Mr S.Y. Punti
4 David Lane
Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2915 8885
A back alley eatery in hipper-by-the-minute Hong Kong neighbourhood Sai Ying Pun offering classic cha chaan teng fare like cheong fun (rice rolls) and wanton noodle soup in a clean, modern cafe setting. Dismissing it as a hipster hangout doesn’t do the food justice. Sure, they serve locally brewed craft beer and single origin coffee, but the food at Mr S.Y. Punti is made with noticeably more premium ingredients and a welcome notch less greasy than traditional cha chaan teng fare – and the service is far less rude.
- You must order the dumpling noodle soup for its plump prawn dumplings with silky smooth wanton wrappers, and egg noodles with just the right amount of al dente and without the alkaline taste favoured by most Hong Kong noodle shops. I also really loved the lotus root pancake made with generously chunky cubes of shiitake mushroom and minced meat.
- To keep things hyperlocal, they also serve the famous Yu Kwen Yick chilli sauce, a heritage brand that originated not just from Hong Kong, but Sai Ying Pun itself.
- Earnest service staff. The young barman/sole waiter warned my dining companion that the Young Master Ale on tap was a little acidic, and kindly offered him a sample before committing to it – it was, and he didn’t, for which he was very appreciative.
- They could do with more seats: there are only two booths that seat four and six stools by the bar. And two on a wooden table outside, if you don’t mind suffering the summer humidity.
Getting there is half the fun. You have to walk down a dingy pathway between some recycling bins and a public toilet on David Lane, then pass by a massage parlour offering “Palace Decompression” treatments and a deserted tong lau that would make a perfect setting for a horror movie.
Will I return?
Yes – and often. Wish it was in my neighbourhood so I can stroll by regularly for simple weekday dinners.