Monday, January 18, 2010

Mido Cafe : 美都餐室







i've talked about cha-chaan-tengs (茶餐廳) a few times here already, but feel i should mention the king of all kings; mido cafe (美都餐室).

it took me a while to finally try out this retro cafe because i had heard that photography was not permitted inside. rules like this kinda put me off...
but knowing that this cafe had been used by the local film industry for it's retro interior, i wasn't going to let a few rules get to me. and i gotta say i'm glad i went! the small "no photography" sign on the wall was ignored by all, with locals as well as us "foreigners" happily clicking away, and the staff didn't even bat an eyelid.

i kinda love and hate this cafe.
i love it because it feels like i have stepped back in time, right from the moment i turn into the street and see the rounded corners of the building; a common architectural design of a long lost hong kong.
the ground floor of this cafe doesn't have air conditioning so the guy sitting at the till usually blindly points to the stairs. after climbing the retro staircase to the second floor you are welcomed with the panoramic view of the busy street below from the paint-chipped windows.
mido cafe opened its doors in 1950 and not much has changed since then.
the retro style is everywhere, from the formica table tops, the booth-style window seats, the beautiful tile work on the walls to the awesome cash register; a real beauty.

so what's there to hate?
well... i hate that mido cafe is now listed in the loney planet guide book because on certain days it feels like it's loosing it's local vibe.
because tourists are now a familiar addition, i don't like being treated like one just because i "look" like one.
when my order is being taken i would so prefer the usual blunt "sek mut?" (lit. "eat what?") to the english equivalent. i guess this can't really be helped. a blond blue-eyed foreigner ordering food in cantonese could be considered a bit odd.

oh, i also hate the toilet...

but gotta love mido's warmed bo lo yau (
pineapple bun: 菠萝油); with its huge slab of butter!
the hong kong style french toast (
西多士) is pretty good too if you want an early death.
mido cafe is also well known for its baked pork-chop rice, which was also pretty tasty until i saw the big bowl of sauce placed a bit too close to the toilet.
cha-chaan-tengs are not famous for their hygine standards, so it's better to turn a blind-eye to some of the smaller details...



cafe info:
mido cafe
63 temple street
yau ma tei
kowloon

12 comments:

hiki said...

omg this place looks so gorgeous!!!!
I wan to go!

Luuworld said...

love it! esp the cool cash register. i really like these kind of places. where times stands still, and the owners haven't been arsed to do anything with the interior. there are a couple of cafes like this in oslo, but it's a dying breed.

who cares if the hygiene is bad when the place is so effortlessly cool. lol

world of sekimachihato said...

* hiki
it's great to go on a weekday (better still when it's raining) as it's very quiet and relaxing.
worth checking out if you are in hong kong some time!

world of sekimachihato said...

* Luuworld
yes, unfortunately places like this are becoming a dying breed in hong kong too. the government steps in and develops them while "preserving", but basically ruins everything in the making.
change is great, but sometimes time needs to stand still.

thundering said...

The last time I was in HK was 10 years ago and I've been wanting to go back since, would especially love to visit the islands and villages :)
I've read a lot about Mido from the internet too... and I've heard of a Starbucks converting its interiors to resemble a cha chan teng in HK.

rachel

world of sekimachihato said...

* thundering
mmm, there are some great islands around for island-hopping, especially popular in summer.

yup, starbucks opened a unique concept store based on a local cha-chaan-teng. i have yet to check it out as i prefer a real one over a fake one *wink wink*
one of these days i should at least check it out though...

pascale said...

awe... I miss HK, you definitely know more of HK than I do. It's official now :)

jen laceda said...

I love retro places in HK. You make me miss HK so much. I use to go a lot as a child back in the 70's and 80's...but now that I've moved to Canada, I definitely miss HK!!

world of sekimachihato said...

* pascale
nah, everyone knows mido cafe!

world of sekimachihato said...

* jen laceda
i'm sure back in the 70's and 80's this place would have looked exactly the same!
there are so great retro places still surviving in hong kong, just have to keep an eye out for them.

Mochachocolata Rita said...

beautiful photographs...and i am the exact opposite of you. every bit of me look chinese, but i cant speak the language T_T

world of sekimachihato said...

* Mochachocolata Rita
thank you for the comment!
oh, so you must get the "sek mut?" all the time instead of me!!

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