Once known for its sleazy bars, the area has smartened up its act with plenty of interesting restaurants.
Sheung Wan/Sai Ying Pun
Now with improved transport links, the western side of the island is growing from a hipster hangout to an essential weekend spot.
A one-stop-shop for all your fashion needs, Novelty Lane is a unique concept store offering an extensive array of alternative brands from all over Asia. Connecting independent boutiques and bringing them all together in one convenient location, this spot is truly a one-of-a-kind novelty.
2/F, 106 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai (+852 2433 6522/noveltylane.com)
Channel your inner metalsmith at this contemporary jewellery studio located in the heart of Soho. If a hands-on experience isn’t your thing, you can also browse and purchase plenty of elegant, distinctive jewellery pieces designed and crafted by experienced indie artisans.
Unit H403, Block B, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St, Central (+852 2155 4198/obellery.com)
Goods of Desire (GOD)
No other shop embodies the HK spirit as much as GOD. Everything, from furnishings and furniture to clothing and accessories, reflects a part of Hong Kong. Its most popular catchphrase is ‘Delay No More’, which is a pun on ‘F**k Your Mother’ in Cantonese. Oh, and the brand has a sense of humour.
9 Sharp St E, Causeway Bay (+852 2890 5555/god.com.hk).
8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
Dubbed the ‘king of truffles’, chef Umberto Bombana whips up rustic, truffle laden Italian dishes while embodying the essence of Italian hospitality through his venues’ exceptional service. Named after Federico Fellini’s lauded film of the same name, expect things like homemade Cavatelli shellfish ragout and sea urchin, Tajima short rib and beef tenderloin with a red wine, plum sauce and whipped potato. The three Michelin starred restaurant is also home to one of Asia’s best bars, which serves fantastic cocktails and ought not to be missed either.
Shop 202, 2/F, Alexandra House, Central (+852 2537 8859)
Ah Yat Harbour Restaurant
Named for its chef, Ah Yat, and its harbour views, this Michelin-starred eatery is the place to come for the finest abalone, dim sum and wok-fried dishes. The modern dining room is set-up to make the most of its stunning vistas.
29F, ISquare, 63 Nathan Road (+852 2328 0983)
Kam’s Roast Goose
A spin-off from Hong Kong’s iconic Yung Kee roast goose dynasty due to a famous family feud, this fowl proved it could hold its own by gaining a Michelin star this year.
226 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai (+852 2520 1110).
Australian Dairy Company
Anyone can cook eggs, but no one does it better than the Australian Dairy Company. The breakfast set consists of fluffy and moist scrambled eggs served with rich buttery thick toast, and comes with a plate of macaroni along with char siu in chicken broth.
47 Parkes Street, Jordan (+852 2730 1356)
In 2005, third-generation restaurateur Tracy Wong established this Sichuan restaurant. Now, it’s one of the best in the city. Authentic cooking based on recipes that have been passed down through the generations is the order of the day here. ‘Ma’ Sichuan peppercorns feature prominently, as do spicy ‘la’ dishes and vibrant ‘tang’ dishes. A real fiery feast.
7 Old Bailey Street, Central (+852 2796 6866/chillifagara.com)
Law Fu Kee
Sometimes eating cheap means eating light and eating clean, even for mid-level executives working in Central. Law Fu Kee is the go-to place for Hong Kong’s staple comfort food – congee. Made with a fragrant fish broth, it’s delicious, clean, soothing, healthy and all for under RM10.
142 Queen's Road Central, Central (+852 2543 3881)
Hong Kong’s most successful molecular bar to date regales patrons with a variety of cocktails that challenge the senses.
17 Hollywood Rd, Central (+852 9132 1802).
This cute bar puts itself on the map with creative cocktails using uniquely Hong Kong ingredients like Pak Chun vinegar and cha chaan teng-style milk tea.
Shop B, 50 Staunton St, Central (+852 2858 8580).
Headed by the award-winning ‘bartender-in-chief’ Masahiko Endo, Mizunara is a Japanese-style bar hidden away on the fourth floor of a commercial building on Lockhart Road. Yes, the atmosphere is often restrained, but if it’s exquisite cocktails and attentive service you’re after, you can’t do much better.
4/F, Kiu Yin Commercial Building, 361-363 Lockhart Rd, Wan Chai (+852 3571 9797/fb.com/Mizunara.The.Library)
Ping Pong 129 Gintoneria
The gentrification of Sai Ying Pun was officially underway when Ping Pong popped up in the neighbourhood. A stylish Spanish-style gin bar in a former ping pong hall, the space is gorgeous. Thankfully, just as much thought has gone into the drinks as the swish interior.
129 Second Street, L/G Nam Cheong House, Sai Ying Pun (+852 9835 5061/pingpong129.com)
THINGS TO DO
Hong Kong has some great countryside walks that allow you to explore the islands’ fantastic views, all clearly signposted. Try the Dragon’s Back for a serious workout or go for a leisurely stroll around the Peak.
The racecourse here is a local institution, and twice a month on a Wednesday night you’ll find it packed with punters enjoying the horse race – and normally a good amount of alcohol too.
2 Sports Rd, Happy Valley (+852 2895 1523).
Formerly the Police Married Quarters, the building now plays host to local artists and designers as well as several restaurants and cafés.
35 Aberdeen St, Central.
10,000 Buddhas Monastery
Established in 1957 by devoted Buddhist Yuet Kai, the monastery boasts ornately decorated halls with statues adorning a path to the listed buildings.
Tai Po Rd, Sha Tin, New Territories (+852 2691 1067).
The secret is definitely out on this one, but there really is no better way to take in Hong Kong, with a view of both sides.
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon (+852 2118 6208/starferry.com.hk).
The best way to see the outskirts of Hong Kong is by sea. Go online and charter a junk boat to any of the beautiful outlying islands. For the best deals on tour operators, visit junks.hk.