Wondering where to live in Hong Kong? It’s always good to talk to the neighbours! In our regular Street Talk feature, we get the inside scoop from residents of different areas. Here, we chat to CHRISTINE BOMBARDIERI about living in Yuen Long, New Territories.
Name: Christine Bombardieri
Occupation: Native English Teacher
Yuen Long – a fact file
- Yuen Long is home to some 600,000 people, making it the third most populated of Hong Kong’s 18 districts.
- It was probably settled around 3,500 years ago. In ancient times, Yuen Long developed a reputation as an agricultural centre, especially for salt and pearls. Even today, there are a small handful of oyster-farming families in the area.
- Until a century or so ago, Yuen Long was known as Un Long.
- The area has Hong Kong’s largest alluvial plain at 144 square kilometres, about the same size as Lantau.
- Yuen Long New Town was developed in the 1970s.
Where do you live, and how long have you been there? I’ve lived in Yuen Long in the New Territories for seven years.
Why this suburb? My husband’s family live in Yuen Long and we wanted to live close to them. We also like that Yuen Long is spacious and has great views of the mountains and neighbouring suburbs in the New Territories.
What transport is available in your suburb? So much! MTR, KMB buses, minibuses, taxis, light rails and bikes (there is a great bike track from Yuen Long to Tuen Mun).
When you walk out of your house, what’s the first thing you see? I see gardens, cars and a shopping mall. What’s the closest store to your front door? Western and Japanese restaurants and a 7-Eleven.
What’s the unofficial uniform of your suburb? The unofficial uniform of Yuen Long is outfits from Uniqlo, sportswear and designer brand crossbody bags.
If a celebrity moved in, who would it most likely be? It would be someone like Joaquin Phoenix. Yuen Long is great for anyone who loves a taste of local culture and doesn’t mind getting their feet dirty and wet while exploring. (Going through the markets can be an eye-opener for many expats!)
What do you do when you’re in need of a dose of culture? Walk along Castle Peak Road in Yuen Long to eat delicious food, find bargains at markets and discover local independent shops. In particular, in the early part of the year you can see beautiful decorations and flowers and feel the excitement of Yuen Long preparing for Chinese New Year. You can also visit the “lantern street” inside Tai Kiu Market to see and buy beautiful colourful lanterns that are on display for Mid-Autumn Festival.
What’s a mandatory stop for taking out-of-town guests? Eating yum cha, exploring the beautiful Yuen Long Park and admiring the colours of the trees (during autumn and winter) of the Sweet Gum Woods at Tai Tong (inside Tai Lam Country Park).
What’s a common myth about your area? That Yuen Long is far away and there’s not much to do here! There are so many shopping options, sporting activities, parks and wetlands, bike tracks and food choices here. There’s also lots to explore in the neighbouring suburbs of Tin Shui Wai and Tuen Mun.
What’s the most likely thing to wake you at night in your neighbourhood? On the rare occasion, an ambulance siren might wake me up as a hospital is nearby – that or a car or two cruising the streets.
What makes a massive late-night rager in your suburb? Late dinner and dessert and then karaoke till early in the morning! Another might be enjoying hot-pot at home with family and playing games and talking till late.
What’s your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joint? A local place called “嶺南美食”, which offers the best fish balls and siu mai in town. The shop is run by a mother-and-daughter duo and they’re open every day except for a few Chinese holidays. I also enjoy Oliver’s Super Sandwiches – they have yummy pasta dishes and burgers and the staff are always so friendly.
Where would you find the best local food? Try the street food vendors along Yau San Street, and the fresh bread and desserts at Moment of Happiness Cake Shop.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in your neighbourhood? Dogs in stylish prams.
Where are the best bargains? At Tung Yick or Tai Kiu Markets for food when having hot-pot or large dinners with family and friends.
What’s the guiltiest local pleasure? Kai Kee Cantonese dessert shop. Amazing desserts!
What’s one thing you’d never change? The “old school” feeling when dining at local restaurants and eating local dishes such as fried beef flat noodles, condensed milk buns and wonton noodles.
If the city gave you HK$5M to soup up your area, what would you do? I would find ways to fix the traffic and pedestrian congestion and give money to the NGOs in the area to help those affected by COVID
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This article first appeared in the Autumn 2022 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!