For most of its history, the Tai Kok Tsui neighbourhood, within easy walking distance of Mong Kok, was better known for shipyards and oil depots than dining and nightlife. But those days are long gone. After decades of large-scale land reclamation and urban revitalisation projects, the industrial district has emerged anew with mega residential developments, shopping complexes, indie bars, restaurants and a lush promenade that serves as an homage to TKT’s early days as an industrial dock.
- Olympian City
Towering above Olympic MTR station, Olympian City is home to more than 250 shops, including all the usual high-street brands and international food chains. But skip the big names and head instead to indie fashion boutiques such as Ebony & Ivory, which stocks feminine party dresses; Korean boutique Sugar Rose, packed with chic adornments and budget-friendly fashion; and 10 minutes to 10, which specialises in smart work-meets-play outfits and accessories.
- Frills-free fare
TKT’s restaurants and cafés are packed with international flavours. My Meat Run Buddy has racked up awards for itsall-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet, featuring more than 40 different, mostly-Cantonese dishes. Nearby, there’s Bukan Japanese Restaurant for an omakase experience that won’t break the bank, and Ristorante Pizzeria Da Vincenzo for Italian in a cosy setting. For something sweet, Sugar Bird specializes in desserts made with all-Chinese ingredients – think yam, black sesame and coix seeds (also called Job’s tears) – all of which are purported to have great health benefits. For something even more traditional, Lui Seng Chun is famous locally for its Chinese herbal tea. Situated in a Grade I historic tong lau (shophouse), this popular spot runs free guided tours of the building and its Chinese herb gardens.
- Square Mile
Last summer, on the edge of TKT by the Olympic MTR station, Square Mile opened as the area’s “lifestyle and creative” hub. The distinctive building regularly hosts a slew of design and music events, from photo exhibitions to pop-ups and lots of DIY workshops. Visit the weekend market from 7-8 September to take part in terrarium- or leather-making lessons led by local artists, or check out the fragrance-making workshop later this month.
- Hoi Fai Road Promenade
Stretching across 4,000m2 on the northern edge of Tai Kok Tsui, Hoi Fai Road Promenade traces the waterfront and affords gorgeous views of the New Yau Ma Tei Typhoon Shelter where colourful shipping containers often take refuge this time of year. It’s also one of the best places in Hong Kong to observe elderly residents practising tai chi in the wee hours of the morning, as well as catch a brilliant sunset come evening. In addition to artsy white seating areas, you’ll find wide open gardens, jogging paths and traditional fishing boats docked by the shore.
- A slew of night spots
TKT’s best watering holes are all conveniently lined up on Pok Man Street. The list includes Once You Go Craft, a hole-in-the-wall beer bar with eight taps pouring freshdraught brews. Try Yardley Brothers’ Hong Kong Bastard, or Mikkeller’s Peter, Pale and Mary. Right across the street, Oakey Dokey Wine is all about affordable bottles and tasting sessions. Last but not least, Lost Stars, three blocks north from Pok Man Street, combines live music and delicious tapas.