Saturday, April 15, 2017

On My Day Off: Early Bird Breakfast

After my original plan didn’t pan out as expected (for the better), I found myself having an extra day off in the middle of the week. I decided to make best use of it to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do normally when I had to work. I woke up, thinking what that might be, and the first thing that came to mind was this little dai pai dong in Central called Yue Hing (裕興大排檔). Multiple friends have sworn by the place serves the best sandwich in town (some even said the world), but the catch of this casual restaurant is first, they only opened on weekday mornings, and second, you just had to be really patient to wait for their food as it may take up to an hour to arrive.

With nothing planned for the rest of the day I had no problem with either the opening time and the wait, plus the thought of a perfect sandwich for breakfast was good enough an incentive for me to leave home even earlier than I do normally and head straight to Central. The shop is just a stone’s throw away from the Mid-Levels elevator on Stanley Street, among the array of a few other Dai Pai Dongs next to the wet market along Graham Street. The place was not particularly crowded as I arrived slightly after 8:30am, and I took my seat at the table as the group of tourists have just packed up.

There were essentially only two items on the menu – noodles and sandwiches - both of which were only available as a set (including drinks) and with a number of add-on ingredients as options. In front of the menu there’s a big sign that says “No Reservation, No Takeaway, No Single Order” in both English and Chinese. “Corned beef, cheese and egg sandwich, toasted please” as I told the lady owner of the shop, and she (almost apologetically) asked whether it’s okay as the waiting time is more than 30 minutes. With a few other similar local eateries notoriously known for their “Soup Nazi”-like services, such mild manner - albeit no-nonsense - was almost refreshing.

The kitchen stall, just right behind the tables, was only managed by a guy, which explained why it’s taking so long. Turned out the wait didn’t feel as long as I thought and my sandwich arrived at around the same time she has promised. It really only took one bite to understand what the fuss is about the sandwich at Yue Hing – the bread was slightly charred and crisp with smears of peanut butter inside, and in between was the generous filling of corned beef, fried eggs, shredded cabbages and cheese. It sounded like an unusual combination, but it works, mixing up the savory-sweet taste with the slightly crunchy sautéed cabbages and the oozy cheese combining all these together. Think of it as an upgraded version of croque monsieur with local flavors.

Yes, it’s certainly worth it, both for spending my precious time off waiting and for having to get up early. This is truly street food at its best.

When? March 23 2017
Where? Yue Hing, 82 Stanley Street
Menu Highlights? Corned beef, fried egg and cheese sandwich

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