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Jan 9, 2007 07:01 PM

Hong Kong-style Western food - $6 entree w/ soup (borscht) ,salad, spaghetti, dessert, ginger coke & $4 breakfast

First of all, what cities/towns have these types of restaurants? The SF Bay Area has some of these ... and, of course, Hong Kong.

Second what is usually reliable to order and what should be avoided?

This wikipedia article says that unlike Chinese-American food which is Chinese food for Americans, Hong Kong Western food is American food for Chinese people.

Here’s a menu for a SF restaurant which, from what I’ve read is representative of these types of restaurants.

In one the above joint the menu spans Chinese, American, French, & Japanese.

So for your soupy pleasure, in addtion to the borscht, there is clam chowder Japanese ramen, French-style onion soup, noodle soup, stew & porridge.

Appetizers & snacks can include escargot, egg rolls, California rolls, chicken feet or fish balls ... among other items.

Sandwiches ... Club ... peanut butter porky bun ... spam & egg ... tuna ... etc.

There’s bento-style boxes, curries, rice plates, chow mein, chow fun, prime rib, baked chicken Portuguese, fried fish, etc.

The $4 Western or Chinese breakfast includes toast, milktea, coffee, juice or soda.

As to that borscht, in a post about a SF café Gary Soup writes ...

“HK-style places often serve a borscht that's tomato based, not beet based. This may be an import of Shanghai's "Russian" soup (luosang tang). This is a very popular comfort food with beef, tomatoes, potatoes and cabbage.”

The above place doesn’t serve ginger coke which is mentioned in the wiki article. It sounded good so I searched to see if I could make it ... turns out it is served hot ... coke boiled with ginger ... sometimes with lemon. It’s supposed to be good for colds.

Well, if in the Bay Area, here’s links to a few joints

It seems like it would avoid the value meal for cheap eats.

What is your experience with these types of restaurants?

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  1. This is an awesome, revealing post rworange.

    It reminds me of the Japanese style of Yoshoku -- are you familiar with this?

    Where did you find out about this type of restaurants? You certainly are better than me at finding interesting, obscure cuisines - an interest of mine as well.

    Have you dined at any of them in the area?

    2 Replies
    1. re: kare_raisu

      No, haven't tried Japanese style of Yoshoku. Thanks for the link.

      A SF poster ... Dave MP ... posted about a Chinese restaurant he tried and mentioned the borscht. This was on the edge of the Russian district in SF, so it got me curious. No connection though since these places serve a different version of borscht.

      Anyway, one question led to another ... just thought it was interesting. These places have been reported for years on the SF board, but it just hadn't caught my attention before.

      Sounds kind of cool. I'm going to have to check some of the local versions. If I ever do go on that long-delayed trip, it would be nice to know of other cities that have these.

      Maybe you might post on the LA or California boards to see if there are any near you.

      1. re: rworange

        I tired the newspaper link on the wikipedia page - its broken...

        Do you think that the borscht is some sort of culinary artifact from the days that the 'white russians' lived in Shanghai to escape the Bolshevik revolution?

        The corn 'potage' is also common with Yoshoku cuisine - I recently had a version at a Yoshoku style restaurant in the OC area. More like eating cream.....

        I am planning a trip to SF very soon - I will have to add this to my list. Very Unique/

    2. I wonder how 'Denmark' porkchop is prepared - perhaps only a reference to the quality of the pork from Denmark?

      And the Portuguese Chicken - how great is the influence of the Portuguese from Neighboring Macau on Hong Kong style cuisine?

      4 Replies
      1. re: kare_raisu

        Portugese Chicken is a dish where the sauce contains primarily yellow curry powder and coconut milk with chunks of chicken (boneless or not).

        Variations on "name the dish after a country" include

        "Russian style" = A red sauce with some vegetables
        "Mexican style" = "Russian style" with kidney beans
        "German style salted ham hock" = based on schweinhaxe

        Also, Egg Tarts are an idea imported from Portugese-style custard tarts, although a "Portugese-style egg tart" here is essentially the same as chinese-style egg tarts but white (unless you go to Macau, in which case they do make the more traditional looking and tasting Portugese custard tarts).

        1. re: Blueicus

 is that Portuguese though? Via India a la Vasco de Gama?

          1. re: kare_raisu

            I assume India, since it's still a spice-based curry and not a southeast Asia-style curry... I'm still trying to figure out what makes Fortune Cookies Chinese :).

            1. re: kare_raisu

              I think it is the coconut milk. Here's more info about Macanese cuisine (Chinese-Portuguese).

              Denmark pork chop = Ham-lette? I don't know ... maybe an Indonesian influence.

              Yeah, a few of the links in that wiki article don't do much.

              Don't know the Russian history, but here's a picture of Chinese borscht.

        2. Great post

          HK Western food is popular in LA as well.

          1. A lot of them exist in the Chinese-heavy parts of Toronto and the GTA (especially since there were a lot of Hong Kong immigrants back a decade or two ago) and I used to go to them (and occasionally still do) a lot as a child. Bento boxes and Japanese-inspired dishes (like the udon) are things that have only recently crept into the lexicon of HK-style cafe fare.

            I would say that a native North American or European would turn their noses down on this fare as being very "unauthentic" and rightfully so, since many of the dishes are variations on sauce on rice or spaghetti (and as something different, baked in the oven as well)... but I take pleasure in it the same way some people would take pleasure in broccoli and beef or moo goo gai pan or chicken balls.

            And it is a place to get some cheap eats, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, etc. And of course these are one of few places you can go get yourself a decent HK-style milk tea (or tea/coffee mix).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Blueicus

              i have to admit that there is something bizarrely alluring about these places for me. it might be that i never really liked rice as a child and the option of spaghetti instead (even if it was with a pork chop or steak) seemed much better.

              i've only been to these places not even a handful of times but they also span levels of formal service. from the quick order to full silver and tablecloth service. granted much of what i have tried leans much more on french and italian than portugese or even remotely chinese. definitely not quality food, but strangely addicting.

              i liked them when i was younger too because i could easily go with a few friends of mine for a cheap late prix fixe dinner when nothing else would be open.

            2. Popular in large concentrations of HK Chinese. Toronto, Vancouver, LA, Flushing NY, even Sacramento.