Hong Kong’s Tai Hang district: the new Soho

This neighbourhood may have cocktail bars and hotdog cafes but it hasn’t forgotten its working class roots – for now

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Parked cars clear out as the sun goes down, and in their place come new cars, as if working in shifts. The first set are there because of the mechanics, whose auto-repair shops have long filled the neighbourhood; the second belong to the diners and revellers who come to enjoy what the area has recently become.

There aren’t many quarters like Tai Hang left on Hong Kong Island. A slum until the 1990s, it lies in the shadow of the glitzy shopping district, Causeway Bay, and is hemmed in by a hill on one side and high-rise buildings on the rest. It retains its working-class credentials through the profusion of those car repair shops, traditional cafes and dai pai dongs – open-air food stalls. Yet it’s also home to a new wave of independent cafes, bars and restaurants; a quick online search for the area now throws up words like “foodie” and “heaven”.

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