Header images courtesy of @cloudy_little and @kelculator (via Instagram)
Originally published by Ching Yuen. Last updated by Janice Lam.
Kwun Tong is not just one of Hong Kong’s largest industrial areas; it is also the unlikely place that all the new cafés and fun indoor sports arenas call home. Taking up residence in the abundance of space within old manufacturing buildings, you can have a go at laser tag or bouldering in Kwun Tong, and round off your excursion with a fine meal. Check out our neighbourhood guide to Kwun Tong and we bet you will be planning a trip there in no time!
Kwun Tong started out as a tract of salt ponds in the Song dynasty, from which spawned its original name “官塘” (gun1 tong4; “government-owned ponds”). In the 1950s, the neighbourhood was developed as a satellite town that provided residence for workers living in the area, and the written name was later changed to the more common “觀塘” for a better appeal. Industries also grew rapidly in the district. From thence, Kwun Tong would reign as one of the most prominent manufacturing areas in Hong Kong for over thirty years.
But factories began to move out of Hong Kong in the 1990s, and dozens of industrial buildings were left vacant. Many of the buildings were then turned commercial, forming a business area in Kwun Tong. In 2010, industrial building revitalisation measures were implemented to allow commercial or even residential use of the old factory buildings. Small businesses, especially restaurants, that could not afford the steep rents of ground-floor shops began to move into the Kwun Tong industrial area, transforming the desolate buildings into a blooming hub for hanging out among young people outside of the shopping mall APM.
In 2007, the government launched the Kwun Tong Town Centre redevelopment project that has changed the entire outlook of the district. Yue Man Square was first on the chopping board, and the iconic Bonds Fun City was demolished to make way for extravagant high-rise residential buildings. Tong lau buildings were taken down and the street hawkers that once made up the hustle and bustle in the alleys were evicted, soon to be replaced by modernised buildings, until only memories were left, chiselled into an unrecognisable new Hong Kong.
Although change is inevitable, we can still treasure the remaining bits and pieces of Kwun Tong, and explore the opportune rise of niche shops and experiences in this time of transformation.
If you are looking to spend a crafty afternoon with your friends and family, or want to create a unique décor piece for your home, have a look at the Turkish mosaic lamp workshop offered by Mosaic Art Studio HK. A beginner-friendly activity, you can relax your mind while immersing yourself in art, surrounded by beautifully decorated lamps and warm lights glowing through the floral patterns formed with colourful tiles and beads.
Packages start from the basic candle holder ($320) to more complicated lamp styles such as the Aladdin lamp ($590) and the moon lamp ($790). However, if mosaic lamps are not your thing, the studio also offers workshops on Ebru painting ($590) and how to make your own Turkish coffee ($380).
Mosaic Art Studio HK, 705, World Interest Building, 8 Tsun Yip Lane, Kwun Tong
Indoor bouldering is the hottest activity trend at the moment, and GoNature Climbing Gym is a colourful playground for climbers of any and all experience levels. With over 100 different climbing routes and bouldering problems, you can easily spend a whole day here. The 6,500-square-metre indoor gym comes with resident bounding coaches, shower facilities, free WiFi, and lockers for rent.
Day passes for adults start from $235, with monthly packages available from $750. For beginners, the usual amenities like shoe rental and chalk bags are also available on-site, so all you have to do is show up!
GoNature Climbing Gym, Unit C2, G/F, Wing Hing Industrial Building, 14 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong | (+852) 3563 7156
Sun Museum is a non-profit museum established by the Simon Suen Foundation, which aims to promote the beauty of Chinese arts and culture. It strives to facilitate a general understanding of how the art world in Hong Kong is enlivened by a diversity of cultures and how the local community is enlightened by a wealth of Chinese traditions. Drop by to see their fascinating collections of ink paintings and sculptures for an enriching afternoon!
Sun Museum, 4/F, SML Tower, 165 Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong | (+852) 2690 6790
Osage Gallery takes up massive warehouse space in Kwun Tong with counterparts in Beijing and Shanghai. With a general focus on promoting emerging local artists and new talent, their exhibitions are ever-revolving and past showcases have included unique VR films, sound installations, photography, sculpture, multimedia, and more. Be sure to keep an eye out on their social media for announcements on new shows or exhibitions.
