[Hong Kong] If you are in Hong Kong and craving a cup of latte or an avocado toast, I believe a Traditional Chinese Medicine Hall would be the last place to look.
Many modern-styled cafés are popping up but Tai Wo Tang is going the opposite direction – by updating a Traditional Medicinal Hall which has been around since the 1930s.
The first thing you will notice is the vintage signboard “大和堂” and stepping into the café, it is almost like a walk down nostalgia lane.
Without overhauling too much of the décor, the café has retained the hundred-year-old dispensary-style cabinets, the iron gates and some of the original plaques.
The owners have also added some modern café vibes, giving the entire space, a modern twist.
Apparently Tai Wo Tang (the medical hall, not the café) has been through 3 generations and witnessed the key historical events in Hong Kong – Japanese occupation and the return of Hong Kong to China.
It was shut down in 2017 but was revived the following year into a café.
Located in Kowloon City, the best way to get there is either via a cab or a train to Kowloon Tong MTR station followed by a short cab ride there.
Serving the usual café grub items like English Breakfast Plate, Avocado Toast, Greek YTogurt Nuesli and so on. You get the drift.
Though their menu is quite basic, they still have a couple of more interesting items like Crispy Fried Chicken with Hong Kong style Egglet Waffles.
This can be paired with traditional Chinese tea brews like “Dampness Dispelling Tea” and “Vitality Tea”.
I ordered their Signature Tai Wo Tang Latte (HKD 48, SGD8.50), which is a Western version of the Yuan Yang (or Yuen Yeung in Cantonese).
This classic Hong Kong beverage is basically a mixture of milk coffee and milk tea but instead of the local brew; they have created a “Western” version mixing Earl Grey and cafe latte and slightly sweetened with local honey.
Overall, I enjoyed the beverage but just can’t pinpoint what I am drinking.
Perhaps not something for serious coffee drinkers but better for people who won’t mind tasting something ambiguous.
The Café Latte (HKD 40, SGD7) was not too bad.
The Tai Wo Tang Burger (HKD138, SGD24) came with thick beef patty from organic grass-fed cow, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, pickles and served with a side of fries with truffle mayonnaise.
While the burger was juicy and of a good standard for a café, for that price you can find more quality ones in proper burger joints.
The Egg Benedict with Smoked Salmon (HKD98, SGD17) ticked the usual boxes – runny egg yolk, homemade-tasting hollandaise sauce, good sour dough toast.
A safe choice if you just want something hearty but not too heavy for breakfast.
The food and drinks here are on the pricier side, even for Hong Kong standards.
For a café with such a distinct theme, my only qualm is I wished there were more “unconventional” food offerings on the menu since it seems Avocado Toast and Egg Benedict are like a standard cookie-cutter café food in Hong Kong (and everywhere else).
Nevertheless, it is still interesting to visit mainly for the “feel” and look of this place and have some token instagram shot taken at the door.
Tai Wo Tang Cafe
24 Nga Tsin Long Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2623 2006
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 6:00pm (Mon – Fri), 9:00am – 7:00pm (Sat, Sun, PH)
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* Written by DFD’s Hong Kong Correspondent @kara_the_explorer, who is the Singaporean “tai tai” living the foodie dream in Hong Kong. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.