As a middle child nestled between favorite Central and lively Causeway, Wan Chai can sometimes easily be overlooked. But in reality, this neighborhood has turned into a dynamic neighborhood full of experiences. We’ve rounded up some of the best places in our Wan Chai guide so you can easily orient yourself on your next trip.
Years ago, Wan Chai earned the reputation of being Hong Kong’s red-light district. However, it is now known for its eclectic mix of eating establishments, shops and local markets with stunning harbor views. If you ask us, there is always something going on in Wan Chai. Located between Central and Causeway Bay, it’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be ignored in favor of both. But it also serves as an escape point and entry point to both places and even to Hong Kong Island. In fact, it can compete with both. It still retains its local charm, evident in the area’s revitalized heritage buildings.
So enjoy the place, whether you’re looking for a variety of dishes, the latest events to see or just looking for a place to explore! Find out what you can eat, drink and do in this vibrant neighborhood.
Your ultimate guide to exploring Wan Chai
Where to eat
Wan Chai is so big that it has not one but two stations! And in fact, you can also exit at Admiralty station if you are heading towards Star Street District. Our Wan Chai guide starts there, as it’s one of the most vibrant places to dine given its plethora of options. Immediately, you will be greeted by a range of dining establishments serving different cuisines. The Saigon Boy is a favorite when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine while Danji offers delicious Korean dishes. Ask for Alonzo is also a viable option for pasta and brunch lovers and Artemis and Apollo for Greek delights.
A few blocks away is Avenue Lee Tung, which is full of shops and restaurants. There is also a great selection here but The baker and the bottler stands out immediately. Whether you’re looking for a midday bite or a full meal, they’ve got it. More than ship street, the options are great for dating. Our meeting is 22 ships for their multi-regional tapas dishes.
Who can miss the Thai restaurant, Samson? If queues tell you anything, it’s that Hong Kongers are willing to wait just to try the food here. On the subject of Southeast Asian cuisine, be sure to give St. Gaw A try. They serve modern and fusion Filipino dishes which are super healthy. You also have comfort OJM for a casual Singaporean and Malaysian bite. Those looking for healthy meals should turn to Jaja. The vegetarian meals here are not only amazing, but they also pack a punch. It’s a great place to live your Barbie dream. Cafe BauThe farm-to-table concept is also a must for its sustainable dining option. Plus, it’s from famous “demon boss” Alvin Leung!
Need a sumptuous dining setting? Wan Chai also has a lot. Just walk into the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and take your pick. A harbor roads Cantonese offerings are world class while GrissiniItalian dishes are like comfort food. At Hari, Zoku serves authentic and modern Japanese dishes at your leisure.
Do not forget Honbo Or Burger Boy if you fancy some extra crabs. The juicy burgers are not to be missed! In the meantime, if you’re on the go and need a quick bite, Wan Chai has plenty to offer. Chotto MakiThe range of creative sushi from is perfect for take-out. Bread and pastries from Bakery you’ll want more, especially the sourdough egg tarts. Bengal Brothers recently reopened as an alcoholic canteen, but take-out Kathi rolls are still on the menu.
where to drink
Of course, sports bars in Wan Chai are always an option. But if you want to avoid the loud crowds and loud cheering, there are other places to go. Take, for example, Mizunara: the library, a quiet whiskey bar with an extensive whiskey list. And from the same team behind Mizunara is Meiji House. Although it’s technically a restaurant, the craft shochu and awamori cocktails alone are worth a visit.
Be mesmerized by the stunning views of Wan Chai with a drink in hand, courtesy of Uncle Ming‘s. It is located at the top of the boutique hotel AKI Hong Kong – MGallery. If you want to experience the nightlife of Wan Chai, with live music, we recommend The Wanch. It’s a neighborhood hangout for music lovers and alcoholics. Cinta J also features amazing live vocals in addition to affordable tap options. We have already mentioned The baker and the bottler before, but they also have an impressive selection of wines, sourced from sustainable wine farms around the world.
Whether it’s a place to work, relax, or just grab a coffee, these cafes and cafes should be on your radar. Elephant Land is a local favorite given its accessibility and spacious setting. To be sure of having a (good) seat, we recommend that you come outside peak hours. TwigThe place is a bit hidden so we can slightly guarantee that no matter what time of day you can always get a table. Or at least you won’t have to wait long. The clean, minimalist look of this place earns us extra points. It’s such a nice place to work. Another option you can consider is Ninetyan Australian-inspired cafe popular for its brunch and excellent latte.
between coffee is so popular that it has expanded its location from Tai Kwun to Wan Chai. You can enjoy Japanese-inspired infusions, be it coffee or matcha. They even have a turmeric latte! And if you’re serious about coffee, there’s no better place than Cafe Omotesando. The coffee here is top notch, if not cheap, but at least you know you’re sipping a standard Japanese cup of tea. Other options include Matchali for their matcha options, Last coffee for craft drinks, and blue bottle coffee for great coffee.
Where to shop
Wan Chai is also a place for shopping! Although not as well-known as the nearby Central and Causeway Bay options, the area has one of the best wet markets. Wan Chai Market offers fresh produce, meat and vegetables for your daily needs.
For affordable finds, head over to Spring garden path. Browse the treasure trove of clothes and cheap clothes. Star Street District has shops, so be sure to keep an eye out for hidden gems. We also recommend retail stores Kapok for lifestyle products like homeware and lane eight for your footwear needs.
What to do
Once you’re done shopping, explore the neighborhood. Feel inspired and spark your creativity at Hong Kong Arts Center. They regularly organize exhibitions, performances and film screenings for the enjoyment of the public. Sometimes arts and cultural festivals also take place here. No Wan Chai guide is complete without mentioning the blue house cluster. It is a must visit to better understand Hong Kong and particularly the history of Wan Chai. You won’t miss this spot, thanks to its iconic blue color.
Built in the 1920s, it now houses restaurants, residential apartments and a community center. It is also the home of House of Hong Kong Stories, a space that highlights the cultural heritage of the city. A stone’s throw from the emblematic house is Pak Tai Temple, one of the largest temples on Hong Kong Island. It was built in 1863, so it’s guaranteed to have a lot of history! We also recommend that you pass Basic Comix to find out more about local animation and comics. The converted heritage setting is an additional asset.
After an artistic visit, go to HarbourChill, A port area next to Wan Chai ferry pier. Various activities are offered there, such as pedal boating or canoeing. Or you can just take in the beautiful view of Victoria Harbor from the Hong Kong Island side. If you want to cross to the Kowloon side, ditch the train or bus and take the ferry instead!
On days when there are big events, you also cannot miss the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. Be sure to check the official site for the latest happenings! Otherwise, you can upgrade to the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and treat yourself to the Plateau Spa or enjoy a stay.
Bookmark this Wan Chai Guide and have fun exploring!
Hero image credit: Lee Tung Avenue/Facebook; featured image credit: Alison Pang/Unsplash
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How is Wan Chai now?
Wan Chai is a lively neighborhood offering an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, galleries and markets.
- Why is Wan Chai famous?
Wan Chai was once known as Hong Kong’s red light district, but has since become popular for its range of restaurants and event spaces.