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The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Hong Kong fast food @ Tsui Wah Restaurant [Des Voeux Road Central Branch], Hong Kong

While backing up the photos stored on my phone, I stumbled across some food photos I took a few months ago that I never blogged about. It was during the time my friend and her family visited Hong Kong for a few days, and I'd brought them to Tsui Wah Restaurant because my friend said that they wanted to eat at a HK-style cafe during their trip. Tsui Wah is one of HK's busiest quick-service restaurants offering innovative food at reasonable prices. It is extremely popular with the locals, but it had taken me almost five years living in HK to set foot inside one, for no other reason than that I consider this restaurant chain to be like the McDonald's of HK fast food, and I prefer the much smaller individual and non-descript cha chaan teng for a more local experience.

My friends and I arrived at the Central branch on Des Voeux Road Central around peak lunch time, and the dining space was taken up mostly by the white-collar workers on their lunch breaks. We waited only a short while before a table became free, and we were swiftly shown to our table. The menu was available in English so ordering was much easier than at the more local cha chaan teng shops where the menu is usually posted up on the wall in Chinese characters. Service was as you would expect from a fast food place in HK - no-nonsense, brisk and efficient. You would be lucky to get a server who speaks or understand English, but waving and pointing do the job just fine. Apparently the menu is constantly being updated, and new items are incorporated while others are eliminated, but their most popular dishes stay on the menu.

Upon entry to Tsui Wah, you tell the front desk how many people in the dining party. Then you wait to be shown to your table:

Full house:

Hainanese Chicken Rice for the little boy. It was edible at best, and the condiments were not the usual ginger, chili and soy. This dish is one of Tsui Wah's Top 10, but better ones can be had elsewhere:

Also another one in the Top 10, Fish Balls & Fish Cakes with Flat Rice Noodles in Fish Soup. It failed to impress my friend who only ate a few spoons before asking her husband to help her with it:

Friend's husband ordered the Singapore-style Fried Rice Noodles, and he really enjoyed it. (Ironically, despite the name, this dish is virtually unknown in Singapore itself.) I tried a little bit and agreed that it was a tasty choice:

I got a dish that is similar to char hor fun (aka wat tan hor - stir-fried flat rice noodles in egg gravy), one of my fave noodle dishes to order. However this one with fish fillet and mushrooms lacked that essential wok hei ('breath of wok', that charry aroma) and the egg sauce resembled more like watery scrambled eggs. Casting comparisons aside, it was still an enjoyable dish, and the fish was moist and succulent:

I ordered the Crispy Bun with Sweet Condensed Milk, because it is a very popular item. I personally don't understand the hype as it is very simple and easily replicable at home:

Tsui Wah is a convenient and affordable choice for fast food. There are many branches open 24 hours, and most are open from early morning until the wee hours of the morning. My friends were amazed at how cheap the bill was!

Tsui Wah Restaurant [Des Voeux Road Central Branch]
Ground Floor,
84-86 Des Voeux Road C.
Central, Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2815 3000
Open 07:00 to 02:00 daily
Check website for full list of branches.

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