New pubs and restaurants keep opening up in Soho West, but a good number of long-established eateries are still operating there. One of them is Sammy’s Kitchen, a restaurant well-known for its so-called soy-sauce western cuisine. Owner and founder Sammy Yip, now in his eighties, still puts in an appearance from time to time to oversee food quality and act as occasional cashier.
Sammy himself came to Hong Kong at a youthful 15 years of age and began work in a hotel. And it was he who created his own establishment’s famous sauce when, many years ago, he came up with a concoction of port wine, tomato, onion, herbs and Cointreau as well as a mix of spices from East and West.
Pretty sure he was on to a winner, he founded Sammy’s Kitchen in 1969, and moved the restaurant to its present site in 1979, where it is easily recognised thanks to a large cow-shaped neon sign distinctively positioned outside. This has become something of landmark in Sai Ying Pun and Western, with former governor Chris Pattern said to have visited the restaurant and admired the sign.
I go to Western District several times a year to buy dried seafood, Mid-Autumn Festival lanterns and the like, and popping into Sammy’s Kitchen is a must on my to-do list during each trip.
The restaurant is now run by Yip’s children and is adorned with photos of the dishes available and the celebrities who have visited and dined there.
Chequered tablecloths give the place a cosy, local feel.
The menu now offers a variety of western-style cuisine including steaks, baked escargots, super-large mixed grills and walnut cakes. There are also western-cum-Chinese spaghetti and baked rice, the sort of dishes preferred by the older members of most Chinese families.
A former neighbour I know in Western District told me he once attended his kindergarten graduation party at Sammy’s and his daughter has enjoyed parties there as well. When he said this, I just couldn’t help remembering the good old days.
204-206 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun
Tel: 2548 8400