Sai Ying Pun: A Heaven for Pups and Grub

Cato Sze cartoon Sai Ying Pun

Sai Ying Pun, located in the northwestern part of Hong Kong Island, literally means “western camp” because it was where the early British military camp was set up. Built upon the steep slopes of Victoria Peak, the centre of Sai Ying Pun is organised grid-style, with First Street at the bottom of the hill to the north, and Second, Third, then High Street progressing up the incline to the south. Despite being within walking distance of Central, Sai Ying Pun still retains much of its traditional Chinese charm. Lots of expats have a preference for the neighbourhood precisely for this authentic flavour of local life, which nonetheless still offers western comforts.


Sai Ying Pun Thorn & Burrow

Thorn & Burrow stocks plenty of quirky home decorations and is a firm favourite for fans of interior design. Wine lovers should head up the road to French Flair, where bottles are carefully curated and you can sip your way through all the Champagne region wines. Earlier this year, Hong Kong’s first zero-waste grocery store, Live Zero, opened on High Street where you can find a huge array of organic produce and home products—just don’t forget to bring your own Tupperware! Above Second gallery exhibits loud controversial artworks in a range of mediums, from comic books to graffiti. For a flair of tradition, pop into Tak Chong Sum Kee Bamboo Steamer Company on Western Street, one of the very few shops left where all wares are still hand crafted; the iconic little steamers make a lovely memento, and the smallest ones available will only set you back by a mere HK$15.

Food & Beverage

Sai ying pun food

Sai ying pun Fish School

If there’s one good reason to trudge up the slopes of Sai Ying Pun, it is the food. Sai Ying Pun boasts a great array of restaurants and cafes, with the highest concentration located on High Street. Among our favourites are Fish School for its eclectic takes on seafood, Potato Head for laid-back authentic Indonesian fare, Uncle Padak for incredible Korean fried chicken, The Winery for its great atmosphere to hang out in, and Ping Pong 129 Gintonería for its vast library of gin from across the globe. One of the areas’ most famous landmarks is the stretch of shops colloquially referred to as “Seafood Street”—the section of Des Voeux Road West from Sheung Wan to approximately Centre Street is largely dominated by shops solely dealing in dried seafood. This is a remnant of the past when fishermen would moor along the Western shore and unload their catches; Sai Ying Pun eventually came to house a great many shops wholesaling dried seafood goods. In the run-up to Chinese New Year, these shops will be absolutely heaving with people stocking up on many seasonal essentials.

Leisure and Facilities

Sai Ying Pun is home to one of the best parks in the area, the Sun Yat Sen Park. Situated on the waterfront, it has sea views, nice springy grass to sprawl out on, as well as a public swimming pool. As with most public parks, no dogs are allowed, but overall Sai Ying Pun is a very dog-friendly neighbourhood and more often than not you’ll notice pooches accompanying their humans around town. A little further east from Sun Yat Sen Park, there is a dog park on Chung Kong Road. Locofama hosts LAP’s Puppy Adoption Day every Sunday, and various other establishments will gladly welcome a visit from your pet; these include but are not limited to the Open Door Café + Courtyard (dog yoga, anyone?), Winstons Coffee, Flying Pig Bistro, BlackSalt, and Mr S.Y. Punti.

Sai ying pun seafood street

Head to Yu Lok Lane for a glimpse into old tenement houses, where you can see the timber French doors and pitched roofs used in the original housing design. Up on High Street, the site of the old mental hospital overlooks the area all the way down to the sea. Built in 1892, it was originally the medical staff quarters of the Government Civil Hospital, and was then converted into wards for mentally ill female patients to relieve overcrowding of the mental hospital which was in the vicinity. The colonial-style façade of the hospital can still be seen now as it houses the Sai Ying Pun community complex. 

Sai ying pun community complex