Osage Gallery, 4/F, Union Hip Yip Factory Building, 20 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong | (+852) 2793 4817
Resalaser is where to go if you’re looking for the best laser tag experience in Hong Kong. Using the latest technology for directional beams and low degrees of diffusion for maximum safety and fun, you can sign up for different levels of intensity at Resalaser to make the game fun for both children and adults.
Beginners can try their hand at laser tag whereas experts can build up their tactical strategies, too. Admission starts at $148 per head for an hour of fun or $238 for two hours, though if you have a group above 15, you can always opt for a party package.
Resalaser, Flat C & D, 2/F, Good Year Industrial Building, 119–121 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong | (+852) 3580 0030
The Kwun Tong Promenade might be the most famous landmark in Kwun Tong, especially because of the unique art installations you can find along with it. These sculptures represent the memories of the site as a former cargo handling area, so they are crafted in the form of mechanical cranes and waste paper bundles that light up at night. It’s a fabulous photo spot and great for an impromptu picnic as well.
Kwun Tong Promenade, Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong
Camel Paint Building is now a prominent fixture in Kwun Tong, housing dozens of new eateries and counting. The former industrial complex offers large spaces at low rental prices, making it an ideal home for many new, inventive businesses. From the quirky cilantro burger from Burger Saan to mille-crêpe cakes of assorted flavours, or a luxurious sukiyaki dinner, you will surely be surprised by what you can find in Camel Paint Building.
Camel Paint Building, 60–62 Hoi Yuen Street, Kwun Tong
Located near the commercial area of Kwun Tong, Tsun Yip Cooked Food Market (駿業街熟食市場) is a concentrate of various affordable, delectable cuisines, from the familiar dishes in typical cooked-food-centre-staple dai pai dongs and cha chaan tengs to Japanese and barbeque meals.
Right across from the Tsun Yip Cooked Food Market, COS Centre (中海日升中心) also houses a handful of small restaurants. You can find more posh cha chaan tengs here, as well as a variety of Western, Korean, and Taiwanese restaurants. Thanks to the price and variety of food, Tsun Yip Cooked Food Market and COS Centre have become beloved lunch and dinner choices of office workers in Kwun Tong.
Tsun Yip Cooked Food Market, 67 Tsun Yip Street, Kwun Tong
COS Centre, 56 Tsun Yip Street, Kwun Tong
With a spacious design and located near the Kwun Tong harbour, Lagom Kaffe serves a mouth-watering menu of Western-Taiwanese fusion dishes. One of their signature dishes is the creative Taiwanese beef stew pasta ($98)—a surprisingly delicious combination—with a creamy sauce infused with mala spices, topped with tender beef slices. Lagom Kaffe is also known for its fried seafood ($138), tea-flavoured cheesecakes, and coffee. They also have an outdoor dining area. With an open view and good food, it is a perfect place to enjoy a meal with your friends and loved ones.
One of the most bookmarked restaurants on OpenRice, Cobber Coffee and Tonys Pastry is one of the hottest restaurants in Kwun Tong. Though there are certainly more affordable choices in Kwun Tong, long lines are still formed outside Cobber Coffee and Tonys Pastry every day—in part because they do not allow reservations, but most of all, it is the quality of the food that brings people back time after time. While the pasta and snacks are all highly praised, the most memorable item on the menu has to be the molten tiramisu ($98)—pull away the ring of plastic and watch the cream fall around the tiramisu!
Cobber Coffee and Tonys Pastry, 1/F, World Interests Building, 8 Tsun Yip Street, Kwun Tong
Twenty One From Eight is one of the most aesthetic eateries in Kwun Tong. A combination of a carpentry workshop, retail shop, and café all in one, you can admire their beautiful furniture pieces while taking a seat at their café. Their pastries are the focus, such as the signature custard cake with turmeric poached pear ($42) that uses yoghurt instead of butter to balance out the sweetness and texture, as well as the smoked sea salt 70 percent rich chocolate cookies ($42) to go with your drink.
