Header image courtesy of Andrew Milligan Sumo (Wikimedia Commons)
Originally published by Ngai Yeung. Last updated by Beverly Ngai.
Sandwiched between Prince Edward, Nam Cheong, Olympic, and Mong Kok all at once is this antiquated gem of a neighbourhood. Although the area may be small compared to its next-door neighbours, don’t underestimate the number of good eats and activities that can be found here. Whether you’re here to appreciate the historical buildings or go restaurant-hopping, here’s your neighbourhood guide to all Tai Kok Tsui has to offer.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the quiet neighbourhood is Olympian City, the retail hotspot of the region. With nearly 300 shops, the sprawling shopping arcade has close to every type of brand and restaurant that you could bring to mind. Attached to the Olympic MTR station, the mall is easily accessible and can double as a gateway to more inner parts of Tai Kok Tsui, though be prepared to spend a full day just at this one-stop-shop!
Olympian City, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Mong Kok | (+852) 2740 4108
It’s not hard to see why Tai Kok Tsui’s Municipal Services Building is a favourite congregation place for locals. The multi-purpose destination contains an impressive array of facilities, from the wet market on the ground floor to the library on the third floor and even a neat indoor pool on the fourth floor.
For the athletically inclined, the sports centre includes two indoor climbing walls. After the workout, head down to the cooked food centre for some bargain local fare, or head out to explore the many restaurants in the area.
Tai Kok Tsui Municipal Services Building, 63 Fuk Tsun Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 2393 1084
Around half of Tai Kok Tsui didn’t exist before, as it’s all built on reclaimed land. Without it, there wouldn’t be a breezy promenade in the neighbourhood today. Take a break from the city and stroll along the serene promenade for some new views of Kowloon’s landmark International Commerce Centre, with a part of the Victoria Harbour visible in the distance. When you’re tired, relax by the sea or take a nap in one of the small gardens that dot the shore.
Hoi Fai Road Promenade, Hoi Fai Road, Tai Kok Tsui
Looking for an out-of-the-ordinary hobby to dive into? Consider trying your hand at glass blowing and transform molten glass into stunning pieces of art. Tucked away in an unassuming industrial building, Some Thingsss is an independent studio dedicated to the underrated craft of glass blowing.
Apart from selling their own products, they also host regular workshops teaching you how to create all sorts of unique glass-blown objects, including floral ornaments, candle holders, and jewellery-making beads—just to name a few. Prices run from $200 to $600 depending on your chosen class.
Some Thingsss, Wing Gar Factory Building, Room B, 4/F, 87 Larch Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 2388 7688
Fire up your endorphins and get sculpted at this airy, brightly lit fitness centre! Sculpt Hub Studio offers a dynamic range of classes across the categories of full-body fitness, yoga, and Pilates, catering to individuals of different skill levels and with varying interests. Sign up for their signature reformer Pilates class to improve your strength and flexibility, or try out their street jazz or aerial yoga class for a fun and different way to get your sweat on!
All classes are kept small, with no more than eight attendees per session to ensure that each student gets the attention and coaching they deserve. For those who need a more customised plan, private training is also available.
Sculpt Hub Studio, Evernew Commercial Centre, Flat B, 4/F, Pine Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 9709 6568
If you want to feel full and keep your wallet happy, Tak Fat Restaurant (德發茶餐廳) is the place to be. This modest-looking cha chaan teng is easily missed by the untrained eye, but locals know it as a trusted spot with friendly service, fair prices, and even better food. There’s not a bad pick in their winding menu of comforting cha chaan teng classics, but the four-topping cart noodles ($44) and silky milk tea are what regulars keep coming back for—either that or the adorable cat that hangs out at the restaurant!
Tak Fat Restaurant (德發茶餐廳), 175 Tai Kok Tsui Road, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 2382 9688
Nab a counter seat in this sleek artisanal coffee shop and watch the baristas skillfully craft your cup of caffeine. With multiple major accolades under their belts, including the Hong Kong Brewers Cup Champion and World Cup Taster Champion, the folks at Craft Coffee Roaster set a high benchmark for quality brews, but have managed to keep prices reasonable. Craft Coffee Roaster offers a thoughtfully curated range of single-origin coffees from Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil, and beyond, as well as some house-blend espressos—all of which are roasted locally in Hong Kong. Alongside drinks, a scrumptious selection of sandwiches, toasts, and cakes also star on the menu!
Craft Coffee Roaster, 29 Tai Kok Tsui Road, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 5109 6770
Lard noodles (豬油渣麵) may not sound appetising, but don’t judge until you’ve had some! Nostalgic Hongkongers flock to Ying Kee Noodle for a decadent and filling bowl of their fragrant lard noodles (starting from $20). Chewy rectangular noodles are topped with generous helpings of mushrooms, crunchy bits of lard, and melt-in-your-mouth pork belly before being submerged into a bowl of clear pork bone soup. Ying Kee Noodle is so well-known for this signature dish that it doesn’t even have a menu, as lard noodles are all that customers come for, but don’t fret; the dish is highly customisable with many add-on options.
Ying Kee Noodle, 4 Lime Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 2390 7397
Despite a sizeable ageing Chinese population, Tai Kok Tsui has its own fair share of Western restaurants and cafés. We recommend the cosy La Vigne, known for its well-rounded menu of risottos, pasta, and seared meats.
