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Hong Kong's best dai pai dong rated by Time Out
The local expat mag rates a handful of dai pai dong according to Singapore's hawker stall rating system. The results? Sing Kee and Cheung Fat draw!
Dai pai dong, those outdoor cooked food stalls which first appeared at the end of World War II, used to be plentiful in the streets of Hong Kong, but are a dying cultural phenomenon today.
Although dai pai dong is now synonymous with any outdoor eatery with an ad hoc feel to it, the term can only legally apply to a scarce 28 cooked food stalls situated around Hong Kong and Kowloon. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department does not issue new dai pai dong licenses anymore.
The little green shacks of the dai pai dong all seem uniform on the surface, but each one offers unique tastes from decades old secret recipes. Time Out recently rated nine of the best according to Singapore's hawker rating system:
Best food: Sing Kee and Cheung Fat tied. Both were rated "A" for food that was "extremely flavorful."
Best hygiene: The cleanest dai pai dong was Ping Kee, which got an "A+" for hygiene. "There was a massive steel sink devoted to cleaning dishes alone." Yes, that is a true novelty for dai pai dongs.
Best atmosphere: Ping Kee and Sing Heung Yuen tied for best atmosphere. Of Ping Kee, the reviewer said "We could sit here all day. Great laid-back feel in a quiet neighborhood."
Sing Kee: 9-10 Stanley St, Central, tel +852 2541 5678, open daily, 11am-3pm and 5-11pm.
Sing Heung Yuen: 2 Mee Lun St (near Gough St), Central, tel +852 2544 8368, open daily 8am-5:30pm.
Leaf Dessert: 2 Elgin St, Central, tel +852 2544 3795, open daily 12:30pm-12:30am.
Ping Kee: 5 Shepherd St, Tai Hang, tel +852 2577 3117, open daily 7am-5:30pm.
Cheung Fat: 1 Yiu Tung St, Sham Shui Po, tel +852 2777 2400, open daily 11-4am.