Header image courtesy of @frankieabs (Instagram)
If the Ho Man Tin neighbourhood doesn’t ring a bell (yet), then this mostly residential area should definitely be added to your must-visit list. Despite its compact size, it’s a veritable foodie paradise, perfect for hungry daytrippers to try and cram in as many flavourful bites as possible, and there are quite a few public and private schools in the area as well. With the extension of the Kwun Tong MTR line, it’s easier than ever to reach this quiet community.
There‘s a bit of history to this area as well. In fact, the original Ho Man Tin was quite different and used to be situated in the heart of Mong Kok. In the 1950s and 1960s, the hills east of the original locale became a resettlement area for Chinese refugees, and the city building there—the Ho Man Tin Estate—gave its name to that section of the hills, thus marking the start of a shift away from the original flat fields. Present-day Ho Man Tin is home to many public housing estates, including the famous Oi Man Estate, which Queen Elizabeth II visited in 1975 when she was in Hong Kong. Let’s dive in and explore what this petite neighbourhood has to offer!
Among the buildings to be found in Ho Man Tin, Oi Man Estate is by far the most historic and significant. This public housing estate on No 12 Hill is not only the largest in Kowloon City District but also a perfect example of what came to be known as the “slab design”: housing estates were built as long rectangular blocks, with a corridor running through the middle of each floor and large courtyards in the centre.
Boasting a total of 12 residential blocks, Oi Man Estate was officially opened by the Acting Governor Sir Denys Roberts on 20 November 1975 and comprises of 6,200 flats designed to house some 18,900 residents. Aside from living quarters, the estate followed the 1970s estate design innovation of being planned as to “provide every convenience for its residents from banks, markets to barbershops,” which resulted in the construction of a three-storey air-conditioned commercial complex, a market, and cooked food stalls.
The British Hong Kong Government greatly admired the estate as it showed great leaps in improving public housing standards in Hong Kong. For this reason, Oi Man Estate was on the itinerary of Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Hong Kong in 1975. Oi Man Estate also played host to Margaret Thatcher when she visited in 1977 and toured Tak Man House, commenting on the modern living conditions and cleanliness of the block.
Nowadays, of the few antiquated slab designs still standing, Oi Man Estate is going strong and has even developed a lush green garden in its central courtyard—a rarity amongst housing estates in Hong Kong.
Oi Man Estate, 60 Chung Hau Street, Ho Man Tin
If we wanted to come up with a list of weird museums you can visit in Hong Kong, then Jockey Club Life Journey Centre would take the cake. As the first of its kind in Asia (and across the globe), the LJC adopts a creative approach to engage younger generations to learn and understand ageing from a brand-new perspective.
Go on an impactful 60-minute journey to re-think what it means to be “young” and “old” through experiential education and interactive design, with the goal of treasuring the value of time and the people around us. After all, in 10 years’ time, one in five of Hong Kong’s population will be aged 65 and above, so why not learn how to promote cross-generational relationships and build a harmonious society? Plus, in one of the four educational zones—ominously named “Rest in Peace”—you’ll get the chance to step inside a coffin-like compartment to reflect and contemplate (if that’s your kind of thing).
Jockey Club Life Journey Centre, 60 Chung Hau Street, Ho Man Tin | (+852) 2338 8312
Stretch your legs not only in one, but two whole parks in the neighbourhood. Let your little monkeys loose in Ho Man Tin Park, which offers play equipment for toddlers aged two to five, as well as a playground for kids aged five to 12, with amenities such as a climbing frame, slides, and play panels to keep the little ones entertained. Close by, the Ho Man Tin East Service Reservoir Playground offers a football pitch if you’re looking to kick a few balls around or take a stroll on some green turf.
Located within Ho Man Tin Park, the Ho Man Tin Sports Centre, open to public use, offers table tennis tables, American pool tables, an activity room, tennis courts, a fitness room, a children’s playroom, as well as changing rooms and bathroom facilities.
Ho Man Tin Park, 1 Chung Yee Street, Ho Man Tin
Ho Man Tin East Service Reservoir Playground, Fat Kwong Street, Ho Man Tin
Ho Man Tin Sports Centre, 1 Chung Yee Street, Ho Man Tin
One important thing you should know about Ho Man Tin is that Soares Avenue is the neighbourhood’s food capital. And among the restaurants there, Top Blade Steak Lab is one to keep bookmarked. In a modestly-sized minimalistic shop of bright neon signs, old-fashioned letterboards, retro booth seats, and cement accents, you can tuck into flat-iron cuts of premium steak and an unlimited supply of fries—similar to a French steak-frites restaurant. And it all comes at digestible prices too—we highly recommend the Herbly Flat-Iron Steak ($150) and Black Jack Flat Iron Steak ($238).
Top Blade Steak Lab, 4A Soares Avenue, Ho Man Tin | (+852) 3956 2011
If you’re craving a piping hot bowl of soup noodles, you truly cannot go wrong with Mohinga, an authentic Burmese restaurant in the Ho Man Tin neighbourhood. You won’t get much out of the no-frills décor, but the robust flavours pack a punch. You’ll have to try their signature Mohinga (starting from $48), a traditional dish of rice noodles in fish soup, flavoured with rich turmeric, lemongrass, paprika, ginger, and garlic, with add-ons and extra toppings available. It is considered by many to be the national dish of Myanmar, making it the perfect starter dish to dip your taste buds into for your first foray into the essential pillars of Burmese cuisine.
