Cafe de Hong Kong On Balestier Road


It is not easy to open a restaurant with a name that has come to be synonymous with mediocre food. At least that’s the reaction I get when I tell people about Cafe de Hong Kong on Balestier Road.

The owner, Francis Mak, approached one of us during one of our dinners and invited us for a tasting at the newly reopened restaurant. It turned out to be one of the best discoveries we made for this year.

Dinner started with the deep-fried fish skins that was so good that we ordered it twice. It’s not as elegant as Wo Peng’s version (who serves it with superior stock as a dip), but the mayo and sweet chilli combo dip is as delicious.

TTC has been there more times than I so you can read about his in-depth review which features more items here. As for me, here are the highlights of our first visit there.

The Supreme Tofu is, in a word, “slurpy”. It was rather difficult to pick up with chopsticks as it would break apart with the slightest pressure. So the best way is to just use your spoon and slurp it up.


It’s like eating a deep-fried smoothie with the brown outer skin providing some texture and sweetness and the interior was as soft as custard.

When the Fortune Seafood Roll came out, I was a little taken aback as the presentation was a little over-the-top which usually means it won’t taste as good as it looks.


Fortunately (ahaha!), the Fortune Seafood Roll was fully flavored with the Tobiko giving it a fresh taste contrast against the unctuous seafood stock and the delicate (tapioca?) wrap providing a nice texture.

I was a little underwhelmed when I heard that the next course would be lamb stew as I’ve been cooking stews and eating stews at home and abroad, so my stew quotient was pretty much filled-up. However, when the stew was served, the color and aroma of the stew perked me up instantly.


The special twist here was the Nam Yu or Fermented Beancurd (with wine lees, if I’m not mistaken). I love Nam Yu; it adds a deliciously salty bite that enlivens just about any dish.

The lamb stew was tasty and the meat was clean-tasting which didn’t do it for me as I like the muttony savory taste and I found the stew liquor a tad weak, so it didn’t have that “I must have a bowl of rice with this” sensation.

And speaking of rice, we had a Tobiko bomb in the form of fried rice. Or is it fried rice in the form of a Tobiko bomb? In any case, we were rather apprehensive about the reappearance of the Tobiko; it almost seemed as if the Cafe de Hong Kong was a one-theme restaurant.

It turned out to be a really good fried rice. The salty Tobiko provide a sparkling contrast to the earthy flavors.


Dinner at Cafe de Hong Kong was interesting. Despite the name, the food was great which goes to show that sometimes you have to go into the underbelly of the beast to discover the true cover of the book in order to see it pass with flying colors.


Cafe de HongKong is at 586 Balestier Road, #01-01 Eastpac Building, Tel: 62553865


Posted on 2nd Jan 2009 in Cantonese, Food and Drink, Makankaki, Tze Char


There Are 5 Comments


umami commented on January 2, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Tell me about it. Husband could not stop saying how much he enjoyed his dinner at this place.


Peter Chong commented on January 7, 2009 at 9:46 am

Hi Ivan…nice writeup. I also visited CdHK a couple of times recently…may I refer to my report at:


Ivan commented on January 13, 2009 at 10:42 am

@Umami: I missed that dinner because I was in KL. I heard it was fantastic too!

@Peter Chong: Thanks! I’ll check it out later.


CW commented on May 27, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Visited this place last Sunday for Lunch.
There was no dish that makes me want to go back for more.
The Supreme Tofu was only mediocre.
We ordered 5 dishes for 6 persons and spent about $100+ eating food like roast chicken, tofu, Seafood Roll, Coffee Pork Ribs and one more dish which i cannot remember.

I will not return as i feel there are more restaurants that give better value for money than this one.


ivan commented on June 2, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Well, then you probably shouldn’t.

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