Neighbourhood Guide: What To Eat, Drink And Do In Mong Kok
Packing an average of 130,000 people into every square kilometre, Mong Kok holds the crown as the world's busiest and most densely populated district. It comes as no surprise that it's highly recommended in every guidebook for a taste of Hong Kong.
True to its title, Mong Kok in Cantonese means "crowded corner" and the district itself is a blend of multi-story structures and residential buildings. Because of this, it has appeared in several Hong Kong movies and reimagined as the setting for dystopian or sci-fi films thanks to its vibrant neon lights and busy streets.
Being a famed shopping destination with its giant shopping malls and long street markets, the neighbourhood is home to plenty of dining options, from the best coffee shops, to restaurants offering impeccable views and dessert shops.
As the centre of youth subculture, the neighbourhood is the perfect place for artsy individuals and hipsters alike, but also welcomes people from all walks of life with its diverse range of things to do including historic sites, fitness centres, and record stores.
With so much on offer, we've condensed the best of what to eat, drink and do in the neighbourhood.
Where To Eat And Drink
Chuan Palace is one of the best places to try Sichuan food––a cuisine that is getting more and more popular. While not everyone's tastebuds and tolerance for the spice is the same, it's still worth a try especially the restaurant's signature Sichuan-styled stewed ox tongue. Other recommended dishes include Sichuan peppercorn stewed mandarin fish, chilled poached chicken in Sichuan style, and fried prawns with pepper in casserole.
Compared to other places that serve Sichuan delicacies that uses striking red colours, Chuan Place tones down with Prussian blue carpeting and matching banquettes emitting a cooler atmosphere which seems to contrast the spicy food that you'll be having.
Shop 501, 5/F Moko, 193 Prince Edward Road East, Mongkok, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 2339 1900; moko.com.hk/dinings/chuan-palace
The Place is Cordis' all-day dining restaurant and a perfect choice to enjoy a Hong Kong-themed afternoon tea buffet. Featuring local teatime delicacies, live cooking stations, and tea-inspired desserts, you'll definitely be spoiled for choice here.
The restaurant's culinary team crafted an array of Hong Kong delicacies including honey barbecued pork rice with fried rice, beef macaroni in tomato soup, and prawn toast. Other recommended dishes include snapper sashimi, scrambled egg with black truffle sauce, and fried fish cake in Korean style.
A meal isn't complete without dessert. Satisfy your sweet tooth with their tea-inspired desserts such as jasmine lychee mango cake, matcha warabi mochi, and oolong tea pudding.
Level L, 555 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 3552 3028; email@example.com; cordishotels.com/en/hong-kong/restaurants-and-bars/the-place
Dignity Kitchen is a one-of-a-kind restaurant that aims to do what they can for the community. Their commitment to their mission is embodied in their tagline "made with love, served with dignity." Much more heartwarming is their employment of differently-abled staff to cook and serve at the Mong Kok kitchen––providing them with a chance to work in a restaurant and equipping them with the tools to become financially dependent something that is not readily available.
The Singaporean-style hawker restaurant is located in a restored pre-wat building that overlooks the bustling scene of the district. Their menu includes Hainan chicken rice, laksa claypot rice, and nasi lemak. For dessert, enjoy the pandan chiffon cake set reminiscent of the one at famed Singapore bakery, Bengawan Solo. A visit here not only fills up your stomach but also warms up your heart.
2/F, 618 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok; +852 2561 2633; facebook.com/Dignity-Kitchen-Hong-Kong
Knockbox Coffee Company
All coffeeholics need their daily supply of coffee to fuel the day. At Knockbox Coffee Company, the team is truly passionate about coffee and not afraid to show it. Besides serving freshly roasted coffee every week, their beans are also expertly and ethically sourced from Panama, Ethiopia, Brazil, and El Salvador.
Their fine selection includes various kinds of espresso, roasted coffee, among many others. But that's not all––they also host workshops and courses on espresso-making and latte art. Every Friday night, they unveil their new roast for the week where you can enjoy endless refills and a full information list. Or if your workplace is on the hunt for the best coffee, they also provide a consulting service to corporate clients who are looking for the most suitable coffee.
G/F, Hak Po Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 2781 0363; knockboxcoffee.hk
Akune Wagyu Tachikui Yakinikumise
Standing restaurants in Japan are fairly common but in Hong Kong, this concept might raise a few eyebrows. To find out what the fuss is all about, head over to Akune Wagyu Tachikui Yakinikumise, the first standing restaurant serving Japanese-style barbecue in Hong Kong.
Relish the exquisite taste of different cuts of A4 and A5 wagyu beef sourced from Kagoshima. You don't have to travel all the way to Japan because the restaurant recreates the vibe and look of the Land of the Rising Sun through its classic Japanese wood sliding doors and red lanterns dotting the front. All the beef cuts are charged per piece and you can dip them into a vaiety of sauces. This restaurant is perfect for any meat lovers' palette.
Shop 8, G/F, Ngai Hing Mansion, 2-24 Pak Po Street, Mong Kok
The Madhouse Taproom
The Madhouse is a great addition to Mong Kok's craft beer scene. This beer joint offers new and unique craft beer and craft cider experience with 20 draft taps and a specialised bottle selection from around the world. The team carefully hand-picks all their craft beers and craft ciders which are all imported directly around the world.
If you're new to the world of craft beer, you're in good hands. The staff are eager to give friendly advice as well as insights into the different styles of the craft beers and even their history. More than just drinks, their food menu goes perfectly whatever you're sipping.
G/F, 16 Yim Po Fong Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 2466 3166; themadhouse.com.hk
Dining with a view? Mong Kok has that too. At Sky 726, you not only get artistic dishes but also an underestimated view of the Mong Kok skyline. Bringing a unique perspective on French dining, this restaurant located at the top floor of Nathan 726 aims to provide an eclectic and modern take on traditional cuisine.
The restaurant boasts an artistic vibe with an open kitchen, hand-painted murals, and a crystal chandelier put together by hand. Their menu includes a la carte, set dinner, vegetarian and brunch. If you're looking for French delights, the a la carte menu is heavily French while the others enjoy a mix of other western dishes. The cocktail list might leave you undecided for a while as it's six pages long and offers a wide range––vintage classics to modern favourites and even in-house creations.
25/F, 726 Nathan Road Building, 724–726 Nathan Road, Mongkok, Kowloon; +852 2390 3088; sky726.com
Di King Heen
Mong Kok definitely has a variety of cuisines to choose from but classic local food can never go wrong. At Di King Heen, you can feast on contemporary Chinese cuisine. With the freshest and most succulent ingredients bearing their dishes, you're guaranteed to get your local food fix.
Their signature dishes are the boiled soup with young lobster, barbecued fillets of Kurobuto pork with honey sauce, and sliced lobster on stream egg white topped with pumpkin sauce. A truly fine meal served against an opulent backdrop, bearing colour scheme of modest silver and light gold topped off with lavender and purple.
Royal Plaza Hotel, 3/F 193 Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 2928 8822; royalplaza.com.hk
As if we can't recommend Cantonese food enough, you won't regret having a meal at Ming Court. Cordis' flagship Cantonese restaurant doesn't just offer the classics but also have plenty of surprising dishes to get your hands on. As a Michelin-starred restaurant since 2009, you get an elevated dining experience from the culinary team's sophisticated menu, using the best ingredients from around the world.
Creating a stunning Cantonese food and wine pairing experience, the restaurant has its own Ming Cellar featuring over 400 wines from over 100 regions. From its expansive menu, we recommend savouring the baked stuff crab shell with onions and cheese or veering for the roast pork belly and suckling pig.
6/F Cordis, 555 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 3552 3330; cordishotels.com
What To Do
Mong Kok seems to be the epicentre of the hip and artsy youth so it's perfect for something that's been undergoing a revival these days––vinyl. Over at Zoo Records, you splurge on the reputable amount of classic and contemporary hits from pop to experimental. The quaint little record shop also has a number of European indie music.
If you just want a place to hang out and listen to good music, the store also holds live shows and music festivals, introducing you to the city's indie talents.
Shop 325, 3/F, President Commercial Centre, 608 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, +852 2309 2911; zoo-records.com
Dip your toes into more creative hobbies and visit Clay Lab, the city's first 24-hour access ceramics studio. Nothing's more exciting than getting your hands dirty as you try to create your own Leonardo da Vinci-inspired masterpiece. Channel your creative juices amidst the minimalistic white decor and wide windows which serve as a soothing companion during your pottery-making session.
Clay Lab, Flat A, 6/F, Waterloo Plaza, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 +852 2989 2300; tungyaoceramics.com
Lui Seng Chun
Who would've thought that such a historic site exists in the hip and modern vibe of Mong Kok? Lui Seng Chun is a "tong lau," or tenement building that used to be shophouse buildings during pre-war Hong Kong where the ground floor serve as shops and the upper floors for residential use.
