The charming district of Sham Shui Po is a place hidden from prying eyes, but it’s teeming with life and vibrancy. Located in northwestern Kowloon, Sham Shui Po is usually overlooked due to its more popular neighbors, Prince Edwards and Mong Kok.
However, the charms of the community are no longer going unnoticed, as it calls the fascination of Hong Kong’s younger generation. Sham Shui Po is one of the most underrated and leading districts for shopping, culture, art and of course, food. Next time you find your way heading to Mong Kok, try staying on the train for a couple more stops and find your way to Sham Shui Po.
Sham Shui Po is a working-class neighborhood that was previously identified as a blue light district. As one of the earliest developed areas and an industrial hub, Sham Shui Po is classified among the densest communities in Hong Kong. With that being said, it’s not surprising that the neighborhood is rich with energetic street markets, fabric stores and affordable yet unforgettable restaurants.
The endless shopping
The never-ending lanes of street markets make it one of the leading places to shop for anything and everything. The minute you step out onto the streets from the MTR, you are greeted with loud voices of street vendors and haggling customers. All your senses are overwhelmed, but that is all part of the experience of being fully immersed in the Sham Shui Po community.
You will come to a crossroads (literally and metaphorically) of which lane to explore first, but there is truly no wrong answer. Either way, you are taken through a unique journey and find yourself amused with all the little trinkets you’ll find along the way.
Apart from the street markets, Sham Shui Po is a popular destination for the textile industry. Young designers and creators stroll along these roads looking for quality fabric at cheap prices. You may not be a professional designer but don’t let that get in the way of exploring the fabric lanes. Who knows what you’ll be able to create with simply a needle and some thread.
The nine-story shopping center right in the heart of Sham Shui Po is the legendary Dragon Center. With a large yellow dragon hanging in the entryway, the center is almost impossible to miss. Looking up from the inside is almost hypnotizing, as each floor creates a ring of color that keeps going and going.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier, you’ll notice the indoor roller coaster scaling the mall, mimicking the yellow dragon. When you get tired and hungry from visiting every trendy clothing and craft store, the food court has a variety of snacks and exotic drinks to try.
While roaming the streets, keep an eye out for vintage shops and their hidden treasures. These days, it’s rare to come across genuine antique stores, but Sham Shui Po does not slack in this department. From vintage cards and toys to record players and old sewing machines, you’ll be spending hours rummaging in fascination. For the vinyl collectors out there, go through the endless piles of old records that are being sold for as low as HK$30 (US$4). With just a little bit of hard work, you may score high with a Bowie or Beatles album.
Food! Food! Food!
Tim Ho Wan is one of Hong Kong’s famous local dim sum restaurants with a home right in the heart of bustling Sham Shui Po. Known as the most affordable Michelin star restaurant in the world, this delicious and world-class dim sum spot is something you cannot miss out on. Unsurprisingly, the place can have quite a wait, but the minute you take the first bite, you’ll realize that it was all worth it.
However, if you want a taste of the true Hong Kong street culture, grabbing some egg waffles or fried food from the local vendors is your most tempting bet. Next to Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po is street-food central, with unlimited options to choose from and try. Biting into a freshly made waffle that’s both crunchy and fluffy may be just the thing to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Discover Sham Shui Po for yourself
Sham Shui Po deserves all the hype it is currently receiving as more and more people discover its real energy. It’s your one-stop shop for everything you need, whether it be trendy clothing from dragon center, fabric for your next project or just some good ol’ dim sum. You could read as many articles you want about the coolest district in Hong Kong, but you will never understand Sham Shui Po’s beauty unless you visit it for yourself.
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