My first attempt to have a proper meal in Hong Kong involved a place in Lower Kowloon that offered a Korean buffet for 50Hk. As I was about to rush in, I noticed in small print, coffee 25Hk and coffee re-fills 25Hk. This caused me to freeze in my tracks and head yet again for The American Cafe, a place I refuse to give free publicity to.
I now eat at several places.
This French chain is highly recommended. Yes, there are delicious coffee re-fills for 3Hk once you have had your breakfast or dinner, and there are sometimes sales on extras such as soup, ice cream, or salad.
You are not waited upon, which is a shock when you come out of China, where attentive service can be the norm even at rock-bottom price places. However, the cream of vegetable soups, such as spinach or asparagus, and the salmon scrambled eggs, and the tuna sandwiches have a really fresh taste.
When the French decide to do a fast food place, they certainly let everyone know who's the boss in the world of food!!! Breakfasts are about 18 - 23 Hk, and dinners are 25 - 40 Hk. This is practically free for Hong Kong.
I supplement these meals with apples, bananas, and lichee fruits from Wellcome, the supermarket. I doeat Chinese food, though the places I go are found in backstreets requiring complex footwork - and there I usually eat shrimp dumpling soup.
The American Cafe
Don't forget this place gives free coffee re-fills. When the Chinese decide to close off the toilets for cleaning, they seem to be forgetting why Western tourists come here: coffee, toilets, and coffee and toilets.
Since this is a world business, they should adhere to the same principles in every country - and that mean no cute little Chinese footprints on the toilets in Guanxi, Guangdong, and even Taiwan. Those childhood habits are hard to break!
I will recommend one new treat here - the coffee speckled ice cream swirl that I noted one of my own students eating. This is truly delicious, and tastes like it came from a much more expensive restaurant. Eaten while sipping a fresh cup of coffee, you can imagine you are in a luxurious restaurant.
There are moments here I feel almost like crying, for example, when I hear Starry Starry Night or Stand By Me or When A Man Loves A Woman. Surrounded by Asian hordes who did not comes of age to these rock songs, the feelings are poignant ones, underscored by the frantic snack buying all around you.
Sometimes, when I look down at the toilet rims and see those shoe marks from squatting Chinese women before me, I can almost feel tenderness for the differences that define us. Keep cleaning those toilets, keep brewing that coffee, and above all, keep playing those love songs!