Your local Orlando food blogger Tasty Chomps! went on a short vacation this summer to Hong Kong. This is the first part of the Hong Kong series, observations and lovely bites and bits on the streets of Hong Kong.
Breakfast in Hong Kong
Hong Kong may well be best known for their dim sum, with images of old ladies pushing carts of steamed shrimp dumplings, plump pork buns, and steamed chicken feet with pepper in bustling crowded restaurants.
But there is another type of cuisine in Hong Kong that is popular for breakfast known as cha chaan tang or “tea cafes”.
In the 1950s, while still under British colonial rule, Hong Kong experienced a boon of Western restaurants opening up. However, the average Hong Kong layman could not afford the prices at these “Western” restaurants serving up their expensive dishes. So instead “tea cafes” introduced localized (and cheaper) western breakfast food – eggs, pancakes, French toast, hot cereal, macaroni in soup, coffee, tea, and ‘yin yang’ (coffee and tea combined), a kind of fusion of East and West.
Two popular chains in Hong Kong for cha chaan tang or tea cafe are Cafe de Coral and Tsui Wah Restaurant. Luckily for us, a Tsui Wah was just down the block from our hotel located in Tsim Sha Shui area of Kowloon in Hong Kong, and we frequented it quite a bit for breakfast.
Some Highlights of Breakfast at Tsui Wah Restaurant
The Hong Kong Style French Toast – I dream of french toast from Hong Kong now that I have tasted its sweet, syrupy, deep-fried nirvana. French Toast in Hong Kong is different from French Toast in the United States in several ways, from the thick light bread used to the cooking style, this french toast is hands down the undeniable champion of morning breakfast items.
Macaroni in soup with ham - This is kind of weird to see at a restaurant, but its a favorite with the kids. The macaroni in soup is cheap and savory comfort food for the Hong Kong soul.
Fish balls and vermicelli in fish broth soup – Its a recurring theme here in Hong Kong: fish balls, those processed balls of bouncy fish goodness. The soup is hearty and flavorful, the fish balls are delightfully bouncy in the mouth and the vermicelli noodles are quickly slurped down.
Pineapple bun with a thick cut of butter – No, there is no pineapple in this bun, but its name does come from the pineapple, where the bun’s cut shaped top resembles the fruit’s outer skin. Slice in half, stuff it with a thick cut of butter and call it a day.
Instant Noodles with Satay Beef – need I say more? these are the same instant noodles you can get at the grocery store topped with some slices of satay beef. Its cheap and its good.
After breakfast, we took a quick stroll to the Avenue of the Stars, Hong Kong’s Version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, filled with the names and stars and hand print of celebrities from Hong Kong’s film industry. As a lifelong fan of Hong Kong films, I was literally awestruck to walk by the stars graced by the hand prints and signatures of celebrities and idols like Andy Lau, Chow Yun Fat, Stephen Chow and most of all the huger than life sized statue of Bruce Lee.