Catch Up

Mido Cafe is the real Mccoy. Per­haps Hong Kong’s most fa­mous cha chaan teng, it has changed lit­tle since it opened on Tem­ple Street in 1950. We sat down be­neath its whirring ceil­ing fans with sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion owner Anita Wong, and her son Win­son Kwan.

Crave - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - Words Iris Wong Pho­tos Sa­man­tha Sin

A visit to Mido Cafe, one of few cha chaan tengs in Hong Kong to re­tain its age-old in­te­rior

1 How did Mido Cafe get its name?

It opened just af­ter the war and Hong Kong was in sham­bles. Shang­hai Street was more bustling than Nathan Road back then, so my fam­ily picked this lo­ca­tion. The city was in the process of be­ing re­designed, so they named it mei dou in hope that Hong Kong would be­come a “beau­ti­ful metropo­lis”.

2 What do you en­joy most about run­ning a tra­di­tional cha chaan teng?

Talk­ing to peo­ple. Half our cus­tomers are tourists, and the oth­ers are mostly peo­ple who grew up around here but have moved away. They come back to visit, bring­ing their chil­dren, some even with their own fam­i­lies. This kind of hu­man warmth and em­pa­thy that used to thrive back then is be­com­ing rarer these days.

3 Why has the cafe kept its ’50s decor?

It’s been 48 years since I [Wong] took over the busi­ness, and I still love ev­ery bit of the cafe. My favourite part of the in­te­rior is the mo­saic-tiled walls. We got them as a cost-sav­ing op­tion but the mul­ti­coloured wall has be­come an iconic feature.

4 What’s your strong­est mem­ory of Mido Cafe?

Dur­ing SARS [in 2003], we didn’t close Mido Cafe, but was wor­ried about the health of our staff. That was a tough year. We were en­cour­aged to shut off air con­di­tion­ing dur­ing the out­break, but a lot of cus­tomers still came, know­ing we had ceil­ing fans in­stead of air con­di­tion­ing, which kept good air cir­cu­la­tion.

5 Most un­der­rated dish at Mido Cafe?

A lot of peo­ple come for the baked pork chop rice, but per­son­ally, I [Wong] love our stir-fry ver­mi­celli most. To drink, I al­ways choose lemon tea.

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