First, we had dinner at Australia Dairy Company, which we heard about online. I thought it was unusual that we were seeking an authentic Hong Kong dining experience at a restaurant with Australia in its name. But Australia Dairy Co. was definitely as authentic Hong Kong as we can get.
“In the boom years of the 1960s and 1970s, Hong Kong people demanded increasingly sophisticated dining options to match their swelling pocketbooks, and what they got was the cha chan teng. Under names like “The Gloucester” and “The Cherikoff,” these neighborhood restaurants attempted to present a reasonable simulacrum of Western-style cuisine but in practice served heavily syncretic fare. The likes of soya sauce chicken spaghetti or pork chop with applesauce and steamed rice became the stuff of fashionable Friday nights, washed down with things like yin-yang (coffee and tea, mixed in the same cup). Several cha chan teng have survived, serving the same kind of food, but now they’re a cult thing — visited by young people looking for their childhoods in salads of tinned fruit cocktail and mayo, with side servings of irony and retro decor. Try Mido Café (nearest MTR: Yau Ma Tei) in Kowloon — much beloved by art directors for its well preserved ’60s interior — or the perennially popular Tsui Wah (nearest MTR: Central) on Hong Kong Island.”
Australia Dairy Co. was also named one of the top eateries in Hong Kong by openrice.com. And here are my own reasons why Australia Dairy Co. really provided us with the authentic Hong Kong experience:
I had an inkling that the menu below with bigger prices showed their set menu bestsellers. So we just pointed at the numbers. However, our waiter seemed to be still asking us questions and we guessed that our orders still needed us to make further choices. My travel companion even tried to apply his Mandarin studies but since we couldn’t understand and speak Cantonese, we were getting nowhere!
Good thing we remembered to ask for an English menu (and for places as popular as Australia Dairy Co., they usually have one but you have to ask) and ended up ordering the fast food set (HK$26) and the tea time set (HK$30), which we know from our research were among their bestsellers .
-The food was superb! And it was served super fast!
Australia Dairy Co. is known for its legendary scrambled eggs. As proclaimed by bloggers and online reviews many times over, their scrambled eggs are the best and the fluffiest. And it’s so true!!
The fast food set is actually just white bread, scrambled eggs (or sunny side up), and a slice of ham plus a choice of hot/cold milk tea or milk. The tea time set is made up of eggs, bread, milk tea/milk, and a bowl of macaroni with ham. The food is actually more for breakfast but we didn’t care since we were already very hungry and the food was really good—comfort food in a Cantonese setting 🙂
Their milk tea and pasteurized milk were served cold and were really refreshing.
– In a place like Australia Dairy Co., I really got the sense that people didn’t waste time, even when it comes to their food and how they eat it.
From the time we sat down, to the waiters getting our orders, to their serving our food, and how they cleared the dishes—it was fast, fast, fast all the way. In fact, we weren’t completely finished yet with one plate and one waiter already cleared it up. They were rushing us up since as usual, a queue was already forming outside and they needed our table already.
I remember a friend who’s of Cantonese ancestry, telling us that the fast way the Chinese eat their food is somewhat tied to their work ethic and their shop culture—one has to eat fast to outrun the competition. If you eat slower than your competitor, then he’s already finished eating and already doing business in his shop and earning money while you’re still eating. When one looks at it that way, I guess it does make sense.
But I have to admit that I really felt quite disoriented to be rushed up that way while eating and I had a bit of a culture shock (especially since it was my first meal in Hong Kong!). There was no time to pore over the menu and ask the waiters what the bestsellers are (as I usually do at home in Manila). While in the Philippines, it would be actually be seen as rude if a waiter gives customers the bill when customers are not yet finished eating, in a Hong Kong cha chaan teng and dimsum eateries, it’s pretty normal. They place the bill on your table then when you’re finished, you proceed to the cashier to pay. Nothing out of the ordinary or ungracious about it, perfectly normal.
Australia Dairy Company
47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan, Hong Kong (Take Jordan MTR, exit C2, turn right on to Parkes Street. Australia Dairy Company will be on your left.)
Open from 730 am to 11pm daily
Click on map to enlarge