Exploring the Treasures of Upper Lascar Row | Antiques, Uniqueness, Attractions, and Delicious Food

3 October 2023 by
Daisy Wong

Upper Lascar Row, located in Sheung Wan, is one of the most popular antique streets in Hong Kong. This street is renowned for its unique characteristics and holds a nostalgic ambiance. It features a plethora of distinctive stalls, each corner filled with surprises and delights. The surrounding area offers various attractions and delicious food, making it a perfect spot for a half-day excursion. The name of this street originates from the British colonial period. Today, it serves not only as a treasure trove for foreigners but also as a favoured destination for locals and tourists alike.

The origin of the name "Lascar Row"

The name "Lascar" originates from the British colonial period and refers to sailors who arrived from the East Indies. During the early days of Hong Kong's establishment, these sailors settled in an area between Hollywood Road and Queen's Road Central. Many Indian sailors would sell the handicrafts they acquired in China in this area, gradually forming an antique market. Lascar Row is also nicknamed "Cat Street" because locals referred to stolen goods as "rat goods," and those who came to buy these stolen goods were called "cats."

Sheung Wan Lascar Row

There are three antique streets in Sheung Wan, namely Lascar Row, Hollywood Road , and Lok Ku Road. All of these streets are located within the Central and Western District of Hong Kong Island. Each street offers a unique selection of antique goods, making them distinct from one another.

Upper Lascar Row

Upper Lascar Row offers a more accessible range of antique prices and operates mainly in roadside. The shops specialise in selling items such as jade jewellery, ceramics, bronze Buddhas, lacquerware, wooden utensils, as well as vintage watches, old fountain pens, antique toys, porcelain from the Chinese Cultural Revolution era, and small collectibles like old Hong Kong stamps and coins dating back a century. Moreover, you can also find nostalgic items like old photographs that evoke a sense of nostalgia and take you back in time.

Hollywood Road

Hollywood Road Lascar Row is primarily known for its upscale antique speciality shops. These shops display a wide range of merchandise, including ceramics, jade carvings, ivory carvings, bronze ware, calligraphy and paintings, as well as cultural relics from both China and abroad. It can be said that they have a diverse selection of items. In addition, there are also rare antiques from Europe, such as vintage electrical appliances, furniture, jewellery, and silverware.

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Lok Ku Road

Lok Ku Road is also specialising in selling traditional Chinese antiquities. It offers a wide range of items, including famous green-glased pottery from the Han Dynasty, ceramics from the Song Dynasty, and stone carvings featuring animal motifs from various dynasties. The street itself has a distinctive "meandering ruler" shape and spans approximately 300 metres. It is home to nearly forty antique shops. The exhibited items have a more rustic and unique appearance, emphasising their archaeological and historical value. Due to their high value, they are often sought after by overseas collectors and museums.

The characteristics of Lascar Row

Lascar Row, as one of the renowned antique streets in Hong Kong, possesses distinct characteristics rooted in its historical background. The main features include:

A wide range of antiques on Lascar Row

Lascar Row offers a wide variety of antiques, ranging from Chinese porcelain and jade artefacts spanning from the Qing Dynasty to the Republican era and modern times, to European antique furniture, sculptures, and more. Here, you can find numerous rare collectibles and have the opportunity to acquire high-quality antiques. These items not only hold artistic value but also serve as witnesses to history and culture, allowing people to gain a deeper understanding of Hong Kong's rich heritage.

Street stalls on Lascar Row

The antique shops on Lascar Row primarily consist of street stalls. These stalls offer a wide variety of merchandise, including handmade products, souvenirs, stationery, books, and more. The prices at these stalls are relatively affordable. The street stalls are a prominent feature of Lascar Row, selling aged and faded old photographs, slides, as well as ceramics, bronze artefacts, jade, stone carvings, old clocks, coins, vintage pens, old telephones, Mickey Mouse, Barbie dolls, and various trinkets. People can find unique items here and also discover many affordable and high-quality goods. At the same time, it provides an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Hong Kong's culture and customs.

Lascar Row features

Lascar Row's streetscape is truly unique. The buildings here mainly consist of multi-story old tenement buildings in traditional Chinese architectural style and a few small, old commercial buildings. The central part of the street is pedestrian-only, with no cars allowed, creating a lively atmosphere. On both sides of the street, you can find a row of green, corrugated iron stalls. Lascar Row has essentially remained unchanged since the 1960s, preserving many old elements and characteristics. These buildings not only exude a sense of antiquity but also serve as a great destination for photography enthusiasts to capture the nostalgic ambiance.

Lascar Row old iron gate

The nostalgic Chinese-style old iron gate is one of the distinctive features of Lascar Row and a popular spot for tourists to take photos. This vintage iron gate is made up of a combination of different floral patterns, showcasing the nostalgic charm of Lascar Row. As night falls, the gate is closed, and the illuminated iron gate takes on an even more nostalgic appearance, with its beautiful patterns shining through. It has become a significant landmark of Lascar Row, attracting both tourists and locals to capture its essence and share their experiences.

Attractions and cuisine around Lascar Row

Near the Lascar Row in Sheung Wan, there are many attractions and culinary delights. Here are some of them:

Halfway Coffee

This café serves its beverages in retro-style Chinese porcelain cups, even their takeaway cups are adorned with unique ceramic patterns, such as cups with the imprint "Eternal Longevity." While the café primarily uses Chinese-style cups, the flavours they offer are Western-style, creating a fusion of Chinese and Western cultures. The interior decoration of the café also exudes a vintage style, with displays of antique cups. The use of Chinese tea cups to serve coffee adds a distinctive touch, making it a perfect spot for photography and capturing moments.

Address: G/F, Wah Koon Building, 26 Upper Lascar Row Sheung Wan

Lassana Coffee

Lassana Coffee is located on Lok Ku Road in Sheung Wan. The café offers a serene and elegant environment that creates a relaxing atmosphere. It is said that the owner, Tracy, has travelled abroad for many years and experienced the leisurely lifestyle of the locals. She has brought this laid-back dining culture to bustling Hong Kong. While exploring the treasures on Lascar Row, visitors can also take their time to enjoy delicious food in the vicinity before continuing their treasure hunt.

Address: Shop A, G/F, Pong Fai Building, 2-8 Lok Ku Road, Sheung Wan

Man Mo Temple

The Man Mo Temple is located on Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. It consists of three buildings: the Man Mo Temple, the Lit Shing Kung, and the Kung Sor. The temple was constructed between 1847 and 1862 and is classified as a Grade I historic building in Hong Kong. In 1994, it was designated by the Antiquities Advisory Board, and in 2010, it was listed as a declared monument. Besides, it is a renowned tourist attraction in Hong Kong, attracting numerous visitors who come to admire its beauty and cultural significance. Every year, the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals holds a grand Autumn Sacrificial Ritual at the Man Mo Temple, following the traditional customs to pay tribute to the Man and Mo deities and pray for blessings for the city's residents.

Visiting Lascar Row in Sheung Wan is definitely a fun-filled experience and worth spending half a day treasure hunting. Whether you are an antique enthusiast or someone looking to discover unique and novelty items, this place can fulfil your desires. Inside, you may find antiques like dolls, stickers, or photographs, where you can always find your memories. If you have a collection of photos and are concerned about them turning yellow or fading over time, you might consider using Capture.HK's photo album digitisation service.

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