Originally published by Doris Lam. Last updated by Alisa Chau.
Home to the iconic Lai Yuen Amusement Park during its golden years, the once boring and industrial Lai Chi Kok and nearby Cheung Sha Wan have found their shine again as a hip new neighbourhood. With restaurants springing up left and right, and never-ending entertainment options, it’s time you make a trip further west of the Kowloon side to discover “lychee corner” and “long sandy bends” (yes, a literal translation of the areas’ namesakes) for yourself.
There’s plenty to keep you occupied in this corner of Hong Kong. Easily reachable by MTR via Tsuen Wan line, Lai Chi Kok is known as an industrial hub filled with office workers during the week, though there are quiet residential pockets, too. Check out some of the unique things you can experience in Lai Chi Kok.
Hong Kong apartments are notoriously small, which often translates to the lack of space for an oven at home. If you’ve been binging on baking videos in your free time, put your baking knowledge to use at a baking studio! Providing bigger prep spaces, these well-stocked workshops are the perfect place for you to bring your creations to life.
Check out the ingredient zone, open mixing countertops, and grand wall of ovens at Home Baking Day, which is also equipped with instruction filled tablets that allow you to DIY your treats at your own pace. Take your pick from classic pastries like a standard doughnut, or decorative Disney cakes. For those who go loco for taro, try booking a workshop at Mr Taro to learn how to bake up taro-filled puff pastry tarts, egg rolls, moon cakes, and cupcakes.
Home.焙, Shop 305, D2 Place Two, 15 Cheung Shun Street, Cheung Sha Wan | (+852) 3997 3485
Mr Taro, Room 12, 6/F, Siu Wai Industrial Centre, 29–33 Wing Hong Street, Cheung Sha Wan | (+852) 5479 5191
Though it may seem quite unlikely based on its location, the Butterfly Valley Road garden is categorically the biggest pet park in Kowloon. Spanning across seven-thousand square metres, this expansive space provides furry friends and their two-legged families with ample facilities, such as outdoor toilets, collection bins, and water fountains. Even more exciting are the thrilling playground equipment suited for tricks and stunts! Train your zesty canine to weave their way through pipe tunnels and leap through hoops, then watch them frolic and skip to their hearts content.
Butterfly Valley Road Pet Garden, 2 Butterfly Valley Road, Cheung Sha Wan | (+852) 2386 0945
CGV Cinemas is the perfect post-lunch spot for when the carb-induced drowsiness hits. Showing all the popular English movies, as well as local and Asian films, the cinema even has an impressive ScreenX multi-projection theatre technology where you’ll be able to enjoy a 270-degree panoramic viewing experience on three walls of the auditorium. As the only cinema in Hong Kong that offers ScreenX tech, do cinephiles need a better reason to make your way to Lai Chi Kok?
CGV Cinemas, 10/F and 11/F, D2 Place Two, 15 Cheung Shun Street, Cheung Sha Wan | (+852) 2863 4100
Nerf war, combat archery, laser tag, bubble soccer, VR dodgeball, and neon sabre? Crossfire Arena will surely bring out your inner child with their cool, neon sports classes. Taking over 6,000 square foot of space, they host weekly neon sabre and dodge ball lessons for those looking to learn a new skill or to simply have some fun after work. The venue also provides party hosting plans and team building packages for companies. Just try not to be a sore loser!
Established in 2010, the team behind this exhibition has strived towards impacting entertainment by injecting impactful social perspectives often ignored. This hour-long tour takes participants through the pitch blank throughout various rooms and settings, undergoing a guided simulation of a visually impaired individual’s daily living. All the experiences on offer have been co-designed according to the insight of PoDs (short for “people of differences”) for more realistic interactivity. Highly worthwhile and incredibly unforgettable, make your next birthday or Valentine’s an extra-special one by bringing your loved ones to this incredible space, to help foster greater awareness and empathy.
Dialogue in the Dark, Unit B, 7/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street | (+852) 2310 0833
Can’t make it to the golf club? We like it better indoors anyway. Golfzon GreenLive is an indoor virtual golf studio, where you can take a swing at the projector screen and see where your ball lands on the virtual field. Games can often get competitive (as golf goes), so bring friends to maximise the fun! Young learners can also try their hand at the game, as Golfzon has mini-size clubs for the little ones.
