The Star Street Precinct is a cluster of a few streets in Hong Kong. In 1841, the hilly area became the city's first designated burial ground for foreigners. When the district was reclaimed 50 years later to build the Wan Chai power plant, the surrounding streets were named star, moon and sun after the 13th-century Chinese text, Three Character Classic.
Over a century later, these streets are home to some of the most innovative and interesting independent businesses in Hong Kong. Although there's been a lot of gentrification in the area in recent years, Star Street Precinct has managed to keep elements of old Hong Kong alive among the new businesses that choose to call this area home.
An icon of the area, Tak Yu is a cha chaan teng – a local diner that offers everyone who sits down a quintessential Hong Kong experience. For more than 60 years, this hole-in-the-wall has been a go-to for fuss-free local comfort food. Grab a table outside on the pavement and work your way through classics like Hong Kong-style French toast and corned beef and egg sandwiches served with local milk tea.
This intimate neighborhood spot focuses on bold Middle Eastern-inspired dishes by chef Asher Goldstein. There's a no-reservations policy, so turn up early to grab a seat by the window and watch the world go by. You'll have no shortage of menu options – from plates of hummus, falafel and baked halloumi to lamb ribs with orange and coriander. Everything is paired with an expertly curated and accessible wine list that lets you order by the glass, half-bottle or bottle.
Towards the end of St Francis Yard, you'll find an unassuming stairway to the artistic haven that is Odd One Out. From illustrations and limited-edition prints by local artists like Don Mak to stationery and greeting cards, you'll find all manner of artistic endeavors on offer.
Is it a gallery? Perhaps a boutique? Head to WOAW and decide for yourself. The collection of things here is curated by fashion designer and DJ Kevin Poon and it includes everything from art and watches to books, ceramics, gadgets and even skate decks. It's the perfect place to pick up a gift and, if you need to mull things over, there's a corner where you can sit and sip a coffee.
Straddling the line between a traditional Chinese barber shop and a modern men's salon, Hair House marries hair and music – the two passions of founder and head barber Adam Chan. A homage to old-school Shanghainese-style barbers, the shop is decked out with vintage-inspired decor, electric guitars, chalkboard walls and a fully stocked bar.
An acronym for ‘a personal tailor’, APT Coffee prides itself on brewing bespoke cups of coffee. Instead of sticking to your usual flat white or latte, personalize every element of your coffee down to the amount of foam you want. The Moon Street cafe was created in homage to Australian coffee culture and its coffee beans are imported from Aussie roasters Seven Seeds.
A contemporary take on the traditional Chinese tea house, BASAO is a minimalist space that has a huge selection of single-origin teas. All the blends have been responsibly sourced from artisan plantations across the world. Stop in for a brew or perhaps a tea-infused cake, before browsing the blends and tea accessories available to take home.