Have you ever wondered who best knows the lay of this land? It’s not the Tourism Board; it’s not the employees at any land-surveying government entity. Rather, it’s those who roam around in distinctive red, green and blue vehicles. Taxi drivers are fonts of knowledge about what to see, where to shop, and, most importantly, where to eat—especially if you’re on the go. We braved the gridlock and discovered five places where our city’s taxi drivers like to grab a quick bite. Sheung Wan Nestled down a side street just off Hollywood Road and Possession Street in Sheung Wan is For Kee Restaurant. For Kee specializes in pork chops—on rice, in a bun or piled atop noodles. Or just go for the perfectly marinated, deliciously oily meat instead. This family-owned and operated restaurant is a bare-bones diner filled with plastic stools intimately squished around small round tables that seem as weathered as the family members/waiters themselves, who have been feeding residents, office workers and taxi drivers for over 30 years. A giant menu board hangs over the open kitchen—which, it must be said, is best not to look at too closely if you’re a hygiene freak. Cars line the narrow streets outside, while inside there’s a rowdy crowd. The scene is highly boisterous and diners are friendly. So pull up a stool and prepare to get to know the strangers sharing the table with you. For Kee Restaurant, Shop F & G, 200 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, 2546-8947. Wan Chai Just behind a surprisingly clean garbage depot on trendy Star Street is an unassuming Hong Kong-style eatery that teems with taxi drivers. At Keung Kee Fast Food, space is limited, with three tables inside and a smattering of outdoor seating, yet it’s well-lit and clean. The whitewashed walls are dotted with printed menus and beer ads. A spartan food menu mainly offers instant noodles outside of their lunch sets, but the drinks are affordable and the milk tea a favorite among the diners. Outside, a taxi manager seated at a folding table on the corner marks off a schedule for trading shifts, while inside cabbies indulge in a cuppa before either retiring for the day or beginning work afresh. The diner is highly popular because of its ample street parking, as evidenced by the abundance of taxis and personal vehicles that line the road. The windows that encircle half the diner allow drivers to watch over their vehicles—for those who must dine and dash when ticketers are near. Keung Kee Fast Food, 1-3 Moon St., Wan Chai, 2529-1928. Taxi Tales We dug deep to uncover the secret lives of Hong Kong’s infamous taxi drivers, along with the passengers they protect—and imperil—every day. The Secret Lives of Taxi Drivers Yannie Chan uncovers the nuances of four drivers’ daily lives—from the hazards of the road to where they go to the bathroom. Cabbies vs. Customers Outlandish stories from both the front and back seat. The Great HK Taxi Scavenger Hunt Win a prize! Tai Hang Amid the many restaurants in Tai Hang that are sandwiched between car repair shops, taxi drivers swarm to one tiny shop on the corner of King and Ormsby. Cheung Sing Café specializes in pork chops with scallions served over rice, which you can see the cook frying up in the open kitchen. The intimate dining area is chock-a-block with communal tables lined with small wooden stools. It’s a tight squeeze to get in or out, but it’s a great excuse to start idle chatter after you profusely apologize for whacking people on your way to your seat. The décor consists solely of printed menus on the once-white tiles that cover the walls along one side. Plastic stools line an outside bar to maximize capacity. Parked cars fill the streets and the nearby open-air parking lot, where many cabbies loiter. The café is open every single day—no holidays for these folks!—from 6am to 6pm, but come at noon or between 4pm and 5pm to make some cabbie chums. Cheung Sing Café, 24 King St., Tai Hang, 2890-9129. North Point On a street overflowing with restaurants, taxi drivers swear by Sun Huo Fu Café. Angling for room among auto body shops and a plethora of competition, Sun Huo Fu is surprisingly spacious, with an open milk tea bar. Eleven rickety tables provide ample seating for patrons to enjoy various stir-fry lunch specials or the house specialty: stir-fried crab. The décor is unabashedly tacky, with wood-grain vinyl covering the walls and Blue Girl ads enticing diners to order a cold one (to which we hope the cabbies don’t succumb until after their shifts). The waitstaff is curt and to the point, bustling people in and out, but many resistant patrons still linger over their end-of-meal drinks. Lots of free street parking comes as a welcome relief to the drivers who eat here, and parked cars stretch as far as the eye can see. Sun Huo Fu Café, 68 Wharf Rd., North Point, 2578-5818. Sha Tin Strategically located beside an open-air parking lot and a small bus terminus is Lum Shing Kee Noodle Restaurant. From a simple wonton noodle shack to the Hong Kong-style café it is now, Lum Shing Kee boasts over 30 years of history, which not coincidentally is the same age as the apartment complex surrounding it. This restaurant is the oldest on the block and draws quite a crowd, with diners spilling out onto the plastic stools and folding tables sprawled across the sidewalk in front. Inside, speckled green walls are punctuated with wall mirrors, Coca-Cola ads and menus. Harsh florescent lighting illumines the booths lining the sides, plus a few tables in the center. Like all the rest, no-nonsense plastic stools are the norm, and diners rarely loiter. A longstanding favorite among cabbies, proprietor Ms. Lum is a member of the third generation of owners and claims that her restaurant’s popularity is due to the lack of MSG in its food and its proximity to the housing estate. Business spikes in the morning and early evening when the cabbies trade shifts, either heading to their nearby homes or off to work. Asking a driver present about the food, however, he can’t truthfully claim it’s anything to write home about—though it is definitely affordable, with soup noodle sets starting at $21, and lunch sets from $30. The main reason cabbies frequent this diner, he explains, is because they have full visibility of their cabs and can easily dash out if the police draws near. Lum Shing Kee Noodle Restaurant, Shop 6-7, G/F, Garden Rivera, at the intersection of Tai Po Rd. and Sha Tin Wai Rd., Sha Tin, 2646-5722.