I recently brought my friend, Tony, to Shamshuipo’s fabric district to source different fabric / material to be used for his staff’s uniforms (yes! for his new restaurant!). While we were there, we decided to stop by Hong Fat Noodle (漢發麵家) for some authentic Dai Pai Dong (大牌檔) food. Apparently, as I’ve just found out from Wikipedia, the correct term for 大牌檔 in English by the HKSAR Government is called “Cooked-Food Stalls” … hmm, that’s kind of weak isn’t it? I was kind of hoping the name would be something along the lines of “Big-ass Signage Stalls”, which I suppose is closer to the literal translation of the term. Afterall, like 茶餐厅 (Tea Houses?), these are what Hong Kong’s about … this is Hong Kong culture and the name’s gotta sound badass.
Anyway, here’s a little more about Dai Pai Dong from Wikipedia:
Dai pai dong is characterised by its green-painted steel kitchen, untidy atmosphere, the lack of air conditioning, as well as a variety of low priced great-wok hei dishes. Regarded by some as part of the collective memory of Hong Kong people, official dai pai dongs are scarce today, numbering only 28, situated in Central (10), Sham Shui Po (14), Wan Chai (1), Tai Hang (2), and Tai O (1).
Although the term dai pai dong is often used generically to refer to any food stall operating on the roadside with foldable tables, chairs and no air-conditioning (like those on Temple Street), legally speaking the term can only refer to those 28 stalls which possess the “big licenses”.
Man, I think I just fell in love with whoever did all that research 🙂 If you haven’t checked out the link, do so now … its so well summarized.
Anyway, so this place we went to is 1 of 14 in SSP (didn’t know there was so many in that district) and 28 in Hong Kong. They make one of the best 牛筋腩面 (Beef Tendon & Brisket Noodle) I’ve ever had. In fact, I kept having the same thing everytime I’m there, I actually haven’t tried their other stuff, which I’m sure is equally as good.
Afterall, as I was told by dad (who first started going there 30 years ago), the owner of this DPD (yeh I’m cool … I just abbreviated Dai Pai Dong!) owns some 10+ flats / apartments in the YauTsimMong (油尖旺) area … short for Yau Ma Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok … sooo, I guess he did quite well for himself and his family (in layman’s term, he’s friggin’ loaded)
Features of the DPD:
- “Green-painted Steel Kitchen”. Check!
- “Untidy Atmosphere”. Check!
- “Lack of Air Conditioning”. Check! (you know, going to DPD under a 40 degree celsius sun is also part of the fun!)
- “A variety of low priced great-wok hei dishes”. Check!
Here are probably one day’s worth of beef tendons … being dried by the road side, which is frequented by trucks. The pollution is part of the marinate. Haven’t you heard?
Voila! The owner sold like millions of these
An experience at a 大牌檔 or 茶餐厅 is not complete unless you order the 油菜 (boiled veggies with a dab of oyster sauce or 腩汁 (concentrated beef broth)) … even if you don’t eat it … you have to order it and have it in front of you.
Worth a visit? Definitely!
Wikipedia mentioned something about the preservation of DPD (reproduced below):
In May 2005, the existence of dai pai dong in Hong Kong caught considerable public attention, as Man Yuen Noodles, a dai pai dong selling noodles in Central, faced imminent closure due to the death of the licensee. The news came after the closure of a bakery famous for its egg tarts, also located in Central and forced to close because of the rise of rent. The bakery reopened in October 2005.
Despite calls for its preservation by many locals, including some politicians, the stall was closed on July 30, 2005. The Hong Kong government was criticised for not trying its best to preserve dai pai dongs as part of the Hong Kong culture. The news of the closure coincided with the government’s proposal of the development of West Kowloon Cultural District. The stall has unexpectedly reopened at a nearby shop on December 1, 2005.
But what it doesn’t tell you (well, they haven’t updated yet) is that the HKSAR government will be passing a law (if they haven’t already), that would allow descendants of the owner to continue the family business (no you’re not allowed to sell the business to strangers, but still …). How awesome is that?! Although we won’t be seeing more of them, at least they’ll be around for quite some time to come. They’re not dead yet.
Siu Yeh Rating: 9/10! (10 because DPD’s hold such sentimental values)
Hong Fat Noodle (漢發麵家)
Somewhere in Shamshuipo … let’s Google Map it
Shek Kip Mei St. & Apliu St. (in front of Cheong Fok House)
Too bad there’s no street view in Hong Kong yet …
Filed under: Hong Kong, Sham Shui Po | Tagged: Cooked-food Stalls, Culture, Dai Pai Dong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Fabric District, Hong Kong Fabric Market, Kowloon, Shamshuipo, SSP, SSP Hong Fat Noodle, Tradition, YauTsimMong (油尖旺), 大牌檔, 深水埗, 深水埗漢發麵家, 漢發麵家 |