Night Market at Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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Although Hong Kong's Central neighborhood has a reputation as the heart of the action in the city (in terms of nightlife, shopping, bars and restaurants), Kowloon — just across Victoria Harbour — can't be overlooked. It's an extremely popular home base for visitors, especially the Tsim Sha Tsui area and its immediate surroundings. Here, there's a dense melange of hotels, businesses, and sites, including Elements (a huge shopping mall), Kowloon Park and Nathan Road, known as “the golden mile” for its plethora of shopping options. There's also the waterfront, which presents an unobstructed view of the Hong Kong Island skyline across Victoria Harbour and offers a variety of attractions, such as the Cultural Centre, the Museum of Art, and the Space Museum (make sure to visiting at night, which gives you an opportunity to see the electric display of Hong Kong's high-rises lit up). But it's the many eating and drinking opportunities that some feel is the real draw to Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui — so many, in fact, that it's easy to spend an entire weekend or layover without leaving this part of town. Here are nine of the best places to get started.

Tin Lung Heen

On the 102nd floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Tin Lung Heen offers extraordinary views of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline that rival the food at this two-Michelin starred Cantonese fine dining spot. Chef Paul Lau Ping Lui's standout dishes include barbecued Iberian pork with honey, sautéed lobster with homemade bean curd and Matsutake mushroom, and, for dessert, chilled mango cream with sago and pomelo.


While the restaurant's name refers to an old alley or lane, nothing could be further from reality. Dark tones, dramatic lighting, red lanterns, and panoramic views set the tone inside this 28th-floor location. The fare is northern Chinese, but made into Hutong trademarks with novel ingredients. The expansive menu includes everything from chili prawns with cashews to crispy boneless duck with cucumbers, spring onion and Chinese pancakes.

Hee Kee Fried Crab Expert

The name alone should be a giveaway to crustacean-seeking diners. Try the typhoon shelter crab, a specialty dish made with black beans, garlic and chili.

Mido Cafe

Sixty-five-year-old Mido Café is one of the places that still captures the spirit and ambiance of vintage Hong Kong. The signature pork chop baked rice is well worth the 20 minute wait. 852-2384-6402

Nanhai No. 1

Try Cantonese classics such as tea-smoked chicken and barbecued pork belly in the sleek, harbor-facing dining room.

Tim Ho Wan

Even if you arrive well before the 10 a.m. opening, a line will already stretch out the door. Persevere: it leads to the city's lightest barbecued-pork buns and most supple rice-flour rolls.

Mariners' Bay

The space here still sports jail cells that have incarcerated countless pirates and criminals of yore while the impressive collection of beers on tap is the main draw for most patrons.


Entering the blue-lit, 118th-floor Ozone (one of the highest bars in the world) in the International Commerce Centre feels a bit like boarding a spaceship. The view takes center stage here, which overlooks the heart of Hong Kong, but the drinks are worth a visit, too. Try the Dragon's Back, made with Vodka, Raspberry, Elderflower, Lime, and basil yuzu foam.

Temple Street Night Market

Bargain wares like dress suits, watches and electronics earned Temple Street the nickname "Men's Street." Many of the 100 stalls open around 4 p.m., but the market doesn't pick up until evenings, when residents browse the array of goods, including some women's fashions and Chinese memorabilia, and haggle over prices. Others hit up the dai pai dong (street food stalls) or the fortune-tellers at the end of Yau Ma Tei Street. Temple St, Yau Ma Tei

Where to Stay:

The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

Situated on floors 102 to 118 of Kowloon's International Commerce Centre, this is one of the highest hotels in the world — a big bonus when taking into account the phenomenal views from the 312 guest rooms. Opened in 2011 and designed by innovative Asian firms LTW Designworks, Spin Design Studio and Wonderwall, aesthetic highlights include a color palette of warm cream, white, and deep browns (making generous use of marble, leather and dark wood) in the guest rooms; a top-floor infinity pool under a ceiling of LCD screens playing images of the sea and skyline; and a dramatically large lobby with soaring ceilings. There are also two Michelin-starred restaurants (the Italian Tosca — known for its Sunday brunch; and Tin Lung Heen for power lunches and dim sum), one of the world's highest bars, Ozone, and Cafe 103, which serves an excellent afternoon tea. The spa, meanwhile, sits on the 116th floor, overlooking Victoria Harbour, with nine treatment rooms (including two couples spa suites). It's the ideal place to escape the frenetic energy of Hong Kong, where treatments range from the Traditional Oriental Massage (using traditional Chinese techniques and accupressure) to the Jade Radiance & Renewal Facial, which incorporates jade crystals for healthier skin.

How to Get There:

It's worth noting that those long haul flights from the U.S. (15-plus hours from New York) just got a lot more comfortable with the introduction of Cathay Pacific's cutting-edge A350 planes, launched this year from Newark and San Francisco (in addition to its 777 service from New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco).