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.
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.