HK Eats – Sing Heung Yuen @ Central; The “Dai Pai Dong” Culture Reigns Supreme!August 13, 2011 | 9,744 views
Craving for a Ketchup-y Experience? Fresh tomatoes and lean beef slices in a tangy, tomato-based broth with the Nissin noodles. Options include macaroni (their signature, but they ran out of that), or your noodles with chicken wing, or other meat.
Sing Heung Yuen is by far, the best example of Hong Kong style ‘dai pai dong’. Hawker stalls in its most ‘primitive’ form, only shaded by canopies or sometimes none, steel or wooden tables and chairs placed in a cramped layout, and strangers sharing the same table yet not speaking to each other while slurping on their favourite bowl of noodles.
To the uninitiated, this is best described as an ‘al fresco’ cafe best for a light bite. Unlike European cafe culture where lingering for long is the norm, at ‘dai pai dong’ like this, this practice is frowned upon. Lest you enjoy to be stared right through you for overstaying your welcome.
Familiar? If you’re an avid follower of Hong Kong’s TVB dramas, you might have seen this place being used for filming, since this is in the heart of Central of Hong Kong island, not in the rural suburbs.
Best if you sit down, don’t ponder for too long on the menu (or lack thereof, since everything’s in Chinese!), order whatever your neighbouring table’s having, eat up in the most rushed fashion (at say, 10 minutes for everything?), then leave.
The full story after the jump, and best time to come if you want to skip the snaking queue ….
Easily one of the MUST-haves here at Sing Heung Yuen, the toasted crispy buns with a variety of flavours sold like hot cakes. Try one and you would know why.
We were here on the day we had congee at Sang Kee. And they were closing fast at about 5-6pm. Everything had run out by then.
And perseverance pays handsomely. We did not throw in the towel, and ventured all the way to Central again a day or two after. For Sing Heung Yuen and Tai Cheong Bakery‘s egg tarts (old post HERE), as well as Kau Kee‘s famous beef noodles directly opposite of Sing Heung Yuen. But we skipped the beef noodles, as we were quite full from the onslaught of meals prior to this.
For a less grammatically-challenged name, this was actually a toasted bun. Enhanced by the slightly zesty lemon and honey spread. And damn this was crispy. No wonder the ‘Chui Chui’ (crispy crispy) moniker.
And so, we went again for a late lunch-cum-tea time on Friday afternoon. Yes, once again the place was packed, but thankfully there was no endless queue for a seat. And we quickly found one vacated table almost immediately upon arriving.
Yay, sometimes it helps if you say a prayer.
Or born persistent (read : stubborn, thick-faced).
Can’t sing praises for the dining environment at Sing Heung Yuen, but this place HAS character, I tell you. They don’t even need a ROOF to start off with. Nor air-conditioners, or fans.
Usually, the tomato soup noodles we are accustomed to here in Malaysia (from those “Hong Kong-inspired restaurants”) are diluted with a bland tomato taste probably from the ketchup used. But Sing Heung Yuen ONLY uses FRESH tomatoes (loads of them) in their soup, and the result? A fantastic lycopene-rich broth with a blood red hue.
Simple noodles (macaroni, Nissin noodles, etc) in a tomato-based broth, and fresh tomatoes and beef slices with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
And it helps if you love tomatoes in your food like me. Ironically, we were having a conversation this morning when we compared the different sauces for the Pontian wanton mee, and my preference for the tomato sauce version was evident. Though someone rebutted vehemently.
A case of thinking out of the box, this couple must have grown up with Sing Heung Yuen, hence relating to the sentimental values created from here. Or they could be hungry.
A complete set like the above cost HKD42 (RM16.80). A small price to pay given the fact that this IS Central after all; the business hub of Hong Kong.
If you’re lost and not sure of what to order from here, don’t fret. You can ask the staff for recommendations, though I would refrain from doing so. Just point to what the others are having, and you’re good to go.
** Go for the tomato soup noodles (with whatever noodles and meat of your choice), a side of the crispy toasted buns (they have various flavours too; condensed milk, butter, sugar, etc) and a refreshing glass of iced milk tea (not bad, surprisingly better than Lan Fong Yuen‘s!) or their other signature Salty Lemon Sprite/7-Up.
** Go during the off-peak hours (11am, 3pm, 5pm) and you don’t have to endure the wait. Or on Saturdays since the working crowd would be lesser. They close on Sundays and public holidays.
Sing Heung Yuen – Memories preserved from the yesteryear’s.
SING HEUNG YUEN (Openrice page)
2, Mee Lun Street,
Off Gough Street,
Central, Hong Kong
Refer to my Hong Kong Food Map
GPS Coordinates : 22.284138,114.152514
Opens from 8am – 5.30pm. Closed on Sundays.
Exit from MTR Sheung Wan (A2 exit) or Central (D2 exit), and walk towards Gough Street. Then as you see Kau Kee beef noodles, you will see Sing Heung Yuen on the opposite side of the street.
*Here’s an informative post from All About Hong Kong that I referred to.