BING SUTT: Survival of the Fittest
Jessica Tryde- Local Fitness Nut
Everyone’s heard of cha chaan teng. Dai pai dong probably sounds familiar (usually the source of every hung over with cheap and tasty dishes to share, not to mention countless buckets of Blue Girl beer)…BUT have you heard of “BING SUTT”?
Bing Sutt, literally ‘Ice House’, were very popular in the 1960s. It was the place to go for an eclectic fusion of Eastern and Western foods.
Today, you’d meet a friend at Starbucks or some hipster café for a 1-hour chat about how you didn’t receive a Facebook invite to some party. 30 years ago, you’d do your rendezvous at a bing sutt over ice milk tea and a scrambled egg sandwich.
Boutique, western cafes are inundating the corners of Hong Kong, but perhaps the true ‘hipster’ cafes of Hong Kong are the bing sutts that have surpassed time.
BING SUTT STAPLES:
Matchbox Café 喜喜冰室
This one’s a personal favorite. Truly encompassing the spirit of comfort food, Matchbox Café pays tribute to yesterday’s Hong Kong with its retro décor and nostalgic menu. Although relatively new, upon stepping inside it really does feel like you’ve traveled back in time. From char siu rice to the classic egg tart, Café Matchbox’s fusion twist is really something spectacular.
What I’ll order:
The classic Matchbox Café Tea set: Thick piece of crunchy toast with melted butter; char siu with noodles in their special broth, scrambled eggs paired with ice coffee (they even sprinkle chocolate powder!)
If you’re feeling extra hungry – order the sesame spread on toast! Promise you won’t regret it.
Address: 2 Sun Wui Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong or G/F, Highland Mansion, 8 Cleveland Street, Causeway Bay www.cafematchbox.com.hk
Hoi An Café 海安咖啡室
If you like antiques, then you won’t want to miss out. Situated on Connaught Road, Hoi An Café dates back to 1952 and has definitely claimed victory to the fight of ‘Survival of the Fittest’. Less is more – and Hoi An Café truly embodies that concept with its beige-colored walls and red teak-wood tables and chairs. From instant noodles to ice coffee with red bean, Hoi An Café is the perfect place to satisfy your palates while reminiscing the past.
What I’ll order:
- Duck breast with vermicelli in broth
- Iced coffee with red beans (or you go can opt for the classic iced milk tea)
- Deep-fried French toast with butter and maple syrup, YUM.
Hoi An Café
Address: G/F, 17 Connaught Road, Sheung Wan
Kam Wah Cafe 金華冰廳
Kam Wah Café looks likes any ordinary cha chaan teng, but behind its doors lies the secret to making one of the best pineapple buns in Hong Kong. Upon entering, you’re immediately greeted with a whiff of freshly baked bread and butter. You sit down and order yourself their award-winning pineapple bun (polo bun) and as they bring it to you, you won’t help but notice its sugarcoated crispy crust. And….I’ll leave the rest to your imagination because there’s no way words will do it justice. There may be lines or you may need to share a table with strangers but trust me, after taking your first bite, you’ll be wanting more.
What I’ll order:
- Sugarcoated crusty pineapple bun with a thick slab of butter
- Satay beef instant noodles
- Iced Milk Tea
- Egg tart (if you feel like you can stuff yourself just a little more!)
Kam Wah Cafe
Address: 47 Bute Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon
Jessica Tryde, born in Australia, bred in Taiwan, is a creative English copywriter living in Hong Kong. Her job includes whipping out creative ideas and digital executions. During her spare time, you’ll find her weight lifting in the gym, training for a gladiatorial bloodbath in a Muay Thai class or attempting to perform a yoga pose. If not working out, you’ll find her mingling with the locals at the wet market or reading at a local Hong Kong café.