Header image courtesy of @__siu.hung__ (via Instagram)
Originally published by Ching Yuen. Last updated by Tommy Yu.
Hong Kong’s Outlying Islands are where urbanites go if they feel like hitting up the beach for a dose of vitamin D or riding the waves for some intense exercise, but that’s not all there is to this cluster of suburban living. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, there is a serene beauty to island life, so rather than pumping adrenaline through your body, how about finding a nice café to sit down in and soak up the relaxing vibes of slow country living? Read on to check out the best cafés to discover on Hong Kong’s Outlying Islands.
Perhaps the most famous out of all the Outlying Island cafés is Valor, situated inside the crescent of Cheung Chau. Valor brings modern, minimalistic aesthetics onto the serene island while paying tribute to Cheung Chau’s local vibes, with wooden stools and stone tables to match. It is known for its signature iced drip coffees, and you can tell how serious the baristas take their craft from the many ice drip apparatuses lined up along the shop walls. Its signature creations include the honey lemon iced dripped coffee ($45) or combinations like pineapple and coconut with coffee.
Valor, G/F, 4 Sun Hing Street, Cheung Chau | (+852) 5508 8369
Island Workbench started out as a lifestyle concept store on Cheung Chau, selling exclusive bags and apparel made by local artists. In 2018, the Island Workbench Café was opened to serve light food and beverages for visitors to enjoy after shopping. Its menu features cute graphics for each dish so you will know exactly what you are getting.
Island Workbench is well-liked for its homemade Belgium waffles ($42), where you can customise the sauce, toppings, and ice cream flavours. Its dessert platter ($118) is also a must-try, showcasing a selection of desserts that you can customise with treats such as tiramisu, Earl Grey crème brûlée, ice cream, and daily cakes.
Island Workbench, G/F, 16 Chung Hok Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 5722 4252
Heima Heima is a Scandi-style café, a surprising find on the outskirts of Cheung Chau. It embodies the basics of Nordic aesthetics with a clean design that focuses on the lighter tones of wooden furniture, and there’s even a small room inside the café for anyone looking for a more private experience. Otherwise, sitting along the window that looks out to the sea is also a great choice. Its all-day breakfast ($78) is a delicious bargain and the apple tart ($48), delicately decorated with sliced apples on flaky puff pastry, is a great choice as well.
Heima Heima, G/F, 25 Tsan Tuen Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 6078 3417
Si Dan in Cantonese stands for “whatever” in a casual manner, but this island café sure takes its menu and coffee seriously. Despite its small size—with around 12 seats only—Si Dan puts a lot of thought into its cooked food menus. Signatures include the scotch egg ($48) with a centre of runny yolk, and the fried peanut butter French toast ($48), which reminds us of the cha chaan teng classic. Si Dan also has a selection of non-alcoholic with creative flavour combinations, such as pineapple soda ($32).
Si Dan, G/F, Front Portion, 49 Pak She Street, Cheung Chau | (+852) 4645 0461
Among many kaleidoscopic storefronts in Cheung Chau, Haika is a sidewalk café offering handmade coffee, bakery, and daily groceries. Harnessing nature’s power to balance different aspects of life, the café design is uniquely camping-themed, thoughtfully decked out with folding chairs, tables, and even beach umbrellas. For a moment of respite, try the dirty tart ($48) for a chocolatey melt-in-your-mouth experience, or a cup of lemon black ($44) for a freshly brewed coffee topped with a pleasant, fruity note.
Haika Coffee, G/F, 57 San Hing Praya Street, Cheung Chau | (+852) 5301 3003
HanMade Teahouse Cake Flowers is where to go if you are looking to unwind. All about teas, flowers, and cakes, this café specialises in mung bean cakes ($30), a classic Korean sweet treat that goes well with tea. It also bakes up pastries ($30) with flavours like passionfruit, sweet potato, green tea, and more. HanMade’s tea selection is based on fruit teas, flower teas, and Chinese teas, so expect a combination of different Southeast Asian tea cultures.
HanMade Teahouse Cake Flowers, Shop G10, G/F, Discovery Bay North Plaza, 82 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay | (+852) 2322 8558
Anyone who has been living in Discovery Bay will know that Uncle Russ Coffee is an institution. More than just a café, this establishment has been in Hong Kong for over 27 years and doubles as a coffee academy offering professional barista courses.
Uncle Russ Coffee, Shop G19, G/F, DB North Plaza, 92 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay
In Hong Kong, the only place where you will still find traditional stilt houses built on water—and even cafés inside these stilt houses—is in Tai O. Solo is one such café, built along the rails of a stilt house so you will be sitting right next to the sea. Coffees options are aplenty but we would recommend pairing your drink with a side of New York cheesecake, tiramisu, or serradura, a well-known Portuguese dessert. Seasonal coffees are available as well, like the nitro brew coffee with milk foam on top that makes it look like a beer.
Solo, G/F, 86–88 Kat Hing Street, Tai O | (+852) 9153 7453
Espace Elastique is the first bed and breakfast to open in Tai O and their café is a lovely area to relax in. Covering a ground floor space as well as a front garden, you have a choice of indoor or outdoor seating, but the private rooftop is reserved for hotel guests only. During summer, Espace Elastique’s ice drip coffee ($48) will help you cool down, and you can even try the iced Spanish coffee ($52), which is more on the sweet side.
Espace Elastique, 57 Kat Hing Street, Tai O | (+852) 2985 7002
If you walk through the maze of stilt houses on the island of Tai O, you will find the Triple Lantern House, which is covered in strings of red lanterns. Housed within an old landmark within Tai O, the Triple Lanterns Café is just to the side of the main canal. Made up of two storeys, with antiques strewn across the second floor, we would recommend finding shaded seats outside for the best experience to bask in the tranquil vibes of this fishing village.
Triple Lanterns Café, 39 San Chung Bund, San Chung Village, Tai O | (+852) 9711 4727
Shelly Cake Express is a paradise for sweet tooths. Its signature tofu cheesecake ($60) is famous on social media for its rich taste and perfect consistency, all served on pretty patterned plates for a colourful picture. Another signature is the assorted cookies with ice cream ($80), which is recommended to be enjoyed in a certain order for the full flavour experience. With so much sugar, you’ll have to order a black coffee to balance it all out.
Shelly Cake Express, G/F, Shop C, 21 Back Street, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island
From a banker to a chef—that’s the story of how the owner of Rawsoever on Lamma Island came to start her own shop. Rawsoever is all about raw foods, vegan cuisine, and organic ingredients, and the reason she moved from the city centre to Lamma Island is also to be closer to the countryside and closer to her organic produce. Rawsoever also doubles as a grocery store and a catering company for people who live around the area!
Rawsoever, Shop A, G/F, 18E Tai Yuen Village, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island
Coffee Philharmonic is a café on Lamma Island that combines the owner’s love for coffee and music. Not only does he go on a search for new coffee beans and blends all the time, but he also invites his fellow music lovers to the café for performances and music appreciation nights. If you are ever around Lamma Island and you hear the sound of a violin playing, just follow it like a scent and it will lead you straight to the café!
Coffee Philharmonic, G/F, 106B Yung Shue Wan Main Street, Lamma Island