A typhoon shelter () is a shelter for fishing boats during
typhoon A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort scale, strong winds, and ...

s. These facilities are often found in
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong


In its usual form, a typhoon shelter is in the form of a bay or a cove, with a narrow opening for access, as most of the opening to the seas is blocked by a man-made breakwater.


A typhoon shelter, as its name suggests, is used by small to medium ships as a shelter against gale-force winds and rough seas during a typhoon strike. It is also used to moor yachts ( the shelter in
Causeway Bay Causeway Bay is a district of Hong Kong Island Hong Kong Island is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands s ...

Causeway Bay
in Hong Kong is often used for that purpose) and some typhoon shelters have
wharves A wharf, quay (, also ), or staith(e) is a structure on the shore of a harbour A harbor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of var ...

for cargo.

Life in typhoon shelters

Before the 1990s, there was a fairly large population living on boats in typhoon shelters. Many of them were the descendants of fishermen or
boat people Vietnamese boat people ( vi, Thuyền nhân Việt Nam), also known simply as boat people, refers to the refugee A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person Forced displacement (also forced migration) is an involuntary or coerc ...
. They developed a distinct culture that is different from the mainstream cultures found in Hong Kong. The culture is, by many definitions, a fully developed one, with its own language, wedding rituals and other things such as food, songs and superstitions . The life and culture of the descendants of these fishermen has often been glamourised, and effectively hid the truth of the extreme poverty that existed among these people. Since they often had to go out to sea to fish, the children of a fisherman's family often did not go to school. This created the need for "floating schools", operated by religious organisations, to educate children living in typhoon shelters . Also, as the catch was variable income was not steady. Finally, as it is impossible to establish proper plumbing and garbage collection services among these boats, sanitary conditions in typhoon shelters during the time there were many people living there were less than desirable .

Typhoon shelter crab

''Typhoon shelter crab'' (), a dish served in many Hong Kong Chinese restaurants, is believed to have originated from the typhoon shelters. It is commonly prepared with crab meat, garlic, scallion, red chili and black beans.

Typhoon shelter prawn

Besides typhoon shelter crab, which is very well known throughout the world, the typhoon shelter style is also often cooked with prawn (), especially giant tiger prawns (''
Penaeus monodon ''Penaeus monodon'', commonly known as the giant tiger prawn, Asian tiger shrimp, black tiger shrimp, and other names, is a marine crustacean Crustaceans (Crustacea ) form a large, diverse arthropod taxon which includes such animals as crabs, ...

Penaeus monodon
'') or mantis prawn (''
Mantis shrimp Mantis shrimp, or stomatopods, are carnivorous A carnivore , meaning "meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domes ...

Mantis shrimp
''). They are the second preferred option after crab. The method of cooking is similar to cooking typhoon shelter crab, where prawns are deep fried in aromatic oil, stir-fried with garlic, ginger, shallots, dried chili and black bean.


Hong Kong's status as a fishing city continues to decline, the descendants of the fishermen have moved onshore, and the so-called "Typhoon Shelter" culture is rapidly being lost. The function of typhoon shelters remains unchanged, however, and their existence is still vital to Hong Kong. Some restaurants serving typhoon shelter-style cuisine have moved to shops onshore.

See also

Harbor A harbor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. C ...

List of typhoon shelters in Hong Kong The first typhoon shelter built in Hong Kong was the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, completed in 1883. It was followed by the Yau Ma Tei Typhoon Shelter, inaugurated in 1915. The following is a list of typhoon shelters in Hong Kong: Current Decom ...
Cuisine of Hong Kong Hong Kong cuisine is mainly influenced by Cantonese cuisine, European cuisines (especially British cuisine) and non-Cantonese Chinese cuisines (especially Hakka cuisine, Hakka, Teochew cuisine, Teochew, Hokkien cuisine, Hokkien and Shanghainese ...


Typhoon shelters in Hong Kong, * {{HK-stub