Amid the high-rises, cosy and companionable eateries still thrive In many big cities around the world, neighbourhood joints are a way of life. When you don?t feel like cooking, you can always drop into a local mom-and-pop diner, not just for the food but for that feeling of being at home. Unfortunately in this big city, such places are becoming increasingly hard to find. More and more people now live above malls, eat in malls, shop in malls and breathe in malls. And even if you don?t live above a mall, the restaurants nearby are unlikely to be family-owned. All is not lost, however. In certain quieter neighbourhoods that malls have yet to reach, there still exist many spots where the staff know their customers by name. At the same time, restaurateurs continue to repeat the SoHo formula of discovering old neighbourhoods that have the potential to become new dining districts. NoHo (consisting of mostly Gough Street and Shing Hing Street) is a case in point. The most exhilarating, perhaps, is the emergence of new neighbourhood joints in areas you least expect, such as Central and Causeway Bay. This reflects one of Hong Kong?s most distinctive characteristics: the intermingling of commercial and residential blocks. One minute you could be shopping in a fancy department store, and the next you?re in a little eatery enjoying coffee and a late breakfast. Or you could be getting weary of tussling with the crowds and decide to make a quick detour to a cafe that looks more like a family-run tea-room in a small town. That is what?s fun about this city. It may appear a bland of nondescript office and residential blocks, but the streets still offer so much to discover.