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Just kidding; long gone are the days when venturing into Kowloon was met with disapproval, disbelief and choruses of, 'Eww, you're going to the Dark Side!' Since becoming the well-worn stomping grounds of the hip peeps of Hong Kong, there have been tons of great little coffee shops and cafés popping up on this side of the harbour. Let's discover what eccentric spots the Yau Tsim Mong district has to offer.
BOUND by Hillywood
It's hard to miss BOUND when it's head to toe in sea green and emblazoned with large LED lettering proclaiming the shop name to the rest of the drab-coloured block. Following a late 2016 rebrand, revamp and a big move, what used to be Café Hillywood in Jordan is now BOUND by Hillywood in Prince Edward, bearing a sleek new look and a much more recognisable identity. With an interior lit like a nightclub in neon shades of blue and pink, this is not only a great place to get a good cup of joe and learn more about coffee with knowledgable owner Nathan but also a contender for nighttime drinkies. BOUND stocks a decent selection of imported beers from boutique international breweries that we've rarely seen elsewhere in Hong Kong, such as Kona Brewing Company from Hawaii, the UK's Magic Rock Brewing and NZ's ever-popular Yeastie Boys, as well as local businesses like Black Kite Brewery. We're still waiting on the food menu...
32 Boundary Street, Prince Edward, 2762 1727
Photo credit: doris1226
Photo credit: Feed Your Nerves
神經餵飼 Feed Your Nerves
Yes, you read that right; there's not only one – but two – solid coffee shops just a short walking distance from the Prince Edward MTR station. Aptly named Feed Your Nerves does just that – who knew you'd find a verdant oasis pumping out serene tunes and homemade sodas smack dab in the middle of industrial, high-rise-dominated Yau Tsim Mong? Aside from a varied selection of drinks, they serve a rotating menu of quality food, cakes and pastries. We can't vouch for the comfort of the furnishings (everything's decked out in wood, with no padding), but here's an insider tip: snag a spot in their low-ceilinged nook upstairs, replete with stout-legged coffee tables and straw-cased seating cushions that are snugger than they look, and you'll find spending hours at Feed Your Nerves a breeze. There are also crafts and products from local artisans for sale upstairs, if you're in the mood for some shopping.
434 Portland Street, Prince Edward, 2673 4722
Photo credit: Knockbox Coffee Company
Photo credit: foodictionaryhk
Knockbox Coffee Company
To put it simply, Knockbox is a coffee gem. They premiere limited-run boutique beans from around the world every Friday, and there are café delicacies as well, from pastries, sandwiches and bagels to eggs Benny, all-day breakfast, fish and chips and loaded waffles for the sweet tooths. For the coffee newbie or those too shy to ask, they provide a handy guide at the back of their menu that thoroughly explains brewing methods, bean profiles and recommended blends, as well as giving tasting notes, so you can learn more about coffee in your own comfortable bubble. Private education not enough? Knockbox also offer classes on latte art, espresso making, home brewing and appreciation of speciality coffee.
21 Hak Po Street, Mongkok, 2781 0363
Read more: The Best Coffee Shops in Hong Kong
Photo credit: Coffee on the Sand
Photo credit: Coffee on the Sand
Coffee on the Sand
Coffee on the Sand's upgraded from a teeny-tiny street stall to a floridly decorated, kooky upstairs room on bustling Tung Choi Street. Hidden it may be from the public eye, but that hasn't stopped customers from flocking to it in droves – their Turkish sand coffee is as popular as ever. That alone is worth the trip; it's the only place in HK that specialises in this strong, potent brew. We're just bummed that we can no longer watch our coffee bubbling in shallow sand pots like we used to. At least the joe's still top notch.
Room A, 1/F, 9–15 Tung Choi Street, Mongkok, 6800 7776
Photo credit: eat_eat_everyday
Photo credit: Agnes the Foodie
Full disclosure: we stumbled upon this gem whilst looking for a completely different café in the area, and we're so glad we did. Coffee Jobs serves up a mean mug of joe – and pretty good food to boot. We love the kooky, hip decor, the communal slab table and the plentiful people-watching stools by the floor-to-ceiling windows facing the street. Prices are reasonable, and their dinner sets are worthy deals, serving up sizeable portions of either soup or salad for starters, a main course and a drink of your choice. There are Greek mythology–themed sodas (one of them glitters and sparkles when you stir it up!), an extensive latte menu and hot teas and fruit teas, aside from your regular caffeine selection. Try their Colaespresso ($46) for an adventurous, if strange, take on coffee. Oh, and there's no service charge either.
3 Kwong Wa Street, Mongkok, 3706 5385
Kubrick in Yau Ma Tei is such an obvious choice that it hardly needs mentioning. The popular bookshop and café nestled beside the well-loved art cinema is consistently packed with moviegoers, students and bookworms. A table wait at Kubrick is common during lunch and dinner hours, providing a perfect opportunity to browse the plentiful merchandise on sale. A menu chock-full of your elevated bistro suspects (think beef burgers and cherry tomato and mozzarella salad, as well as linguine with crabmeat and mushroom, quinoa with avocado and sweet peas and Mediterranean lamb burgers) and a great coffee and tea selection make Kubrick an ideal choice. It pays to be a member too; you'll get discounts on, well, everything.
Shop H2, Properous Garden, 3 Public Square Street, Yau Ma Tei, 2384 8929
What did we miss?
What's your favourite café in the Yau Tsim Mong area? Where do you go for a dope cup of coffee on this side of town? Let us know in the comments!
Peep at all the things I put into my pie hole at @greedygrubs.