Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Mido Cafe in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon

After a n interesting visit to Tin Hau Temple in Yau Ma Tei, I head for Mido Cafe (美都餐室) just across the street.

I need some refreshment after a walk in one of the hottest day of the year in HK. I'm not going there because it's conveniently across street. This is one of my stop in today's little walk around Yau Ma Tei.

If you want to have a look at a quintessential unique HK style tea-restaurant (茶餐廳) from a few decades ago, this is a good and convenient example while you're around Tin Hau Temple, or Temple Street or even Nathan Road.

Mido Cafe, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Ground floor of Mido Cafe. They fill the upstairs first.

Even if you aren't HK locals, but fans of John Woo action flicks starring Chow Yun-Fat, you would see tea-restaurant like this. If you have watched Hard Boiled  (1992), as 3:24 mins into the movie, Chow walks into a Won Loi Tea Restaurant (雲來大茶樓) before the famous explosive shoot-out scene that demolishes a perfectly good restaurant with rapid showers of leads.

You'll recognise the many hallmarks that Mido Cafe share with Won Loi Tea Restaurant in the movie: the staircase to upstairs, the mosaic-tiled walls, the wooden booths along the walls, ceiling fans, etc. Perhaps, the things that most stood out, because it's the most intrusive, are the load-bearing pillars. Even the name Mido is so 1970s.

The only thing this restaurant missing from Won Loi are the birdcages that the customers bring in. Well, such leisure pursuit was killed by the breakneck pace of HK life. Now smartphones take the place of birdcages. If you feel nostalgic, why not set your phone's wallpaper to your fave bird, and ringtones to the sounds of bird chirps - canary, swallow, robin, whatever takes your fancy. Chances are, the generation who plays with birdcages are generation who has phobia towards smartphones. These things talk back to them, scary...

Mido Cafe, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong

While this totally unique HK style architecture are still around that's evolving with time, and gradually losing this old-fashioned interior, some new restaurants have opened with this nostalgic retro tea-restaurant decor. Still, others have exported this concept to Singapore in the opening of Legendary Hong Kong Restaurant.

While their menu have plenty to choose from, but I just had a big lunch at Tin Lung Heen at the Ritz-Carlton about an hour ago, so I only want drinks. Another HK's unique inventions are their many "fusion" drinks by combining one drink with another that you can order here. For example, combining coffee with tea to form yuanyang (鴛鴦, meaning mandarin ducks, which usually seen in a pair). There're also other drinks that spiced with lemon. For examples, tea with lemon, coke with lemon, and coffee with lemon. I have tried every drink concoctions that HK cafe/restaurants have dished out except for coffee with lemon. I'm tempted, but decide to decline. I'm too thirsty to be experimenting. So I settle for my fave pantyhose / stocking tea. That's tea with milk. So called because the tea is prepared with a filter that looks like a beige pantyhose. All the drinks come in cold or hot. I make it mine cold, of course.

Sitting here, look around, and even the view out of the window seems like this place is left behind from the head-long rush of HK's modernisation. It looks as if you just hopped onto a time machine and travel back in time for a few decades in HK when life is slower, simpler, and more humble.

Aerial view of Tin Hau Temple from Mido Cafe, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong
View of Tin Hau Temple from the cafe's upstairs window

Temple St, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Aerial view of the corner of Temple St and Tin Hau Temple.
The corner that time forgot. It will be gone when time remembers it again. Shhhh...keep it very quiet.

Mido Cafe, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong
To help your walk down the memory lane, the restaurant exhibits a few old items from the past to jog your memories.
I especially like the brick phones. I think they also appeared in Hard Boiled the movie. It makes a good weapon.

I've found the HK of yesterday in the convenience in the midst of the busy and fast changing Kowloon.

Check, please! This restaurant to go.

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