Mong Kok (旺角, pinyin: Wàngjiǎo, pronounced locally as Wong Kok in Cantonese) is an area in Yau Tsim Mong district, on the Kowloon peninsula, in Hong Kong. Actually Mong Kok was originally an independent (and smallest) district, but merged with Yau Ma Tei and Tsim Sha Tsui (under a single district named Yau Tsim before then) in mid-1990s.
With one of the highest population densities in the world (It once attained 130 thousand people per square km, though the actual population didn't attain that much. Apparently the district was smaller than 1 square km).
The name in Chinese means "flourishing/busy corner". Recent road works revealed some potteries as old as Jin Dynasty (265-420), indicating that there might be settlements that early.
The district is characterised by a mixture of old and new multi-story buildings, with shops and restaurants at street level and commercial or residential units above. Major industries in Mong Kok are retail, restaurants (including fast food) and entertainment.
Streets & Markets
Mong Kok preserves its traditional characteristics with an array of markets, small shops, and food stalls that have already disappeared from other areas in Hong Kong over the past several decades of economic developments. As such, a few of these streets in Mong Kok have acquired interesting nicknames reflecting their own characteristics. Some interesting sites are:
- Ladies' St. (女人街, Ladies' Market on Tung Choi Street) - This market specializes in women's clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and the like. It is open daily from noon to 10:30 p.m. at Tung Choi Street on the east of Nathan Road. Typically, where there is a market, there are also food stalls selling noodles, seafood, and congee for mid-afternoon or late-night snacks. A grocery market is also located in the vicinity, quite convenient for housewives to buy fresh vegetables and pantyhose on the same trip.
- Sai Yeung Choi South Street, (西洋菜南街) - A street full of electronics goods store, comestics shop and discount book shops located on the upper floors of a building.
- Bird Garden - Hundreds of songbirds in exquisitely crafted cages can be seen at this market, which is on the other side of Nathan Road on Yuen Po Street. The garden is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is close to Mong Kok KCR station and Mong Kok stadium. Packed with booths selling birds, Hong Lok Street (Bird Street, 雀仔街) was closed as part of an urban renewal project in June 1998. The Garden was constructed by the government to accommodate some of the booths.
- Sport Shoes Street (波鞋街) - This is a small neighbourhood with many small retailers which sell sports equipment and clothing. It has a wide diversity of sports shoes. Many shoes of rare or special editions from different places are available here.
- Flower Market - This is a street market near the KCR train station with lots of flower shops and street hawkers showing colourful displays, the sweet scents and the exotic blossoms of many fortune-bringing houseplants.
- Goldfish Market - There are dozens shops and hawkers selling various tropical freshwater or marine fish near the KCR train station. Different types of aquarium equipments can also be found there. This market opens very early in the morning.
- Tile Street - This is a section of Portland Street near Argyle Street and Butt Street with more than 50 retailers selling materials for construction or renovation, such as tiles, wall paper, window frames and bath tubs.
- Photocopy Street (影印街) - This small neighbourhood near Ho Man Tin is noted in the area because there are quite a few schools in the vicinity, and the students in these schools have a strong demand for photocopying, such as Wah Yan College, Kowloon.
Some popular shopping plazas are located in this dense area, including:
- 'Sino Plaza' - In this plaza, there are many products about Japanese cartoon, such as Video CDs, DVDs, and comics. Beside that, there are shops for selling pop singers' CD albums. They carry many music albums, including ones by Hong Kong, Japanese, and western pop singers.
- 'Ho King' Plaza (好景商場)- In this plaza, you can find many products having to do computer and video games. They are sold for relatively low prices compared with other shops. The forth floor of the plaza is infamous for being the biggest base of pornographic CDs and DVDs.
- 'New Century Plaza' - This is a new plaza close to the Mong Kok KCR station. Most of the famous-brand and popular shops can be found here. The plaza is especially crowded on public holidays and Sunday in Hong Kong.
- Mong Kok Computer Centre(旺角電腦中心)- The MK Computer Center has around 50 to 70 computer shops. They sell various kinds of products including laptops, software, and computer hardware and accessories.
- Langham Place (朗豪坊)- This shopping mall/hotel/office complex has been opened in 2004 in central Mong Kok. The Place is 59 stories high and is the tallest landmark in Mong Kok. And the Place is built according to the urban redevelopment scheme by the Hong Kong Government.
The Mong Kok area has many curb-side "food-booths". Most of them sell homemade snacks such as fish balls, fried beancurd and various dim sum. These snacks and "fingerfood" are very popular in Hong Kong, especially for folks on the run.
In addition to the street food, there are many different kinds of cuisines, including Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and Thai food.
Four rail lines serve the district.