Why we love Kowloon City

Why we love Kowloon City

Unique Hong Kong food, remnants of the Walled City and love motels among what endears us to Kowloon City
Kowloon City
Kowloon City's cooked food stalls where diners like satay beef inside their French toast.

Kowloon City -- it's the historical neighborhood that never gets old. Here are our favorite things to do in the district.

Also on CNNGo: 9 best things to do in Kowloon

Market mornings

Begin the day with a brunch, Hong Kong-style, in the Kowloon City wet market.

The market is housed in the Kowloon City Municipal Services Building and has several popular cooked food stalls. 

But unlike other more famous cooked food stalls found in North Point, Kowloon City’s stays largely untouristy. They are even slightly tidier. 

Lok Yuen is the first stall you see upon entering the cooked-food area. It's known for its creative menu of local cafe food like coffee with red beans and satay beef slices stuffed inside French toast. 

The place makes little concession to English-only speakers so be ready to bust out your body language for these delicacies.

Kowloon City Municipal Services Building, 100 Nga Tsin Wai Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon

Also on CNNGo: Hong Kong cooked food centers: Dai pai dong without the rats

Custom retro

A shop called 1950 can only be about vintage. This antique store has some of the funkiest retro furniture around.

Stepping into the store, you’ll find a wide selections of lamps, armchairs and work desks that bring you straight to the world of the 1950s to 1970s. 

Rotary-dial phones? Check. Danish lounge chairs? More than a dozen styles to choose from. But 1950's speciality is custom-made furniture in a retro style.

1950, 414 Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon City, +852 3971 0444 www.1950.com.hk

Also on CNNGo: The complete guide to vintage shopping in Hong Kong

Kowloon CityCrab craze every autumn.

Feast street

Hong Kongers take their hairy crabs seriously and purposely travel to Kowloon City for a taste of Jiangsu province.

Every autumn, the fleet of Shanghainese food vendors along Hau Wong Road transform into hairy crab specialty stores, selling hundreds of the dainty crustaceans everyday.

The most delicious hairy crabs are steamed on perilla leaves and served with ginger and vinegar dipping sauce. Everything you need for a hairy crab feast can be bought on Hau Wong Road.

If you act quickly, you may still catch the last crop of hairy crabs before the season ends.

Kowloon CityWeird watermelons attract customers.

Also on Hau Wong Road is another specialty store selling fruit.

Contrary to Kowloon City’s image as a low cost of living neighborhood, Wing Fu is famous for its expensive fruit and late hours. It was one of the first to import fruit from Japan and is frequented by celebrities at midnight.

Three giant, irregular-shaped watermelons are showcased in the store, a siren's call for exotic fruit lovers. Sorry, they're not for sale.

Wing Fu, 47 Hau Wong Road, +852 2718 2688, www.wingfu.hk

Also on CNNGo: Hong Kong's best dessert


Infamy tour 

The Kowloon Walled City was a largely ungoverned part of Hong Kong during the days under British colonial rule. The Qing government enclave was abandoned by Qing officials when British troops marched in in 1898.

The resulting vacuum of civil order left the 30,000 square meter area and its 33,000 residents in a semi-lawless state. Kowloon Walled City became a hotbed of brothels, casinos and unlicensed dentists.

Torn down in 1987, in its place now is the Kowloon Walled City Park. Remnants of the Walled City are within the park for historical education and for former residents to reminisce.

Guided tours are available.

Kowloon Walled City Park entrance is on Tung Tau Tsuen Road 

Kowloon CityKowloon City's worst-kept secret.

Sweet satisfaction

Without astronomical rent to drive old tenants away, Kowloon City has long been a traditional Chinese dessert haven.

The sweet bean curd at Yee Heung Tofu on Nga Tsin Long Road is the worst-kept secret in Kowloon City. It’s so silky smooth, it's hard to keep it from slipping off your spoon. The store owner knows that it’s unbeatable, so venture forward with little expectation for good service.

Besides Chinese desserts, the Tony Wong Patisserie and Smile Yogurt & Dessert Bar have both claimed their fame in the neighborhood. They make some of Hong Kong’s most luscious desserts that are pleasing to both the eye and tastebuds.

Yee Heung Tofu, 74 Nga Tsin Long Road, Kowloon City, +852 2382 5006.
Patisserie Tony Wong, 74 Fok Lo Tsun Road, Kowloon City, +852 2382 6639.
Smile Yogurt & Dessert Bar, 65 Lion Rock Road, Kowloon City, +852 2382 6669. 

Biking best

Visit the sea of greenery that is Kowloon Tsai Park. It has four soccer pitches, a roller-skating rink and a Bauhinia Garden richly populated with Bauhinia trees. 

Around the park is a 1.3-kilometer outer loop frequented by joggers and tai chi practitioners.

If fast and furious is what you’re after instead, try the Carpenter Road Park designated for cyclists with plenty of uphill climbs and downward slopes.

Also on CNNGo: Cycling in Hong Kong: The complete guide

Thai tastes

No other place in Hong Kong can you get a more authentic pad Thai or tom yam goong fix than at Kowloon City.

Dozens of Thai restaurants run by actual Thais thrive in Hong Kong's “Little Thailand.”

The restaurant Mini Bangkok on Nam Kok Road wins the loyalty of patrons with its fresh ingredients and generous portions.

If lengthy lines were a qualitative indicator of its curries, you’d be happy to know that queues aren’t uncommon here.

Mini Bangkok, 8-10 Nam Kok Road, Kowloon City, +852 2716 7828

Also on CNNGo: A walking tour of Hong Kong's Little Thailand

Kowloon CityQuick stop at the love motels.

Tingling for more

A guide to Kowloon City isn’t complete without mentioning its love motels.

As if city planners had mapped it out, wedding planning agencies and mansion-like love motels are often side-by-side in Kowloon City. Right next door to kindergartens.

The appropriately named Romantic Hotel, located conveniently outside the Kowloon Tong MTR station, is perhaps the most well-known among locals.

According to reviews written on goopenroom.com, you may choose from waterbeds, vibration beds or oval beds with a price starting at HK$270 for three hours. 

Romantic Hotel, 7 Kent Road, Kowloon Tong, +852 2338 0860

 

Tim has traded in his supply and demand curves for a Master of Journalism degree in hope of doing something a tad more relevant to life, like drinking beer and maybe writing.

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