What to Eat, Drink, Buy and Do at Chungking Mansions
Hong Kong/ Nomads/ Explore

What to Eat, Drink, Buy and Do at Chungking Mansions: Hong Kong’s Portal to the Asian-African World

What to Eat Drink Buy and Do at Chungking Mansions

Chungking Mansions, found on 36-44 Nathan Road, has occupied the Tsim Sha Tsui site since 1961 and stood for the meeting point for the clashing of African, Asian, and Hong Kong cultures in one of the most culturally diverse sites in the city.

The unofficial gathering place of Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities has a reported 120 nationalities said to be passing through its doors in the span of an average year. Chungking Mansions is dominated with Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nigerian, Ghanian and Nepalese store clerks, guesthouse operators, chefs, foreign exchange office workers, and tailors.

On an average day, tourists and locals alike pass by the main doors of Chungking Mansions for a bite, a chat with businesspeople, to buy goods, or simply to soak up the unique atmosphere. The 17-storey building reserves its ground and first floors to day visitors, whilst the above 15 floors are filled with guest houses.

We compiled a guide to give you a little taste of what you can find, eat, drink, do, and buy in Hong Kong’s epic Chungking Mansions:

Buy Dragons and Feng-shui Statues From Oriental Company

Nelson Tse is the remaining traders of Chinese goods – dragons, good luck charms, Hong Kong memorabilia, trinkets – in Chungking Mansions, having enjoyed a storied career selling souvenirs out of his ground-floor store since the 1980s.

His store is a collection of the new and old Hong Kong – and the old old of China. Big fat bald monks with gleaming bright smiles line the centre console and counter, begging to be sold to a warm home. Classic waving Chinese cats, 1800s Hong Kong maps, Qing dynasty emperors, and Made in China-Hong Kong souvenirs for lost tourists are placed at the back of the store, usually in front of a topless Tse beckoning locals and tourists to buy a piece of history.

Oriental Company is currently holding a 50% sale for every item, in preparation of Tse’s retirement in December 2021. His store is a piece of Hong Kong in Chungking, often recognisable as a portal to a world beyond Hong Kong.

Location: Oriental Company, Shop 48, G/F, Chungking Mansion, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Get a Fresh Cut at Chakwal International Hair Salon

Chakwal International is staffed by some of the finest hairstylists in Pakistani designs that Hong Kong has to offer. Available from 9 AM to 10 PM daily (there’s no rest day in Chungking Mansions), a simple men’s hair cut starts at HK$60, with a style and clean shave another HK$10 on top.

Threading and beard trimming services for men (HK$30 and up) make Chakwal a top spot for Pakistani, Indian, and Bangladeshi. Stylists speak Pakistani, English, Gujrati, and Hindu.

Location: Chakwal International Hair Salon, Shop 48, 1/F, Chungking Mansion, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Taste Indian and Pakistani Sweeties at Kamal Sweets

Selling sweet snacks out of their ground-floor store since 1996, Kamal Sweets is a local morning hotspot for Indian-expats and transplants starved for the sugary and salty tastes of home.

At Kamal, one can buy sweet-tasting snacks for as little as HK$10. North Indian favourites on sale daily from 9 AM include motichoor laddu, carrot burfi, jalebi bread, and pakora. Of course, Kamal Sweets does chai tea for the early patrons eager to beat the heat and the morning commute.

You cannot miss Kamal Sweets’ storefront. It shines bright with neon yellow and blue and is decorated with delicious green, yellow, and pink north Indian cakes, including jalebi, halwa, ladoo, and payasam.

Location: Kamal Sweets, Shop 68B, G/F, Chungking Mansion, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Savour the Best Grilled Meats and Chips at Bismillah Fried Chicken

Bismillah Fried Chicken, BFC for short, is Chungking Mansion’s’ answer to their rivalling and worldwide enemies of Kentucky Fried Chicken. It sells succulent grilled beef, chicken, lamb and cod fish out of its first- floor store and has done so for 27 years.

BFC has become a local favourite and a must-go among locals in search of spice and crunch, even attracting the likes of Donnie Yuen and Chow Yun Fat to taste. The store regularly tops lists for the Mansions’ top easy eats for lunch and early dinner.

We highly recommend BFC’s Tandoori fish with chips (HK$110), chicken with rice (HK$50), Chicken karai curry (HK$120), and their classic BFC special, a simple dish of chicken with chips for just HK$60.

Location: Bismillah Kebab House, Shop 75, 1/F, Chungking Mansions, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Shop for South Asian Spices and Ingredients at the Indian Provision Store

Located straight through Chungking Mansions’ main doors and to the left of the central stairs, the Indian Provision Store sells South Asia’s finest spices, frozen goods, beauty products, imported Indian and Pakistani vegetables, and love out of their quaint and fragrant storefront.

Groceries at the store are Western-friendly, with most products imported from India having English translations and product descriptions. Often hard-to-find Indian products on Hong Kong Island can be easily sourced at the Indian Provision Store, including central Indian curry spices, beauty products from Pakistan, and Bangladeshi vegetable and fruit varieties.

