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As an arrival, Hong Kong is unarguably a culture shock. It unapologetically attacks all the senses at once with the bright lights, pungent smells and loud, bustling streets. It’s an incredible city to discover and the deeper into Hong Kong life you find yourself, the more you want to submerge into the lifestyle and adapt to the humming surroundings.
To start your Hong Kong trip, PoHo is an ideal neighbourhood to adjust to the culture. PoHo is a newly developed area in the, already cool, Sheung Wan district. Named more specifically after the area, Po Hing Fong, the upcoming neighbourhood boasts remarkable street art along the buildings, and independent cafes, vintage shops and Michelin starred restaurants to discover within. It is not dissimilar to most gentrified neighbourhoods around the globe and is an intriguing fusion of western and Asian culture, which is perfect for easing you in, or to depend on for home comforts.
Many cafés in Hong Kong are little oasis’s tucked away amongst the busyness, so here are three lovely, independently owned cafés to grab a hot brew and a snack, that I’d like to begin with.
Firstly, Teakha is a quaint tea shop that hosts more than just a cup of chai. Homemade cakes, small pop up markets selling artisan products and even movie screenings are just a few other charming extras to this teashop. It is the cutest place to find yourself sipping some organic tea amongst locals.
Next, the coffee shop SP_CE is located on a corner where you can enjoy a brew al dente. Try a ginger latte for a change, made with freshly chopped ginger, and pair it with a delicious bagel, or a slice of cake and enjoy some relaxed people watching. If one thing cool places have in common in PoHo, most of their shop signs are fluorescent, such as SP_CE, so it is definitely not hard to find.
Or, consider The Cupping Room as another place to depend on for a coffee and brunch. Open all day and serving your usual brunch favourites such as avocado on toast, this café is not only in PoHo but also you can find them dotted around the city; so certainly, one to keep a note of and try before settling for a Starbucks.
In fact, why not take your choice of coffee over to Blake Garden. This park is where PoHo is pretty much shaped around and is a rare green, tranquil space amongst the high-rise buildings. Boasting beautiful trees that wrap around the benches to sit at and take in the city from, and a couple of courts where you can find locals playing basketball.
For the perfect carb fix, Capo Bakery serves a range of freshly made Italian produce to eat in or take away. Fresh bread, pizza, you name it, it’s a perfect comfort spot to satisfy your cravings. Much like most spaces in Hong Kong, it is a small but cosy space.
Introducing some Asian food now, bao burgers are where it is at when it comes to easing the pallet and eating traditional food. Little Bao is where it is at One of my personal favourite spots that I visited in Hong Kong I would be disappointed in anyone reading this that didn’t take this particular piece of advice which I must repeat: Go to Little Bao. One of the most incredible places to get bao burgers, their pork belly bao has stayed on their menu for 6 years now for very good reason. Fluffy, soft pillows filled with delicious flavour, you can share a variety amongst a group and try the Szechuan fried chicken, vegetarian baos and fish tempura. Of course there are other dishes like a choice of dumplings to try and notably a choice of cocktails, but I cannot express enough how good these bao burgers are. Another space that is easy to spot by its fluorescent logo adorning the front, look for the cute fluorescent baby face.
For an extra evening of delicious, Cantonese meet western food, try Man Mo Dim Sum.Another great spot for large groups, the idea is to order lots of little dishes for the table and enjoy tapas style. It’s a chilled, relaxed vibe in Man Mo Dim Sum, with a cool, dark interior, and as it’s tucked away amongst the trinket shops it’ll feel like you’ve discovered your own secret escape, a perfect place to spend an evening with friends.
For a date night, Michelin starred restaurant Upper Modern Bistro, is perfect setting for somewhere with a romantic atmosphere. Think: fresh burrata cheese for a starter, Cote de Boeuf as a main and a dreamy bottle of vino to pair, this French Philippe Orrico restaurant is one to note to take a partner and indulge into the glorious French dishes.
Lastly, grab some beers at Craftissimo. Allegedly, the ‘Top destination for Craft Beer in Hong Kong’, Craftissimo dedicates itself to being one of the few places in the city that sells its residents craft beer. The expert staff make sure the selection of beers are constantly in rotation, and they are sourced locally and internationally so there will always be something new to try!
PoHo is a fantastic area of Hong Kong to discover locally made products and to support independent businesses. Fungus Workshop, is a unique spot to find a one of a kind handbag. You can actually book a group of 2 or 4 two hours sessions and create your own leather handbag, or save the time and buy one already handmade. Also sold here are paintings, photography and other homewares all locally created.
Or, try a.Style, even just to view the cool art pieces or to get something of your own. This shop feels as if you’ve walked into a quirky art exhibition, with exceptional pieces from the likes of Keith Haring and his iconic designs on plates, to unique wall art, furnishings and more.
Proving to be on the up, there are many more places to discover in PoHo and the independent restaurants, cafes and shops only keep on appearing. If anything, take a trip here to support the small, local businesses!