Being a Honger, there is certain expectations I have going to Hong Kong style cafes.
Unfortunately, there are not really any in Seattle that is on par with Hong Kong, both in food, and beverages served.
The most important staple of Hong Kong Cafes is the cup of milk tea, and Lido in Richmond has to be the best, in both Washington State and British Columbia.
It dawned on me that I have never had Lido’s proper meal food; I always go there for milk tea and breakfast items; since Lido offers baked pork chop rice too, they are on my to-eat list again.
I also want to broaden my horizon on BC’s Hong Kong Cafes, and decided to try Café Gloucester.
Café Gloucester has been around for a very long time, it has to be pretty good to still be standing in Vancouver’s competitive food scene.
First off, must have baked spaghetti Bolognese.
It was delicious, but not meeting the expected ketchupy flavor profile delivered by traditional Hong Kong Cafes.
Cafe Gloucester’s baked spaghetti had herbs (mostly thyme), and real tangy tomato sauce.
Another must try at Hong Kong Cafe is their Hong Kong style Borscht, which is tomato-based with no beet, usually cooked with beef brisket and sweetened slightly.
Cafe Gloucester’s borscht was good but not sweet enough; yet I still preferred theirs over Gold Stone’s, mainly because Gold Stone’s has strong green pepper flavor in it.
We also had the cream of chicken soup which was very good — thin, creamy and had good flavor; the chicken meat could be more tender, but the flavors and mouthfeel were spot on.
For those who were unfamiliar, Hong Kong style cream soups are very thin, they are just a little thicker than broth.
The thickness mostly comes from using corn starch as a thickener rather than usage of heavy cream, resulting in fairly creamy mouthfeel but not ever heavy or greasy.
Soups also came with sweet dinner roll.
Cafe Glocuester’s buns were fairly fluffy, just not as sweet as I am used to, and not as good as Gold Stone’s.
Fried chicken wings were our appetizers, and they were crisp, dry and hot.
Singaporean fried rice noodle was another dish we ordered, and it was dry, spicy and very tasty with shrimps, ham, green peppers and fresh bean sprouts, non-greasy goodness.
We also had the 2-colored rice, usually fried rice, traditionally topped with a white cream sauce with shrimps, and tomato sauce with shredded chicken.
One observation was that a few places in the Seattle area made this dish with the opposite protein in the sauce, so I was very happy that Cafe Gloucester did it the traditional way.
Shrimps were fresh, and fried rice and sauces were both great, except they added some cheese on top of the dish — a little unconventional.
My friend did not get enough Hong Kong Cafes, and we went to Gold Stone the next day.
I had the spaghetti with sliced beef, and it definitely hit the spot — ketchupy sauce, with super tender beef and frozen vegetables, simple, and the authentic flavors that I was craving for.
It reminded me of what I used to get in my Hong Kong high school cafeteria.
DH had the baked pork chop fried rice, another quintessential Hong Kong Cafe dish.
It was so so.
The pork chop was quite fatty with a big piece of bone, so not much meat.
Fried rice at the bottom was ok — not as flavorful as the fried rice in the 2-colored rice at Cafe Gloucester — with a good ladle of the tomato sauce.
I was torn between these 2 Hong Kong Cafes.
I believe Cafe Gloucester uses better ingredients with better cooking techniques, but the upscale delivery, particularly in the baked spaghetti missed the home taste.
Gold Stone is certainly cheaper, and both spots provide decent Hong Kong Cafe experience.