Header image courtesy of @wpcpey (via Wikimedia Commons)
As unassuming as Kwai Chung’s vast swathes of residential buildings and grey, monochromatic industrial blocks may appear at first glance, this corner of Tsuen Wan New Town in West New Territories is anything but boring. Look past its modest façade and you will soon discover a burgeoning mecca of dining, shopping, and recreation that caters to all kinds of budgets and interests.
Long before transforming into the booming industrial and commercial hub it is today, Kwai Chung was formerly an inlet known as Gin Drinker’s Bay. The origin of this intriguing name remains a mystery—some say that swarms of rowdy pirates went on drunken killing sprees in the area during the eighteenth century, while others say that the bay was a hotspot among foreigners for drinking, yacht sailing, and merrymaking during the earlier days of British colonial rule. Regardless, the name faded out when the bay was reclaimed for new town development in the 1960s. These days, Kwai Chung attracts not pirates or yacht-partygoers, but an eclectic mix of businesses, residents, foodies, and up-and-coming creatives. If you’re looking to explore this vibrant neighbourhood, here are some of the best places to hit up!
In need of some heavy-duty retail therapy that won’t cost you a limb? Look no further than Kwai Chung Plaza! From clothes and accessories to electronics, essential amenities, and drool-worthy bites, this buzzing shopping complex conveniently located next to Kwai Fong MTR station boasts a dizzying array of retail offerings for dirt-cheap prices. With hundreds of small independent shops clustered together in a maze-like layout, you can easily lose a few hours here perusing the diverse stalls that fill the floor levels and hunting out bargain pieces. Pull together a whole new outfit for under $500, or treat yourself to a quality manicure for a fraction of typical spa prices. For some gastronomic delights, head to the third floor and tuck into all kinds of trendy street food and tasty cuisines, including hot and sour Sichuan noodles, Taiwanese hand-held pancakes, sushi rolls, mango sticky rice, and more!
Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Fong
Whether you’re shopping on a budget or ready to splurge, we’re not kidding when we say Kwai Chung is the place to do all your shopping in one fell swoop. Just a footbridge away from Kwai Chung Plaza, Metroplaza is a bright, spacious, and oh-so-stylish shopping centre that largely caters to mid-range to high-end customers. In addition to pharmacies, a supermarket, and a movie theatre, the 540,000-square-foot behemoth is also packed with popular retail chains like Muji, Uniqlo, and Log-on, luxury brands like Estee Lauder, Shiseido, and Lukfook Jewellery, as well as a slew of dining options for every palate. Need a break from all the shopping? Bask in sunshine and greenery in the well-manicured open-air sky garden on the fifth floor. Adorned with colourful plants and flowers, and hosting ever-changing themed exhibitions, this blissful oasis will for sure be your new favourite Instagram spot.
Metroplaza, 223 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Chung | (+852) 2429 6500
There is nothing quite as enchanting and as watching art come to life before your eyes. If you are looking for a dose of creative inspiration or simply want to sit back and enjoy an entertaining live performance, Kwai Tsing Theatre is the place to go. As a leading performing arts venue, Kwai Tsing Theatre prides itself on its comfortable atmosphere, an eclectic range of classical and experimental stage productions, and being the first Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s performing arts facility to operate a black box theatre, which allows for a more intimate theatre experience. From dramas to dance performances to Cantonese opera, there are endless viewing options that visitors of all ages can enjoy.
Kwai Tsing Theatre, 12 Hing Ning Road, Kwai Chung | (+852) 2408 0128
If you think bars and clubs are the only places to party it up—think again. Hidden in an industrial building, Funtable Party Room offers a wide variety of entertainment facilities and a comfortable and private setting for you to throw a killer party without having to deal with the clean-up. Decked out in rustic red bricks and industrial décor, each 1,500-square-metre room is fully equipped with game consoles, karaoke set-ups, board games, and more so that everyone is bound to have a blast. But wait till you hear the main draw—there’s also a cosy balcony area where you can indulge a scrumptious seafood barbecue and dine alfresco!
Funtable Party Room, Bold Win Industrial Building, Wah Sing Street, Kwai Chung | (+852) 6306 7893
Want to get crafty or make an impressive DIY gift for loved ones? Why not try candle-making? Mellow Out Candle hosts a variety of candle-making workshops that run from one-and-a-half to three hours—perfect for a relaxing afternoon escape. From elegant jarred candles adorned with dainty dried flowers to whimsical cupcakes, macarons, and waffle-shaped creations, these gorgeous décor pieces will give any space an instant lift and a burst of soothing fragrance. You can choose from either floral, fruity, or woody scents to customise a truly special handmade candle. Visit their Facebook page to see their upcoming workshops and booking details.
