Header image courtesy of @kaye.dong (via Instagram)
Originally published by Ching Yuen. Last updated by Jen Paolini.
Coffee is life, and spending our weekends and afternoons lazing about in coffee shops is a tried-and-true lifestyle. In Hong Kong, there are few neighbourhoods better suited to such weekend pursuits than Sham Shui Po. Known for many things—a hodgepodge of eclectic eats, hip art galleries, colourful street markets, vintage boutiques, leather workshops, and more—Sham Shui Po has recently become a haven for new cafés and coffee shops. If the sheer number of openings has you feeling like you’ll never make sense of it all, fear not—simply follow our ultimate guide to find the best cafés in Sham Shui Po.
Sham Shui Po, a hive of all things indie and underground chic, is home to a growing collection of third-wave coffee shops, and the latest addition to this eclectic scene is Flow. Located on a lively corner of an already buzzing neighbourhood, this new kid on the block rustles up warming hand drip coffees and refreshing ice drip coffees to cool you down on hot summer days. It comes with a touch of showmanship, too; just watch in amazement as Flow’s expert baristas take a knife to a block of ice to carve out a chunk and whittle it down to the perfect shape for your drink. Order a matcha Swiss roll cake ($50) to go with a hand drip coffee (starting from $70) for an excellent finish.
Flow, Shop 3, G/F, Hing Ga Building, 195–201 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2452 2345
Say hello to Slash Coffee Bar, an enigmatic coffee shop concept that transforms into a cocktail bar at night. Blessed with spacious high ceilings fused together with elements of industrial chic, vintage-inspired colours, and patterned floors, it’s evident that Slash takes its décor as seriously as it takes its coffee.
Beans are sourced from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Honduras, Peru, Mexico, Kenya, and more, for espresso drinks that pack a punch. Sweet tooths will also love their pastry offerings here, with homemade canelés ($35), brownies ($40), crunchy cookies ($40) in peanut butter and oatmeal raisin flavours, and financiers ($25) on offer. Don’t miss out on the Basque burnt cheesecake ($50), an indulgent slice of heaven to go with your coffee. Bigger bites come in the form of the cinnamon apple bacon sourdough toast ($90) and classic avocado and egg on toasted sourdough ($90).
Slash Coffee Bar, G/F, 107 Ki Lung Street, Sham Shui Po
After a successful pop-up stint at Form Society, Alive Food Co. has finally opened its hotly anticipated café, also in the Sham Shui Po neighbourhood. Moving just a stone’s throw away from crowded Tai Nan Street to settle on what is popularly known as Bead Street, Alive Eatery is taking their popular open-faced sourdough toasts to the next level with a Mediterranean-inspired menu.
Come for breakfast or brunch and sink your teeth into their poached egg, guacamole, sumac & pomegranate sourdough toast ($70) and avocado & tomato salsa on sourdough toast ($70), but be sure to save space for sides and dessert—there’s a warm burrata ($75) with tomato sauce and rocket and almond pesto calling your name, as well as a caramelised soft bread pudding for your dining pleasure. While coffee might be your regular go-to, we would recommend trying the house-brewed kombucha ($58) instead.
Alive Eatery, G/F, 131 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po
If zen Japanese vibes are your thing—and in Hong Kong, aren’t they everyone’s?—then this cosy little café should be next on your list. Sap Sann, known almost exclusive by its Cantonese name (十常八九; Sap6 Soeng4 Baat3 Gau2), specialises in sweet desserts and even sweeter experiences, leveraging on its Japanese-inspired atmosphere to draw in visitors who are feeling a travel-shaped hole in their hearts. Seats are few and much desired, so come early for a chance to sit one of two low dining tables for the quintessential experience that will transport you to different lands.
We would recommend to eschew the coffee and go for a speciality drink instead, such as the Kinako brown sugar soymilk ($48) or the genmaicha latte ($45), to be paired with a strawberry cream cheesecake ($62) or a caramel pudding ($38). You’ll want to try the signatures as well—leave space for the Fuji pudding ($32) and the tiramisu ($36), both of which are best-sellers and tend to go like hotcakes.
Sap Sann (十常八九), G/F, 2 Wong Chuk Street, Sham Shui Po
If clean lines and white aesthetics are the sorts of things that your Instagram feed lusts for, you cannot go wrong with Kokoni. Inspired by the minimalistic design that modern Japanese coffee shops are famous for, Kokoni specialises in brewing espresso drinks using beans roasted by Studio Caffeine, sourced from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, and more. Best of all, it’s pet-friendly and there is actually space for you to sit down and enjoy your beverage—unlike many newly opened grab-and-go coffee bars. Grab an egg drop sandwich ($78) and a latte ($40) and bask in the sun on the bench seat outside the café!