Golfzon GreenLive, Shop 114–127, 1/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street | (+852) 2593 6888
Founded by local fashion designer, Grace Tong, Hiuchi is a poetry-inspired brand that infuses each design with a languid calm that brings an artistic edge to city living. Offering tri-weekly workshops showcasing different pottery product lines. Participants can learn to—with their own hands—sculpt a multi-coloured marbled piece, a floral or antler-adorned piece, a moon-textured piece, or simply just get familiar with the basics of clay throwing. Be sure to have a look at their gorgeous accessories and homewares also, and you will be guaranteed to find some awesome additions to your home or cool gifts for any upcoming birthdays.
Hiuchi, Unit 10C, 10/F, The Globe, 79 Wing Hong Street | (+852) 6432 9366
Over the years, the walls of this century-old heritage site have seen many a different face as a hospital, customs station, worker housing, quarantine station, prison, as well as a rehabilitation centre. Having undergone the government’s Revitalizing Historic Buildings partnership scheme, it has been converted into a multidisciplinary venue for the arts, with its five main blocks being used as comfortably luxe guest homes. Now named after the eponymous Professor Jao, a renowned scholar in Chinese culture, the red-bricked compound plays host to frequent photography exhibitions, film screenings, flea markets, coffee workshops, weddings, and more.
Jao Tsung-I Academy, 800 Castle Peak Road | (+852) 2100 2828
Built over the reclamation area next to Mei Foo Sun Chuen and bordering Container Port, this 17-acre parkland boasts natural beauty as well as the themed classical Cantonese-style Lingnan Garden complete with period-piece structures. Don’t be fooled by its antique appearance, as the gardens were only first unveiled to the public in the year 2000! Carved wooden pavilions form a maze around a koi and turtle filled pond, stonework and brick carvings adorned with traditional couplets wall off residents who frequent the in-park Chinese chess tables. At the lower-west corner of the park, you will find a community garden filled with small batches of homegrown vegetables and plants. Stroll along the bamboo and bonsai to travel back in time, chill out on the grassy knoll, or head to one of many of the sporting facilities in the area which even includes an entire skatepark.
Lai Chi Kok Park, 1 Lai Wan Road | (+852) 2307 0429
Right across an unassuming housing estate, right next to a quaint public garden, lies a tomb. Excavated by the government over half a century ago, and declared a monument for preservation in the 1980s, this small piece of history has been frozen behind protective glass for public display and education. Visitors can catch a glimpse into the days of the Eastern Han dynasty and read up on the ongoings of the Silk Road trade during that era, brought to life with accompanying bronze and pottery artefacts.
Li Cheung Uk Tomb Museum, 41 Tonkin Street | (+852) 2386 2863
Strap in your headset, hold onto your control sticks, and get ready to immerse yourself in a virtual reality experience like no other. With a gathering space that holds up to almost one hundred participants, the this fully equipped site takes your 20–40-minute session to the next level by adding extra 4D sensory triggers like vibrations, fans, and surrounding sound effects. The atmospheric blue lighting and bespoke setups are also a plus. Though they specialize in zombie games, family-friendly options like Baby Shark VR Dancing and Mystery House are also great for little adventurers.
VAR Live, Shop 114–127, 1/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street | (+852) 5744 9907
After the fun, we all need a little bit of re-fuelling. Here’s where we like to go to grab a delicious bite in Lai Chi Kok and Cheung Sha Wan.
Hidden upstairs in an industrial building, Cheng Banzhang attracts office workers on weekdays and families on weekends. Awarded the Best South-East Asian Restaurant by Openrice in 2015, the restaurant is quick, friendly, affordable, and delicious. Their famous braised pork rice ($33), savoury gua bao ($34) and beef noodle soup ($53) are to die for and a must-order in our book.
Cheng Banzhang Taiwan Delicacy, Flat 02, 1/F, Elite Industrial Centre, 883 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Lai Chi Kok | (+852) 2576 1199
Serving up quality Japanese food, this eatery is a solid choice for casual dining that still delivers great taste. They are mostly known for their meal sets, which have the added bonus of unlimited refills for the side salad, rice, and in-set beverages. Crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, the deep-fried breaded pork loin cutlet (with set, $100) is the biggest star on their menu. Don rice bowls are also available, with the grilled eel ($95) and fresh salmon ($70) taking the leading spot of popular toppings.
