Yau Ma Tei takes the character of a quiet recluse sandwiched between Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok, two neighbourhoods brimming with the buzz of today’s youth. If you’re not going to Yau Ma Tei for wholesale kitchenware or good claypot rice, then you probably won’t stop by this area. But now there’s a new incentive: Mum’s Not Home on Shanghai Street. The trendy café has risen quickly through word of mouth and has become quite a destination, drawing in young adults to the previously quiet streets of the neighbourhood.
For first-time navigators on holiday in Hong Kong, tracking down Mum’s Not Home may prove difficult thanks to the city’s dense streets. Like most locally owned cafés in Kowloon, Mum’s Not Home is located on the upper floor of an old residential building with a small, sad-looking excuse of an opening that you’d either a) dismiss as insignificant, b) back away from because it looks like somewhere you could be mugged or c) miss seeing altogether.
However, once you do pinpoint the location of Mum’s Not Home, it’s pretty obvious you’ve arrived thanks to the telling posters of the café on the walls. The owner, a quirky little man, welcomes you into his equally quirky little den as you ring the doorbell on a bold, painted sliding door on the first floor of the dinky old building. It’s not difficult to see why Mum’s Not Home is so popular. The warm greeting you receive has already made you feel at home before even stepping inside.
Mum’s Not Home awaits you in a single room washed with soft purple neon lights and accessorised with plenty of plants, art pieces and worn-down furniture. Despite the lack of air conditioning, the café remains cool and comfortable – a feat I thought impossible to achieve in Hong Kong. The flowery oasis brimmed with customers during my arrival. Even at the unsuspecting four o’clock on a weekday, the little hideout was very much alive with a cheery, homey atmosphere.
Mum’s Not Home is covered in a selection of trinkets sourced from all around the world by the owner himself, who is a frequent traveller. These pieces range from small accessories like rings to handmade clothing items by worldwide designers, and even to large paintings of artwork by various artists. They’re all for sale so you can take back a piece of the globe with you.
Mum’s Not Home offers up a range of flashy galaxy-coloured drinks and salivating homemade cakes. The only physical menu is lovingly hand drawn on a large, wooden board that gets passed around between every guest as they settle down in their own little space.
Tea and latte selections are served either hot or cold in silver cups the size of a ramen bowl, making the whole ordeal very Instagram-worthy. I ordered an Earl Grey Tea with a slice of Butterfly Pea Lime Cheesecake, the second just for the ‘Gram because guess what, I don’t even eat cheesecake. Yes. I did it for social media. But can you blame me? With such photogenic bites on offer, it’s no wonder Mum’s Not Home has achieved thunderous popularity in such a short amount of time.
I highly recommend Mum’s Not Home to anyone of any age. It’s proven a universal favourite so far. Case in point: apart from locals, the café is frequented by out-of-towners too. This is not only because the café has become well-known on Instagram, but also because the owner travels frequently to connect with café owners from around the world. With gorgeous interior design, warm service and an atmosphere abuzz with such a diverse range of customers, there really is no reason to miss out seeing this hot new destination.
Mum’s Not Home
1/F, 302 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong
+852 9770 5760
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