>> Kong Sihk Tong | Eat the World NYC

03 May 2019

Kong Sihk Tong


If you wandered around the streets of New York City's various Chinatowns ten years ago, you may have come across a cha chaan teng only once in a while. Now this particular style of Hong Kong eatery is popping up in all of them, and even sometimes on their own in other neighborhoods. While they may be a "tea restaurant" if translated literally, they are much more than that. In Hong Kong, they are usually quite informal, a stall inside a market, or a few plastic stools at an outdoor stand.

Here the look is much more formal but still casual, with a full menu of favorites. The appearance outside, with a faux-traditional tiled roof kept from the Sichuan restaurant that used to be here will not prepare you for the modern interior with murals and sleek design.

In addition to the fun interior, take a few moments to visually enjoy in all the good tchotchkes they have placed around the restaurant like cans of Ovaltine and Milo. It all has a connection to the beginning.

My greatest connections with memories with cha chaan tengs in Hong Kong is sitting down to plates of condensed milk "French" toast in the morning, preferably those with peanut butter. Those would be filled with a thick layer of the nutty condiment and drowned in condensed milk, a morning heart attack. As if that was not enough, many times a slice of butter would be placed on top and start melting as the toast was served.

The version of condensed milk & peanut butter toast ($1.95, above) here was comparably super healthy, with very small amounts of both between slightly toasted pieces of white bread. Light as a feather, and to be honest not nearly as satisfying.

I never saw chicken wings in Hong Kong tea restaurants, but that certainly does not mean they do not exist. Here they are offered with a few interesting sauces, a wonderful HK-USA mashup food. These grapefruit honey sauce chicken wings ($4.75, below) really hit the spot and the sweet citrus glaze was much better than imagined.

Throwing cheese on instant ramen is something of the Hong Kong equivalent of a guilty pleasure, maybe like a New Yorker's constant desire for a quick slice of pizza. Pork chops instant noodle in cheese sauce ($8, below) was everything we wanted it to be, comfort food on a chilly night and a complete guilty pleasure. They went a long way to bringing me back to Tsim Sha Tsui eating at Sun Kee Cheese Noodle.

Last but certainly not least was the forever order on my playlist, beef macaroni with tomato soup ($6.25, below), another dish that should be taken advantage of when not listed in the children's section of the menu. Sweet and savory in equal amounts, and completely comforting.

The most common iteration of macaroni soup in a Hong Kong cha chaan teng is a simple chicken broth with small cuts of ham, but the upgrade to some of the "fancier" bowls is a good move in my book.

Kong Sihk Tong offers all the tea and coffee classics, the most imaginative being the super sweet half milk tea half milk coffee concoction that is beloved in Hong Kong. In addition, a full range of other options are available like the red bean ice with coconut milk ($4.25, below left) and taro milk shake ($4.25, below right).

Kong Sihk Tong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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