Header image courtesy of @galop_I_kas (via Instagram)
Situated just northeast of the bustling Sha Tin, Fo Tan tends to fly under the most people’s radar when it comes to scoping out dining and entertainment options in the city. But for what was once known as a dreary, industrial pocket in East New Territories, this neighbourhood has rapidly transformed into a burgeoning creative hub since the early 2000s. Of course, you will still find a cluster of warehouses and factory buildings lining the streets, but throughout the mix of industrial blocks are emerging art studios, cultural attractions, and hipster hangouts. Follow along as we unlock the best-kept secrets of this off-the-beaten-path neighbourhood!
Take a deep dive into the fascinating history of dining culture and evolution of local cuisine at this quirky food-themed museum. Made up of five sections, the 5,000-square-foot museum houses a whole host of ancient cooking artefacts from around the world, interactive exhibits on spices and traditional tea etiquette, and full-scale recreations of old-timey dai pai dong dining scenes that are ideal for photo-taking.
Each visitor will be given a 90-minute session to tour around the museum; and once you’re done, head on over to the Tao Heung restaurant on the ground floor and fill up on exquisite dim sum and classic Chinese dishes—trust us, you will be hungry by then!
Tao Heung Museum of Food Culture, 13 Au Pui Wan Street, Fo Tan | (+852) 3989 7000
If the fact that Penfold Park was the training ground for world-class equestrian horses during the 2008 Olympics is not telling enough, this 20-acre green slab enclosed within the Sha Tin Racecourse is paradise for our four-legged friends. On non-racing days, you will almost always find dogs roaming freely across the lush green lawns or splashing around in the artificial lakes. Apart from sighting adorable pups, the park is also well-equipped with walking paths, Olympic exhibits, and a children’s playground to keep young and old entertained!
Penfold Park, Sha Tin Racecourse, Sha Tin | (+852) 2966 6435
Roll up your sleeves and get your hands messy with some clay-sculpting fun! Founded by local ceramist Alan Lai, this pottery studio is dedicated to providing a nurturing space for visual artists to make art and share the joy of creating. Oozing Zen, homely vibes, the rooftop studio is beautifully framed by botanical décor and sunny floor-to-ceiling glass windows to help you get your creative juices flowing and bring your next masterpiece into existence.
Depending on your needs, you can choose one of the many guided courses that suit your personal level and preference or book a self-service station and practice on your own. If ceramics is not your thing, there are also other options! While the studio specialises in pottery, they offer photography and wood-carving workshops as well!
Arthome.hk, 19/F, Phase 2, Goodman Logistics Sha Tin Centre, 6 Wong Chuk Yeung Street, Fo Tan | (+852) 2690 1238
From oil painting and drawing to Chinese calligraphy and sculpting, local artist Winnie Davies does it all. Using her studio Joy Art Club to produce and exhibit her work, you’ll find the space here festooned with an impressive collection of colourful canvases, sculptures, and other artistic creations that reflect Winnie’s eclectic interest. Apart from making her own artwork, she also holds workshops at this cosy venue every Saturday, allowing budding art enthusiasts to learn with all the materials provided and experienced artisans to hone their skills.
Joy Art Club, Unit 2, 14/F, Block A, Wah Luen Industrial Centre, 15–21 Wong Chuk Yeung Street, Fo Tan | (+852) 9332 0424
A sanctuary for frazzled urbanites and crafty hobbyists, this candle-making workshop offers a meditative experience for those looking to take their minds off everyday stresses and unwind to the soothing scents of essential oils—plus, you will get to take home a gorgeous handmade creation to show off!
With over 40 unique candle designs and shapes to choose from, such as jelly crystal balls and adorable flower-studded blocks, as well as numerous colours and fragrance options, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to creating personalised end-products. Want to get serious about candle-making? You can take their five-day Japanese candle-making course to get an extensive overview of everything that goes into this rewarding craft.
Make Your Day Candle, Room V, 4/F, Haribest Industrial Building, Au Pui Wan Street, Fo Tan | (+852) 6102 2477
Vintage enthusiasts will fall head over heels with this time capsule of a restaurant. Within the Glos Café’s rustic, brick-walled confines are rich wooden fixtures and decorative knick-knacks like old cameras, books, and typewriters that harken back to a bygone era. Resonating with its cosy interiors, this café offers a wide-ranging menu of Taiwanese and Asian fusion eats that is designed with warmth and comfort in mind.
