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Your ultimate guide to the new Central Market

By Annette Chan 26 August 2021

Header image courtesy of @kobiiiiii (via Instagram)

After 17 years of disuse, four years of renovation, and a $500-million investment, the newly refreshed Central Market is finally open to the public again. While it’s still being called “Central Market,” it’s important to note that the grand Bauhaus building is no longer a wet market. Instead, it’s a dining and shopping hub with community spaces and some preserved historical elements, much like Tai Kwun, PMQ, The Mills, 618 Shanghai Street, and others developed in the spirit of adaptive reuse.

The market has only been open for a few days and is currently in the soft opening phase, but over 70 commercial tenants have already settled in and started operating, from snack stalls to wine lounges, heritage-inspired stores, and luxury accessories brands. Read on for our guide on where to eat, drink, and shop at Central Market!

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Where to eat & drink

Photo: Wako Sake Central (via Facebook)

Wako Sake Central

Wako Sake Central comprises two parts—a petite sushi bar (a.k.a. Wako Sake Sushi & Tap), and Wako Sake Izakaya, a more casual eatery offering cooked dishes like beef donburi ($198), grilled eel rice ($168), udon, yakitori, and more. The sushi bar is manned by chefs who will make plates of handmade sushi (starting from $40) while you enjoy sake poured fresh from the tap at $88 a glass and up. Besides a la carte dishes, Wako Sake Sushi & Tap also offers an omakase experience, as well as chirashi bowls and bento boxes to go.

Wako Sake Central, Shops G10 & G12, Dining Ground, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Lottajoy

Get a taste of Cantonese classics at Lottajoy, whose menu comprises snacks, siu mei, curries, stir-fries, clay pot dishes, noodles, and rice. The whole roast duck ($250) is great for larger groups, while dishes like the thick-cut pork chop curry ($98) or sweet and sour pork with pineapple ($98) provide a comforting taste of familiar Hong Kong flavours. While we love a good plate of chilli-spiked salt and pepper squid ($118), we’re thrilled to see that an option made with tender, melt-in-your-mouth Bombay duck fish ($118) is also on the menu.

Lottajoy, Shop G11, Dining Ground, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Photo: Nina Hospitality

Cittá

For a casual, homey meal of Genovese cuisine, head to Cittá, a no-fuss Italian eatery serving “big flavours on small, shareable plates.” Fresh, seasonal produce is the star of the menu, with handmade pasta dishes and refined plates of seafood and freshly grilled meat and vegetables acting as the vehicles. For a taste of Genovese summery goodness, you can’t go wrong with any of the pesto pasta dishes, from the prawn spaghetti with sun-dried tomato chilli pesto ($128) to the classic penne pesto ($78), and roasted red pepper pesto casareccia with chicken ($98). For something a little meatier, try the beef tartare ($118) or charcoal-grilled Australian lamb rack ($188).

Cittá, Shop G18, Dining Ground, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

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Photo: Pulau 蒲羅 (via Facebook)

Pulau Singapore Cuisine

Bringing bright and tropical vibes to the Dining Ground is Pulau Singapore Cuisine, which offers a comprehensive-but-concise menu of Straits favourites. Snack on small plates like grilled pork neck with sambal ($82), or skewers of grilled squid, chicken, or spicy prawns (starting from $62). Alternatively, fill up on classics like Hainanese chicken rice (starting from $82) which you can supplement with a small bowl of Singapore laksa or peppery bak kut teh to get the most bang for your buck, and wash it all down with refreshing beverages like mint and lime soda and iced tea.

Pulau Singapore Cuisine, Shop G19, Dining Ground, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Photo: @scaredieme (via Instagram)

Ion Café Bistro

This all-day outlet on the market’s first floor contains three sections—a coffee and cocktail bar, a cake and dessert station, and a kitchen serving light bistro-style fare—in its sprawling, 4000-square-feet space. Tuck into fusion plates like mussels in rose dew wine sauce ($108) and the char siu-inspired barbecued cod ($248) or fill up on more Westernised dishes like wild mushroom risotto ($138) and parchment-baked fish with vegetables ($438). The three-step coffee menu ensures you’ll get a cup of joe made exactly to your specifications—from beans to drink type, milk, and extra flavouring. From the cocktail menu, we like the vanilla-scented almond tea- and gin-based Snow Fizz ($88), as well as the vodka-based and red bean ice-inspired Black & White Film (108).

Ion Café Bistro, Shop 124 & 125, 1/F, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Photo: Nina Hospitality

Winelog

For a distinguished after-work drink, head to Winelog, the chic wine bar operated in collaboration between Nina Hospitality and the Hong Kong Wine Judges Association. To get a comprehensive and educational wine tasting experience, perch at the chic 15-seat wine bar and order one of the four-glass tasting flights ($400), or ask their sommelier to put together a custom wine tasting ($600) for you. If you’d rather relax over a glass or wine-based cocktail of your choice—we like the Wine Y Sour ($100), a red wine- and bourbon-based drink with fig liqueur and roasted oolong tea—check out the lounge area. Flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Jubilee Street and the green of the central atrium, it’s a comfortable and picturesque place to sit and unwind.

