Exploring Mong Kok: Hong Kong’s Most Congested District
Immerse yourself in a plethora of flashing neon signs, experience some of the most unique street food in the world, and get lost in the throngs of locals rushing through street markets. Welcome to Mong Kok, Hong Kong’s most congested district. Located in the western part of the Kowloon peninsula, Mong Kok is home to 340,000 people per square mile, countless malls and vendors, and the famous Ladies’ Market.
Its reputation has been transformed over the years; in many local and international films, Mong Kok was seen as a hotbed of gang activity by the Triads, one of the biggest Chinese crime organizations. Back in 2011, both Reuters and ABC named Mong Kok the most densely populated place in the world. And from our recent trips there to work on several international client projects for Fresh and Clinique, we can confirm,from our qualitative experiences, that it definitely still seems to be true. Today, it is an amalgam of tradition & modernity and incredible urban center. But what’s it really like in Mong Kok, whose name literally means “busy corner” in the local language of Cantonese? Let’s explore some of the highlights of this bustling area.
Dai Pai Dongs: HK Street Food
The streets of Mong Kok are lined with various dai pai dongs, a specific type of open-air food stall. At them, you can find many local favorites like fish balls, fried tofu, skewered meats, noodle bowls, and fruits. These vendors typically don’t speak English, but no worries there. You can always just point at a few things and give them a try!
Tung Choi Street (aka Ladies’ Market)
Though named after a delicious Chinese vegetable, this street is also commonly known as “Ladies’ Market,” because of the overabundance of low-priced women’s apparel and cosmetics you’ll find. It’s one of the most famous markets in Hong Kong.
Fa Yuen Street (aka Sneaker Street)
Many streets in Mong Kok are dedicated to certain specialties or items. Fa Yuen Street is one example of this. Though there are many shops like produce stalls and cheap clothing spots, it is commonly known by the locals as “Sneaker Street.” This is because of the many stores dedicated to selling the latest sports shoes; many international brands like Adidas, Nike, and Converse have multiple locations on that street and in the rest of Mong Kok.
At a towering 59 stories, Langham Place is the tallest building in Mong Kok, significantly higher than any of the surrounding structures. In some ways, it’s an architectural masterpiece, since it has such a unique layout and design, since they had to fit so much into such a small space. It has the longest indoor escalator in the world and more shops and boutiques than you can handle. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the Fresh store on Level 2, which we designed.
While these are some of our favorite spots, there are many other places to explore in Mong Kok and in the amazing city of Hong Kong. Want to know where we’re off to next? Stay in touch with us on Instagram.