Lei Yue Mun is a rare rustic appendage secreted away among the overdeveloped urban musculature of Hong Kong city. Strictly speaking, Lei Yue Mun is the narrow channel that divides Hong Kong island from Kowloon, but the name applies to the lands abutting the water also. On the Kowloon side, just south of the crowded housing estates of Yau Tong (also the closest MTR station), you can find a complex of fishing shacks, seafood markets and restaurants that are a pleasure to explore. One of the first you’ll stumble across down Lei Yue Mun Praya Road – though of course you’ll have a reservation – is Kam Lee Loy, a tiny Chinese restaurant specialising in hotpot and seafood.
The easternmost gate to Victoria Harbour, Lei Yue Mun has always been a waterway of strategic importance, whether for the ruling Chinese or British or the pirates that patrolled the coast. On the Hong Kong island side you can still find remnants of military defences, while the Kowloon side has somehow – or at least as yet – escaped the rampant development of every expensive square foot of land, reclaimed or otherwise, that characterises the urban fabric of Hong Kong. Take the ferry from Sam Ka Tsuen or Sai Wan Ho, or exit the MTR at Yau Tong on your way to a (largely pedestrian) paradise of seafront restaurants and bars set among the fishing villages of Sam Ka Tsuen, Lei Yue Mun and Ma Wan. Down Lei Yue Mun Praya Road you can find Kam Lee Loy, an exemplary Chinese seafood and hotpot restaurant.
Fresh seafood prepared according to traditional Chinese techniques is a specialty at Kam Lee Loy – not surprising considering that Lei Yue Mun is home to a famous Hong Kong fish market that’s subject to far less patronage than others. Here, the fish and seafood is literally brought to market steps from the coats that brought the haul in, so you know the whole scallops in the shell, abalone and mantis shrimp are as fresh as can be. Kam Lee Loy has a tiny shopfront down Lei Yue Mun Praya Road, typical of the humble architecture of this oft-overlooked corner of Kowloon, but boasts surprising capacity inside. Sit among fuss-free surrounds and enjoy set meals for two to three or for or more persons: the Typhoon Shelter garlic stir-fried crab, Boston lobster, Huadiao-steamed crab, green grouper, spicy conch broiled in Chinese wine, or the restaurant’s signature secret-recipe seafood soup.