Mong Kok (also spelled Mongkok, often abbreviated as MK) is an area in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The Prince Edward subarea occupies the northern part of Mong Kok.
Mong Kok is one of the major shopping areas in Hong Kong. The area 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. It has been described and portrayed in films as an area in which triads run bars, nightclubs, and massage parlours. With its extremely high population density of 130,000/km2 (340,000/sq mi), Mong Kok was described as the busiest district in the world by the Guinness World Records.
Until 1930, the area was called Mong Kok Tsui (芒角嘴). The current English name is a transliteration of its older Chinese name 望角 (Jyutping: mong6 gok3; IPA: [mɔːŋ˨ kɔːk˧]), or 芒角 (Jyutping: mong4 gok3; IPA: [mɔːŋ˨˩ kɔːk˧]), which is named for its plentiful supply of ferns in the past when it was a coastal region. Its present Chinese name "旺角" (Jyutping: wong6 gok3; IPA: [wɔːŋ˨ kɔːk˧]), means "prosperous corner" or "crowded corner", however, the English name did not change.
For a period, the area was also called Argyle, and this name was used for the MTR station when it opened in 1979. The office building 旺角中心; 'Mong Kok Centre', which was named after the area, is known in English as Argyle Centre rather than Mong Kok Centre.
Mong Kok preserves its traditional characteristics with an array of markets, small shops, and food stalls that have disappeared from other areas during the past several decades of economic developments and urban transformation. As such, a few of these streets in Mong Kok have acquired 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 specialises 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, cosmetics, and discount books. The latter are usually located on the lower floors of buildings.
The garden was completed in 1997 for the relocation of booths selling birds at Hong Lok Street (雀仔街), aka. "Bird Street", which was closed due to urban renewal in June 1998.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fife Street (快富街) is a street that is north of Argyle Street, south of Mong Kok Road, and perpendicular to Nathan Road. The Chinese name means "fast wealth" in English, but the name is a loanword based on the English pronunciation of the fife instrument.
The Mong Kok area has many food-booths selling traditional snacks such as fish balls, fried beancurd (tofu) and various dim sum. These fingerfoods 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.