DJB Shokudo, G/F, 541 Fuk Wing Street, Cheung Sha Wan | (+852) 2338 0780
Famed for their breakfast burger that replaces the customary dusted crumpet bun with a dense yet spongy pancake, this eatery is never one to skimp on the thick cuts. The most ordered “panger” combos (pancake meets burger, get it?) being sausage and egg ($74) or good ole’ bacon and egg ($74), served all day. If you’re looking for something even heartier, try their captain burger ($103) wedged with beef, fried egg, bacon, and cheese. This takeaway-only booth can be spotted simply by following the scent of juicy beef patties flipping and sizzling, right when you leave exit C of the Lai Chi Kok station.
Hero’s Friday, Shop A5C, G/F, Block A, Hong Kong Industrial Centre, 489 Castle Peak Road | (+852) 6341 5319
Tucked behind the red doors of Greater China Club, this Cantonese joint is led by a Michelin-star winning chef with a passion for the dramatic. Presenting well-loved dishes with a new spin that takes usual afternoon dim sum on to new heights. Sit back and admire the artwork filling up the retro-chic room and revel in the vinyl jazz soundtrack that takes guests back to the roaring 1920s. Before heading home, explore the alfresco roof garden and share a cocktail or a glass of wine amongst a little oasis of calm.
Greater China Club, Unit A, 10/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street | (+852) 2743 8055
Partnering up with Impossible Foods plant-based meats, this vegetarian eatery provides delicious Asian homestyle dishes that bring you double the flavour for half the carbon emissions. The décor has an old-school aura to it, featuring low wooden desk chairs and tong-lau (唐樓) style windows reminiscent of the ones found in local secondary schools. Guiltlessly tuck into the comforting flavours of Taiwanese deep fried veggie chicken steak and braised veggie mince on rice ($88) or marvel at their recreated hot plate steaks in porcini or black pepper sauce (starting at $138). Pack in an extra serving of greens at the buffet-style salad bar which can be enjoyed with a purchase of any main course.
My Meat Run Laboratory, Unit 302, 3/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street | (+852) 3619 7581
More so a fusion of Tex-Mex cuisine and Hong Kong cuisine, the place offers up hefty pita wrapped classics (starting at $65) chock full of refried beans and stringy queso cheese, with additions of grilled beef, pulled pork, or more. Even more interesting is their speciality, which includes their baked rice series slathered in contrasting zesty Mexican flavours. Recreate your own hot ones challenge by dabbing on a droplet from their ten-piece collection of hot sauces, each one gradually raising the flame levels. Go all in and tack on a refreshing yet decadent avocado milkshake ($48) on the side to relieve the burn!
Picoso, Unit 101, 1/F, Elite Industrial Centre, 883 Cheung Sha Wan Road | (+852) 2743 8004
We’re never going to stop celebrating Pici’s expansion—especially when it means we get to have good, authentic pasta in our own neighbourhood. Serving fresh hand-made pastas and Italian dishes, we have a particular soft spot for the tasting menu, where guests get to try a selection of pastas and starts such as burrata cheese, tuna tartare, classic lasagna, pappardelle, and the signature tagliolini, a white truffle pasta dish with freshly-shaved black truffle on top.
Pici, Shop G03, G/F, D2 Place Two, 15 Cheung Shun Street | (+852) 2557 7227
Candlelit meal, dimmed lights, and paella? Rustico is the perfect spot if you’re planning to impress a special someone. From greenery to rustic brick walls and wide windows, the restaurant is the most romantic spot to be found in the entire neighbourhood of Lai Chi Kok. Serving Spanish tapas and offering a selection of wines, don’t leave without getting a plate of churros with ice cream.
Rustico, G/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street | (+852) 2743 4511
Even though its location may be a tad secretive, the deliciousness of this noodle shop’s offerings is no secret. Nothing beats a bowl of cart noodles, and the hordes of nearby office people who frequent to joint for lunch are a testament to that. Packing in flavours for an affordable punch, try pairing your choice of noodles with their three treasures ($28) topping, or the vegetarian alternate which includes enoki mushroom, shirataki noodles, and sweet and sour wheat gluten. A mix and match of choices over a bed of rice are also available for those in a bit of a rush.
