Tag Archives: Local food

Back to basics: Egg sandwich from the Australia Dairy Company

9 Nov

MoonTrekker 2012 is officially over. It happened over three weeks ago and was an exhilarating experience. Despite a few injuries and setbacks, the race went really well. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates. We finished beyond our expectations, reaching Lantau Peak before sunrise and finishing 3rd in the all girls team category for the Sunrise race (42km route). Of course, a full post will be dedicated to my first MoonTrekker experience. But for now, I feel like talking about food.

After a long Friday night of hiking through the forest and mountains of Lantau Island into the wee hours of Saturday morning, I sure was tired. Exhausted. Hungry. At the same time, I felt a sense of relief and self-fulfillment. Not much was accomplished that Saturday after the race. After a sleepless night on the trails, most of the next day was dedicated to snoozing, sitting on the couch and eating leftovers. I was definitely content on being lazy. I deserved it. When I woke up on Sunday morning, I felt much better but was also left famished. And what can fill you up after having been through such an experience? I had just finished my first trail race – in the dark may I add – so I felt like I needed something special for breakfast. What did I want? What did I need? Where to go?

Chinese boyfriend must have seen my distress as he immediately came to my aid and made arrangements for breakfast. I decided to follow his lead. I felt rather gutsy that morning, knowing that he sometimes has some rather special gastronomic tastes, in my humble opinion.

His answer to my need turned out to be fairly simple. Back to basics was his motto for the day. No need for a champagne brunch or an all-you-can-eat buffet. For my post-race day breakfast, my boyfriend treated me to… (drumroll!)… an egg sandwich. Yes, an egg sandwich. Simplicity.

My first reaction was of bewilderment. I have always associated egg sandwiches to two thin slices of white bread filled with cold egg salad, which reminded me of my lunch box during my high-school days. Why did he speak of this egg sandwich in such high regard?! But I shall not be fooled, as the egg sandwich from the Australia Dairy Company restaurant is not your average sandwich. Far from it!

I knew the food was going be good when I saw a long queue of about 25 salivating, hungry locals waiting to be seated. But I didn’t mind waiting that day, having a 42 km night race tale to share with my breakfast buddy. We actually ended up waiting for only 10 minutes. I was surprised by the short wait but was about to discover why fairly soon.

We sat at a small table with two other ladies, which is something very common in local restaurants/cafés in HK. In Hong Kong, space is scarce and time is precious. You must sit where there is an empty chair. The restaurant, which has been in business for over 50 years, has kept its authenticity: bright, no frills, filled with small tables and little plastic benches. The menus are all in Chinese, plastered on the walls or taped to the tables. All the servers are men, wearing white traditional uniforms, making their way efficiently and fluidly through the many small tables that were strategically added to cater to their growing business.  I really love how they kept almost all of the interior decor as it was when they first opened.

My boyfriend and I both ordered a simple scrambled egg and ham sandwich with a hot Chinese milk tea. Although I have had better milk tea in Hong Kong before (stay tuned for a future post on my favorite Chinese milk tea place in town), the egg sandwich was just divine! Divine… A word I had never expected to use when describing an egg sandwich. The crust less white bread was thick and toasted to perfection: crispy yet moist on the inside. The scrambled eggs were fresh, tasty, creamy, buttery and slightly salted. A simple heavenly egg mixture with fresh milk, a thin slice of ham, and two buttered pieces of white bread, and you get yourself a perfect egg sandwich for only HK$17 (US$2).

From the moment we sat at the table until we paid our bill to the cashier, no more than 20 minutes had went by. Everything is fast-paced at the Australia Dairy Company. They quickly take your order and the food is on your table before you even know it. They expect you to eat as soon as possible and to leave the premises right after. It seems to be an unwritten rule and I sure remember the intense gaze we got from one of the managers there when we started chatting at the table, even after the sandwich and the milk tea had been consumed.  It was as if he was motioning us to leave. We sure got the message and quickly left, feeling a little uneasy from such bad customer service. I understood why we didn’t have to wait that long before getting a seat. Eat and go, that’s how they roll. However, I must admit that such feeling vanishes rather quickly as you soon find yourself salivating for more of that good old egg sandwich.

Where is it?

Australia Dairy Company is located on Kowloon side in Jordan, a 2 minute walk from Jordan MTR station. It is actually right next to my favorite shrimp wonton soup restaurant. That street sure seems to be a hot spot for food lovers. The exact address is 47 Parkes St., Jordan.

The good?

The food is amazing. Everything on the menu is dairy-based as it is their specialty: milk tea, eggs with butter, porridge with milk, milk and egg puddings, etc. Service is efficient (read not friendly at all as I explained previously) but when you feel hungry, quickness and yummy food often overcomes friendliness.

The bad?

