Sheung Wan has been Hong Kong’s hipster neighbourhood for years. Although neighbourhoods like Sham Shui Po and Kennedy Town are slowly garnering their own cool reputations too, Sheung Wan remains the place to be. There’s a treasure trove of trendy vintage shops like InBetween and Select 18, numerous neat cafés from Teakha to Barista Jam, amazing bars in the form of Coa and some of the city’s best restaurants – we’re talking Yardbird, Mrs Pound and local favourite Kau Kee. So grab a coffee to go and follow our guide to all the best things to do in Sheung Wan.
RECOMMENDED: Tick off all the other brilliant things to do in these Hong Kong neighbourhoods.
The best things to do in Sheung Wan
Delicate porcelain, sculptures of Buddha, old movie posters of Bruce Lee, Maoist memorabilia and Ming dynasty ceramic horsemen – you can find all these and more at Upper Lascar Row, one of the world’s most enticing hotspots for antique shopping. Though business has not been as booming in recent years, there’s definitely tons of hidden gems to discover if you take the time. Come Chinese New Year, there are also live paintings of CNY banners, and you can request for personalised ones too.
Just up the stairs from Upper Lascar Row is Man Mo Temple, a mid-19th century Grade I historic building and a declared national monument in Hong Kong. A place of worship dedicated primarily to Man Cheong (god of literature) and Mo Tai (god of war), the atmosphere created by the heavy clouds of incense is a world away from the bustle of the city racing past outside.
The dried seafood market refers to a cluster of stores along a section of Des Voeux Road West. Dried seafood is a popular and common ingredient in Chinese cuisine and you’ll find an overwhelming assortment of dried fish, sea cucumber and abalone at this stretch of the street. On a sunny day, the street is lined with bamboo baskets full of seafood and other exotic wares out to dry, all giving off a pungent aroma.
Over The Influence is an intimate gallery in Sheung Wan dedicated to showcasing international contemporary art. The gallery has a strong focus on art that is radical and influential, whether through its form or message. A diverse range of contemporary art has been displayed here including Jerkface and Nobuyoshi Araki, with mediums ranging from street art and paintings to sculptures. Head over and discover your next favourite artist.
Rummage through this little vintage shop for an eclectic collection of quirky home decor items and funky antique pieces. Change up your wardrobe with timeless outfits, brighten your walls with cool vintage movie posters or simply discover new products made by local artists, designers and up-and-comers. InBetween has previously been at risk of closure, so come by and support this independent shop.
The lines outside this shop don’t lie. Kau Kee is synonymous with a bowl of classic, braised beef brisket noodles. Have it with beef broth or with the deliciously messy curry stock. Don’t expect polite service and don’t expect to come away with a clean shirt. Orders are super wallet-friendly, though, and cost around $30.
Yardbird has attracted diners by the hordes, thanks to being the kind of super hip izakaya/yakitori venue that not even Tokyo denizens would roll their eyes at. The chicken here is treated no differently than the finest piece of toro. That is, with love and care. And it returns the favour by donating literally every part of its body including the thigh, wing, neck, liver, tail or skin.
Tucked in a corner at the end of Tai Ping Shan Street is a somewhat unique café that serves more than just coffee. Teakha hosts regular music performances outside their shop, markets selling artisan products, movie screenings and even calligraphy classes, making it a favourite hangout spot for neighbourhood locals. Tea, of course, is the signature beverage. Organic and sourced from within Asia, relax with a fresh brew and homemade cakes.
Mezcal is suddenly a thing in Hong Kong and Coa is the agave spirit’s best evangelist – the extensive mezcal, tequila and raicilla menu here is the best of its kind in the city. Owner and founder Jay Khan is a local boy done good. Hugely affable and incredibly knowledgeable about mixology and agave spirits, he can help you choose the perfect drink, even if you’re not familiar with this sort of liquor.
While there’s no shortage of coffee joints in Sheung Wan, Barista Jam ranks top of the list thanks to its ample space and fantastic coffee selection. From siphons and French presses to hand grinders and Aeropresses, not to mention Moka pots, you can find almost every method of brewing coffee imaginable at Barista Jam. That being said, the signature drip coffee is a must-have.