Yes, I miss Hong Kong very much. And one of the aspects that is so important to Hong Kong’s food culture are the cha chaan teng. There are Hong Kong-style cafés in Singapore, in the likes of actual exports such as Tsui Wah, Tai Cheong Bakery and Honolulu Café, to the modern ones like So
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But sometimes I miss those nostalgic-looking ones, not so polished, always bustling, with high customer turnovers in which diners cannot sit there for too long.
Friends Cafe HK 朋友冰室 situated within a mixed development The Brooks I at Springside Walk, comes quite close in terms of décor (other than Legendary Hong Kong at Jurong Point).
There are the tiled walls, mosaic floor, booth seating, mirrors and random menu pasted all around and within the table’s glass covering. Got the feels.
And that yellowish lighting.
If old Canto music is played (Anita Mui, Jacky Cheung, Danny Chan…), the dining experience would have been more complete. (Unfortunately, music is not allowed to be played in F&B yet due to COVID-19.)
Price isn’t that expensive as well, though the menu is not as extensive as typical Hong Kong café – which usually has more than a hundred items.
Signature set meals here include Charsiew Spaghetti or Macaroni ($6.50), Luncheon Meat Noodles with Egg ($6.50), Spiced Pork Cube Noodles ($6.50), Ham Macaroni ($6.50), Preserved Vegetable Beehoon with Pork ($7.50), Chicken Chop Noodles or Rice ($7.60), and Pork Chop Rice ($7.50).
There are also snacks of Curry Fish Balls ($4), Deep Fried Chicken Thigh ($5), Fried Chicken Mid Wings ($5), Sandwich ($2, $3), Fried Veg Roll ($3), Peanut Butter Milk Toast ($1.80) to Fried Wedges ($3).
The Curry Fish Balls ($4) were promising, big and round with a bouncy bite.
The curried sauce added fragrance and almost-negligible spice, though I wished there was more of it for a few rounds of dips.
The main of Pork Chop Rice ($7.50) came with choice of onion or black pepper sauce. Part of me wished it came in a baked tray with cheese and tomato option.
This was decent with the meaty pork chop lean but having a tender bite, and the rice grains having an oiler, tastier take. The eggs were not as scrambled as I wished, but was overall not bad for its price.
Satay Sliced Beef Noodles ($7.50) are my regular order in a Hong Kong cha chaan teng IF I see it on the menu.
The sauce marinate and soup were not defining enough comparatively – more like the usual ding mian (Nissin noodles) standard, though the beef slices were succulent and tender.
Since many tables around were seen with French Toast ($3.50), I just had to order and loved the peanut butter between and fluffiness.
Maple syrup is provided on the side so that adjust the sweetness level.
Previously, many customers feedback about the lack of Hong Kong Milk Tea. What? A cha chaan teng without that quintessential item.
Good to know the cold version (though not iced cold) is available now in bottles.
Reasonable pricing place, not bad food, friendly service.
Friends Cafe HK 朋友冰室
60 Springside Walk, The Brooks I #01-18 Singapore 786020
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 8:30pm (Mon, Wed – Sun), Closed Tues
Other Related Entries
Tsui Wah Singapore (Clarke Quay)
So Good Char Chan Tang (Capitol Singapore)
Pi Food (Penang Road)
Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore (Holland Village)
Joy Luck Teahouse 歡樂冰室 (Causeway Point)