This is Central, the central business district of Hong Kong. Tucked among the super high-rise buildings are a mix of modern and old restaurants – with some even being Hong Kong’s oldest. Busy in the day and relatively quiet at night, you will definitely step foot here if you plan to visit The Peak or have a drink at Lan Kwai Fong. Our objective here? To have tea break at the most famous Hong Kong style tea restaurant, none other than Sing Heung Yuen.
Since there are already countless hawker and mamak stalls in Malaysia, something like Sing Heung Yuen is already very common for us. Part of the reason why Sing Heung Yuen is so popular is due to the fact that they are one of the few ‘Dai Pai Dong‘ in Hong Kong that is still standing. Most roadside eateries have moved into shoplots over the years, making this traditional type of restaurants a rare sight. And I don’t think I am alone, Sing Heung Yuen actually reminds me of Penang’s Toh Soon Cafe.
When you are eating in Hong Kong and especially at establishments like this, it is best to expect the worst service and attitude from the staff. So even if you got treated with a unhappy looking face, at least you seen it coming. That being said, the menu here is quite simple and consists of mostly toasts, a couple of macaroni and noodles and complete with drinks you would expect from a coffee shop.
Even though the 茄牛面 (Instant Noodle with Tomato and Beef) is like the signature food here, even being the staple food of the working class, we were simply not interested. With so much food to try in Hong Kong but limited time and stomach space, I must be kidding myself to travel all the way here to have instant noodles. So we had the 脆脆 (‘chui chui’, translates to ‘crunchy crunchy’) instead, which is actually a round, toasted bun. This is a butter and condensed milk ‘chui chui’, called 奶油脆脆 @ $9. It has a nice toasty aroma and not overly sweet, tastes simple but satisfactory – I can have this everyday for tea break man.
牛油脆脆 (Butter ‘chui chui’) @ $9 – basically the same thing but with a small chunk of butter tucked in the middle. These ‘chui chui’ does live up to its name, the texture is not hard but simply crunchy. I am guessing the bun is not those soft types but made to be crunchy on its own. So when it is toasted it just got even crunchier. You can definitely make the same thing at home with your own toasters, but you gotta have the same bun yo!
咸柠七 (Salted Lemon Sprite) @ $12, something that we should get our hands on one day because it is so simple to make! This is a salty, zesty and cooling drink that will taste like godsend on a hot and humid summer afternoon.
Right behind where I sat was this stack of Coca Cola boxes, they are still serving those glass bottled soft drinks.
Eight toasters to keep up the orders, no wonder the toasts could arrive so quickly.
If you are on a tight schedule in Hong Kong and have a limited quota of things to eat, perhaps you would want to skip this. Honestly, I think you won’t miss out a lot except for some toasts that you can even prepare at your own home – as long as you have a working toaster.
Finally, even though Sing Heung Yuen is at Central, it doesn’t mean you should alight at Central MTR. In fact, the nearest MTR station is actually Sheung Wan. Getting here is not a problem if you are willing to ask around – a cold shoulder is kind of expected when asking for directions in Hong Kong but it will definitely save you time. Given their reputation, nobody in this area wouldn’t know where Sing Heung Yuen is. And after this, you can also walk to Kau Kee Restaurant for Beef Noodles, which is literally 10 steps away from here.
Sing Heung Yuen 胜香园
2 Mei Lun Street, Central
Business hours: Monday to Saturday 8am to 5:30pm. Closed on Sunday