Similar to the Brother Seven Cafe where I had a fusion breakfast of western food cooked and served in local Cantonese style, Tsui Wah Restaurant 翠華餐廳 offered popular Hong Kong dishes including the unique fusion of crispy buns with sweet condensed milk, soup noodles with pork cubes and salted vegetables and Hainanese chicken rice, all reasonably priced between HKD20 to HKD30 each.
This popular all-day dining eatery has been part of Hong Kong's culinary history since 1967. While many of the food in Hong Kong are imported from China, Europe and US, Tsui Wah was born and bred locally as a teahouse or "Cha Chan Teng" which continued to serve a Western-Cantonese hybrid cuisine to residents and visitors.
Starting life as a small street-side cafe in the Mong Kok area offering only tea, coffee, french toast and other bakery items, Tsui Wah has grown into a recognised Hong Kong brand with more than 17 outlets, 800 employees and ventures into Macau and Shanghai.
The reasons for their success include meeting the changing Hong Kongers' demand for greater variety at reasonable prices, and offering convenience and flexibility to customers by staying open into the wee hours or operating around the clock in some locations.
Despite the expansion, Tsui Wah had managed to main an acceptable level of food and taste quality and service standards across the branches. Today, Tsui Wah is an institution of Hong Kong comfort food for families, kids, students, workers and busy executives.
I brought some friends to my favourite Wellington outlet in Central where the volume of customers and tables turning over would make the busiest business day of Mekong Vietnam in Melbourne or Golden Century in Sydney seem mild. We managed to nab a booth seat amidst the cheap and bold-coloured laminate decor and laminex table tops plastered with menus.
We decided on several popular and must-have local dishes to share including the unique fusion of Italian macaroni with Chinese ham in a Chinese chicken broth; thin flat rice noodles with fish eggs (which are actually fish balls) and sliced fish cakes in shark bone broth; a Western brekkie item of fried eggs and toasted bun; braised pork cartilage (which are actually pork hocks) with instant noodles; and a pork chop bun. The local milk tea in a cute cup accompanied our feed.
In true Tsui Wah-style, the service was polite and quick despite the crowd, and the dishes were delicious and satisfying. The macaroni was al dente, the rice noodles slurpy smooth, the pork hock glutenously tender and the pork chop crispy and fragrant.
Tsui Wah offers a delicious cup of Hong Kong's culinary history mixed with the eatery's food innovation, be it for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or supper.