Sheung Wan Neighborhood Guide

  • Little Bao’s scrumptious baked Mac and Cheese.

    Little Bao’s scrumptious baked Mac and Cheese.

  • Braised pork belly offset by a light sesame salad between two perfect bao buns.

    Braised pork belly offset by a light sesame salad between two perfect bao buns.

  • The short rib dumpling, a non-bao offering from Little Bao.

    The short rib dumpling, a non-bao offering from Little Bao.

  • One of Little Bao’s desserts, a salted ice cream with caramel sandwich.

    One of Little Bao’s desserts, a salted ice cream with caramel sandwich.

  • Shop the overflowing stalls of Cat Street. Photo by Cindy Chan

    Shop the overflowing stalls of Cat Street. Photo by Cindy Chan

  • A Cat Street stall crammed with wares. Photo by Cindy Chan

    A Cat Street stall crammed with wares. Photo by Cindy Chan

  • Uncle Stezo’s stall—look for the green set-up laden with old kung-fu movie posters. Photo by Cindy Chan

    Uncle Stezo’s stall—look for the green set-up laden with old kung-fu movie posters. Photo by Cindy Chan

  • Hong Kong’s Hollywood Road is lined with antique stores. Photo by Cindy Chan

    Hong Kong’s Hollywood Road is lined with antique stores. Photo by Cindy Chan

  • Chocolate chip cookies done in Po’s Atelier’s style.

    Chocolate chip cookies done in Po’s Atelier’s style.

  • Loaves for sale at Po’s Atelier bakery.

    Loaves for sale at Po’s Atelier bakery.

  • Danishes on display at Po’s Atelier bakery.

    Danishes on display at Po’s Atelier bakery.

  • The spread at Po's with photography by its founder, Jonathan Leijonhufvud.

    The spread at Po's with photography by its founder, Jonathan Leijonhufvud.

  • A view from the Sheung Wan subway stop into its bustling core. Photo by Cindy Chan

    A view from the Sheung Wan subway stop into its bustling core. Photo by Cindy Chan

  • Graffiti plastering the stairway up to Cat Street in Sheung Wan. Photo by Cindy Chan

    Graffiti plastering the stairway up to Cat Street in Sheung Wan. Photo by Cindy Chan

  • A barista brewing.

    A barista brewing.

  • The entry sign for Teakha. Photo by Cindy Chan

    The entry sign for Teakha. Photo by Cindy Chan

  • The entrance to Teakha, a tea house off Tai Ping Shan Road. Photo by Cindy Chan

    The entrance to Teakha, a tea house off Tai Ping Shan Road. Photo by Cindy Chan

  • The interior of XXX, a multi-use space that doubles as a gallery and a nightclub.

    The interior of XXX, a multi-use space that doubles as a gallery and a nightclub.

  • XXX kitted out for an art show.

    XXX kitted out for an art show.

  • The neon-drenched entryway down into XXX.

    The neon-drenched entryway down into XXX.

  • Sweet corn tempura.

    Sweet corn tempura.

  • Open-flame grilled chicken rules at Yardbird.

    Open-flame grilled chicken rules at Yardbird.

  • Chicken thigh yakitori from Yardbird.

    Chicken thigh yakitori from Yardbird.

  • Like a proper yakitori restaurant, Yardbird offers up any part of the chicken you would like on a stick.

    Like a proper yakitori restaurant, Yardbird offers up any part of the chicken you would like on a stick.

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Sheung Wan’s once sleepy Chinese apartment blocks now house a vibrant arts scene and posh Asian-influenced eateries

By Ryan Brooks
Photos by Cindy Chan

If you were part of the British navy who first touched down in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan more than a century ago you would have found a sleepy district filled with fish vendors and traditional Chinese medicine shops, quite disparate from the vibrant arts scene the area now incubates. Though the setting remains much the same—think ageing Chinese low-rise apartment blocks and overflowing antique shops—the constructs of this centrally located neighborhood are changing. Hints of the hip and haute are springing up: one moment you’ll be shuffling through a wet market set up generations ago and the next, among sleek bars open well past neighbors’ bedtimes. While brash and bright Central has long been the obvious choice for Michelin-starred cuisine and the latest bar du jour, Sheung Wan is slower, quieter, and quirkier. Along with artisan coffee shops and contemporary art galleries comes the pains of gentrification, but for now the territory maintains the precarious balance between cheap rents, hipster credibility, and curious clientele that provide fertile ground for a neighborhood like nowhere else on Hong Kong island.

Graffiti plastering the stairway up to Cat Street in Sheung Wan. Photo by Cindy Chan

Graffiti plastering the stairway up to Cat Street in Sheung Wan. Photo by Cindy Chan

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