review: g’day in cantonese…
Given its name and apparently “Western” fare, you might be surprised that the Australian Dairy Company has a cult following among the local Cantonese people of Kowloon.
Even though the restaurant has gotten wide coverage on the English-speaking blogosphere and cyberwaves, I didn’t see another foreigner in the establishment the entire time my friend Mr. RBI and I were there.
While this cha chaan teng (tea house cum diner) – located on an unassuming street not far from the Jordan MTR station – serves lunch, I suspect that it sees most of its traffic between early morning and noon. They serve a mean breakfast. It’s really the best time and reason to go.
The windows are crowded with stacks of steamed egg custard bowls and Kowloon Dairy bottles. The restaurant is just as packed. There’s often a line out the door. We were lucky and snagged a two-seater tucked away in a nook right as we walked in.
The menu is fairly straightforward. I won’t post pictures of the menus here. If you want to see them (and all of the photos from our meal), CLICK HERE. But you really don’t need a menu because the thing to order here is their breakfast set. For HK$24 (at current trading, about US$3.10), you get:
1. Buttered bread (toasted if you ask) with either two fried eggs or scrambled eggs;
2. A huge bowl of macaroni and chicken soup topped with julienne ham; and
3. Your choice of either coffee or hot milk tea (add HK$2 for cold).
Regardless of what you order, you’re served hot tea as soon a your butt hits the seat.
We both ordered the breakfast set. Mr. RBI chose the fried eggs, and I ordered the scrambled eggs.
The fried eggs here have runny yolks. They were very good. But, as much as I love runny yolks, my scrambled eggs were much better, in my opinion. And most seem to agree – the scrambled eggs are heavily favored by the regulars here. These eggs were not so much scrambled as they were aerated. They’re light – no less fluffy than the textbook French omelet – buttery, and moist. Sandwiched between buttered toast (the thick, white slices were as good as white bread can possibly get), they were awesome. I had a hard time setting the sandwich down.
Though the ingredients in the Macaroni and Ham in Chicken Soup seem like a cultural oddity, the concept of a hot, steaming bowl for breakfast is not foreign to the Chinese. It was very good, if not ridiculously over-sized. The elbow tubes were very soft. The broth was light, yet full of flavor. The ham provided an extra kick of something salty – the addition of a pork product to soup never hurts.
If burgers and milkshakes go together like a fish in water, then scrambled egg sandwiches have found their mate in iced Milk Tea. It’s the local favorite, and that’s what I chose to drink with my breakfast. It was a great combination. My friend chose the hot Milk Tea for his set and ordered an iced Almond Milk Tea (HK$16), which was excellent as well.
Because I love eggs with tomatoes, I ordered an extra Scrambled Egg and Tomato Sandwich. (HK$15). It’s essentially the scrambled egg breakfast set sandwich – with the same, fluffy eggs – with the addition of sliced tomatoes. These tomatoes were surprisingly good. They were very ripe and juicy and full of sweet flavor.
As you can imagine, service here is no frills and impressively efficient. Beyond the breakfast sets and sandwiches, the menu also offers an array of porridges, pastas (macaroni and spaghetti dishes), and milk and egg custards.
We walked out full and happy for HK$81 (or about US$11).
Australia Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司)
47-49 Parkes Street,
Jordan, Hong Kong