Experience a Nostalgic Flavour at Dai Pai Dongs

8 June 2023 by
Daisy Wong

During lunchtime, I walked to Mee Lun Street in Central, where the pedestrian walkway was filled with tables at the dai pai dong. Office workers were busy enjoying piping hot macaroni and refreshing lemon honey crispy bun. The aunties working in the tin-roofed stalls were particularly impressive, their speed resembling that of “motor hands.” The experience of eating at a dai pai dong truly left a lasting impression. So, as someone who works in Central, I decided to step into a dai pai dong and savour a nostalgic flavour.

The Changes of Time of Dai Pai Dongs

Dai pai dongs are a part of Hong Kong's culture, and after years of development, they have become a unique culinary culture in Hong Kong. In a dai pai dong, you can taste a variety of foods, ranging from roasted meats to fried rice, from congee to sweet soups—everything you can imagine. Furthermore, the lively atmosphere of dai pai dong is a characteristic that people love. Here, you can enjoy delicious food and have conversations with friends.

With the changes of time, the style of dai pai dongs have also evolved. Today's dai pai dongs are no longer the simple and rudimentary stalls of the past; they have become more modern, comfortable, and stylish. Some restaurants have started to incorporate elements of dai pai dongs into their own establishments. For example, they may include neon lights, folding tables and chairs, while still preserving the traditional flavours of Hong Kong cuisine. 

However, despite the changes in appearance, the spirit and essence of dai pai dongs remain unchanged. They represent a part of Hong Kong's culinary culture and reflect the love and pursuit of food and life by the people of Hong Kong.

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The Three Key Features of Dai Pai Dongs

Dai pai dongs are one of Hong Kong's unique culinary cultures. They are typically set up on the streets and corners of Hong Kong, marked by lively dining tables, simple menus, and the glow of late-night lights. The three key features of dai pai dongs are their food, atmosphere, and affordability:


One of the most popular features of dai pai dongs is the food itself. They are known for their traditional Hong Kong flavours and cooking styles. Some popular dishes include char siu (barbecue pork), roast duck, stir-fried noodles, and Chinese snacks. These dishes are often made using family recipes passed down through generations, giving them a special nostalgic quality that Hong Kong people love.


Source: Discover Hong Kong


Dai pai dongs are lively and bustling, with simple setups made from wooden boards and metal frames. Customers sit on plastic stools, enjoying their food while chatting with friends. Dai pai dongs have become popular local gathering places for socialising. Many locals fondly remember the times they spent at dai pai dongs, savouring delicious food with their families and friends.


Dai pai dongs originated from outdoor snack stalls in Hong Kong. They are known for offering affordable and tasty food in a casual setting. You can indulge in a wide variety of dishes, ranging from roasted meats to fried rice, and from congee to sweet desserts, all at affordable prices. The affordability and accessibility of hawker stalls make them a favourite dining option for many Hong Kong residents.

Traditional Dai Pai Dongs

In the changing times, traditional dai pai dongs have gradually been replaced by commercialised restaurants. Nowadays, there are only a few dai pai dongs left, but those that have survived have become even more precious. Let's us introduce three dai pai dongs: Sing Heung Yuen, Sing Kee Dai Pai Dong, and Bing Kee.

Sing Heung Yuen

Sing Heung Yuen, located in Central, is a restaurant with a long history. It is hidden in a small alley, covered by a large canvas. The place is narrow, and its distinctive features include large fans, old-fashioned folding chairs, and tables. It can accommodate only a few customers. The most famous dishes here are tomato beef macaroni and butter lemon honey crispy bun. These dishes have a unique and delicious flavour, and they are highly loved by customers. They allow you to savour the food while reminiscing the nostalgic taste. 

Address: 2 Mei Lun Street, Central, Hong Kong

Sing Heung Yuen

Source: Discover Hong Kong

Sing Kee Dai Pai Dong

Located on Stanley Street, the dai pai dong there is a distinctive feature of Hong Kong. Among them is Sing Kee, which has a history of 50 years. It attracts many office workers from Central, and it is always crowded during lunchtime. Sing Kee offers a variety of flavourful stir-fried dishes, such as Salt and Pepper Squid, Stir-fried Spare Ribs, and Stir-fried Clams with Crab. These dishes are highly recommended. 

Address: 82 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong

Sing Kee Dai Pai Dong

Source: Discover Hong Kong

Bing Kee Cha Dong

Bing Kee, with a history of nearly 70 years, is a traditional dai pai dong that has preserved its original flavours. In the early days, the cha dong only served items such as milk tea, toast, cakes, and Chinese pastries. It was not until the 1970s that they added instant noodles and coffee to their menu. Today, besides the regular customers from the neighbourhood and nearby car repair shops, many young people also make a special trip to taste their signature pork chop noodles and milk tea. 

Address: 5 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong

Bing Kee Cha Dong

Source: Discover Hong Kong

Indulging in delicious food at dai pai dongs is not just about tasting the dishes; it's also a cultural experience. These dai pai dongs not only offer mouthwatering food but also allow you to immerse yourself in the unique culture and atmosphere of Hong Kong. If you want to delve deeper into Hong Kong's culture, consider visiting a hawker stall in person and savouring the nostalgic flavours. However, when it comes to cherishing your memories, you can rely on photos and videos. Our digitalisation services can bring your memories to life, allowing you to relive them as if you were there.

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