We recommend going in early morning at 9 to beat the mid-day crowds of buyers for purchase of the freshest vegetables - including okra, kobhi, turai, patta gohbi, and methi - and to have a whiff of the mélange of spices filling the store.

Location: Indian Provision Store and Supermarket, Shop 55-56, 1/F, Chungking Mansions, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Buy the Latest Gadgets at iTECH Circle

iTECH Circle is the one-stop -shop for Chungking’s roving crowds and Cantonese locals to snap up the newest Google, Amazon, Apple, and Samsung products.

Boss Hussein, originally from Kashmir, came to work in Chungking Mansions in 2012 with zero in his pocket and “a loan from a Sindi friend that helped me kickstart business.”

Smartphones and laptops can be shipped locally and abroad, with most of the business coming from Russian, Indian, Cantonese, and Dubai clients. Google, Apple, and Samsung phones are shipped to iTECH for sale on average a week after official releases.

Location: iTECH, Shop 66, 1/F, Chungking Mansion, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Explore the Charity Work Helping Hong Kong’s Refugees at Christian Action

Christian Action’s Centre for Refugees has served Hong Kong’s refugee and asylum-seeking population, often congregating and living in Chungking Mansions, since 2003 when the charity found their 17th floor offices.

From aiding Vietnamese refugees escaping to Hong Kong in 1985 during the first years of the establishment, the Centre for Refugees today helps those escaping war, famine, and torrid conditions from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East in education and training, and phycological and mental health services.

Christian Action welcomes community engagement from local Hong Kongers with services such as soup kitchens, volunteering for community events, and fund raising regularly held at the centre.

Location: Christian Action Centre for Refugees, Room 6, 16/F, Chungking Mansions, 36-44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Purchase religious headscarves and texts at Muslim Buraq Enterprises

Owned by a Muslim-Filipino-Pakastani couple, Buraq Enterprises sells traditional and colourful headscarves, caps, burqas, hijabs, and head coverings for the men and women of Chungking Mansions and Kowloon.

Colourful Pakastani-Muslim patterns decorate the store with every kind of head covering legal in Islam available to buy for children, men and women. The owner, hailing from Kashmir, pairs every purchase with a free copy of the Quran (in Chinese, English or Tagalog) for shoppers interested in learning more about Islam.

Location: Muslim Buraq Enterprises, Shop 36, G/F, Chungking Mansion, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Sip Hong Kong-Juice With Indian-recipes at Ali Baba Fruit Chat and Juice Point

Ali Baba is the centre point for mixing of Chungking Mansions’ cultural pot and fresh fruit in smoothie cups. The store is brimming with bright and fragrant summer fruits that line the store’s perimeter and chatty Indian workers that are already ready for a chat...and to sell some juice.

Located to the left-hand side of the Ali Baba Biryani House, patrons can swing by for a salty and spicy Indian biryani and then cool off with an Ali Baba iced juice. The mangoes, pomegranates, and bananas are a must-buy for visitors, with smoothies and juices starting at HK$15. Our favorite is the papaya, honey, and mango juice for HK$25.

Location: Ali Baba Fruit Chat and Juice Point, Shop 60, G/F, Chungking Mansion, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Try Halo Halo and Filipino Cuisine at Kusina Ni Saqi Pino Restaurant

The only dedicated -Filipino restaurant in the whole of Chungking Mansions, Kusina Ni Saqi brings the local Manila flavours to the mouths of Chungking locals and Filipinos from all over the city to enjoy what is claimed to be the “best halo halo in Hong Kong.”

The restaurant is self-serviced with the boss, a Filipino woman who speaks English, Hindu, and Tagalog, allowing customers to pick and choose according to their liking. Like it salty? Pork adobo and gravy, pancit palabok, and canton bihon. Are you a sweet tooth? Try the store’s famous halo-halo, a popular cold dessert from the Philippines made up of crushed ice, condensed milk, ube, coconut, sago, taro and pinipig rice.

Location: Kusina Ni Saqi Pino Restaurant, Shop 59, G/F, Chungking Mansion, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Taste a Bit of Africa at Ghana Locals Café

The Ghana Locals Café on the ground floor of Chungking Mansions, a one-minute detour from the main entrance and to the left-hand side of the building, is one of the two certified Ghanaian restaurants serving Hong Kong.

Homesick Ghanaians and first-time tryers of the west African cuisine are afforded an extensive menu of heart- filled Ghanian classics and recipes. The owner recommends the jeffof rice with beans with chicken and fried plantain (HK$70), akyeke with fish (HK$80), and goat meat and peanut soup (HK$60) for first-time customers.

Other hometown flavours of Accra include chicken banku stew, spicy egusi and goat soup, spicy spaghetti, and fried fish.

Location: Ghana Locals, Shop 102, G/F, Chungking Mansion, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Subscribe to The Beat's newsletter to receive compelling, curated content straight to your inbox! You can also  create an account with us for free to start bookmarking articles for later reading.

This Week's Events In Hong Kong View more

Sign up to receive updates on what's going on in the city. Don't miss out on exciting events, news, and more. Sign up today!

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice
Thank you for subscribing! Click here if you were not redirected.