Mellow Out Candle, 1–7 Wah Sing Street, Kwai Chung | (+852) 5723 1360
Kwai Chung Plaza is brimming with quality cheap eats, but one that stands a head above the rest is Wai Sik Mau. Specialising in made-to-order Taiwanese-style pancakes generously stuffed with tempting savoury fillings like cheese, crab meat, turkey, pork floss, and egg, this takeout spot touts consistently long lines. Always served piping hot, the flakey, crisp, and buttery pancake makes an ideal vehicle for any combination of tasty fillings you want to throw in it. You can’t go wrong with their bestselling turkey, egg & pork floss pancake ($24) or the chef-recommended turkey, egg, cheese & pork sausage pancake ($29). And if the preset combinations don’t suit your taste, you can also pick and choose your own fillings!
Wai Sik Mau (慧食貓), Shop B01C, 1/F, Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Fong | (+852) 6586 6386
Craving some fresh fish but don’t want to splurge on a fancy Japanese omakase? Japanese Food Express rolls out a packed menu of premium quality sushi, handrolls, sashimi bowls, and tamagoyaki at unbeatable prices. Sea urchin is normally quite a luxury, but here you can get a freshly prepared sea urchin handroll for just $35. Creamy, mildly sweet, and rich in umami flavour, this ocean delicacy hits all the right notes in terms of taste and texture. Another crowd favourite is the crab roe tamagoyaki ($30). The exquisitely prepared egg dish is fluffy on the outside, custard-like in the centre, and topped with crab roe, seaweed, bonito flakes, and a drizzle of mayonnaise.
Japanese Food Express, Shop C06, 2/F, Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Fong | (+852) 3188 3788
Grab a fistful of napkins because you are in for a deliciously messy affair. In addition to whipping up some of the best chicken wings in town, this chicken wings specialist gets extra points for championing some of the most peculiar chicken wing flavours, including rose, salted lemonade, salted egg yolk, and even brown sugar, tapioca pearls, and lemongrass! Each wing is executed to perfection—tender, juicy meat encased in a crisp crust and well-coated in a flavourful sauce or seasoning. Get the four-piece ($38) if you’re just looking for a light nibble. Otherwise, the 12-piece set ($118), which includes three chicken wing flavours of your choice and a drink, will guarantee a full, satisfying meal.
Chicken Wings Mountain, Shop 180, 1/F, Metroplaza, 223 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Fong | (+852) 3460 3026
Decorated in stylish white brick walls, colourful hanging foliage, and a giant floral mural, this stunning café is every Instagrammer’s dream, and it’s not just for show either—their menu offerings are just as impressive. The soft-shell crab and avocado with kale salad ($118) and the spaghetti with mixed mushrooms in truffle paste ($103) are ideal for a light lunch, but OG fans from the café’s former Causeway Bay location will know that the burgers are the star of the show here.
Their signature mammoth-sized trucker portobello & beef cheeseburger with truffle sauce ($152) comprises of a juicy handmade beef patty, tender portobello mushroom, tomato, lettuce, and cheese sandwiched between toasted, sesame-flecked buns. Feeling a little adventurous? Try the soft-shell crab with homemade mango salsa burger ($148) or the homemade peanut butter & cucumber beef cheeseburger ($118)!
GoodDay Café, Shop 801, 8/F, Life@KCC, 72–76 Kwai Cheong Road, Kwai Chung | (+852) 6360 0766
Hankering for some classic wok-fried dishes? Venture into Hang King shopping arcade and head straight to the atrium to this old-school, teahouse-style restaurant for a drool-worthy Chinese fare. On the menu, you will find the usual suspects like steamed fish with black bean sauce ($120), Sichuan braised eggplant ($100), and dry-fried rice noodles with beef ($80), as well as unique dishes like crispy pumpkin with salted egg yolk ($120) and fried pork ribs in a homemade special sauce ($105). The place is always packed so expect to wait, but expect the wait to be worth it.
Kam Chiu Kitchen, Shop G14–G15, G/F, Hang King Shopping Arcade, Kwai Fong | (+852) 2610 0488
A bit out of the way from any MTR station, New Maung Thai Food has managed to keep itself pretty under the radar, but locals know it’s a gem of a restaurant serving authentic Thai cuisine. The pad thai ($66), Thai-Hainanese chicken ($75), and curries (starting from $70) are popular orders, but the hot and sour tom yum goong ($75) is the real headliner here. Packed with bold Thai flavours, and filled to the brim with prawns, clams, tomatoes, mushrooms, this wholesome bowl is food for the soul and is as comforting as a warm hug. And if you’re up for some sides, there is an extensive selection of chargrilled meats and skewers that’s great for sharing!
New Maung Thai Food, Shop 1, G/F, Block C, Po Sing Centre, 1–25 Ta Chuen Ping Street, Kwai Chung | (+852) 6709 2369