There are millions of Hong Kong Stories. This is one of them….
As a late riser, Hong Kong is my kind of city. Hong Kongers are for the most part also late risers. To some extent this is because they’re night owls, out drinking and socialising to the wee small hours. In part it’s because a segment of the population keeps the same hours as the European and US financial sector. Sure there are early risers but generally, the streets of Hong Kong are pretty much deserted until well after 9am. Finding breakfast in Sheung Wan can be a challenge.
Each district has a wet market where fresh produce and meat is sold and, a cooked food centre. These centres serve dai pai dong style food. Dai pai dong are family run street food stalls, serving low-cost food in a minimalist setting. Health regulations and local by-laws being the watchwords of the century, there are hardly any true dai pai dong left in Hong Kong, replaced in the main by the cooked food centres. Food courts.
Visiting on a Wednesday at 9am, we found most stalls still closed or setting up for the day. Breakfast in Sheung Wan Cooked Food Centre is very much for locals rather than tourists, we found our Cantonese lacking. This meant we were down to the one stall with a translated menu at that time of the day. Very conveniently, they sold Dim Sum or, Yum Cha. The perfect Hong Kong breakfast.
Would You Like Number 23?
We made a few choices from the menu and also pointed at a few dishes being prepared for the day ahead. Our bowls, chopsticks and cups were delivered in a container of scalding hot water. This was to demonstrate that the dishes were clean and hygienic. Whilst our menu selection was being freshly cooked, we removed our crockery from the hot water, drank tea and watched the other stalls being set up.
Our dishes were delivered as they were ready, giving us the chance to order extra dishes as the mood took us. Being early by Hong Kong standards, the pace was slow and unhurried though I imagine it’s a much more frantic affair at 4pm, which is peak hour at the Sheung Wan Cooked Food Centre. There were some old favourites in there but some new tastes as well such as Steamed Corn and Coriander Dumplings and Pan Fried Rice Rolls with Shrimp (a triumph!). All up, 7 dishes plus tea was a grand total of $25 for a breakfast that took us through to late afternoon.
If you’re not eating at your hotel, finding breakfast in Sheung Wan takes a little tenacity. The main trick is to look up. With a large population and a small amount of land, the only way to go is up. While you may be used to walking along a street and walking into a café or restaurant that appeals, in Hong Kong you need to explore the narrow staircases and second and third floors to find your breakfast. Perhaps you will find the entrance to the Sheung Wan Cooked Food Centre.
Sheug Wan Cooked Food Centre
Cnr Morrison St & Queens Rd Central
Sheung Wan District Hong Kong
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