Living in Sham Shui Po

Wondering what it's like to live in Hong Kong? Have no fear, because Chatteris' own Caroline Lengyel is on hand to describe a typical day living in Sham Shui Po, a bustling district near the centre of Kowloon...

Sham Shui Po is Hong Kong’s true center – its jack-of-all-trades- its food, tech, toys, cheap clothing, cheap fabric and cheap coffee Mecca. Newcomers beware:
1. You will get lost.
2. Sham Shui Po is magic and not always in a good way. I once had a divine bowl of beef brisket at a restaurant I could have sworn was next to MTR exit A2 and it was never found again.
3. You will never, at any time, have a clue what part of the animal you’re eating.

I love it. Here’s how I spend a day in Sham Shui Po:

Breakfast at: Sun Hang Yuen (38 Kweilin St)

Sun Hang Yuen is Hong Kong’s best 'cha chaan teng' (tea restaurant) according to people who know about cha chaan tengs. I don’t, because I only go here; their signature beef egg sandwich keeps me trekking back. The ceiling drips and the coffee tastes inventive, but it’s quick, satisfying and chilled!

Above: The quick, satisfying and chilled Sun Hang Yuen

Afternoon: Coffee shop

There are a number of brilliant coffee shops in Sham Shui Po from the dim, mahogany-tabled Café Sausalito, to the café-workshop-gallery known as Common Room & Co, to the Dragon Center’s nook of waffles, burgers and lattes, Café Charms. I take a book and soak in the sunny Kowloon vibes.

Above: A latte pic because I can’t be tamed (featuring Common Room & Co)

Lunch: Burgerman (65-71 Yen Chow St)

Not many people know this about me...but Burgerman is my religion! Don’t bring friends, they distract from the fries.

Above: A list of options at Burgerman

Alternatively: Anywhere on Fuk Wing Street                        

In this district, all roads lead to Fuk Wing. Search any list of “best restaurants in Sham Shui Po” and you will essentially be given a roadside tour. I don’t spend a lot of time here because I’m lazy and live five blocks away, but when I do it’s transformative.

Above: Fuk Wing by night
Dinner: Kashmir Curry House (264D-G Cheung Sha Wan Rd)

Maybe I’m a dumb American encountering decent food for once; maybe this is the best Indian place on the planet. Find out. Order the beef curry!

Above: We may not have a picture of Kashmir, but we do have a picture of this grumpy cat outside a toy shop

Midnight: 康瑞甜品 Dessert Restaurant (323 Lai Chi Kok Rd)

I know this place is as good as I think it is because millennials queue at the door by the dozens all Friday and Saturday night. I traipsed by eight times before I figured out what it sells – Taiwanese dessert – and I’ve eaten here five times without deciphering what that means (the words “grass jelly” emerged from Wikipedia?). It’s basically bubble tea, if bubble tea was less tooth-achingly sweet, better textured and in a bowl. It’s the best thing I’ve tried in Hong Kong.

Above: Taiwanese Dessert - 'the best thing I've tried in Hong Kong'
To conclude, I recommend all of these spots! But if you want the truth, the greatest culinary experiences in Sham Shui Po involve stumbling at random into a roadside eatery with no English name, sitting down, pointing haphazardly at the menu and feasting on what could be barbequed duck or barbequed goose, elbow-to-elbow with locals. Rule of thumb: any business staffed by

a) A tall man chopping meat with a cleaver and/or
b) An older woman pulling change out of bucket hanging from a pole

is going to be worth your time.

Roll up, eat up, have fun- and show some respect! The ‘Po is a weird, electric place and I’m proud to call it home.
Above: A standard sight in the electric Sham Shui Po


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