Kokoni, 156 Ki Lung Street, Sham Shui Po
How to describe Rehab, one of the neighbourhood’s latest coffee shop opening? Drop-dead gorgeous—if modern farmhouse meets mid-century modern meets eclectic and bohemian is your kind of jam. Take your pick from cosy armchairs, high bar stools, or vintage-inspired bench booths for where to sit, and peruse through their focused menu of Western café fare if you’re feeling peckish, featuring dishes like sous-vide beef cheek on mashed potatoes ($138) and chestnut tiramisu ($48). Dibs the wooden-slash-woven armchairs right by the entrance and settle in for a quiet afternoon with your boo—there are even old-school films projected against the wall for your entertainment.
Rehab, 30 Poplar Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 9889 2369
Press The Button Coffee in Sham Shui Po is endlessly popular with Instagrammers who visit the Sham Shui Po neighbourhood, and snaps of this café are fast becoming one of the top five subjects taking up our Instagram feed. The idea behind the shop is to encourage an appreciation of small joys in our fast-paced world, even if we sometimes feel a bit left behind by everyone else’s hustle and bustle. Considering the minute size of this coffee stall, it’s no wonder that its menu is equally petite, specialising in the most essential of black and white coffees, such as espresso ($30), honey Americano ($45), latte (starting from $40), and hand-drip filter coffees (starting from $50).
Creative fun fact: Press The Button Coffee’s logo is designed by acclaimed Japanese artist Chalkboy, a joint effort that originated when the owners and artist kept fortuitously meeting at culture fairs around the world—check out the cute logo printed on the glass doors of the café!
Press The Button Coffee, G/F, 132A Ki Lung Street, Sham Shui Po
A café concept presented by Pause Rewind & Fastforward, a floral design boutique, The Hut (小房子) is a brand-new destination for coffee-hunters keen on exploring all things caffeinated in the Sham Shui Po neighbourhood. Naturally, its verdant décor is one of its main draws, but you’ll be just as charmed with its rustic, mish-mash furnishings, a lot of which appears to be re-purposed from found vintage items and old cast-offs (we like sustainably-minded interior design).
Come in for an eclectic mix of light afternoon bites, such as the salmon onigiri ($108), which comes with seasonal fruits and Japanese sweet potatoes and matcha warabi mochi, and sweet treats like the lemon pound cake with ice cream ($38). Warm up with a floral roselle rose tea ($55) or cool down with a cold-brewed osmanthus oolong tea ($50).
The Hut (小房子), G/F, 196 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 5209 7610
For a café experience that nourishes the senses and the soul, there are few that do it as well as The Soulroom (一草一木). Positioned as a holistic coffee shop, this light and bright addition to the neighbourhood has gained popularity for its soothing teas and small bites, but it’ll serve you a mean cold brew ($55) or long black (starting from $35) if you need a pick-me-up after a long day of trawling the area. Give their signature Soulroom lemonade ($50) a taste and match it with an equally zesty lemon tea tart ($48), a savoury option like the ham & cheese bagel ($55), or a sweet Earl Grey scone ($35).
The Soulroom (一草一木), 102 Ki Lung Street, Sham Shui Po
An open café that looks like it was carved out of a wall, this tiny sanctuary is hidden deep within the maze of Sham Shui Po. There’s not a lot to see: It’s just a coffee counter and a cement bench on the other end of the shop, but that’s exactly what makes the minimalistic café so appealing. Any drink you order will come with a little slip of paper bearing an inspirational quote of the day. Why not enjoy your coffee with a side of positive encouragement?
Coffee of the Day, Shop B, G/F, 172–174 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po
Years is a Japanese-style art café that offers plant-based cuisine. While you don’t necessarily have to be a vegetarian to enjoy plant-based cuisine, it is a lifestyle choice that anyone can experiment with. It is a small café though, so you should come early if you are looking to have dine-in lunch. We would recommend the “pork” cutlet sandwich ($98), which is made with alternative meat, shredded red cabbage, and their secret house sauce.
Years, Shop 1, G/F, Fuk Lung Building, 191–199 Fuk Wah Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 6338 3719
Born out of a four-way collaborative effort between local coffee shop Colour Brown, Hong Kong NGO Hatch, sustainable fashion brand Phvlo, and design team The Good Studio, Colour Brown x Phvlo Hatch is a remarkable effort that draws crowds for its attractive shopfront. Inspired by the vintage colour schemes and corrugated textures of old Hong Kong, recognisable design elements include the iconic shutter gates that you’ll often come across at local street stalls. Once you head inside, however, you will be taken in by the impressive spiral staircase at the back of the café—a popular photo spot for guests. Indulge in an ice drip coffee ($58) and take your time admiring the impeccable surroundings.
