Sai Ying Pun is located in the western part of Hong Kong Island.
It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and was also where the British military first settled in the 1840s—the Chinese name literally means “west camp.” The area still has a lot of old-world charm but it’s also becoming a hotspot for new businesses looking to escape the oversaturated—and overpriced—areas of nearby Sheung Wan and Central.
As a result, it’s become a wonderfully eclectic enclave where chic cafés and boutiques share the same streets as heritage buildings and traditional shops.
Sai Ying Pun has no shortage of effortlessly cool coffee shops. Grab breakfast and a caffeine fix at places like Coffee by Zion and Winstons Coffee. Serious coffee drinkers should check-out Polygon Cafe, which is one of the only places in town that serves Intelligentsia beans.
Tak Chong Sum Kee is immediately identifiable by the bamboo wares that are displayed by the entrance. This store has been in the neighborhood for more than three decades and is one of the last remaining places to still make bamboo steamers by hand. This humble appliance is traditionally used for dim sum but is also great for preparing other steamed meals or even just as a souvenir.
Locofama is a popular lunch spot for young, creative types in the area. This community-focused restaurant offers healthy meals made from locally sourced organic ingredients. Expect farm-fresh salads as well as heartier offerings such as slow-cooked short ribs and the downright indulgent black truffle crab dip.
Looking for something to brighten up your home? Then head to Thorn and Burrow on High Street. The store stocks colorful and quirky housewares from all over the world, from melamine bowls adorned with pastel parrots to handwoven rugs from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Afterwards, take a stroll around the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park—a lush, waterfront area named after the Chinese revolutionary.
Kwan Kee is a neighborhood institution. It’s packed on most nights so reservations are highly recommended. The restaurant is famous for its sizzling hot clay pot items, such as preserved Chinese sausage served over rice. Stir-fried dishes are also delicious. If you want to try one of the more recent additions to the area, BlackSalt plates up contemporary takes on traditional Indian recipes. Order the fork-tender ox cheek vindaloo with a side of cauliflower “c’cous.”
Hidden behind a nondescript red door, Ping Pong 129 Gintonería is one of the coolest venues in the area. The concept stems from the gin bars of Spain—the bar also serves tapas—but the look and feel is inspired by retro Hong Kong, complete with iconic neon signage.
The neighborhood is also home to Hong Kong’s outpost of Potato Head. Originally from Bali, the bar shakes up a range of classic and contemporary cocktails, most done with a Southeast Asian twist. Take the Bloody Mary for example, which packs plenty of heat, thanks to the addition of Indonesian peppers and spices. There’s also a carefully curated spirits list, which you can sip through as you kick back and enjoy the bar’s record collection.