Why You Should Add The Artsy West Kowloon District In Hong Kong To Your Travel Bucket List
Where to eat, shop and experience the up-and-coming neighbourhood.
Already familiar with the ho sek (Cantonese for delicious) eats, iconic attractions like Disneyland and the newly-revamped Ocean Park, and fantastic shopping that Hong Kong has to offer? Well, when borders reopen, you’ll have to check out the city’s burgeoning arts scene too, especially in the up-and-coming West Kowloon Cultural District.
The 40-hectare cultural quarter hits the sweet spot with its seamless blend of modernity and tradition, where historical architecture and time-tested artisanal handicraft are juxtaposed with art museums, green spaces, and performance centres. Time to include it in your travel bucket list and explore this vibrant enclave when you can.
Discover the ’hood on foot
West Kowloon boasts no shortage of gems for visitors to rediscover Hong Kong in a new light, and the best way to do it is on foot. Suss out handmade treasures, treat your taste buds to authentic local flavours, and discover Hong Kong’s vibrant art scene and more via five thematic walking routes. And with more than 50 points of interest, shops, and restaurants frequented by discerning Hongkongers, you’ll want to get your camera ready for a visual feast.
Instagrammable, arty spots at every corner
There’s plenty to explore in the West Kowloon Cultural District. For one, there’s Freespace and Art Park — vibrant venues for performances, exhibitions and more.
Freespace & Livehouse
In particular, Art Park is sprawling with green spaces for visitors to relax and enjoy a breezy picnic, as well as a picturesque waterfront promenade that’s perfect for breathtaking sunset views.
West Kowloon Promenade
For dining options in the vicinity, look no further than FAM. Indulge in modern Chinese cuisine at the fusion restaurant, where food, art and music (see where it gets its name from?) come alive together. And with its art deco vibes, whimsical light art installations and incredible views of Victoria Harbour, alfresco dining is the natural choice.
It's a foodie paradise
Take your time to savour mouthwatering eats on every corner, and don’t be fooled by the unassuming facades of food stalls — many come highly recommended by MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong. Yes, Hongkongers love their food with a passion.
In fact, HK singer Vincy Chan did an Instagram live sesh with the Yes933 FM DAKA DJs recently (watch it here) to share her favourite noms in the Jordan area, and Block 18 Doggie's Noodle was one of them.
The eatery is famous for local foods like juicy deep-fried mixed balls, braised duck drumsticks dunked in gravy and hearty imitation shark fin soup. But of course, the namesake doggie noodles are the real MVP here. Vincy’s guilty pleasure is having hers with lots of crispy pork lard and a dollop of spicy chye poh. Fun fact: The dish was named because of the noodles’ likeness to pups’ springy little tails.
Block 18 Doggie's Noodle
Eat as the locals do and head on down to Ferry Point, a cluster of streets between Jordan Road and Ferry Street.
Get your caffeine fix at Good Day Coffee, and make a pit stop at Tim Kee French Sandwiches, where freshly-baked Vietnamese bánh mì await — the store has been around since the 1970s, withstanding the test of time. And if novelty is your thing, try Sai Kwan Lo Jo for Hong Kong fusion bites.
Tim Kee French Sandwiches
Conclude your foodie adventure with traditional, handmade Cantonese sweets and snacks from second-generation family business Mrs Fong Dessert in Jordan.
Zero in on the springy pudding-like cakes, black sesame rolls and red bean cake. There’s also the steamed white sugar cake, which has been touted as one of Hong Kong’s best. Pro-tips: There isn’t any seating space available at the bustling shop, and you’ll likely have to queue for a bit — the nostalgic dessert shop has a loyal following.
Mrs Fong Dessert
Under-the-radar traditional local shops to check out
Back in the day, West Kowloon was home to plenty of artisanal craftsmen. From sharp-eyed tailors to jade sellers, many of the skilled craftsmen at work in the cultural district have honed their skills over many decades.
There's Cheung Shing Fans Factory in Yau Ma Tei, one of the few sandalwood fan makers in Hong Kong still in operation. Once favoured by the wealthy, these intricate works of art are now a rare find.
Cheung Shing Fans Factory
And in the vicinity is Jade Market, where you'll be able to browse an impressive collection of indoor stalls selling affordable jade jewellery, as well as keepsake trinkets and sculptures.
It’s been a favourite among locals and visitors alike since its inception in 1984. Bargain hunters will also be happy to know that haggling is expected.
If you’re keen on edible souvenirs, look to Liu Ma Kee Fermented Tofu Store, a household name that has been around for more than a century.
Liu Ma Kee
In fact, they still use a traditional stone mill to grind their soybeans from scratch. Their traditional condiments are packed with rich umami flavour, and will make great gifts for friends and family back home. There's even a garlic-flavoured fermented tofu paste meant for use in pasta dishes.