Twenty One From Eight, 11/F, Pang Kwong Building, 59 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong | (+852) 2321 1738
For any lover of vintage and rustic aesthetics, Parc Antique & Lifestyle is basically paradise for them. This shop is filled with all sorts of antiques that are reminiscent of the French romantic, such as rustic clockwork, dried flowers, cabinets, and more. The space doubles as an event venue and a café, with sweet and savoury crêpes as their signature. Other than the crepe sets, there are also brunch set ($158) and tea set ($268 for two) menus so you can enjoy a half day surrounded by antiques, the sweet aroma of fresh crêpes, and a cup of tea.
Parc Antique & Lifestyle, Shop B2, 10/F, Hung Fuk Factory Building, 60 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong | (+852) 5544 0534
What’s the next best thing after dessert? All-you-can-eat Wagyu! Tajimaya is a Japanese hotpot restaurant that offers good-for-value dinner sets that are based on all-you-can-eat-meats. First, you pick your soup base from dashi broth, soy sauce, Chinese herbs, chicken broth, and tomato broth. Then you pick whether you want to focus on all-you-can-eat Australian beef ($219), Japanese Kuro Wagyu ($319), or whatever other meats you like for the duration of the meal. There’s also a buffet station filled with all kinds of vegetables, condiments, and unlimited Häagen-Dazs ice cream!
Tajimaya, Shop 22, 4/F, APM Millennium City 5, 418 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong | (+852) 2793 1232
If you’re going to be visiting the god of teppanyaki, you are going to be in for a hell of a ride. At Godofteppanyaki, they fly in seasonal Japanese seafood on a weekly basis to make sure you get the best-of-the-best when it comes to ingredients. Their omakase menu in any of their three VIP rooms will also change every week depending on what’s available. You can opt for a standard Two-Person Set (from $1,080) that already includes highlights such as sashimi, codfish, abalones, sliced ribeye, and prime steak, and they will throw in a free live lobster for you!
Godofteppanyaki, G/F, 43 Tsun Yip Street, Kwun Tong | (+852) 2816 0617
Man Man Grill is a specialised BBQ place just for skewers, but these are not just any normal BBQ skewers, because you don’t need to get your hands dirty at all. The grill has special stands on opposite ends where you can balance the skewer in-between and all you have to do is twist the ends of the sticks and let the fire do all the work. Opt for their all-you-can-eat package ($238) and just scan their QR code and get on with the ordering!
Man Man Grill, G/F, Hong Ning Building, 79–89 Hong Ning Road, Kwun Tong | (+852) 3996 9755
1988 is a Thai restaurant hidden in the many industrial buildings you can find in Kwun Tong and we are glad to have discovered this hidden gem. The restaurant is decorated with all sorts of potted plants like an indoor garden and there are only 30 seats in the restaurant, so be sure to make a booking beforehand. We definitely recommend the tom yum kung ($108) that’s more on the sour side, as well as the pad thai ($98) and the fatty Thai grilled pork neck ($78), which are must-haves in any Thai restaurant.
1988, Shop A3, 1/F, Mai Hing Industrial Building Block A, 16–18 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong | (+852) 3689 3113
Yuan Is Here is a traditional Taiwanese store that is renovated to look like the local diners you can find in any Taiwanese alleyway. Their signature Yuan minced meat rice ($43) is a must-try, mixed with fermented radish and pork belly cubes. Other Taiwanese staples that they excel at are the corn & pork floss egg pancake roll ($35) and the crispy chicken bites ($37) which will make you feel like you’re instantly transported to a local Taiwanese night market!
Yuan Is Here, G/F, 28 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong | (+952) 3705 9848
If you’re looking for a place to chill and catch up on your sports news, look no further than The Stadium, the perfect sports bar equipped with billiards, table soccer, and darts! They’ve got all the staple pub foods like fish & chips ($148) and The Stadium club sandwich ($128) filled with Cajun chicken, bacon, and mayo to form a triple-decker grilled sourdough. Happy hour lasts till 8 pm so y’all better come through!
The Stadium, 4/F, The Wave, 4 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong | (+852) 9311 9939
APM is the name of a shopping mall in Kwun Tong which stands for a combination of am and pm—day and night. Local celebrities often host events and fan meetings here, and the mall boasts to be Hong Kong’s largest shopping and commercial complex, with an innovative late-night shopping and omni-lifestyle concept. Retailers will stay open until midnight, restaurants until 2 am, and entertainment spots till dawn!
APM, 418 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong | (+852) 2267 0500