Culinary Evening: Dai Pai Dong

Chinese New Year is mostly about food and festivities. To start the new lunar year,we have prepared a special fusion menu in a Dai Pai Dong.

Dai Pai Dong is quite a part of Hong Kong’s culture and the name usually rings the bell as “good food, poor environment”. They appeared in Hong Kong as early as the late 19th century as unlicensed open-air Chinese-style food stalls serving very cheap food like noodles and congee for the neigbourhood. At the end of World War II in 1945, the colonial government started issuing ad hoc licenses to families of injured and deceased civil servants to help them earn a living.

As the stalls became popular, folded tables and chairs spread along the roadsides,eventually causing traffic congestion. Later the government limited transfers of licenses from the owners and also moved the Dai Pai Dongs to government market buildings above the wet markets. Now air-conditioned, many still produce food that are crispy, tasty and full of “wok hei”, which means good taste and smell by frying in a big wok. The Dai Pai Dongs these days are generally divided into day and night in their operation hours. Day ones serve very simple food, the night ones more sophisticated and seafood oriented.

We have reserved a special section above the North Point market. The owner Robby, a canto film movie star with an afro-mars hairdo, is a funny comic character. Walls are decorated with posters of Chinese movies with upbeat music in the air.

Beer is served in chilled bowls. Delicious menu includes Wind Sand Chicken; Deep Fried Pork Knuckle — meaning money at hand; Basil and Black Bean Razor Clams; Golden Prawns — to have plenty of gold and laughter; Black Pepper Fish Fillet with Melba Toast;Taro Crab; Crispy Sweet and Sour Pork — in owner Robby’s words, “No crispy, no money;” Seasonal Vegetables in Fish Soup; Mixed Vegetables sauté with Basil; Spaghetti with Black Ink Squid Balls; Garlic and Ginger Fried Rice — believed to be especially good for pregnant women; Cheese Cakes, served in cubes in different flavors such as lemon, mango, coffee, red beans and blueberry.

Casual wear is the dress code and non-slip shoes recommended. Do bring friends or families along to enjoy this fun culinary adventure!