One (afternoon) in Mongkok

19 06 2016


Mongkok is one of the most densely packed neighbourhoods on Earth, its pavements heaving with surging crowds in its street markets and shopping streets and home to bleach-cropped “MK boys” who work the city’s vice trades as well as maddening numbers of mainland tourists.  Over the years, I have developed an ambivalent relationship to the area. At times, on a steamy Summer night, walking down Portland Street with its dingy door-ways and blazing neon, I have enjoyed its seedy vibe. But often it drives me to distraction – there are simply too many people, and way  too many wheelie suitcases.

This weekend though I discovered that hidden in the upper floors of its buildings, up above its maddening streets, Mongkok still has some cool little surprises to yield.

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I discovered this amazing mini-mall of Thai amulet stalls on the third floor of the unremarkable-looking President Building. A dodgy European in cornrows was attempting to bargain in broken Thai, and there was also a vinyl record store, a sex shop and a  tattooist – I think I’ll have to go back to explore the other floors.

I didn’t see any of the kuman thong (human foetus charms) I had once seen in a similar store in Yau Ma Tei – but I’m sure they have them under the counter.


Elsewhere, in the heart of the city’s specialist bathroom supplies district, amid stores selling tiles and toilets, I went up a a dingy staircase to find the surprisingly hipster White Noise records. This old-skool indie record store stocks vinyl, band Tshirts and CDs arranged into categories like “Iceland”, “post-rock” and most extensively, “Japanese underground”. I picked up a compilation album put out by the store’s own White Noise Records called “Made in Hong Kong”, and featuring disco, funk and rare groove tracks from the city in the 70s, like the one below. A find.




One response

28 11 2016
Book report | ilbonito blog 2007

[…] of lersi ( magical hermits) or amulets. Armed with this knowledge, I can feel a return trip to the Thai amulet mall in Mongkok coming […]

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