Secret In, Shop 3, G/F, Winsum Industrial Building, 588–592 Castle Peak Road | (+852) 6361 6968
Dumplings are reliable, affordable, and a delicious staple food that is guaranteed to always leave your belly full and a smile on your face. For a no-fuss meal that hits the spot, look no further than Tin Kee Dumpling, where you will find beloved soup based or pan-fried dumplings with fillings like Chinese chive and pork or watercress and pork (starting from $38).
Tin Kee Dumpling, Shop 19, G/F, Florence Plaza, 23 Cheung Wah Street, Cheung Sha Wan | (+852) 6360 2640
If Genki can’t satisfy your tastebuds, head over to Tsugu for a Japanese omakase or teppanyaki meal. You’ll get front row seats to witness the entire process of how the dish is created from start to finish on the chef’s table. Alternatively, they also have sushi and sashimi platters if you’re just looking to treat yourself a little after a long day of work.
Tsugu, Shop 311, 3/F, D2 Place Two, 15 Cheung Shun Street | (+852) 3706 7703
Stepping past the wooden sliding doors to enter what looks like a coastal Japanese tavern, this rustic restaurant brings robust izakaya style seafood to D2 Place. Dim lanterns and distressed wooden pillars under draped fishing nets add to the authentic vibes, whilst the exposed sushi bar countertop allows in-house chefs to prepare fresh seafood and meats right in front of your eyes. Start off your appetizers with one of their most popular dishes, the pan-seared egg roll with mentaiko ($50), then dig into the light savoury taste of their pacific saury sashimi ($258).
Umai Ramen Sumibiyaki, Unit G02, G/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street | (+852) 2743 8011
The interiors of this restaurant scream fun with electric blue walls adorned with a fuchsia neon sign and kitschy line-drawn artwork, complete with a tiny window at the front for on-the-go customers to get their coffee (starting $26) or Thai milk tea with pearl ($28) fix when passing by. Palm leaf fans hang from the ceiling for an added Asian touch. Switching out their menus throughout the day, all boast a plethora of Southeast Asian-inspired dishes, you are spoiled for choice no matter the time of day you choose to visit. Some recommended items that are worth your good timing are the boneless Hainan chicken rice with vegetables ($68) from the teatime menu (3 pm to 6 pm) and the meatless stir-fried flat noodle in thick sauce with vegetable ($80) from the supper menu.
Wai Wai Wai, Shop 1, G/F, Sing Shun Centre, 495 Castle Peak Road, Lai Chi Kok | (+852) 2350 6238
Though it only occupies the area of a mini tuckshop, the sleek exposed concrete walls and wooden panelled details are hard to miss amidst a long line of roadside stores. There is a varied menu of carby delights, such as ham & cheese croissant ($32), egg salad baked potato with green salad ($38), and a single person-sized Hawaii ham & cheese pizza ($50). Perfect for a quick pick-me-up!
2+2 Coffee, Shop A5A, G/F, Block A, Hong Kong Industrial Centre, 489-491 Castle Peak Road | (+852) 7072 5222
An unmissable paradise for coffee aficionados, this hidden gem boasts over 30 varieties of specialty coffees! Opened under Life Health Concept, this roastery and coffee space brings single-origin flavours to all, pairing carefully selected beans with optimal brewing methods such as hand drip (otherwise known as pour-over), siphon, and machine brewed. Sip on your cup of sophisticated caffeine whilst snacking on a slice of cake from a selection that is updated daily.
LHC Coffee, Shop A3, G/F, Kaming Factory Building, 688–690 Castle Peak Road, Lai Chi Kok | (+852) 6293 3609
Calling all hipsters! This wood-panelled storefront opens up to reveal a smart and bright café that is exactly the perfect spot for an afternoon snack. Pore over a freshly assembled smoked salmon and onion bagel ($48), or the unbeatable classic bagel stroked with a generous dollop of cream cheese ($34). A snap of their dirty chai latte ($50), which has a shade that mirrors the palette of the interior décor, will definitely make for a cute Instagram story update too.
Lungo, Shop 2, G/F, High One, 571 Fuk Wa Street | (+852) 2697 8028
True to its name, One Little Corner is on the corner of D2 Place One, tucked away by the side of the escalators. This open-air bar may be small, but it’s just right if you want to sit down for a couple of drinks or a round of hookah to prolong the evening. They offer a wide range of local and international craft brews, so you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re a beer fan.
