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Hong Kong Neighbourhood Talk: Living in Sheung Wan

We are a little bit obsessed with Sheung Wan; the amount of restaurants and coffee shops, the street art, the dog walkers. Everything.  But we don’t want you to think we are biased so we talk to the residents themselves about why Sheung Wan is the hippest neighbourhood in HK right now.

Name: Rachel Jacqueline

Originally from: Australia

Occupation: Freelance journalist and creative writer

 

rachel-j-headshot

 

THE SPECIFICS

What street do you live on?

Wing Lok Street.

What’s the name of your neighbourhood?

Sheung Wan.

How long have you lived here?

Almost six years.

Why here?

Location, location, location! It’s a seven-minute walk into town, a 10-minute (albeit uphill) jog to the trails around the Peak, close to the station and great eateries. It also still has that Hong Kong feel to it: from the antiques on sale at Hollywood Road and Cat Street Galleries, to the small industrial and other shops surrounding Bonham Strand and Wing Lok Street – it’s a complete mix of Western and Eastern influences.

 

THE SCENE

When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:

Buildings and busyness – that sort of sums up Sheung Wan!

The closest store (of any type) to your front door is:

I live smack bang in Hong Kong’s dried seafood centre. Dried abalone and sea cucumber, anyone?

Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less:

Noise. It’s always noisy. At least you’re never alone!

 

random-antique-shop-sheung-wan

 

The unofficial uniform of your street is:

It’s a mix: urbanites in suits to creative hipsters; street stall vendors to mainland tourists.

 

If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be:

Cara Delevingne.

When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:

Head to Man Mo temple on Hollywood Road.

If you’re missing home, you:

Head up to Oolaa on Bridges street. It’s got that Aussie vibe.

 

A mandatory stop for taking out-of-town guests is:

Tai Ping Shan and surrounding streets to check out the hip little shops, cute cafes and cool street art.

 

sheung-wan-laneway

You’d swap houses in a second with:

Someone living in the New Territories and closer to the trails. I have to run up the hill to get my dose of green!

 

A common myth about your neighbourhood is:

That it’s cheap. It used to be cheap, but Sheung Wan is getting increasingly “hip” and expensive.

 

If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:

I’m lucky enough to have double-glazing, so it’s usually Hong Kong’s hectic thunderstorms.

THE SUPERLATIVES

Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:

That’s a tough one as there are so many, but I’ve had an enduring Sheung Wan relationship with NoodleMi on Bonham strand. Their soft shell crab rice paper rolls are scrumptious.

 

sheung-wan-hong-kong

 

You won’t find better local food than at:

One of the many dai pai dongs on Gough street, just up the road.

 

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:  

A man walking in Wellies carrying an entire pig carcass over his shoulder.

 

The best bargains in your neighbourhood are:

The many sidewalk food stalls. You can bring home a bag of various Asian greens to feed you for a few meals for less than HK$30.

 

The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:

The cheese selection at Monsieur Chatte, or a sweet galette from La Creperie.

 

One thing you’d never change is:

The randomness. Fancy restaurants are nestled in the same street as air-conditioner repairmen. You never know what you’re going to encounter, one step to the next.

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:

The pollution. With buildings so close together, I feel it all gets a little trapped down here.

 

The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:

Make it pedestrianised and take out all the traffic.

 

Why should your neighborhood be featured in a guidebook?

It remains one of the coolest little ‘hoods in the city, hands down.

 

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