“No, it doesn’t sell Australian food; and no, it’s not really a dairy company,” I said to my puzzled mother, as we headed towards the cha chaan teng for breakfast.
Australia Dairy Company.
The permanently bustling cha chaan teng serves typical Hong Kong breakfast fare, such as thick toast, macaroni soup, milk tea and coffee, and its eggs.
Almost every Singaporean who travels to Hong Kong or who reads enough food review blogs would’ve heard about its silky smooth scrambled eggs.
The first time I came here on a Saturday afternoon, I was greeted by a long queue snaking outside of it. Thankfully, it moved pretty fast and we were able to get a table under 10 minutes. The second time round, I came on an early weekday morning, so I was able to get a seat almost immediately, although it was still filled to the brim. As with typical cha chaan tengs, expect to share tables with complete strangers.
Inside, gruff servers bustle around the fully packed restaurant, which has a classic old-school vibe to it. Expect no-frills service from the easily irritable waiters, who won’t hesitate to scold you if you so much as waste their time with questions. If you’re an indecisive eater who can’t speak much Cantonese like me, do your research beforehand. (As I told my friend and parents, “Grow thick skin before entering!”)
While their menu is in Mandarin, you can ask for an English one. Australia Dairy Company offers three set meals with slight variations to each: a breakfast, lunch and and all-day tea set. The first two sets offer eggs (fried/scrambled) with toast, macaroni or spaghetti soup, and milk coffee or tea.
However, their spaghetti and macaroni soups are unmemorable, so if you want to save your caloric intake for only the best, I’d recommend ditching the sets and simply going for what they’re famous for: their scrambled eggs.
Both times, I ordered the Ham Egg Sandwich (HKD$19, ~SGD$3.10), which can be toasted for just HKD$1 more. I recommend doing so. Somehow, toasted sandwiches just taste better here!
The Ham Egg Sandwich comes with a generous portion of pillowy soft eggs, fit snugly between thin slices of picnic ham and lightly buttered bread. The eggs were scrambled just right–they were slightly moist, light and buttery.
The Cold Steamed Egg White Milk Pudding (HKD$26, SGD$4.20) was mildly sweet and creamy, with each spoonful a delightful melt-in-your-mouth. While the custard is light enough, it is a dessert best shared.
So, is Australian Dairy Company overrated?
Their scrambled eggs were perfectly done, I’ll admit, but they weren’t mind blowing. And while the milk pudding was no doubt delicious, the overbearing waiters and hectic environment don’t contribute to an overall pleasurable experience.
The moment you’re done with your last bite, your empty plates are immediately whisked away and you’re expected to pay up and leave. When I brought my mum here, I could tell she didn’t like it at all. It was too rushed, stressful and we left feeling not a little harassed.
But if you want to experience a typical cha chaang teng setup and service, go for it–it’s worth trying their scrambled eggs at least once.
If not, why come to Hong Kong at all, right?
Australia Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司)
47-49 Parkes St., Jordan (MTR Exit C2)
07:30 – 23:00 (closed on Thursdays)