Header photo courtesy of @surpass.ky (via Instagram)
Originally published by Stephanie Lown. Last updated by Annette Chan.
Tucked behind the Central Library lies Tai
Hang, a sleepy cul-de-sac famed for the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, a
traditional Hakka parade held during the annual Mid-Autumn Festival. Fiery reptiles aside, Tai Hang is a worthy destination in its own right, with refined
restaurants and cool little cafés dotted around between the historical
shophouses, long-standing garages, and old-school eateries. Read on to discover a
few of the things that make Tai Hang worth a visit year-round!
Every year during the Mid-Autumn
Festival, thousands of visitors come from near and far to witness Tai Hang’s majestic
Fire Dragon Dance, a tradition which dates back to the village’s days as a
Hakka settlement. Originally, Tai Hang’s villagers started the dance as a way
to ward off bad luck after a string of catastrophes, but it turned into a beloved
festive tradition over time, and is now Tai Hang’s most popular attraction. Over
three nights, the streets are lit up by an impressive 67-metre dragon made up
of 24,000 incense sticks, which comprises 32 sections (the head alone weighs 70
kilograms!) and has to be carried and manipulated by 300 performers. Top tip: The best vantage point for the show is at Wun Sha Street.
Pick up a sweet new skill at the Hong Kong outpost of Spanish rock candy specialists Papabubble, where the “caramel artisans” will teach you how to make your very own custom rock candy or lollipops. The workshops are suitable for everyone aged three and above, though adults are more than welcome as well. Short on time? You can also get ready-made jars or sets from the front of the store!
Papabubble, 34 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang | (+852) 2367 4807
Also known as “Palace of Lotus Flower,” this Buddhist temple at the end of Lin Fa Kung Street was originally built in the Qing Dynasty around 1863. This beautiful monument, in a sleepy corner of Tai Hang, was built to worship the goddess of mercy, Guanyin, and is a declared monument.
Lin Fa Kung Temple, Lin Fa Kung Street, Tai Hang
One of our favourite Japanese speciality shops around is Kanamono Hardware, which specialises in super functional-yet-aesthetic Japanese DIY tools and other household bits and bobs. If you’re a fan of old-school metal toolboxes, vintage lightbulbs, apothecary-style drawers, and mid-century décor, then you’ll love exploring this little Aladdin’s cave of industrial wonders.
Kanamono Hardware Store, 30B Wun Sha Street,
Tai Hang | (+852) 2865 6168
For a taste of Paris in Tai Hang, visit Plumcot, a petite French bakery run by a husband-and-wife team with over 30 years of experience as professional pastry chefs between them. From staples like croissants, pain au chocolat, and brioche, to danishes, canelés, madeleines, and gateaux au voyage, you’ll find all your patisserie and viennoiserie favourites and then some. In the mood for something a little sweeter? Plumcot also makes seasonal cakes and seasonal artisanal ice creams in both conventional and unusual flavours (like blue cheese!).
Plumcot, 10A Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang
Come for the nostalgic Hong Kong vibes, stay for the delicious noodles and friendly oddball charm. You can spot this painfully hip noodle joint from a mile away by its vintage wooden doors and pawnshop-esque neon signage. Plonk yourself down on the wooden stools, sip on a fresh lime soda ($18) and admire the quirky décor and vintage posters of Hong Kong popstars while you wait for your order to arrive—you can choose everything from the type of dish (stirred or soupy) to the soup base, noodle type, toppings, and sides.
The chewy sweet potato noodles in spicy and sour soup ($40) are perfect for those who like tangy, piquant flavours, while the green curry rice noodles with hand-shredded chicken ($58) are great for when you’re craving Thai flavours. Even if you’ve already eaten, the relaxed ambience and delicious drinks make this a great hangout spot.
Chin Jor Fan Tong (前座飯堂), 39 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang | (+852) 5118 1869
Pressed for time? Get your brunch and views of Lin Fa Kung Temple in at the same time at the Tai Hang branch of Ask for Alonzo, a pet-friendly modern trattoria which first found success among the office workers of Quarry Bay. Popular options include the brunch carbonara ($148), served with a runny fried egg on top, and the roasted suckling pig panini ($118).
Ask for Alonzo, 11 Lin Fa Kung Street West, Tai Hang | (+852) 3101 8045
For a remarkable meal of refined Japanese cooking, there is no better contender in Tai Hang than the Michelin-starred I M Teppanyaki & Wine. The eatery is a passion project of veteran chef Lawrence Mok, who can be found regaling diners with stories from the triathlons he’s completed while casually and confidently manning the teppan. You can order a la carte—the amadai in sea urchin sauce ($230) and fried rice set ($80) are particularly acclaimed—or try a variety of Chef Mok’s greatest hits with the chef’s special lunch set ($380) or extravagant eight-course I M tasting menu ($1,480).
I M Teppanyaki & Wine, G/F, 134 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang | (+852) 2570 7088
Visit the Tak Shing Tea Stall for a classic example of the cha chaan teng (茶餐廳; Hong Kong-style tea restaurant) experience. Order a glass bottle of sweet and strong Hong Kong-style milk tea, a pineapple bun sandwiching a chunky wedge of ice-cold butter, or your good ol’ classic oxtail in macaroni soup ($45) for a typical local breakfast.
Tak Shing Tea Stall, Shop A–B, G/F, Ming Sun Building, 96 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang | (+852) 2259 9055
Experience handmade Italian food the Hong Kong way at Dough Kitchen. Their pasta, pizzas, and breads are all made from scratch, ensuring the freshest quality. All this TLC that goes into their food doesn’t come cheap, however, and you can expect to pay upwards of $200 for a meal, and that is just for a main. But let’s face it—when a place offers antipasti like baked Hokkaido scallop with mozzarella ($158) and creative mains like sea urchin pici ($208) and lobster pasta in XO sauce ($248), it would be rude not to try more than one dish.
Dough Kitchen, 21B Brown Street, Tai Hang | (+852) 2688 7008
Another popular spot for snap-happy customers where your cameras eat before you do, this modern, contemporary eatery blends flavours from the East and West to bring you meals that will delight your palate and your social media followers. With a menu made for sharing, the dishes are categorised as either light, medium, or heavy—try the duck heart kebabs ($88), chicken liver mousse ($138), or the fancy poutine ($158), with oxtail gravy, blue cheese, and a runny egg.
Elementary, 15–16 School Street, Tai Hang | (+852) 2362 2812
Hidden amongst the rows of garages on School Street, this modest local diner will blow you away with their unique blend of Thai and Shanghainese flavours. Try their Thai-style pork neck ($48), curry crab ($268), or any of their curries with a side order of garlic bread, dumplings, or whatever your stomach desires. We promise you won’t regret it.
New York Club, 24 School Street, Tai Hang | (+852) 6530 0288
As an old-school dai pai dong (大排檔; Hong Kong street food stall), Shun Hing whips up canteen classics like baked pork chop rice ($64) and cart noodles, but most people come here for their signature silky egg rice sets. There are quite a few to choose from, but their all-time best-selling char siu silky egg rice ($55) with homemade soy sauce and shallots is always a good shout.
Shun Hing, 24 Ormsby Street, Tai Hang
For a weekend brunch both you and your pup will enjoy, check out this family-friendly spot along Tung Lo Wan Road. Catch up with friends while sipping on the most delicious virgin mojitos (or non-virgin mojitos—no one’s judging) and soaking in the sun from the back terrace. This local favourite is also known to offer specials depending on the day of the week—get a buy-one-get-one deal on all pastas, pizzas, and salads on Mondays, or a whole roasted chicken on Wednesdays for a meal to last you the rest of the week.
Tai Hang Bar & Grill, 38 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang | (+852) 2525 1439
For a cup of coffee that’s as stunning as its surroundings, check out specialist coffee shop Sonne Cad, which is housed inside a historic two-storey tenement building complete with a picturesque terrace and antique wooden door with wrought iron hardware. But Sonne Cad isn’t just about its looks—the menu, which offers a number of single-origin beans from famous coffee-producing countries, is broken down into tasting notes, bean type, and how they’ve been processed (if at all). That doesn’t mean to say it’s unapproachable or austere—just ask the staff for pointers, grab a cold brew or drip coffee, and chill out on the quirky undulating wicker bench upstairs.
Sonne Cad, 16 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang
Get those forest bathing vibes without leaving the city at this tranquil two-storey café and lifestyle shop. Muse only opened in October, but it’s already drawn a crowd of regulars and Instagram café-hoppers in with its elegant wabi-sabi style (complete with Japanese flower and foliage arrangements), delicious coffees and teas, and curated selection of homeware.
Pop in for a serene afternoon tea—Muse offers a selection of dessert and drink pairings like honeycomb cappuccino with cheesecake ($108) and masala chai latte with oolong chiffon cake ($95)—or a light lunch of wild mushroom pasta ($138) or cold zaru soba ($118). Afterwards, head upstairs to browse Muse’s gorgeous homewares, from ceramic teapots and vases to bronze incense holders, glass candlesticks, and bamboo matcha whisks.
Muse, 15–17 Ormsby Street, Tai Hang | (+852) 2670 0882
This little pet-friendly coffee shop only opened in January, but its minimalist white shopfront and cute Mount Fuji-shaped glasses have already cropped up on our Instagram feed more times than we can count. Swing by for a latte ($40) or one of their daily bakes—the matcha roll cake and croissant have already proven to be hits—and bring your pooch, while you’re at it!
Heyday Café, 5 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang
Spinning off the success of their original Soho location, Aussie-style café Fineprint’s Tai Hang branch has quickly become a popular hangout spot for neighbours and visitors for a relaxing coffee break. But that’s not all these guys offer—if you check the fine print on their logo, you’ll see that they also provide wines and liquors, occasionally hosting wine tasting evenings at their Peel Street store.
Fineprint, 1 Lily Street, Tai Hang | (+852) 5331 5205
Recommended by many as the best coffee in the neighbourhood, this pet-friendly hole-in-the-wall may be short on seats, but it’s a must-visit if you are looking for an excellent joe to go. Their sultry new black and green façade (featuring a literal hole-in-the-wall for takeaway) makes for a great photo backdrop, too. Besides your standard espresso-based drinks, Unar Coffee Company also offers their lattes and cappuccinos in a number of different flavours, like crème brûlée, Irish cream, and rose (starting from $40), as well as the peculiarly popular iced cucumber latte ($45).
Unar Coffee Company, 15 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang | (+852) 2838 5231
This popular neighbourhood bar is a joint venture from TAP: The Ale Project, Young Masters Brewery, and award-winning celebrity chef May Chow. Besides the great selection of local and international craft beers on tap, you’ll also find a wide range of cocktails from boilermakers (beer-based cocktails) to creative creations like the Mala-tini ($108) and Chenpei Negroni ($108). Need to line your stomach? Check out the small bites on Chow’s menu of Hong Kong-inspired gastropub fare, with highlights including the mapo burrata ($148) and lion head meatballs ($88).
Second Draft, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang | (+852) 2656 0232
Located upstairs from Second Draft, on the first floor of swanky hotel and serviced apartments Little Tai Hang, this upmarket restaurant and bar lets you enjoy a more substantial meal with your drink (should you so desire). The outdoor terrace is perfect for catching up with friends over a glass of wine or Berries Kiss ($118), and if you’re feeling peckish, you can always see how their sea urchin pasta with flying fish roe & fennel foam ($288) measures up against Dough Kitchen’s!
Tipsy Restaurant & Bar, 1/F, Little Tai Hang, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang | (+852) 2818 8807