Try their signature pumpkin risotto with soft-shell crab ($106), savouring the contrast of the creamy risotto and the light and crispy soft-shelled crab. If you have time to spare, consider around half an hour for the juicy Spanish Ibérico pork chop with brown sauce ($178). More adventurous eaters who wish to deviate from the usual menu should try the exclusive salted egg yolk ice cream with popcorn ($76) for a pleasant surprise.
La Vigne, 6 Tsi Tsun Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 5744 7216
Meat lovers unite and gather at Das Bier for hearty plates of German fare. Don’t miss out on their glorious German pork knuckle with sauerkraut & potato salad ($218), baked to crispy perfection. For sides, be sure to order the classic German sausage with sauerkraut & French fries ($162) to sample a smattering of premium German sausages. If you’re lucky, you may even catch the umami salted egg pork knuckle ($248) before they run out—only in Hong Kong will you find such a crossover between a German dish and Chinese flavours!
Das Bier, 15 Pok Man Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 2219 9938
If you’re starving but in a hurry, Chef de Singapore is your place to go. Have a plate of their robust chef-recommended eight-ounce pork chop with rice ($60); the set comes with Singaporean curry, and the satisfying crunch of the thick-cut pork chop will not disappoint. Also order their Malaysian bak kut teh with rice ($68) for something a little unusual, but if the rich, medicinal broth is not to your taste, try the iced teh c peng ($25), a charming three-layered concoction made from coconut sugar, evaporated milk, and tea.
Chef de Singapore, 57 Tai Tsun Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 3590 3326
Many authentic and traditional Chinese cuisine restaurants in the city are hard to find, including this cheerfully-named Guangdong cuisine restaurant. Before you come, you must order their signature dish, the National Treasure duck, in advance. The crispy duck is stuffed with different kinds of beans and dried scallop, then slow-cooked for four hours. To go along with the meal, take a sip from a pot of their almond pig lung soup; the silky, smooth will amaze you. Remember to bring family or friends along to share the large portions!
Joyful Peace Restaurant, 10–12 Li Tak Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 5199 3895
Craving something sweet? Then you can’t miss on the OG purveyors of cinnamon rolls, Cinnabon. The popular American brand opened its first Hong Kong outpost in Tai Kok Tsui earlier this year and has been doling out piping hot buns ever since. Must-tries include the classic cinnamon rolls (starting from $38), which are made with trademarked Makara cinnamon from West Sumatra and topped with their signature frosting.
Cinnabon, G06, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui
Maybe you didn’t expect to find a hip burger place in the middle of Tai Kok Tsui, but Burgerman is, in fact, a minor local icon in the area, in part because it has a little something for everyone. Ravenous passers-by will delight in the loaded double-decker trucker burger ($88), while those with finer tastes may want to try the crispy foie gras Wagyu burger ($138). Customers can also choose burgers based on beef patties made from the likes of Hidagyu, Wagyu, or Kobe beef, while those with bolder tastes may want to sample the tantalising Danish blue cheese burger ($68). Don’t pass up the opportunity to chow down on some crispy buns and juicy insides!
Burgerman, Shop C, 95–97 Ivy Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 2331 3973
Though it’s not exclusive to Tai Kok Tsui, we just can’t not mention “the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant” when it’s right here in the neighbourhood! Tim Ho Wan’s Tai Kok Tsui branch was awarded its Michelin star in 2015; queues outside the restaurant have since become a daily phenomenon. We would highly recommend the fluffy puff pastry barbeque pork buns ($21) with their signature pineapple bun exterior.
Tim Ho Wan, Shop 72, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 2332 2896
A little slice of peace in a bustling neighbourhood, this Japanese-style café is a haven for those who like to take things slow. Replete with hipster vibes, the books here are available for loan while waiting to get seated. The inspired choices of naked concrete and wooden chairs are strangely reminiscent of a local secondary school assembly hall, complementing the welcoming vibes and light, comforting meal sets.
For luncheon, choose from a selection of small plates ($78) that include a main, two onigiri, and two sides. A range of hand-pour coffees is also available, though the fragrant orange dark chocolate coffee ($58) and white chocolate coffee ($48) are special flavours worth trying. The item that deserves to be raved about, however, is definitely their matcha roll ($48) which is generously filled with a dense slab of mouth-watering green tea cream.
Cafe Wander (浮生), 8 Anchor Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 5445 6004
A place that’s a real bang for your buck, My Meat Run Buddy serves buffet-style vegetarian food for as low as $68 per head during lunchtime! Serving a variety of classic Chinese dishes like Szechuan chilli mock chicken and vegetable spring rolls, grab a plate and load up on some hearty and affordable plant-based deliciousness.
Vegetarian recreations of traditional Chinese festival food—such as poon choi (盆菜; a festive meal of many auspicious ingredients served in a wooden bucket-like basin)—are also on offer for takeaway during holidays, giving many more people a chance to dig into their red-letter day favourites. Be warned, however, that there is a dining time limit during lunches of 60 minutes on weekdays, and 90 minutes on weekends and public holidays.
Prices also differ for dinnertime, which is $125 for adults and $95 for children from Mondays to Thursdays, but $150 for adults and $120 for children for the rest of the week and on the first and fifteenth day of each Lunar month (the latter due to a Buddhist tradition).
My Meat Run Buddy, 28–30 Pok Man Street | (+852) 2388 6280