Claypots, noodles & braises

Claypots, noodles & braises

By
Jeremy Pang
Contains
11 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
978-1-84949-992-7
Photographer
Kris Kirkham

Specialist cafés

Fast food, as we know it here in the UK, has always been the fail-safe option for those who are in need of a quick fix. Often it’s pretty nasty or naughty and should be avoided most of the time. But occasionally, after a 12-hour shift on your feet, or a 6-hour shift in the pub, fast food is just what you need, and just has to be obtained and greedily enjoyed. The best thing, I think, about a Hong Kong takeaway or fast food fix, however, is that wherever you go, you are more likely to get a quicker meal from a 50-year-old local establishment than you would queuing up at a big box McDonalds or KFC.

No matter what time of day and how limited your time, your craving for a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner can be satisfied through an unstoppable and irreplaceable collection of specialist cafés, most of which serve just one or two dishes. Despite the short menu (which might be looked down upon for lack of choice within Western culture), they may well be the very best version of those dishes that you have ever tasted.

If you know where to find them, every district in Hong Kong has its own set of go-to specialist cafés or establishments, serving a plethora of dishes from stuffed fried tofu to claypot rice, traditional steamboats and Hong Kong-style baked breads. As with the dai pai dongs, it’s best not to judge them by their exterior. Some are the most basic of places: essentially just kitchen windows, set up roadside, serving roast duck and pork for takeaway only because there is literally no space to ‘eat in’ other than the tiny hot kitchen.

A lot of these specialist cafés can still be found in the wet markets or dotted around the outside of them. You’ll find these types of eateries spread across the city, wherever locals congregate to do their daily shop, stopping for a quick bite to eat along the way.

My go-to establishments of this genre are the breakfast cafés, where they serve homemade cheung fun (steamed rice flour and tapioca pancakes with savoury fillings), rice porridge with a variety of toppings, and stir-fried egg noodles with finely sliced vegetables, with the obligatory chilli sauce on the side for added breakfast kick.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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