If you’re a local who grew up in HK in the 1980s or early 90s, it’s likely that Lai Yuen amusement park in Lai Chi Kok is firmly entrenched in your childhood memories (Dino the dinosaur, anyone?). Ah, the good ol’ days… More recently, Lai Yuen has set up pop-up summer carnivals at Central Harbourfront and AsiaWorld-Expo. Now, it’s moved into the F&B world with the introduction of its eponymous cha chaan teng in TST.
The amusement park is cleverly mimicked in the bright and cheerful decor, with carousel chandeliers, park map murals and colourful artwork by local illustrators.
The menu features updated classic cha chaan teng dishes like French toast in frying pan ($36). This time the eggy bread in question is presented in a cute mini cast-iron skillet, cut into bite-sized pieces and lightly drizzled with golden syrup. There’s also a caramel and poached egg French toast ($36), the oozing yolk a nice complement to the deep-fried batter.
A popular snack at the amusement park, the deep-fried chicken leg ($48 with potato wedges/$78 with noodles) is updated with a serving of spiced potato wedges or fried noodles in supreme soy sauce. The skin was golden and crispy and the inside tender and juicy – you can’t go wrong with this one.
Baked rice dishes are cha chaan teng staples – we usually go for the baked pork chop version, but the baked rice with grouper fillet ($78) in a creamy cheese and mushroom sauce was an addictively comforting alternative.
Another popular dish at Canto diners around town, Lai Yuen’s slow-cooked beef brisket curry ($78) had just the right amount of spice, with tender pieces of brisket and potato chunks that soaked up all the curry goodness.
On the beverages side, expect the usual suspects such as caffeine-packed iced lemon tea, milk tea and yuan yang, thankfully all light on the sugar. The signature drink is the fresh pineapple ice ($31), which, while refreshing, was too gimmicky for us. We were given half a small pineapple and a juicer – too much manual labour for a tiny amount of juice.
If you find yourself shopping or hanging out in TST and hunger strikes, Lai Yeun would be a great pit stop for lunch or afternoon tea. The HK-style comfort food hits the spot, with affordable prices to match.
Shop 12, G/F, Granville Building, 12–16 Granville Road, TST, 3598 3088
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation.