The secret history of Sham Shui Po
After last year’s successful tours through Central and Sheung Wan, Hulu Culture brings you another HAD (heritage, art and design) Walk. More than 40 historical sites, shops and buildings are highlighted through the iTour app, with photographs, commentary and video accompanying most stops. The iTour app can be downloaded for free, and plenty of craft markets, exhibitions and performances are on at the nearby Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre to celebrate the colourful culture of Sham Shui Po. Here’s our pick of the best cultural hotspots...
Mei Ho House
In 1953, a ghetto of wooden shanties housing mainland Chinese immigrants caught fire, leading the government to build its first public housing estate in Shek Kip Mei. The original blocks have since been demolished, save for Mei Ho House, which is currently under renovation to become a youth hostel next year.
Block 41, Shek Kip Mei Estate, Tai Po Rd.
Sham Shui Po Police Station
The three-storey building painted in the characteristic grey and navy blue is one of the oldest police stations in Hong Kong, dating back to 1925. It became the headquarters of a nearby POW camp during the Japanese occupation and is still used today as a police sub-station.
37A Yen Chow St.
Apliu Street Market
Hawkers used to roam the streets on mobile pushcarts selling their wares, but this led to heavy competition and arguments between vendors. The government solved the problem by issuing hawkers’ licences and a designated spot on certain roads, one of them being Apliu Street which is now famous for selling new and used electronics and goods.
Hang Jing Pawn Shop
When Sham Shui Po residents were in need of a quick buck, they brought their prized goods to this pawn shop in exchange for money. The front screen offers privacy for patrons while high counters give shop owners a bit of security too.
141 Pei Ho St.
Kung Wo Soybean Products Shop
Hidden behind market stalls on Pei Ho Street, this shop has been around for more than 100 years. The ancient décor and old certificates dating back to the 1950s will attest to its age. But rest assured – their products are anything but outdated. Bean-fresh soymilk, tofu dessert and fried tofu with fish paste are what’s keeping this small shop thriving.
118 Pei Ho St.
Dai Pai Dong on Yiu Tung Street
These cheap and cheerful outdoor eateries have been on the decline since the government stopped offering licences in the mid-50s. Many have moved into municipal buildings in favour of air conditioning and better hygiene. Half of Hong Kong’s licenced dai pai dong can be found in Sham Shui Po, offering not only a place to eat, but a spot for customers to socialise.
Yiu Tung St.
Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre
What was formerly a factory building for small-scale manufacturing is now an artists’ village and venue for cultural events. More than 100 artists and organisations have set up studios here and while the studios aren’t open to the public, regular craft fairs, exhibitions and performances allow outsiders a glimpse into this little community.
30 Pak Tin St.
Search for "iTour" or "Sham Shui Po" at the Apple App Store to download the iTour App.