Wai Kee Noodle & Cafe (維記咖啡粉麵)

So I got a little tired of looking for places to eat in Hong Kong Island. The cool thing to do now  (for me anyway) is to venture out into the heart of Kowloon (Tsimshatsui, Jordan, Yau Ma Tei, Shamshuipo, Prince Edward, etc.) and even Kowloon City … because there are just so many small finds there that have rich histories and not-your-usual-type-of-food.

Case in point (or point in case, whatever floats your boat), in my quest to explore a little more of Kowloon, I was recommended this place called Wai Kee Noodle & Cafe (維記咖啡粉麵) in Shamshuipo. Apparently, its been around since 1957 and they have 3 stores side-by-side (well, a real estates agency got sandwiched in between) and their specialties are:

  • Milk Tea, Coffee (奶茶, 咖啡)
  • French Toast (咖央西多士); and
  • Pig’s Liver and Beef Noodles (豬潤牛肉麵)

We got there at around 1PM and usually, there would’ve been a long line-up already, but we got lucky. Surely enough, as we left the restaurant, there was a small queue outside the restaurant.

Anyway, part of the reason why I think the restaurant saw a rise in popularity is because Donald Tsang came here to eat a while back and there was a picture of him on the wall. It was just like the British-days (pre-1997) when Chris Patten would go around the city having herbal teas and egg tarts.

Anyway, this is what I had which is the Pig’s Liver and Beef Noodles (豬潤牛肉麵). For noodles, you get to choose between variations of vermicelli and instant noodles. I had the latter.

Pig's Liver and Beef Instand Noodle

Pig's Liver and Beef Instand Noodle

Pig's Liver and Beef Vermicelli

Pig's Liver and Beef Vermicelli

I don’t know what all the fuzz is about. It was really just instant noodle with beef and pig’s liver and I can’t really taste the beef either. The soup base isn’t the really flavorful type you would expect from say, Kau Kee … it was more the really clear broth (清汤) that cooked the beef and livers. Hence, all that residue from the liver’s blood floating on the soup. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as I had expected. That said, however, the liver is pretty fresh and even after sitting in the soup for a while, it was still chewy / tender … and wasn’t too tough or flaky.

French Toast

French Toast

What was good though, was the French Toast (咖央西多士), which I had after the noodle. It wasn’t too oily and the “咖央”, which is the filling, whatever it is (I still can’t quite describe it) isn’t too sweet, which is good. I believe the filling is a a mixture of butter, sweetened concentrated milk and syrup and it was done just right. I would go there just to have another French toast right now!

Wai Kee Noodle & Cafe - The Original Shop! Circa 1957

Wai Kee Noodle & Cafe - The Original Shop! Circa 1957

I’ll go back for the French toast and milk tea next time!

Siu Yeh Rating: 5/10

Note: Photos taken with an iPhone

Wai Kee Noodle & Cafe (維記咖啡粉麵)
62-66 Fuk Wing Street, Shamshuipo
Kowloon, Hong Kong
(Exit B2 at the Shamshuipo MTR exit)
深水埗福榮街62及66號地下
Tel: +852 2387 6515

SSP Hong Fat Noodle & Dai Pai Dong (深水埗漢發麵家)

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)

SSP Hong Fat Noodle & Dai Pai Dong (深水埗漢發麵家)

SSP Hong Fat Noodle & Dai Pai Dong (深水埗漢發麵家)

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!
Dai Pai Dong Chef at Work!

Dai Pai Dong Chef at Work!

Work it!

Beef Tendons ... in the drying process I guess :)

Beef Tendons ... in the drying process I guess 🙂

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?

Beef Brisket + Tendons Noodles and Ice Tea

Beef Brisket + Tendons Noodles and Ice Tea

Voila! The owner sold like millions of these

Lettuce with Oyster Sauce

Lettuce with Oyster Sauce

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):

Preservation

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 …

Australia Dairy Company

People often say the simplest food is usually the hardest to make … well.

I couldn’t agree more.

I can put together a decent sausage & fried egg instant noodle (university days have trained me well!). I can make a respectable grilled ham & cheese sandwich. And I can definitely make scrambled eggs … but are they any good?!

People seem to think Australia Dairy Company make the best scrambled eggs (or fried eggs, butter toasts, and ham macaroni / spaghetti for that matter) in town. So good, in fact, that this outlet in Jordan has a fan club on Facebook. (At the time of writing this blog, I’m well aware that Australia Dairy Company has appeared in countless other blogs, news articles and other medium … but having finally tried it again in what seemed like eons, I wanted to give my own two cents about the place)

I had deliberately traveled across the Harbour to Jordan just to see what the place is like now. It was 3PM on a Saturday afternoon and there were about 15-20 people waiting in line. The turnover is VERY quick and since I was alone, I was told to go in and wait.

If you think the attitude at Kau Kee (九記) is bad, think again. The staff at Australia Dairy Company are pretty rude, but they’re efficient and that’s what really matters. It took just 30 seconds from the moment I made my order, to food arriving right in front of me. My milk tea took a little longer, but I was definitely impressed with the speed. I was also told the staff all wear Rolexes, and so I took notice and surely, some of them really were wearing them. I immediately tried to search for recruitment notices, but couldn’t find any.

Anyway, back to the food. So why is the scrambled eggs so good you ask? Its so well balanced. Most scrambled eggs are dry and solidified. These are cooked so that a bit of the yolk is still running (just a little) and is lightly salted. Perfection.

I had the HKD 28 meal, which includes a “plate” of pork spaghetti in soup and a plate of scrambled eggs with 2 small pieces of ham and 2 pieces of thick toast with the right amount of butter. I added a cold milk-tea for an extra HKD 2. The whole meal was definitely not very filling, but it was just right.

So why is it called Australia Dairy Company? I supposed it started as a restaurant selling their famed “steamed milk” (it is very smooth and tasty), but I didn’t have it during this visit. Then again, I wonder where they get their milk from and whether their business suffered from the recently melamine-tainted milk incident …

Return visit? Definitely.

Australia Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司)
47 Parkes Street (near Jordan Road), Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2730 1356

Hong Kong Old Restaurant (香港老飯店)

If you’re looking for authentic Shanghainese food in Hong Kong, this is the place to visit. There are 2 branches, one in North Point (Hong Kong Island) and the other in Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon). My folks think the TST branch serve better food, and since we’ve hardly ever been back to the other restaurant, I can’t tell you if my parents are right or not … they probably are.

As you can probably tell from the name, they’ve been around for a while. There are plenty of Shanghainese restaurant in town – another notable one is Ye Shanghai – but this one seems to have more variety and the decor and everything is less pretentious. I’m in it for the food ONLY.

If you ever feel like splurging a little, I would highly recommend their shark’s fin soup. At over HKD 2,000 per pot which serves about 10+, they don’t come cheap, but its well worth it.

Hong Kong Old Restaurant (香港老飯店) Tsim Sha Tsui branch
4/F., Miramir Center, 1 Kimberly Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Tel: +852 2722 1812
Fax: +852 2723 2266
Opens 11:00 to 15:00 (lunch) and 17:30 to 23:00 (dinner) Mondays to Sundays
Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Exit B1; Valet parking available
Website: www dot hkoldrest dot com dot hk