Mong Kok

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For other uses, see Mong Kok (disambiguation).
Mong Kok
Mong Kok P1010168.JPG
Sai Yeung Choi Street South in Mong Kok
Chinese
Literal meaning flourishing/busy corner
Aerial view of Mong Kok
Argyle Street in Mong Kok

Mong Kok (also spelt Mongkok), is an area in the Yau Tsim Mong District in Kowloon West, Hong Kong. Mong Kok was part of the Mong Kok District before the district was merged in 1994. The Prince Edward area occupies the northern part of Mong Kok.

The district is characterized 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.

With its extremely high population density of 130,000/km2 or 340,000 per square mile, Mong Kok was described as the busiest district in the world by the Guinness World Records.[1]

Name[edit]

The current English name is a transliteration of its older Chinese name 望角 (or 芒角), which is pronounced "Mong Gawk" in Cantonese and is named based on its plentiful supply of ferns in the past when it was a coastal region. Its present Chinese name "旺角" is pronounced "Wong Gawk" in Cantonese and means "prosperous corner" or "crowded corner."

The area was also called Argyle in English for some time in the past. This name was used for the MTR station when it opened in 1979. The office building 旺角中心, which was named after the area, is known in English as Argyle Centre instead of Mong Kok Centre.

History[edit]

Displays at the Chinese University of Hong Kong include antique potteries indicating that there might be settlements in the area as early as the Jin Dynasty (265-420).[2]

The heart of the present-day Mong Kok is along Argyle Street near Sai Yeung Choi Street whilst the proper Mong Kok used to be to the north, near the present-day Mong Kok East Station. Mong Kok was an area of cultivated lands, bounded to the south by Argyle Street, the west by Coronation Road (present-day Nathan Road), and the east by hills. To the southeast of Mong Kok is Ho Man Tin and to the west Tai Kok Tsui.

On 10 August 2008 the Cornwall Court fire broke out. More than 200 firefighters were involved in the rescue operation. Four people died, including two fire fighters.[3]

Mong Kok received a lot of negative media attention for many acid attacks on Sai Yeung Choi Street from December 2008 through January 2010.

Streets and markets[edit]

Grand Century Place. Mong Kok East Station is visible at the bottom left. The area in the background is part of Kowloon City District.

Mong Kok preserves its traditional characteristics with an array of markets, small shops, and food stalls that have already disappeared from other areas during 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:

  • Tung Choi Street (通菜街) (also known as 女人街, Ladies' market) - This market specializes in women's clothing, accessories, and cosmetics, and is open daily from noon to midnight. There are also food stalls selling noodles, seafood, and congee. An open-air market of fruits and vegetables is also located in the vicinity.
  • Sai Yeung Choi Street South (西洋菜南街) - A street full of shops selling consumer electronic products, cosmestics, and discount books. The latter is usually located on the lower floors of buildings.
  • Yuen Po Street Bird Garden (園圃街雀鳥花園) - Hundreds of songbirds in exquisitely crafted cages can be seen at this market. The garden is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located near Mong Kok Stadium, to the north of Mong Kok East Station and east of Prince Edward Station.
    The garden was completed in 1997 for the relocation of booths selling birds at Hong Lok Street (Bird Street, 雀仔街), which was closed due to urban renewal in June 1998.[4]
    The market was closed on 5 July 2012, following a postivie swab sample of H5N1 avian influenza virus, from a bird cage of Oriental magpie robins. It was closed for 21 days and re-opened on 26 July. Each of the 69 affected shops were compensated with HK$12,000 and their rents waived for a month by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.[5]
  • Fa Yuen Street (花園街) (also known as 波鞋街, Sneakers Street) - This is a small neighbourhood of small retailers selling sports equipment and clothing. The shops stock a diversity of sports shoes, including many shoes of rare or special editions from different places.
  • Flower Market Road (花墟道) - The street and the nearby side streets are packed with florists and street vendors selling flowers and plants. At the end of the street is Yuen Po Street Bird Garden.
  • Goldfish Street (金魚街) or Goldfish Market - Centered around the section of Tung Choi Street, north of Bute Street.[6] There are a dozens of shops and hawkers selling tropical freshwater and marine fish, aquarium and accessories. This market opens very early in the morning.
  • Tile Street (瓷磚街) - This is a section of Portland Street near Argyle Street and Bute 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) - A neighbourhood near Yim Po Fong Street and Soy Street is noted for its remarkable number of photocopying shops due to the number of schools in the vicinity.
  • Dundas Street (登打士街) marks the southern end of the shopping area in eastern Mong Kok, where Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Tung Choi Street and Fa Yuen Street terminate. Ho King Shopping Centre, Ka Lok Shopping Arcade and Trendy Zone are major shopping centres on the street. Various kinds of food shops concentrate on this street. Kwong Wah Hospital is also situated on the street. Across Nathan Road, the section in the western Mong Kok is relative quiet and there are many cafés above street level in several buildings.

