The One With Tung Po – Local Chinese Hawker Experience

Few dining experience can be compared to one in a Hong Kong’s local hawker centre.

Imagine endless Chinese hawker stalls lining up the upper floor of a wet market (the smell itself is enough to make one gag – of the wet market, not the hawkers!), throngs of sedated diners observed jealously by patrons waiting to be seated, and dish after steaming dish seemingly conjured effortlessly from the kitchens.

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

Tung Po (東寶小館) is one of those famous hawker stalls come highly recommended by my local friends. Since some of my best buddies from Singapore were in town, it seemed only fitting that we had a dinner right in the midst of a decidedly local experience.

But first, I must mention the unique way beer is consumed on this premise.

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

Have you tried drinking beer from the bowl? Well, kudos if you had, but this was my first time. It was awesome to be sipping the deliciously cool beer as you eat your way through dinner, or you can do a “bottoms up” the way some diners around us seemed to be doing all night.

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

After all, you are entitled to do so, what with the bowls named as “fan tau woon”, which meant “bowl of perseverance”.

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

I couldn’t have named it any more aptly.

Fish Bone Soup With Tomatoes (HK$30/bowl)

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

We started dinner with a pot of this fishy goodness. It could be an acquired taste for some with its “fishiness”, but the sweetness of tomatoes balanced that out rather beautiful. Personally, I enjoyed my various helpings from the pot.

Black Ink Squid With Spaghetti (HK$180)

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

This dish begs the question – why on earth a pasta is served at a Chinese hawker centre? Apparently this is a signature dish of Tung Po (as recommended multiple times via Foursquare tips) and who am I to argue of crowdsourced wisdom? Alas my experience with this inky dish left nothing memorable on my lips except for black smudges. It wasn’t bad per say, but just wasn’t spectacular.

Braised Lamb Brisket (HK$168)

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

For me this was the star dish of the night. The sight of a bubbling pot complete with herbal goodness and the promise of tender, succulent pieces of mutton within got my imagination running. The concoction didn’t fail to impress; though sparing in quantity the meat was as juicy as I imagined them to be, and the soup was a herbal-soup-lover wet dream came true. But be warned; despite numerous rounds of refills the soup can get a bit salty, so tuck in early.

Deep Fried Pork Rib With Magonaise Sauce (HK$68)

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

I know what you are thinking. This is no pork rib. But hey when a piece of meat taste this good deep fried, I don’t really care whether it’s the rib or the leg or the neck or the head I am munching on. Obviously best eaten while crispy hot.

Wind Sand Chicken (HK$280/whole)

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

Literally translated from its Chinese name “fung sa kei”, this dish is another signature of Tung Po. Crispy chicken skin coupled with perfectly marinated meat, it was undeniably one of the better “wind sand” chicken I have tasted in Hong Kong. You should call ahead and reserve a bird before coming, lest you risk having no bird on the table.

Salted Duck Egg Yolk Shrimps

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

A definite calorie bomb, but one you would be excused to indulge in. The shrimps were crunchy fresh, yet the salty yolk wasn’t overpowering unlike its lesser counterparts elsewhere. I would recommend munching on its shell too; it was just too good to pass up.

Steamed Beancurd With Minced Meat (HK$68)

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

Relatively a lesser shout out compared to the other dishes we had for the night. I am including it here simply out of my love for all things beancurd. It wasn’t bad per say, but just alright.

For a table of eight, it was less than $200 per pax for the night, beer included, which was a steal considering the long queues we saw fitting for a Friday night. If you do plan to come to Tung Po, do yourself a favour by calling ahead to reserve a table.

You have been appropriately warned.

Tung Po Restaurant
2/F Java Road Municipal Services Building
99 Java Road, North Point
2880 5224


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