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Sai Wan Ho — a dining and cultural hub

Situated in the northeast of Hong Kong Island, Sai Wan Ho is primarily a residential area with a mix of private and public housing. Sai Wan Ho started off as a small village and was the site of the Tai Koo Dockyard worker quarters. It experienced its first development in the 1960s with the building of the new worker quarters and the completion of Tai On Building, which at the time possessed the largest shopping arcade in Asia. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the neighbourhood saw substantial development and growth when the Island Eastern Corridor was commissioned and extensive reclamation was needed to create more land, making Sai Wan Ho what it is now.

In order to serve its growing population, Sai Wan Ho has become a culinary and cultural entertainment hub where residents can purchase daily essentials.

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Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre
Sitting conveniently above the Sai Wan Ho MTR station, Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre is a community arts centre located in the heart of the neighbourhood. Opened in 1990, the three-storey venue houses a 110-seat cultural activities hall, music practice rooms, a theatre, art studios, and a URBTIX Box Office.

To fully utilise its capacity, the centre does not only provide entertainment for residents of Hong Kong East, but also offers its spaces and facilities to cultural and community arts organisations for staging performances and activities. An event calendar is published every month to list the programmes held at the Civic Centre as well as the free entertainment programmes organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).

The variety of programmes and workshops offered include classical, folk, pop music, Chinese opera, ballroom, Latin dancing, theatre and acting, painting and calligraphy and magic shows.

Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre
Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre

Tai On Building
Built in 1968, Tai On Building is a residential and commercial structure located right across from the Sai Wan Ho MTR station and is a landmark of the district. It has been made famous by the eateries located on the ground floor of the arcade and has earned itself the title ‘Little Shilin’.

 Tai On Building
If you only look at the street level chain restaurants, you might think that Tai On Building is just a run-of-the-mill neighbourhood mall but the surprise lies inside the unassuming arcade that spans across 20,000 sq. ft. of space which is home to more than two dozens of independent eateries. For residents of the neighbourhood and visitors, it presents a convenient one-stop shop for meals and a hotspot for midnight snacks.

Spread across different corners of the arcade in a rather disorderly fashion, the stalls generally open slightly before noon and close past midnight. The delicious, authentic and reasonably priced treats available include Hainan chicken, omurice, sushi handrolls, dumplings, traditional Chinese desserts and street foods such as egg waffles, bovine offal, fish balls, cart noodles, satay, specialty torn pancakes, bubble tea, and more. Everything sounds mouth-watering, right?! Remember to leave some room for your next visit to this street food heaven!

Tai On Bldg
Tai On Building is also famous for being the birthplace of the now renowned chain restaurant Tai Hing.

SOHO east  
SOHO east is a cluster of eateries spread across four blocks of Lei King Wan. All lined along Tai Hong Street, SOHO east offers chic dining in a relaxed and stylish atmosphere and is made up of over 20 cafes, pubs, wine bars, lounges and restaurants. The collection of international gourmet on offer includes Chinese, Mediterranean, Italian, French, Spanish Japanese, and Thai. The eateries along Block A and B offer unobstructed views of Victoria Harbour; the long row of restaurants are opposite Sai Wan Ho Harbour Park, where locals like to jog or walk their dogs.

SOHO east
For visitors who are driving, there are three parking facilities close by - The Grand Promenade Carpark, The Island East Sports Center Carpark, as well as parking meters along Tai Hong Street.

On a side note, Sai Wan Ho Pier is right across the street from SOHO east, and visitors can hop on a beautifully painted ferry to destinations such as Kwun Tong, Sam Ka Tsuen and Tung Lung Chau.

Hong Kong Film Archive 
Famously known as the ‘Hollywood of the East’, Hong Kong earned its reputation as a filmmaking hub for the Chinese-speaking world and a film capital of Asia during the 1980s when it became the third largest film industry in the world in terms of productions, box office, quality, artistry and the second largest film exporter.

Dedicated to the collection, preservation and study of over one hundred years of Hong Kong film, Hong Kong Film Archive was founded in 1993 and its doors opened in 2001. The five-storey structure houses facilities such as an exhibition hall, cinema and a projection room, resource centre and of course, film storage.

Hong Kong Film Archive
To preserve valuable film footage and related materials, the Hong Kong Film Archive has collected over one million items which include over 3,000 films through acquisition, donation from film companies, television stations, film laboratories, aficionados, and assistance of film archives, museums, libraries and other cultural organisations in the form of exchange, reproduction or purchase. In the cases of damaged and degraded footage, the restoration and conservation team at the film archive will work their magic by using techniques such as cleaning, repairing, image scanning, or digital restoration to preserve the film.

Hong Kong Film Archive
Hong Kong Film Archive
Prized items in the collection include a 1898 scenic documentary shot in Hong Kong by the Edison Company (US), The Orphan discovered in Rank Film Laboratories (UK), and restored classics such as Confucius (1940) and The Story of Wong Fei-hung, Parts One & Two (1949).

Located on the third floor is the resource centre that is home to a great selection of audio-visual materials, publications, screenplays, film stills and posters. The facility is open to the general public with access to workstations and viewing booths.

The film archive also releases publications, offers guided tours, and regularly hosts exhibitions, screenings and seminars showcasing films from Hong Kong and all over the world, with themes such as period wardrobe, the New Wave era, and early cinematic culture.

The Hong Kong Film Archive is the place to be for film fanatics, and Time magazine has rated a visit to the Hong Kong Film Archive as one of the ’25 Authentic Asian Experiences’.

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