One Little Corner, Shop V2, G/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street | (+852) 9070 1571
Tired of the same old coffee shops? One Tenth Coffee is a well-kept secret in Lai Chi Kok that offers speciality coffees and homemade pastries in a hip, minimalistic space. Is there anything better than a cup of hand-drip coffee ($60) and some oolong osmanthus cream cake ($55) to start off the weekend? Don’t forget to snap a pretty pic for the ‘gram!
One Tenth Coffee, Shop 510, 5/F, Premier Centre, 20 Cheung Shun Street | (+852) 9540 0923
Tucked away in a corner of a rounded dead-end street, under an industrial building, this pet-friendly café is a delightful little spot. For such a cosy and minimalistic place, their menu features an impressive line-up of hand-drip coffees, alongside their Instagram-worthy tomato avocado toast ($68) and matcha bagel ($30) that are sizeable enough to actually fill you up. Speciality drinks like their iced creamy black coffee ($45) and chocolate tonic ($58) are interesting additions to consider.
OWLS Coffee, Shop 1, G/F, 10B Cheung Yue Street | (+852) 9738 1922
Aside from the many showroom-warehouse doubles that are mainly used to just hold stock, there are actually quite a few shopping spots around Lai Chi Kok and Cheung Sha Wan that you can have a chilled out walk through and browse at.
One of, if not, the most prestigious of tea shops in all of Hong Kong, this branch of Best Tea House is markedly the most seminal. It was first established in 1988 by Mr. Chan Kwok-Yee, who pioneered a new method of storing brick form tea leaf in air-dry environments, which created a delectable new profile of puerh flavours. Expanding his reach to Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea, and more, tea master Chan has brought his distinct works to eager connoisseurs all across the globe. Customer favourites include oolong tea, white tea, green tea, and of course, the innovative new-style puerh tea.
The Best Tea House, G/F, Great Wall Factory Building, 11 Cheung Shun Street | (+852) 2743 9915
What marked the turning point of the Lai Chi Kok area in transitioning from an industrial centre into a youthful hub is the opening of the conjoined malls— D2 Place Phase One and Two. Filled with plenty of eye-catching restaurants, quirky gachapon machines, and trendy stores of all sorts. Walk through the hallways and you will find an elaborate iron gate, like something out of a fairy-tale, bordering the entrance to Nine Bird Frog Antiques. This little wonderland seems ripped straight out of Howl’s bedroom in Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle, putting on display a whole bunch of intricate trinkets and plush memorabilia. Cross over to the other phase of the mall and you will find a more simplistic and minimal, yet still cute, collection of items at TORIO Store. The latter stocks Japanese style clothing, home essentials, and practical varsity stationary.
What’s more, the mall often puts up a weekend mini market that features booths from small businesses, most of them locally based. This weekly event rotates through different themes, featuring goodies like vintage clothing, artisanal coffee, old-school Hong Kong toys, school stationery, handmade jewellery, little snacks, and more.
D2 Weekend Markets, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street | (+852) 3620 3098
TORIO Store, Shop 215, 2/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street | (+852) 3702 1089
Nine Bird Frog Antiques, Unit 118, 1/F, D2 Place Two, 15 Cheung Shun Street, Cheung Sha Wan
Peruse a collection of Legos from every category imaginable—from mini-parts to modified decorative tiles—and let your only child run free at Only for Fun shop. A warehouse of extensive parts to add to elaborate models and your brick collection, the inside of the store also showcases a mini hand-constructed model on display for all visiting Lego fanatics to admire.
Only for Fun, Unit 5A, 5/F, Hong Kong Industrial Centre Block B, 489-491 Castle Peak Road | (+852) 9030 9166
Occupying almost the entire ground level strip of Hong Kong Industrial Centre are tiny shop fronts that sell cheap yet fashionable wholesale garments. Evocative of the underground malls in South Korea’s Myeongdong district (with one of the stores literally decorating their space as a mock airport gate that shows it as the boarding destination) these units form a shopping maze that you can venture to and easily get lost in for hours on end. Explore the hidden depths of this wholesale clothing market and find the addition to your wardrobe that you’ve been waiting for, or at least a good deal on a few graphic T-shirts and a pair of funky joggers.
G/F, Hong Kong Industrial Centre, 489-491 Castle Peak Road