Mohinga, Shop B, G/F, Liberty Mansion, 72 Waterloo Road, Ho Man Tin | (+852) 9332 8640
Hot Dog Link is, in all regards, a tiny shack of a restaurant—blink and you might just miss it. Though the shop sign proclaims it as a German-style hot dog stall, well, we’ll let you be the judge of that; we would prefer to think of it as an overeager interpretation. Plastered on one wall you’ll see a menu that consists of jumbo hot dogs, small hot dogs, breakfast combos, mashed potatoes, and... stirred noodles? If you say so.
Take your pick from hot dog flavours like New York Pork ($35), Bockwurst ($35), Ham & Mushroom ($33), Vienna ($33), Curry Frankfurter ($33), and more, with options to add extra toppings, such as cheddar cheese, Mexican chilli, relish, and sauerkraut. Slap a combo of ketchup, French mustard, and pickled cucumber sauce on it and you’re good to go! All items come at wallet-friendly price points as well, making Hot Dog Link a no-brainer destination for a quick bite.
Hot Dog Link, Shop C, 67D Waterloo Road, Ho Man Tin | (+852) 2868 6008
Walls of bold, handpainted murals and cool blue tones greet you at Are U Labeler, a popular café in the heart of Ho Man Tin. Well-known for their custom latte art, this spot specialises in casual Western dishes with Asian influences.
Make yourself comfortable with a yuzu-infused Americano called Yuzucano (starting from $40) and a bite to eat from their all-day menu, like the Beer-battered Fish & Chips ($108) and their signature Three Cheese Handmade Burger ($138) with fries. We would also recommend a taste of their Kagoshima Wagyu Beef Cubes with Black Pepper Sauce ($108) if you’re hankering for a snack. Take the edge off with craft beers from both local and overseas breweries, including selections from Hong Kong’s Carbon Brews and Taiwan’s Sunmai.
Are U Labeler, 25 Soares Avenue, Ho Man Tin | (+852) 3188 5582
Don’t expect much in the way of bells and whistles at this tiny food stall. Wings Laksa, located deep inside the maze of Homantin Plaza, offers a narrow countertop and mismatched stools for you to sit, slurp down your piping hot noodles, and go about your business, all within a span of minutes. There’s only a handful of seats available here, so make sure you come early to snag one for a taste of their Malaysian Bak Tuk Teh ($50) with rice or noodles and their signature Laksa (starting from $30) with fish balls and fish cakes, beef, or pork cartilage.
Wings Laksa, Shop S32, G/F, Homantin Plaza, 80 Fat Kwong Street, Ho Man Tin
What’s a neighbourhood without a bubble tea joint, am I right? Perched on a corner of Victory Avenue, which is in constant competition with Soares Avenue for its throng of food offerings, Bubble Tea Work is a chic little shop that slings your favourite sugary drink. From milk teas and fruit teas to a special Nespresso coffee latte line and smoothie drinks, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to what to order on a hot summer’s day. For an additional cost, you can add more toppings to your drink, such as grass jelly, egg pudding, red bean paste, and handmade peals in flavours such as pineapple, sakura, purple yam, osmanthus, and black sesame.
Bubble Tea Work, Shop 1B, G/F, 12 Victory Avenue, Ho Man Tin | (+852) 2799 9265
Bright and minimalistic Peko Peko Eatery is the place to go if you’re into Japanese aesthetics and Western- and Asian-inspired meals. Dig into nutritious dishes like Quinoa Feta Salad ($78), Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad ($78), and Honey Sesame Tofu Sweet Corn Salad ($78) if you’re craving something healthy, or hearty bowls of Beef Cheek & Mushroom Orzo ($98) and Carbonara with 63°C Egg ($88) if you’re feeling sinful. And did we mention the salads are served in miniature wheelbarrows with a watering can to dispense dressing and a shovel as a serving spoon?
Surprisingly, Peko Peko caters to the adventurous diner as well, offering unusual items like Baked Snails With Mash Potato ($62) and the downright eyebrow-raising Melaleuca Cake ($58) for dessert. There are also kid-friendly dishes on the menu if you’ve got picky little eaters in tow, served in entertaining car-shaped bento bowls!
Peko Peko Eatery, G/F, 1–3 Victory Avenue, Ho Man Tin | (+852) 2688 2350
Ready for some pan-European cuisine with Asian influences? Then SHAO is the place to go. This moody, neon-lit bistro is the ideal mix between modern and urban, and most dishes are perfectly sized for sharing so you can try as much as possible on your visit here, even if you’re dining on your own!
We love their focused menu of unique fusion creations, like the Okra Jicama Salad ($78) with a rich ponzu sauce for starters, and a briny Mentaiko Pasta ($88) with onsen egg and shichimi for mains. There’s even a Coquelet “Claypot Rice” ($288) on the menu, served with mushrooms and pomegranates. Unfortunately, there are no desserts to be had here, but you could finish off with a Mexican Street Baby Corn ($68) with honey and sour cream.
SHAO, Shop 4, G/F, Classic Mansion, 15–15A Soares Avenue, Ho Man Tin | (+852) 2642 7053
If you’re poking around Oi Man Estate on your day out, don’t forget to stop by Ming Lee Congee Shop. This longstanding establishment has been a favourite amongst residents for decades, specialising in fast-casual local dishes and snacks like steamed rice flour rolls, congee, and wok-fried noodles.
Go for a heaving plate of Soy Sauce Pan-Fried Noodles ($10) or an order of Plain Cheung Fun ($10) crisscrossed with a combination of peanut and sweet sauces, and wrap up your meal with one of Ming Lee’s homemade Sesame Balls ($10). A filling meal can be had here for under $50 per person, but be sure to come prepared with enough cash on hand, as Ming Lee does not accept any other forms of payment.
明利油器粥品, Cooked Food Market, Oi Man Estate, Ho Man Tin