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Classic Hong Kong restaurants: Honolulu Coffee Shop, for egg tarts

Honolulu Coffee Shop specialised in drinks in the 1940s, but now its signature dish is local-style egg tart

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 12:04am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 March, 2015, 1:26pm

"I can only say Honolulu opened in the 1940s because I'm not sure exactly when it was," says Derrick Yeung, director of the cha chaan teng Honolulu Coffee Shop, and the son of the founder.

The first cafe was located in Sham Shui Po. "My father wanted to open a place where people could take a break from work. I think he quite liked being able to serve people," he says. "Back then it was like a bing sutt. We didn't serve hot food. We had a bakery and drinks like milk tea and coffee."

Some say that coffee is the reason why the cha chaan teng is named after the Hawaiian capital. Yeung's father was reportedly a fan of the island's coffee. "It's what people have said and written, but we're not actually sure. Our coffee isn't from Hawaii," Yeung says.

Their signature offering is the Hong Kong-style egg tart. Yeung says, "We make it with classic flaky pastry, which uses shui pei [pastry made with egg yolks and ice] layered with yau pei [butter pastry] folded over many times and left in the fridge overnight. It takes a lot of time and skill."

Yeung opened a number of new cafés and bakeries after taking over from his father in 1996, but the high rents forced him to cut back.

Nowadays, there are three standalone bakeries, and to two sit-down cafés in Central and Wan Chai. "Some people aren't interested in taking over family businesses, but I want to keep the brand going," he says.

 

Honolulu Coffee Shop, 33 Stanley Street, Central, 2526 8063. Open: 7am-2am. Also at 176-178 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2575 1823. Open: 6am-midnight