Header image courtesy of @kaiyu.cheng (via Instagram)
There’s a certain oomph to colonial-era buildings in Hong Kong—perhaps it’s the fact that they were built around a hundred years ago and still standing for us to marvel and get a glimpse of Hong Kong’s history first-hand. Many have moseyed to PMQ and Tai Kwun in Central for their fix of revitalised historical buildings, but Western Market in the artsy-slash-commercial-slash-foodie neighbourhood of Sheung Wan does not always get the attention it deserves.
As one of Hong Kong’s first revitalisation projects for commercial purposes, the Edwardian-style architectural complex first opened for business in 1844, and what remains is only half of it. The now-demolished South Block was built in 1858 and operated as a food market, and was later joined by the North Block, which has been renamed to Western Market. Western Market currently houses cafés, restaurants, fabric merchants, and curio shops. Here’s what to expect.
80M Bus Model Shop showcases the entirety of Hong Kong’s transport system in miniature figurines, be it KMB buses, the colourful array of taxis, trams, minibuses, traffic cones, and more! Its vast collection of miniature versions of our beloved KMB buses and “Ding Dings” range from colonial-style designs to the current modern variations, some of which even have advertisements printed on them (they are limited editions). If you’ve been missing our non-air-conditioned buses, you can grab one for yourself as a souvenir. Whether you are looking for purchases or just window-shopping, you are likely to spend a handsome amount of time walking down memory lane here.
80M Bus Model Shop, Shop 17 & 18, G/F, Western Market, 323 Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2851 3643
Astoundingly, the entire first floor of the Western Market is dedicated to bringing you fine choices of fabric, with shops lined up one after another specialising in everything from silk and chiffon to denim, wool, and cotton. Bear in mind that these fabrics are for clothing only, and not intended for curtains or household furnishings. If you’re not on the hunt for fabric, you can ramp up your sewing kit and tools (if that is your forte). Each shop sells its own unique fabric and the merchants are friendly, welcoming, and (sometimes) down for a reasonable bargain.
Western Market, 1/F, 323 Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan
While you are basking in the heritage experience that Western Market has to offer, why not take it a step further by hopping on a Tram-O-Ramic tour? Here, you’ll get to enjoy panoramic views from the half-open roof of the tram, much like the vibrant purple Rickshaw Sightseeing Bus that takes tourists around Hong Kong Island. Beautifully re-constructed, this vintage-style tram is bound to capture everyone’s attention once you’re on board. Services are currently suspended due to Covid-19, but once it re-opens, it’s never a crime to act touristy in your own city!
Hong Kong Tramways, 308 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2548 7102
No. 8 is definitely a shop to check out if wedding bells are ringing in your near future—its custom-made couture is exclusively designed by Hong Kong designers for soon-to-be brides! Combing traditional and contemporary styles with both Chinese cultural heritage and Western influences, each wedding dresses or qípáo (旗袍) is unique and tailor-made to fit your sensibilities and personality.
No. 8, Shop G7 & G8, G/F, Western Market, 323 Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2628 3932
From pearls to jades, turquoise, and even more precious stones, Miao’s jewellery pieces all possess a touch of class no matter the shape, size, or stone. Founded in Hong Kong in 2001, its products range from delicate earrings, dainty necklaces, and pearls that take us back to the retro days in Hollywood—perfect for gift-shopping!
Miao, Shop G25, G/F, Western Market, 323 Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2545 3378
If you were a tourist in Hong Kong, this is the place you would be attracted to for picking some worthwhile souvenirs. Oriental Arts sells postcards adorned with local Hong Kong scenes, figurines ranging from lions and dragons to Buddhist deities, as well as traditional Chinese tapestries for decoration.
Oriental Arts, Shop G20 & G21, G/F, Western Market, 323 Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 9614 0278
Pair your banquets with some ballroom dancing whilst indulging in tantalising meals! The Grand Stage shows-off its 50-foot-high ceiling and 10-foot-long crystal chandelier with grace, along with beautiful stained glass, dark teak panelling and flooring, and Art Deco accents, bringing to life a fine European-style interior paralleled with traditional Chinese cuisine. Its menu is filled with familiar delights like dim sum, rice and noodle dishes, and more.
The Grand Stage, 2/F, Western Market, 323 Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 8202 4948
Honeymoon Dessert is one of Hong Kong’s OG purveyors of all things sweet and delicious. First established in Sai Kung in 1995, you can now find branches of Honeymoon Dessert all across Hong Kong—and even at Western Market. It specialises in mango desserts, going through more than 14,000 mangoes a day to create treats like mango pancakes ($37), mango pudding ($23), mango glutinous rice dumplings ($25), and more. Aside from its mango specialities, Honeymoon Dessert also offers classic Hong Kong desserts like sesame soup ($25), glutinous rice balls in sweet ginger soup ($29), and red bean soup ($21) for those who prefer something a little more traditional.
Honeymoon Dessert, Shop 4–8, G/F, Western Market, 323 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2851 2606
Perched streetside along the tram lines, Das Gute is one of many outposts of this German-inspired Japanese bakery chain, where you can indulge in everything from baked goods to pastries and cakes. Whether you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth with roll cakes, Bundt cakes, tarts, and mousse cakes, these experts can whip up confectionary delights to soothe your cravings. Savouries come in the form of sandwiches, which you can get heated up. Das Gute at Western Market also offers lunch sets for those who prefer a casual sit-down meal.
Das Gute, Shop G1–G3, G/F, Western Market, 323 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2851 2872