Winelog, Shop G14, Dining Ground, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

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Perfume Trees Gin

Sip on cocktails at the Perfume Trees Gin bar, which offers the Hong Kong-inspired spirit in preparations that pay homage to the wet market’s history. Each drink is named after different imaginary vendors that would have worked in the market’s halls, such as Herbalist Lo ($130), a light and carbonated CBD-infused drink featuring Perfume Trees gin, jasmine tea, white chamomile, and elderflower and Greengrocer Lin ($140), a healthful tonic made with green juice, cucumber, celery, green apple, lime, shiso bitters, and gin.

Perfume Trees Gin, G15A, Dining Ground, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Photo: Localiiz

Mak’s Beer

If you have a passing interest in Hong Kong’s craft beer scene, you’ll likely be familiar with Mak’s Beer—but have you tried it yet? This brewery, which is proudly “made by locals, for locals” is making its physical debut at Central Market with a beautiful long bar where interested drinkers can sip on the classic pale ale, lemongrass IPA, and Citrus Paradisi IPA, as well as Hong Kong-inspired tipples like Yim Tin, a fruity pilsner scented with tangerine, all at $78 a glass.

Mak’s Beer, Shop G13, Dining Ground, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Hang Heong Un

Craving a comforting Cantonese-style dessert? Head up to Hang Heong Un on the market’s second floor, which offers the famous Macanese dessert shop’s stone-milled apricot kernel drink ($25) and walnut drink ($25), as well as lighter, summery drinks like chrysanthemum, snow fungus, and pear drink ($25) and pressed juices.

Hang Heong Un, Shop 246C, 2/F, Street Food Central, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central | (+852) 2371 6350

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Photo: Maria’s Bakery

1966 Baking Alliance

This new concept from the iconic Maria’s Bakery offers “new and improved” versions of Hong Kong bakery classics, as well as desk lunch-friendly savoury bites. In keeping with Maria’s “freshly baked” tagline, everything is served straight out of the oven, from the signature Pastel de Nata ($12) and brand-new lava chocolate tart ($15) to the popular spinach, cheese, and ham coconut pie ($22), and more. For an easy grab-and-go lunch, pick up a sandwich—the fillings for which include the Korean army stew-inspired kimchi and luncheon meat and classic egg, ham, and cheese—and chase it with the fluffy baked M.A.D. “muffin as doughnuts,” which come in flavours like banana, berry, and chocolate.

1966 Baking Alliance, Shop 246B, 2/F, Street Food Central, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central | (+852) 2371 6350

Where to shop

Photo: Slowood (via Facebook)

Slowood

This homegrown sustainable lifestyle store needs no introduction—three years after establishing its first store in Kennedy Town, Slowood is finally bringing its packaging-free groceries and eco-friendly lifestyle products to Central. Making its mark with a large, light-filled space on the second floor, this new branch has a prime location between the Central footbridge with the Mid-Levels escalator, adding a beautiful browsing experience to what was previously a perfunctory but rather drab commute. The bulk grains and sustainable toiletries are all still here, alongside chic homewares like colourful recycled plastic homewares from Warren & Laetitia, playful ceramics from Studio Arhoj, and more.

Slowood, Shops 231–233, 2/F, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Photo: Localiiz

HK Tram Store

Have a love for retro Hong Kong paraphernalia? Pop by the HK Tram Store, where you can get your hands on everything from transport-themed products like the new Hong Kong Tramways Monopoly set, diecast models Hong Kong buses and trams, and tram-patterned crockery, as well as general bric-a-brac like vintage piggy banks, quirky mugs, and bouncy balls.

HK Tram Store, Shop 117, 1/F, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

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Photo: @thecabinethk (via Instagram)

Foreforehead

When it comes to “weird but cute” Hong Kong goods, there’s nowhere better to shop than Foreforehead, a curated store where you can find vintage cassette tape decks alongside beautiful handmade ceramics. We’re big fans of the plates from The Cabinet, which are produced according to classical Chinese porcelain styles, but feature modern-day patterns—our favourite is the KOL rice plate with painted likes, 通花 (cutwork; tung1 fa1) hearts, and a dragon checking its smartphone.

Foreforehead, Shop 215, 2/F, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central | (+852) 2371 6350

Photo: Localiiz

Seon Hong Kong

Inspired by the tiles of cha chaan teng floors? Perhaps you’d like to festoon your house with the intricate red pattern of traditional longevity cups—or maybe the red, blue, and white teardrop insignia of the Mister Softee trucks is more your jam. Whatever retro Hong Kong pattern you love, Seon will have something to your taste, rendered as clutch purses, pillows, or pencil case-worthy rulers and washi tape rolls.

Seon Hong Kong, Shop 107, 1/F, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Photo: Vipop (via Facebook)

Vipop

Inject some Latin-American flair into your wardrobe at Vipop, a clothing and accessories store founded by two Hong Kong-based Venezuelan friends. Inspired by the local artisan communities of Venezuela, Vipop carries handcrafted goods from a wide range of international artisans, with a focus on sustainable producers with roots in Latin America. Try on handwoven straw hats from Ecuador, striking abstract jewellery, and airy resortwear, or pick up a bag made from vegan cactus leather.

Vipop, Shop 210, 2/F, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central

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Annette Chan

Senior editor

Annette is an editor and copywriter with a lifetime of experience in hunting out the most interesting, odd, and delightful things about her beloved home city. Having written extensively about everything from food and culture to fashion, music, and hospitality, she considers her speciality to be Hong Kong itself. In her free time, you can find Annette trying out new dumpling recipes or playing Big Two at her favourite local bars with a cocktail in hand.

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