Sham Shui Po has historically been among the city's poorest districts, with 1 in 4 residents living below the poverty line despite its prime location on the MTR line.
However, some plots are being progressively redeveloped and sold at sky-high prices. At the same time, the cheaper old buildings are being subdivided into smaller but more affordable living spaces, cramming a unit where once a family once lived into 3-4 smaller rooms rented out individually.
Several streets are full of shops and street markets selling everything from toys, wholesale fabrics, remote controls, to travel sim cards. Kwan Kee Store is mentioned in the Michelin guide for its traditional Chinese desserts in a street food setting. It opened in the 1960s and is famous for its black sesame pudding, steamed sponge cake, and put jai go.
These outdoor markets tend to offer cheaper prices than their air-conditioned mall counterparts.
There is a street with many toy stores that sell wares for the season.
Sham Shui Po is home to many new immigrants, ethnic minorities, and the elderly who are trying to make their ends meet. In the 1970s, this part of town was a major garment centre from production to retail. Many of the factories have since left across the border, although the wholesalers are still around.
Kung Wo's history dates back to 1893 and is famous for its soy products. The owner's children sold in 1996 ahead of their immigration to a family friend, who has kept the shop's traditions. The current location opened in 1967 with a menu whose prices match the area's more working class atmosphere.