One of our serendipitous discoveries in Hong Kong was Solo Cafe in Tai O. We spent a lazy afternoon seeing the sights in Tai O, then afterwards we turned in on a main street, enjoyed more of the interesting details of this fishing village, and found a stall selling Tai O donuts (a soft pastry covered in sugar and quite hollow inside) at HK$5 each, which I eagerly tried.
Then we saw the storefront of Solo Cafe, and discovered what seems to be a coffee bar, with interesting knickknacks strewn about the place.
It looked like a mom and pop establishment, with the owners actually waiting and serving the guests. We were instantly intrigued by the place and we decided to go in.
Further in, we were surprised that there was actually a balcony that served as the dining area on wooden floorboards on stilts, and gave an amazing view of the river splitting Tai O into north and south.
Not to have too much of a colonial mentality about it, but when we saw the Caucasians dining in the balcony area, we thought this confirmed that the place was good (and would have safe, clean food, as opposed to the other eateries which looked a bit tad “authentic”, which we didn’t want to brave that day). We got a good table with a good view of the water.
At first we thought we’d just have a light snack and drinks. But later on, we decided we’d have a late lunch there (instead of eating at our next destination in Ngong Ping). Something about the hot weather and the lazy atmosphere of the cafe and Tai O itself invited us to linger. We ordered some dumplings, a meatball and noodle dish, rice, sweet and sour pork (HK$78), and a gelatin dessert. The food was really pricey, and was obviously geared for tourists (we spent a total of HK$270 here.).
The food was slow food, as in it really took a while for them to serve them. It was just the perfect manner to serve and eat. I wouldn’t say that the food tasted extraordinarily delicious. But the ambiance of the cafe, the vibe of our fellow diners, and the whole feel of Tai O all added to the experience and made eating at Solo Cafe a really memorable experience.
I also saw this book, Tai O: Love Stories of the Fishing Village, lying around the cafe, which contained interesting pictures and anecdotes about Tai O.
We saw tourists on small pleasure boats, doing their sight seeing of Tai O from the river. This was also a good way of seeing the fishing village, although we rather preferred walking to see more details of the sights.
All in all, going to Tai O (and Solo Cafe) was a really pleasant, relaxed way to spend the afternoon—leaving the city behind and experiencing another way of life by discovering a charming throwback to Hong Kong’s past as a fishing village.
86 Kat Hing Street, Tai O, Lantau Island