Living in Yau Ma Tei

Chatteris' own Rian Devlin on his experience of living in Yau Ma Tei, featuring fresh fruit and a deep appreciation of a two line MTR.

Occasionally overlooked by new CNETs (Chatteris Native English Tutor) when flat hunting in more well known areas like Prince Edward or Jordan, Yau Ma Tei is in the heart of Kowloon and the neighbourhood where I called home for my first year as a CNET. Situated right between the tourist heavy markets of Mong Kok and Jordan, Yau Ma Tei is a quieter neighbourhood full of affordable restaurants, quirky shops and many, many temples, most of them dating from the 19th century.

With an MTR station connected to both the red and green line (the two main train lines in Kowloon), living in Yau Ma Tei will make it incredibly easy to navigate Hong Kong and make it to work on time, regardless of whether or not your campus will be in Kowloon, the New Territories or on Hong Kong island. Last year I worked in Kowloon, but both of my flatmates worked on Hong Kong island and having Yau Ma Tei connected to both lines saved our butts from being late for work more times than we would like to admit.

Built in 1913, Gwo Laan, also known as the Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market, could become one of your main assets in Hong Kong. It sells a wide variety of fresh seasonal fruit, vegetables and freshly squeezed fruit juices at prices far cheaper than most supermarkets in Hong Kong. The traders usually don't speak a lot of English, so try to learn the numbers 1-10 in Cantonese so that you can get the best prices possible! Luckily, Chatteris provides free Cantonese lessons by native speakers that will have you feeling like a local in no time at all.

Feeling peckish while in Yau Ma Tei? Check out Kitchen One Cafe. It might look traditional on the outside but it serves Hong Kong's take on classic Italian dishes at very cheap prices. You can get a lunch for less than $40 HKD (£4). It also has a super eclectic interior and the staff are all really friendly.

So why not consider making Yau Ma Tei your new home... It's one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Hong Kong and I'm definitely going to be looking for a new flat there very soon.


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