Customer service is horrendous. I went there with my Cantonese-speaking boyfriend but I still wonder how foreigners can communicate with the unfriendly servers.

The place is really popular among locals. There is always an endless line-up of people outside the restaurant. While waiting in line, an employee was dispatching the customers on the tables, in a fairly rude manner. I couldn’t understand what was being said but I could definitely sense the annoyance of the locals being treated this way. But in the end, the food is just so delicious that most people often forget this upon the conclusion of their meal.

Anything else?

Since that unforgettable egg sandwich feast on the Sunday after the race, I went back to the Australia Dairy Company on two consecutive days, as well as the following week. The great taste of the egg sandwich has been constant. I decided to ignore the servers’ bad attitude and simply enjoy the food. For someone who worked for years in the F&B industry, it was not an easy decision for me. That’s how good the food is.

I suggest you also try out their milk or egg based pudding. Another definite double thumbs up.

 

When the waffle craving hits

12 Aug

I am a big fan of waffles. I have a sweet tooth and waffles are definitely up there on my list of favorite sugary snacks. Therefore, when I discovered a local Hong Kong delicacy with that waffle flavor I liked so much, I was over the moon. I now have a Plan B when my craving creeps up. Plan B is called egg balls.

The smell of waffles always brings me right back to my parents’ place in Quebec, when my dad used to prepare breakfast for us. It definitely evokes vivid memories of L cooking up a storm in the kitchen for our family brunch on Sundays. Pancakes, French toasts, omelette, fruit salad and of course waffles were always signature breakfast dishes at our house. I unfortunately believe that my dad’s passion and talent for cooking have been passed on mostly to my brother, leaving very little for me. Therefore, nowadays, such mouth-watering homemade breakfasts only occur on very rare occasions (read barely never). Sorry boyfriend.

A few weeks into my big move to Hong Kong, I experienced my first strong waffle withdrawal. Therefore, that delicious scent of sweet, crispy dough grabbed my attention right away as I walked past a little shop in Tsim Sha Tsui. I was slightly disappointed when I found out what this fragrant delicacy was called… Known as Gai Daan Jai (雞蛋仔), its English translation is actually egg balls. Egg balls… Really? Egg balls? I am not particularly fond of the name. Keep reading my posts and as you get to know me better, you will notice that words always play a critical role for me when comes the time to choose what to eat on a menu or pick a nail polish color for my pedicure. If I like the name, I buy. My ex-roommate and partner in crime from back home would know exactly what I mean, as she is even more word sensitive then I am. But let’s get back to our egg balls.

Fortunately, I decided to overcome the name issue and I bought the pastry. Needless to say, it hit the spot. The concept is in fact pretty simple: a mixture of eggs, sugar, flour and evaporated milk poured into a mold and voilà! The result: an amalgam of little waffle balls, the size of a big olive. The taste: perfection. The doughy balls are crispy yet chewy, and truly addictive. No need to add syrup or any other condiments. It is simplicity at its best.

 In order to get my weekly fix, I visited various “egg balls specialists” around Kowloon side. All of them pretty much offer a similar version of the tasty snack, with some variations in the flavor department. I like my egg balls the basic way, but other popular flavors are coconut or taro, to name a few.

However, my favorite egg ball spot is this small stand called LKK. It is located on Nathan road between Jordan and Tsim Sha Tsui, and the waffle scent will hit you from one block away. It is a tiny joint and one can often see it crowded with locals and tourists queuing up in front of the shop, waiting for their number to be called. There is no place to sit. It is a “buy and go” concept. And their egg balls are simply divine! It is definitely a must try when visiting Hong Kong.

Where is it?

Look for Shop E, Nathan Road 178, on the corner of Nathan and Hillwood road, in Tsim Sha Tsui. I could tell you to simply stroll along Nathan road, between the Jordan and the TST MTR station until you smell the waffles and see a crowd of people, patiently waiting for their order. But to make it simpler, just have a look at the map. They have other shops around HK but their Tsim Sha Tsui shop is simply more convenient for me.

The good?

Other then the amazing waffle flavor, I would say the price is the next best thing. HK$15 (HK$28 for 2) and your waffle craving will be immediately satisfied.

The bad?

I guess having to wait in line to place your order and pick up the food goes into this category. But waiting for something in Hong Kong never really takes THAT long, this city being on “fast forward” pretty much all the time. On a Friday night, 5 minutes is the usual waiting time. Not bad at all.

Anything else?

The place has quite the notoriety within the HK community. The walls are plastered with pictures of local celebs, famous politicians and newspaper clips reviewing the place. Besides egg balls, the shop sells a lot of other yummy snacks, another famous one being fish balls. When I stop at LKK, I always end up ordering the egg balls. For those interested in trying their other snacks, this place also has more to offer as well. Maybe you can try them and give me a feedback on it?

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