How to shop in
Hong Kong like a local
Discover local shopping options that aren’t overrun with tourists
Hong Kong is known as Asia’s shopping mecca, and remains one of the region’s most popular stopovers for travellers. Long before the city became a financial hub and the key gateway to China, it was famous for trading and retail for garments, toys and electronics, most made locally or nearby.
Even though shopping trends have changed over the past couple of decades, the love for shopping in the city has not. From large vertical shopping centres (several with more than ten floors of shopping) to smaller, more boutique malls that occupy underground passageways, Hong Kong is crammed with more shopping malls than ever before.
So where do the locals shop, and where can a tourist pick up a piece truly unique and local to the region?
FA YUEN STREET MARKET
A series of smaller streets and alleyways in the Yau Tsim Mong district of Kowloon comprise of some of Hong Kong’s most interesting scenes. In the evening the markets are often abuzz with activity, with sellers offering everything from garments to trinkets to simple electronics to street food. Splitting this stretch is Fa Yuen Street, affectionally dubbed Sneaker Street, which features about 50 ground-level stores lined across each side of the avenue, all selling footwear. Locals and tourists serious about their pumped up kicks will enjoy a stroll down the avenue, with road-front shops selling both the latest fashionable designs as well as the classics and limited edition shoes from Adidas, Nike, Puma and more, for a wide range of prices.
KWAI CHUNG PLAZA
A three-story, one-stop shopping mall, Kwai Chung Plaza sells almost everything - affordable Hong Kong-style street food, dried seafood and fruit, traditional Chinese medicine, cheap clothing, old Chinese comic books and even cheap haircuts. Bargain hunters in particular will love this place, as bargaining and requesting discounts are welcomed from quite a few of the friendly shopkeepers. Use it as an opportunity to test your basic Cantonese skills.
GOLDEN COMPUTER ARCADE
SHAM SHUI PO
Just across the Sham Sui Po MTR station, Golden Computer Arcade is a three-storey shopping arcade where many visitors and locals alike head to for reasonably-priced laptops as well as computer and electronic peripherals. If you are a serious gamer, this is also the place to be. In addition to picking up the latest console or gaming accessory, plenty of options exist to help you custom build your machine.
If you’re looking for the perfect Oriental souvenir for your home, you’ll want to head to Cat Street on the western side of Hong Kong Island. Located on Upper Lascar Row, the area has been selling antiques, jade and silk products, embroideries and wooden handicrafts for over a hundred years. The neighbourhood became known as a market for second-hand and stolen goods in the 1920s, which helped the street gain its unique name: In Cantonese, stolen goods are colloquially known as ‘rats’, and customers who buy stolen goods are known as ‘cats’. Nowadays, the street features Ming Dynasty furniture, porcelain and ceramics, art galleries and more.
ISLAND BEVERLY CENTRE
If you’re travelling with a young adult or a teenager, you’ll want to make a stopover at Island Beverly. Sitting relatively anonymously among Causeway Bay’s large shopping arcades splattered with famous brand names, this slender unassuming building houses a vertical shopping mall just outside the Causeway Bay MTR station. Featuring an interesting array of chic local, Korean and Japanese fashion stores, Island Beverly is guaranteed to help you stay on top of the fashion trends popular with local youth. An extra tip: Don’t leave hungry. There are plenty of restaurants serving a mix of casual and upscale Japanese, Korean, Thai cuisines in the same building, which you can access through a different set of elevators.
This content was produced by The Globe and Mail's Globe Content Studio.
The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.