Not quite Causeway Bay and not quite North Point, Tin Hau sits unassumingly between the two, while quietly raising its profile. Stretching to Fortress Hill to the edges of Victoria Park, the area’s charms are on its side streets and the quickly electrifying Electric Road. Now home to upscale addresses like National Properties’ Twenty-One Whitfield and Somerset serviced suites, Cheung Kong’s Diva and Henderson Land’s The Hemispheres a rash of premium office towers — AIA Tower, @convoy — have also opened their doors. Tin Hau is set for true stardom when Cheung Kong’s massive, still unnamed Oil Street project and New World Development’s The Pavilia Hill join the streetscape.
Oil Street Artspace
Located in the 1908 Grade II historical building that was the original home of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Oi! Is a community platform for creative exchange that attempts to bring art to the everyday. With an aim to promote young artists and local work, and engage the public, Oi! has a garden, one of the city’s funkiest bathrooms, three galleries and a workshop featuring Social Gastronomy, which brings awareness to food waste among rotating programmes.
Tin Hau Temple
Drop into the temple that is the area’s namesake. Dating to the early 18th century, Tin Hau Temple and the garden it sits on is a welcome respite from the pace of Causeway Bay. Believed to have started life as a shelter for a statue of Tin Hau discovered nearby by a Hakka family from Guangdong, the Tais, the temple grew from those modest beginnings to the structure it is today. The original family still manages the popular site.
10 Tin Hau Temple Road
Whether you’re having a party, curious about how to make sausage or have an interest in learning about sake as the latest thing with dinner, Ma Maison can help you out. Part classroom, part function space, part grocer, Ma Maison rents out its event space (there are other shops in TST and Tai Po) for private and runs new cooking workshops each month. Either way, it’s the mixing and mingling with chefs — and watching them in action — that draw the crowds.
Vintage clothing has a lot going for it: it’s environmentally and economically responsible, it reduces waste, and it’s cool. One of Hong Kong’s biggest and most varied vintage retailers is Midwest Vintage, which carries everything from jeans and leather jackets, to hats and accessories among its (on average) 10,000 pieces. Midwest sources its stock from Texas and does its best to ensure everything in the vintage section is original. If you’re still looking for that John Deere classic green tee, start here.
For the thousands of office staff now flooding the area every day, Smoko is quickly becoming the go-to choice for morning brew to go and quick, hearty sandwiches for lunch. Just about six months old, Smoko is for coffee snobs and is living up to its own discerning standards: their coffee is spot on and the shop is totally free of a mass produced Starbucks vibe. Australians will appreciate any coffee joint named for rising above simple coffee breaks.
Waffles and crepes as the foundation for wholly respectable breakfasts are on tap at Artisan, a great choice for the most important meal of the day. Complemented by well-sourced and locally roasted coffee, the café is s good choice for non-coffee aficionados, either for other drinks or accommodating staff that will serve less potent versions of favourites. Artisan also prides itself on its selection of handcrafted beer and wine. Tin Hau’s breakfast hangout — if you can get a seat.
Tin Hau Dessert
Desserts are all the rage these days but Tin Hau Dessert has been a favourite for years. Serving perfect tofu fa in personal wooden buckets, shaved ices, popular soups and Oreo serradura (!), Tin Hau Dessert has its share of celebrity devotees to go along with locals who travel from all parts of Hong Kong to satisfy sweet tooths.
ASAP’s concept has nothing to do with speed. An abbreviation for “As simple as possible,” this modern Japanese diner is a more daytime affair, largely due to its early closing hour and bright, welcoming décor. Though it focuses on the fusion elements — spaghetti with black pork cutlets, yuzu vinaigrettes — ASAP has plenty of favourites like Japanese curries and omelettes, as well as perfect lunch fare sandwiches. Portions are generous, but if you have room the dessert menu features sweet tofu with strawberries and various sagos and grass jellies.
Poppy’s Restaurant & Wine Bar
Tucked behind an unruly mess of plants and vines (that’s good), Poppy’s is supposed to be French, but its menu is as messy as its shop front (still good). Serving dishes as varied as Asian noodles, seafood and pasta, Poppy’s thick, laminated old school menu is impressive. So is the wine list, which has thousand-dollar vintages right alongside $200 bargains. The staff is friendly and the ambience is unfussy. A delightful throwback in the best way possible.
Hot Star Large Fried Chicken
So many cuisines feature a fried chicken that you can have it from Kentucky one day and Korea the next. This Taiwan Shi Lin Night Market import, with branches in various parts of the world, gives you exactly what it says. Fried chicken. Sized large. Hot Star’s signature is its super-crispy, extra-tasty crust deep-fried to keep the meat beneath juicy and tender. Make no mistake: this is junk food for particular cravings, but if you give up KFC for Hot Star once you’ll never go back.
What neighbourhood is without its local dumpling house? Just slightly off the beaten path is this boisterous eatery serving up Shanghai style dumplings and much, much more. All the usual suspects are represented on the menu (braised meatballs, wuxi ribs, dandan noodles) but vegetarians will be thrilled to know one of the SAR’s tastiest veggie dumplings are here, along with a solid vegetarian selection. All the dumplings are wrapped on site, with perfect skins that are neither too tough nor too mushy.