Taishan transport and trading businessman Lui Leung purchased the land and assigned WH Bourne to design the historical building. The Lui family then lived on the upper floors while the ground floor was a Chinese bone-setting medicine shop.
In 2000, it was designated a Grade I historic building. Thankfully, much of its architectural features have been retained including the stone plague marking the name of the shop and a row of decorative balustrades out in the front. Today, the building is a Chinese medicine healthcare centre operated by Baptist University's School of Chinese Medicine since April 2012. A visit here is worth a trip down memory lane.
Lui Seng Chun, 119 Lai Chi Kok Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
The Company Tattoo
Feeling ink-inspired? The Company Tattoo might give you the dose of inspiration you need. Spearheaded by trio Vince Yue, Dave Ryo Lau, and Jamie Kam, this tattoo shop is certainly backed by a multi-talented dream team. Lau specialises in contemporary tribalism, Lau puts a crisp spin on American traditional tattoes while Yue is a realism master.
Getting inked is serious business. The trio at this tattoo shop each have areas they specialise in so whatever you're looking for, they got it.
The Company Tattoo, Shop B, 3/F 581 Nathan Rd, Mong Kok, Kowloon, +852 2349 2649; thecompanytattoo.com.hk
Another thing to do at Cordis, after enjoying your meal, is to head over to Chuan Spa. You'll be welcomed by its candle-lit staircase accompanied by a gentle flowing water wall to any of the sixty holistic treatments they offer, designed to restore your peace and harmony. You can finish off your spa experience with one of their Chinese five-element teas as you rest at one of their luxe relaxation rooms.
The spa mainly offers traditional Chinese medicine-inspired treatments focusing on the balance of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water––the five elements needed for wellbeing. Depending on what type of comfort you're seeking, you can choose from their Body Elements package for restoring balance and reducing tension, Tao of Detox package for full-body exfoliation or their Chuan Ritual to enjoy any of their signature massages, facials, and oriental pampering.
Level 42, Cordis, 555 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 3552 2510; chuanspa.com.hk
Located at the heart of Mong Kok, this colossal 15-storey fashion landmark spans an area of up to 600,000 square feet. It is home to a myriad of international and local fashion brands, delicious food & beverage options, and a cinema. It's basically everything you need under one roof.
The shopping mall also has direct access to the district's only 5-star hotel, Cordis. An added bonus of visiting the mall? It's environmentally friendly––attaining the highest rating of the BEAM Plus EB V2.0 Comprehensive Scheme, a prestigious green building certification.
8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok, Kowlon, Hong Kong; langhamplace.com.hk
A visit to Mong Kok is not complete without going to the Ladies Market. This one-kilometre-long outdoor market is perhaps the district's most iconic feature. Selling everything you could think of from clothing, accessories, toys, electrical items to souvenirs, and so much more.
The bustling nature of the neighbourhood is definitely embodied by the busy shoppers at this market but it's also what makes the place come alive. Even if you aren't particularly looking for anything to buy here, just the experience of walking down this street and snapping pictures of the people is essential for a visit to Mong Kok.
Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Joining the Korean craze is 4ward Fitness. This Korean-inspired gym brings workout to another level with its fancy high-tech equipment looking like it's straight out of a sci-fi movie. The Instagram-worthy gym is located right next to Langham Place and claims itself to be the only holofit functional training zone in Hong Kong.
Its activities look like the result of combining classic games like Twister and Dance Dance Revolution together. They also have a 4D indoor spinning studio that's reminiscent of an episode of the popular British sci-fi show, Black Mirror. For those who really want to get serious, the 24-hour gym also offers classes in K-pop and Korean military-style training.
2/F, MPM plaza, 11 Nelson street, Mong kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 5802 0213; 4wardfitness.com.hk
True to its name, the Showa era in Japan was a time when analogue photography was thriving in the country. It's only fitting that one of the city's most popular go-to spot for shutterbugs and photographers is this film store in Mong Kok.
Honouring the time they're named after, Showa is passionate in helping you find the right film, can get your films developed, and also tell you the whats and hows of film photography. Besides selling film, they also offer various brands of cameras from compact, disposable to instant as well as a range of accessories for your camera.
3/F, 66 Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong; showa-store.com