Some popular shopping plazas located in this dense area include:

Langham Place, 4th floor.
  • Sino Centre (信和中心) – Shops sell comic books, VCDs and DVDs related to Japanese cartoons, and regular CD albums.There are also several Japanese style karaoke booths, which can be booked by the hour.
  • Ho King Shopping Centre (好景商場) - Visitors can find computer and video games sold for relatively low prices. The fourth floor of the plaza is infamous for being formerly the biggest base of pornographic CDs and DVDs, and activities have diminished due to police and customs operations. However, some shops have been driven to the office section of the building, where the products and customers cause distress to female workers there.
  • Grand Century Place (新世紀廣場) - Situated next to Mong Kok East station, visitors can find famous-brand and popular shops.
  • Langham Place (朗豪坊) - This is a 59-storey complex with a shopping mall, a hotel, and offices. It opened in 2004 and was constructed based on the Hong Kong Government urban redevelopment scheme. It is the tallest building in Mong Kok.
  • Argyle Centre (旺角中心) - This usually crowded centre, located next to Mong Kok station, has three floors of shops selling low-priced clothes and shoes, plastic toys and heavy metal CDs.

Other streets in the area include:

Food[edit]

The Mong Kok area has many curb-side "food-booths" selling traditional snacks such as fish balls, fried beancurd (tofu) and various dim sum. These fingerfood are very popular in Hong Kong, especially for folks on the run. In addition, there are restaurants serving different kinds of cuisine, ranging from Japanese to Thai to Italian.

Built heritage[edit]

Sport venues[edit]

Mong Kok Stadium in 2011, after renovation.

Education[edit]

Educational institutions in Mong Kok include:

Transport[edit]

Traffic congestion in Mong Kok.
Exit B1 of Prince Edward Station, with Exit C1 across Prince Edward Road West.

The main thoroughfares are:

Three rail lines serve the area:

Popular culture[edit]

Mong Kok was the setting for the 2004 hit film One Night in Mongkok directed by Derek Yee. The movie portrays Mong Kok, one of the most densely populated places on Earth, as a hotbed of illicit activity. Similarly, the district was also the setting of the 1996 film Mongkok Story (旺角風雲) directed by Wilson Yip, which depicts a young man who becomes involved in a Triad gang.[10][11] The literal Chinese title of the 1988 film As Tears Go By by Wong Kar-wai is "Mong Kok Carmen". Part of Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Supremacy was set in Mong Kok.

The area is known locally for a youth subculture, the Mong Kok culture.

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Boland, Rory. "Mongkok Ladies Market". About.com Guide. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  2. ^ Kan, Nelson Y. Y. and Tanf, Miranda K. L. New Journey Through History 1A. Published by Aristo Educational Press LTD. Chapter two, P.48.
  3. ^ Yahoo. "Yahoo.com." Four dead as HK nightclub fire spreads. Retrieved on 28 August 2008.
  4. ^ Leisure and Cultural Services Department - Yuen Po Street Bird Garden: Introduction
  5. ^ "Bird garden reopens". The Standard. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Hong Kong Tourism Board: Theme Shopping Streets
  7. ^ Yanne, Andrew; Heller, Gillis (2009). Signs of a Colonial Era. Hong Kong University Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-962-209-944-9. 
  8. ^ List of the Historic Buildings in Building Assessment (as of 23 November 2011)
  9. ^ Chinese Temples Committee - Shui Yuet Kung, Shan Tung Street
  10. ^ IMDB. "IMDB.com." Wong Gok fung wan. Retrieved on 28 August 2008.
  11. ^ Yahoo.com. "Movies.yahoo.com." Mongkok story. Retrieved on 28 August 2008.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°19′21″N 114°10′14″E / 22.32250°N 114.17056°E / 22.32250; 114.17056