Nourish your soul with classic homestyle favourites like Taiwanese braised beef noodles ($55) and homemade dumpling noodle soup ($53). As for drinks, we love the chocolaty, powder-mounded Milo dinosaur ($20)—it doesn’t get more nostalgic than that!
Glos Café by Fooody, Flat 3, G/F, Leader Industrial Centre, 57–59 Au Pui Wan Street, Fo Tan | (+852) 3586 0863
Believe it or not, New Territories residents can get a quality bagel fix without having to cross the harbour—and for a whole lot cheaper, too! The perfect spot to grab breakfast or a light lunch, this hole-in-the-wall sandwich joint down Au Pui Wan Street serves up a mouth-watering array of bagel sandwiches, croissants, panini toasts, as well as freshly brewed coffee, teas, and smoothies.
A crowd favourite is The Stack ($82), which stuffs beef pastrami, ham, gherkin, sun-dried tomatoes, cheddar and swiss cheese, and fresh veggies between your choice of bread (or salad, if you want to cut down on carbs). They do some great vegetarian options as well, such as Brunchie ($55)—a hearty combination of creamy avocado, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and crisp veggies.
The Brew Corner, Shop A6, G/F, Valiant Industrial Centre, 2–12 Au Pui Wan Street, Fo Tan | (+852) 6739 5068
You probably guessed by now that Au Pui Wan Street is where most of the food action in this neighbourhood happens. Delivering solid Cantonese fare, Golden Cuisine covers all the usual suspects of barbecued meats, seafood stir-fries, and claypot dishes, and sprinkles in a few Western twists here and there, like the show-stopping foie gras parcel with mushroom & Ibérico char siu ($68). At this local eatery, portions are always heaping, and the environment is comfier than your average local cha chaan teng, with cushioned chairs and spacious seating arrangements. What more is there to ask for?
Golden Cuisine, Shop C, G/F, Valiant Industrial Centre, 2–12 Au Pui Wan Street, Fo Tan | (+852) 3586 9722
Let’s be honest—Indian eateries in this corner of the city are far and few between, but luckily, this one really hits the jackpot with its authentic North Indian cuisine. We wouldn’t expect any less, given that the chefs here have previously worked at India’s best five-star hotels.
Look forward to flavour-packed curries, juicy kebabs, and soft, fluffy naan among other expertly prepared dishes. The aromatic garlic naan ($32) is non-negotiable; and as for mains, you will not want to sleep on the chicken tikka masala ($92) and rogan josh ($98). They come with a bit of a spicy kick, but hey—that gives you all the more reason to wash it all down with a refreshing glass of mango lassi ($35)!
Asra Indian Restaurant, Shop 15, 1/F, Shatin Galleria, 18–24 Shan Mei Street, Fo Tan | (+852) 3188 0852
Having been around the block for over three decades, this landmark dai pai dong draws eager crowds with its old-school charm that radiates through the food and atmosphere. With that said, don't expect fancy dining, but if you are yearning to enjoy those inimitable “wok hei” flavours in a chill, semi-outdoor environment, then this is the place for you. Signature dishes here include salt-and-pepper squid ($98), roasted pigeon ($68), sweet and sour pork ribs ($85), and—surprisingly—chicken congee ($40). You know it must be a big deal when a simple porridge stands out amongst the other calorific selections on the menu!
Taiyuan Street Restaurant (泰源大排檔), Fo Tan Cooked Food Market (East), Shan Mei Street, Fo Tan | (+852) 2697 3656
Award-winning Studio Caffeine established its third coffee shop in Fo Tan, laying down roots in this industrial neighbourhood ahead of its third-wave coffee competitors. With its sleek and contemporary interior design, it’s easy to see why Studio Caffeine is drawing crowds, with pebble-shaped cushion by the windows, Japanese-inspired design, and natural art installations. Opt for their popular green tea latte ($45), served with next-level latte art, and a stacked bagel sandwich for your afternoon tea break—we’re big fans of the A.C.E. Salmon ($98) with avocado, cream cheese, scrambled eggs, rocket, and smoked salmon.
Studio Caffeine, Shop B02, G/F, Block 1, Kin Ho Industrial Building, 14–24 Au Pui Wan Street, Fo Tan | (+852) 2811 1731