Once a quiet area behind the trendy Sheung Wan, Sai Ying Pun has emerged as a fancy neighbourhood everyone wants to live in. Hilly streets filled with traditional restaurants, dried seafood and herbal teas live peacefully next to the numerous wine shops, western pubs and vegan stores.
Sai Ying Pun has gone through many cultural changes in the recent few years, highly influenced by its residents that speak Cantonese, English, French, German, Spanish and so many other languages. Despite the busy life, they’ve managed to maintain the sense of living in a small village inside the megapolis.
Traditional stores and Wet Market
Being surrounded by the global chains and coffee shops, traditional stores still manage to keep their clientele and also attract the foreigners with their authenticity and a great selection of products. Sai Ying Pun’s famous Wet Market expands across First, Second and Centre Streets making it one of the biggest markets on the island. Our absolute favourite there is A-Tao Vegetable and Organic Corner, with delicious produce grown in Hong Kong. How come it’s zero waste? Just bring your own cloth bags and containers and you can even get the strawberries without ridiculous packaging.
Down the road, on 83 First Street, find smaller stores with eggs and noodles in bulk. Walk to 122 Connaught Road West to Regency Spices for high-quality dry ingredients to use in your kitchen.
Hmmm, have you noticed a strong smell of seafood already? Welcome to Ko Shing Street and Des Voyex Road West with hundreds of small stores selling dried seafood alongside the herbal medicines and veggies and beans. You can buy all of them in bulk.
Live Zero – Mecca for Zero Waste Shoppers
Since its opening a couple of months ago, Live Zero, Hong Kong’s first zero waste grocery store has become a Mecca for environmentally conscious consumers. Shop owner, Tamsin Thornburrow is not new to zero waste lifestyle: she has successfully launched many businesses, including her homeware and lifestyle store, Thorn and Burrow right next to Live Zero.
What can you find in Live Zero? Basically, everything you need to reduce most of your household waste: a great selection of oils, rice, pastas, legumes, spices, snacks; beauty products; reusable cups, straws, containers, beeswax wraps – you don’t have an excuse to start and maintain your low waste lifestyle anymore!
Zero Waste Fashion – Green Ladies
With many locations across Hong Kong, Green Ladies by St. James Settlement has arguably the busiest shop in Sai Ying Pun. Got too many clothes? Become a consignor and earn some small cash by selling your good quality unwanted clothes. Looking for something interesting? Get it from Green Ladies, the choice is really huge. Prices range between 88HKD (the most common price) and 800HKD for high-end brands.
Recycling and Composting
Sai Ying Pun still has a few small recycling points on Second Street where the residents can bring their materials every Monday. Items that are being collected: glass, metal, paper and aluminium.
The most famous one is Central & Western Mid-Levels Owners Association — 121C Plastic Recycling Centre. It’s open every day, except Sundays, shared by SYP’s resident, Diane B with us.
Walking up a few steep blocks up to Lyttleton road, you can find another recycling spot right in the middle of the street. They mostly accept preloved furniture.
We haven’t spotted any community composting efforts and would love to hear from you.
Last but not least, here is a checklist of the key stores and businesses providing zero waste/bulk products and services. We would like to expand this list with your inputs.
Zero Waste Sai Ying Pun Checklist:
- Thorn and Burrow
- Feather and Bone
- Regency Spices
- Live Zero
- Sai Ying Pun Wet Market
- Winston’s Coffee
- Living Art Cafe
- Green Ladies