Thursday, August 13, 2009
Destination Hong Kong #2: Cafe de Coral
It looks like there may only be two Destination Hong Kong posts for now. I realized that my time spent in Hong Kong was spent eating at few memorable places, but the chains we frequented were worth mentioning. My dad had been telling me about HK style Chinese fast food for years, and I made sure I got my fill during my trip. Sure, we went to a Fairwood, but the crown of HK fast food is still Cafe de Coral.
Badly translated as "everybody happy," Cafe de Coral has been a mainstay of Hong Kong for the last forty years. What started as a single restaurant has ballooned to over a hundred franchises within Hong Kong, 24 locations in Mainland China, and eleven other brands totaling more than 500 restaurants. While it might be near impossible to stay in Hong Kong and not see a Cafe de Coral, you might also encounter one of its subsidiaries such as Spaghetti House or Oliver's Super Sandwiches.
Although Hong Kong is now somewhat part of China once again, the local cuisine is much more an amalgam of global influence than purely Cantonese. In part, Victoria Harbor's influx of trade brought influences from Portuguese, Indian, Southeast Asian, and we can't forget the fast food component from America. Therefore, characterize the Cafe de Coral as Western-Chinese, rather than just Cantonese. For the same cost of a regrettable croissanwich and hashbrown at the airport Burger King, I could get a pork chop rice, black bean spare ribs, barbecue plate, or simply a delicious fried rice.
Despite the convenience, price, and general cleanliness of most of the modern stores, Cafe de Coral is still fast food. There is much better Chinese food around town at most local restaurants, but be on the lookout for this famous chain.