We get quite a number of emails from readers who are too shy to comment on chowtimes. At days the emails we receive are more than what I get at work. However these are emails that we enjoy receiving because it is always about things we enjoy doing.
Oliver was one of such readers who wrote to us. He is a fan of Hong Kong Style Cafes and he does seems to know a lot about this genre of Chinese restaurants too. We exchanged a few emails and he picked up on the fact that there are quite a number of Hong Kong Style Cafes that we had not blogged about.
We like HK Style Cafes because it is cheap and I know a lot of chowtimes readers love HK Style Cafes for the same reason too. Not everyone reading this blog are serious foodies. Seriously, I can’t think of any other type of restaurants in which you can consistently get a full meal with drinks and soup for $7.
I think I mentioned this before … there doesn’t seems to be many new HK Style Cafes opening nowadays. Most newly opened Chinese restaurants are Taiwanese, Shanghainese, Sichuan, etc. I think it is partly because that HK Style Cafes margins are razor thin given the prices they charge and that the trend is to move away from such concept.
But Sun Yee Cafe is new. I think they had only just opened sometime this year. Oliver told us that this location had constantly changed ownership the past while. Sun Yee is located on East Hasting right in the middle between Victoria Drive and Nanaimo. It is easy to locate because their bright yellow and red awning is still new. Sun Yee is actually located next door to Thai Hang where we had the 7 Courses of Beef.
Fearing how busy HK Style Cafe could get during peak lunch time, we decided to go a bit later after having called them to confirm that they are opened between lunch and dinner times. We got there after 2PM and was surprised that it was still quite full of customers. We did not have to wait for a table though.
This place is painted bright orange and it does have that new look. They even have a couple of flat screen TVs installed too. You don’t see a lot of these in a HK Style cafe.
They have the chef’s specials written on a whiteboard but as always we don’t know what they are. You can click on the image above to show it larger.
Instead we had to rely entirely on the menus they gave us. There are LOTS of menu and I am sure there are other menus too that they pass out at different times of the day. The menus we were given were the All Day Specials menu and the Lunch Specials menu (valid from 11 Am to 6 PM). Beside that we also had their regular menu.
You will like their menu as much as I did. The two on the left is the All Day Specials and the other two on the right is the Lunch Specials.
The All Day Specials are mostly around $9 with a couple of dishes that are $10. The price includes steamed rice or spaghetti … and soup … and a hot beverage.
If you think that the All Day Specials is cheap, wait till you look at the prices on the Lunch Specials. The price ranges from $5 to $7 only and that comes with a drink also. There are 60 dishes to choose from too. Dirt cheap! What is there not to like with menus like these, right?
I heard that all dishes from this menu is $5 from 3 PM to 5 PM. Is that true? Can anyone confirm that?
Some of the dishes we ordered from the All Day Specials came with soup. They had two types of soup available that day: Chinese soup or Cream Corn Soup.
I had been feeling “soupy” these days and I thought that the Vermicelli with Ranch Chicken in Singapore Herbal Soup ($7) sounded really good. I don’t see this kind of soup dish a lot in HK Style Cafe a lot (ever?).
I like the big serving and the broth looks inviting. The noodles served here is thick vermicelli which I felt is kind of the right type of noodles to go with the herbal soup.
They did not skimp on ingredients for a $7 dish. The chicken was … good and with bone in. The bowl also has pork meat in it too.
I like the nice flavourful herbal soup with mushrooms, red dates and some other root like herb (dong sum?).
This is one dish that I would go for again if I ever return.
Nanzaro had the usual stuff. Suanne and I are surprised because he was going for more “exotic” dishes for a long time already and now he said he wanted the Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice ($7). The reason he gave us for wanting this is just one word: “because”.
I think “because” is because he smelled the salted fish from the other tables. It does smell really nice. It is also a big plate. Yup, he enjoyed it. We tasted a spoonful and it was pretty good. The salted fish is really “heong” … fragrant … and they fried the rice dry enough.
Arkensen ordered the Hainanese style Chicken Rice ($8.50).
This came along with a soup and a drink. The server told us in advance that they don’t have oil rice, just steamed rice. Arkensen hesitated for a while but went ahead anyway. And then he later complained about not having oil rice. He complained to US, not the waitress. Why us? LOL!
The big saucer of ginger sauce was just OK but I had much better ones. Arkensen did not care about this at all even though we keep telling him that this is the essence of eating the chicken with.
Call me whatever but I really like that the chicken is fat and plump, not one of those skinny free range chicken. Yeah, the chicken was great but the bad thing is the absence of oil rice somewhat ruined this.
Here are the drinks we got. Only the hot beverage is free with the food order. It is 50 cents extra if you want it with ice.
Suanne had the Stir Fried Spaghetti with Black Pepper Shredded Beef Tenderloin($9). It was served sizzling hot on a hot plate.
I always thought that these kind of dishes are just for show. I think that they cook the food separately and they put it on a hot plate just before it is served. And you pay $1 extra for the show. It does make it look a lot more enticing for sure than have it served on a normal plate.
Suanne said she did not mind it but I thought the noodles has this strange bitter after taste. We can’t put down to what exactly it is. Maybe it is bitter melon but we can’t see it here.
Nope, this was not a good dish.
As expected this is a cash only restaurant. As a whole, the prices are cheap and the servings big enough to satisfy a hungry person. The quality of the food though is kind of hit and miss.
I am gonna get Oliver to show me around some of the other HK Style Cafes. I think I had covered everyone of them already in Richmond but there are lots of others outside of Richmond. Stay tuned!
Check out their takeout menu and see for yourself what else they have to offer here.