Along with shooting the documentary about Dave’s search for his birth mother here in Hong Kong, and following his initial glee at having a milk tea again after many years, I began shooting his daily reactions to the hot drink at cafe after cafe. It has become Dave’s Milk Tea Diary, and we search out a new place each day. He had an early favorite, a small restaurant he went years ago and the first place we went when we arrived. It has remained in the number one spot ever since. We’ve been to a few that are on the “Best Hong Kong Milk Tea” lists. Some deserve their praise. Others, not so much. It’s a funny way to see the many restaurants and neighborhoods of Hong Kong. Cholesterol be damned!
The list so far:
1. Nam Wah – a traditional Hong Kong food restaurant on Waterloo Road in the Ho Man Tin neighborhood. Zero ambience, but excellent milk tea!
2. Australian Dairy Company – the surliest waiters in town and the place to go for HK breakfast and milk pudding, but don’t plan to sit long.
3. Tsui Wah – a chain of traditional Hong Kong restaurants and we’ve been to several.
4. Sun Hang Yuen – a hole in the wall ‘Cha Chang Teng’, aka Hong Kong style cafe in Sham Shui Po, the neighborhood where Dave lived as a small child. We had a quick bite – excellent beef and scrambled egg sandwiches and milk tea! They serve their milk tea in a plastic cup, which had been a nonstarter up until we tasted it.
These (so far) are all decent, but hard to rank precisely.
Yuen Kee – we stumbled upon this little cafe on a bustling late-night square in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Delicious Cafe – another we stumbled upon in Sham Shui Po that has a nice product (and good food, too.)
Ming’s Kitchen – this one is on the same street as Australian Dairy, but serves a variety of foods and is easy to get into.
Nam Cheong Cafe in Sham Shui Po was a great find for the food and they do a decent milk tea, too!
And the ones to avoid.
Yee Shun Dairy Company 港澳義順牛奶公司 – Good milk pudding. So-so milk tea. Waitresses with ennui.
Chrisly Café – another well-known and highly touted breakfasty food place, but not as good as Australian Dairy. And meh! milk tea.
So what makes a great milk tea? Creaminess. Non-bitterness, but strong enough to taste the tea. The best one would not need any sugar added. I’m sure Dave has more discerning taste than I, being the Milk Tea aficionado that he is, and I hope to learn from him in the ways of the milk tea. We will keep searching for the one that will knock Nam Wah off the top of the list until our last day here. And we may want to add some variety, as in Bubble Milk Tea, Milk Tea in a box or bottle, and who knows what else.
It’s all part of the adventure!