowls, biltong, flaxseed power bites, matcha tarts and focaccia – and encourages day drinking by serving cocktails from 11am onwards. Espresso martini, anyone?