Dai Pai Dong is all about the authentic wok tossed delights from the Hong Kong streets that anyone can afford. We came to Sham Shui Po, where there are still a cluster of long standing haunts to grab that authentic Cantonese experience. It was raucous when we got here, with a circular table full of folk, possibly from mainland China, drinking & smoking away – the loud cackle of their laughs drowned out everything else.
In typical dai pai dong style, the interior is nothing to shout home about. The average man would probably park his car in one of these shacks, but that’s besides the point. They are the very definition of a dilapidated gastro garage.
First up we went for a classic – clams with blackbeans, chilli and peppers. Ripping hot from the wok when they arrived, we found ourselves relentlessly sucking the sweet-salty clams from their shells.
Another classic is the prawns deep fried with salted egg yolk. The prawns were coated in the creamy egg yolk and are deep fried with their jackets on. What you get is palate coating rich egg essence and an entirely edible prawn, head shell and all. With a cold beer they are very rewarding to eat.
Next came the hot pot, with bitter gourd, blackbeans and frogs legs. It does what it says on the tin, lots of bitterness, umami from the blackbeans and for those who haven’t had frog’s legs before, it really does taste like chicken!
When did I go? Nov 2016
The damage: $100 per head with a beer (£10).
The good: Unlike Sing Kee which I reviewed, this one is indoors, so you won’t get the scuzziness of the streets. The food though, is exactly what you can ever want from a pocket friendly, on song dai pai dong.
The bad: Not a lot at this price point, but if loud crowds, rough edges and hygiene are you bug bears, don’t come here!
Would I go again? Yes
Address: Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong