When I was working in Tung Chung, I was faced with the choice of either Maxims or Coral Café everyday. Prices are around $30-40 HKD, but the quality of the food isn’t great and it definitely gets boring fast. Those two restaurants actually double as catering services for airlines, so in a sense, we’re eating airplane food everyday. You know what else is funny? Coral Café isn’t actually Coral Café. The decorations and everything are the same, but if you look closely, it never shows the brand anywhere. The receipt says ‘Asia Pacific Catering’. (Maxims, on the other hand, has their name all over the place). I guess it has to do with food quality and promotional items and stuff… if they put their brand on the place, then they have to keep their quality and meal options at a certain standard. At this place, you barely have anything to choose from.
(See what I mean? Coral Cafe menu, but without the name.)
Now that I’m at Quarry Bay, the choices of food are endless. I’ve had everything, from HK style to Pho noodles to Japanese food, and there is still so much more. The prices are a bit more expensive on average – closer to $50-60 HKD – but there are still cheaper choices if you just want a simple meal. At first, I was only eating lunch out, but now I’ve been getting breakfast and dessert as well. It’s just too convenient!
A typical breakfast meal in Quarry Bay consists of steamed rice rolls, dim sum (siu mai!!), or maybe a sandwich. It comes out to around $20 with coffee or milk tea. The first time I ordered takeout dim sum for breakfast, I was a bit confused, because they didn’t give me a container. I was literally just holding two small plastic bags, one with food and the other with a drink. When I got back to the office and opened the bag, all my dim sum was just sitting inside. It was on anther piece of wax paper, but still… that was an unusual first for me!
On my way to work in Tung Chung, there’s nothing aside from the usual chain stores. 7-11, McDonalds, Starbucks, Kee Wah Bakery… At most I’d get a coffee from McDonalds or something. Nothing else is attractive enough for me to skip breakfast at home, wait two hours after waking up to get to Tung Chung, and finally eat when I get in at the office.
After two weeks of being at Quarry Bay, I don’t think I’ve ever repeated a restaurant for lunch yet. And there’s still so many I’ve yet to try. Taikoo Place is a huge office building though, so if you leave a bit late, the restaurants will all be full already, but we leave right at noon and we always manage to get spots. The one downside is that you tend to hurry yourself out of restaurants, even if the waiters don’t kick you out. When you see the long line outside, you can’t help but feel a bit guilty.
On the other hand, it took me 5 weeks of work at Tung Chung to find an item on the menu good enough to order again:
At least there are a ton of spots? We can sit there for as long as we like.
Dessert is definitely something I can only find in Quarry Bay, unless you count the ice cream they sell at 7-11. The other day as I was leaving the office, I noticed this store that sold Chinese desserts (puddings). Most of the dessert places I’ve seen so far in Hong Kong are either more western desserts (ice cream, cakes, waffles), or other types of Chinese desserts (tofu pudding, anything with mango in it). I rarely see these kinds of 糕點! Anyway, I decided to go and try something with coconut in it, but that day they were doing a ‘buy 3 get 1 free’ sale and almost everything was sold out, including the coconut red bean pudding I was so intent on trying. I actually saw one last container of the coconut pudding left, but it was already cut up and a slice was missing. The only full containers held grapefruit/aloe pudding. That still sounded good, so I decided to try it. Their dessert tasted amazing. Aromatic, flavourful, and best part is, it wasn’t too sweet.
But what really caught my attention about this store was the storekeeper. That experience was the first time where I went to a store and was able to strike an authentic conversation with the person behind the counter. She actually took the time to talk to me, and she after finding out that my favourite flavour was coconut, she even treated me to a slice of the little amounts of coconut pudding she had remaining! For once, I didn’t feel like I was being rushed out of the store to make room for the next customer. I thought that maybe it was because I went during a pretty dull time (I left work quite early that day), but when I went back another day during the busy lunch hour, they were still all smiles and friendly. In Canada, this isn’t such a unique experience, but in Hong Kong, she’s really won my heart. It’s also pretty cool how they publish new lunch menus every week. Plus. their meals come in a cute plastic box, rather than those typical foam boxes or just a plastic bag. Everything about this place gives me such a cozy and ‘at-home’ feeling!
And of course… when I’m going out for dinner with friends, we can arrange the meeting for 6 PM instead of 7:30 PM. Quarry Bay suits my three meals + dessert a lot better, although it might be bad for my weight.
Unfortunately, my time at Quarry Bay has come to and end… It’s back to Tung Chung next week!
P.S. If you’re in the area, make sure you try the delicious desserts!
Cheering Up 明施出品
鰂魚涌海光街 13-15號海光苑地下 6B 號舖