Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Eats Week: Yuen Long Dai Pai Dongs

The fourth installment of Eats Week will be introducing the wonderfulness that is the Dai Pai Dong.  Dai Pai Dongs are so very quintessentially Hong Kong!  I feel like that is my catch phrase for everything I love about this city.

A Dai Pai Dong is basically a restaurant that is outdoors.  There are dozens of tables set up, people take your orders, your food is cooked out of a rented kitchen space, and you can find some of the local-est of local foods there.  You can find Dai Pai Dongs emerging at the dinner hours in cooked food markets, under bridges, along rivers, blocking pathways, and, in my case, near the Yuen Long West Bus Terminus.

We went here for dinner, which was a great idea because, this particular Dai Pai Dong is sheltered.  And, if any of you are experiencing the torrential rains, monsoon winds, and ground-striking lightning that is our weather recently, you would appreciate a little shelter.  But the temperature is mighty fine these days, so it is nice to be able to eat outdoors.  The thunderstorms just make the experience feel quite romantic.

Yuen Long West Bus Terminus Dai Pai Dong

What:  By day, this space sells congee, rice rolls, and noodles.  By night, this place becomes one of the most happening Dai Pai Dongs in Yuen Long.

Where:  There are two Dai Pai Dongs at the bus terminus (I think there may even be three).  Our Dai Pai Dong had yellow table cloths, while the other had blue.  It's a science, eh!  And this specific one I'm blogging about is nearer the public toilets.

Hours:  I have seen Dai Pai Dongs being set up from 5pm (for the incredibly hungry) and being closed down around 1am (maybe even later on the weekends) for those party people.

Suggestions:  Bring a Cantonese-reading and speaking friend with you to help you order.  But, you can also be adventurous and just point!

The menu and our table cloth of spilt tea.  I love how you can be free to be messy here.  I mean, it's difficult to pour tea into a cup sometimes!  Do you know what I mean???

Pork and Leek Dish
Eel (we were feeling adventurous with this option)

Morning Glory and Pork

The food is kind of greasy, but the atmosphere is always so lively, especially on Saturday nights when everyone is just out to have fun.  I have seen some crazy-drunk yelling matches in my days too.  There is always excitement in the air.  And that, mixed with authentic local foods, big tables to fit your entire group of friends, and a round of beers is awesome!