Colour Brown x Phvlo Hatch, G/F, 13 Wong Chuk Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2791 7128
Hidden inside a lifestyle concept store, Openground is a café-gallery hybrid combined with an exhibition space and workspace. This multi-purpose café showcases artworks and books that the owner personally curates, and there’s even an upstairs area for people to sit down and take in some creative inspiration. Openground experiments with different cakes every other day, such as sesame cheesecake ($45), which goes well with a white coffee ($38).
Openground, G/F, 198 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 3974 5098
Coffee is great enough on its own, but would it not be nice to have a cuppa while browsing through curated knick-knacks and lifestyle products? At Zap Jok (習作), a café with ties to a local pottery studio, you can do just that—and marvel at the beautiful handmade ceramics that your beverages are served in while you’re at it. Specialising in coffee, cakes, and bento box lunches, there’s much to love about this multi-functional café, but it’s their menu of lattes that really stole our hearts (and taste buds).
Opt for the sesame latte (starting from $50) and hojicha latte (starting from $50) to whet your appetite, and continue on with a daily bento set ($60), which comes with a salad, appetiser, and rice. Seasonal dishes can be added on as sides, with options that include grilled salmon ($50), grilled pork belly in hatcho miso ($45), deep-fried pumpkin korokke ($30), and more—it’s endlessly customisable. Do note that a visit to Zap Jok is by appointment only. You can view more details about the full calendar of their hours, as well as how to make reservations, on their website. Plan ahead and enjoy!
Zap Jok (習作), G/F, 66 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po | (+852)
Speaking of hot new cafés, Nomad is Sham Shui Po’s newest addition—and it opened just last week to great acclaim. During the day, Nomad is a coffee destination that also offers all-day dining options, but at night, it transforms into a sultry yakitori restaurant. Japanese floor cushions litter the staircase leading up to the second level for customers to sit down, and the wooden accents of the interiors are super Instagrammable. Nomad’s menu also includes craft beer next to coffees and teas, so depending on what sort of day you’re having, you can freely opt to start drinking early!
Nomad, 32 Poplar Street, Sham Shui Po
Does coffee matter? Well, of course it does! Coffee Matters is a great café if you’re looking for fodder to upgrade your Instagram feed—you just cannot go wrong with snapping shots of their vintage and artsy interiors. If you’re lucky, you can snap up that lone table right outside the café, which is arguably the best spot for a picture. And if you’re going to be sitting outside, then a cold brew ($47) would be our go-to order. Pair the coffee with their homemade scones with jam & cream ($35) and you’ve guaranteed yourself a lovely afternoon.
Coffee Matters, G/F, 170 Ki Lung Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 5535 9339
How would a list of Sham Shui Po cafés be complete without the OG that rules them all? By far the oldest and longest-established coffee shop on this list, Café Sausalito has called Sham Shui Po its home for over five years, settling into the area to fuel the students of the now-closed Savannah College of Art & Design with a steady supply of the blessed bean. It has outlived the school and continues to thrive. One of the many reasons why we love Café Sausalito is also its commitment to the community, having launched the Sausalito Sustainability Projects to promote greener habits, activities, and initiatives.
Sourcing its beans from terroirs in Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, and Ethiopia, Café Sausalito crafts superb single-origin coffees, but if you’re more of a casual drinker, don’t let the menu scare you off—simply speak to their baristas for a few pointers on what would suit your personal taste preferences. We also dig the non-caffeinated drinks, such as the cucumber lemonito ($42). If you’re feeling peckish, be sure to order the signature Bloody Mary shrimp pasta ($92) and the Philly cheesesteak bagel ($65).
Café Sausalito, 201 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 3689 3292
You might not expect to be stopping by a hidden café inside a shopping centre, but Cha:fe does make you want to pause and take a break inside. After all, their logo looks similar to a smiley face, and doesn’t that just make you want to crack a smile after a long way of exploring the neighbourhood? This boutique café is known for its made-to-order toast sandwiches, such as the egg with black truffle roasted sandwich toast ($32), which goes particularly well with the creamy milk tea latte ($28). Pick a spot by their full-length windows and add a side of people-watching to your coffee.
Cha:fe, Shop 25, G/F, V Walk, 28 Sham Mong Road, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2372 9818
Le Petit Salon actually has several branches around the city, and all of their outlets are hidden around corners or in alleyways, just like how their Sham Shui Po location is hidden inside an old shopping centre! Tucked inside Dragon Centre, this tiny café is just big enough for a coffee machine and a cashier counter, and although their menu may be small, the delicious coffee makes up for it. We would suggest an iced black ($38) to fend off the Hong Kong heat as you explore the rest of Sham Shui Po.
Le Petit Salon, Shop 111A, 1/F, Dragon Centre, 37 Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2892 2298