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Ho Yuen Cafe

Believe it or not, I have never had a Hong Kong style breakfast for breakfast. I have had similar items, and have eaten said items during breakfast, but this would be my first time trying a proper HK style breakfast. And luck for me, I had experts Diana and Joyce of @foodologyca and @vanfoodies to help walk me through the meal.

We convened at the new Ho Yuen Cafe, located in what feels like the middle of no where. Although I guess if you build it, and if it is a Hong Kong style cafe, they will come; because it was packed with a line this Saturday morning.

You are seated at the first available table, and depending on the size of your group and what is available, this may be a communal share one. Here, you can order off of any 4 different menus, all of which incomplete. From what the server brings over in sheets, to what is visible over the checkout counter like at fast food stalls, and the specials stand displayed at each table.

We began with the usual caffeinated beverages. I ordered HK style coffee thinking it was the one with coffee and tea combined. I wound be wrong and should have ordered milk tea for what I wanted.

Their pineapple buns are what they are known for and you can enjoy them in or get them to go, from their showcase of fresh baked buns. Kept warm under heat lamps, or at room temperature in cellophane.

They also have danish pastries, and half loaves of bread in white, croissant, and red bean with cream. We each would grab some of the latter to go.

But seeing as we were here we had to have their Pineapple buns fresh. The original comes with salted butter that you spread out and eat like toast, except with the unique sweet custard cookie topping in conjunction.

They also have seasonal and rotating flavours for their pineapple buns, and today that was chocolate. I liked the idea, but found the execution lacking with a muted chocolate flavour in the cookie topping and little cream at its centre. I would suggest sticking with the original.

Made with the same doughy sweet bread, but minus the cookie topper is their Pork chop bun. This was used as the ends of what is essential a Chinese style BLT prepared with fatty pieces of pan fried pork, tomato, and shredded lettuce. A softer sandwich, I would have liked a crispy side of fries or onion rings to add some crunch to things.

My favourite dish was their Homemade BBQ pork on rice with steamed and still firm broccoli and a sunny side up egg to top it all. Not the best bbq pork I have had, as it was overly fatty, with little meat. Although the sweet charred flavour was good and when taken with bites of the unseasoned sides, you could not make out all the gristle in-mouth.

Next we tried the Luncheon Meat & Macaroni in Tomato Soup. Get it and all other noodle soup bowls as a set with a Standard Hot Beverage. Honestly I did not grow up with this, so did not have an affinity for it and therefore found it basic. I also don’t like macaroni in broth, feeling it is better suited in a saucy red vodka number. Although at under $12, you get what you pay for. The soup lacked seasoning. The only flavour was in the cubes of meat, and this was off brand canned meat, so not as tasty as Spam Brand. I wanted to add black pepper, salt, and ketchup to the bowl, at minimum.

The Ginger Sauced Beef in Vermicelli Soup had more flavour, although it was mostly ginger. Not exciting, but a great option for a milder and lighter breakfast soup; especially to help jump start your digestion first thing. I just could have used more beef, considering how much noodle there was.

Out of all the noodles in soup options we had, my preferred was the Satay Beef in Instant Noodles Soup, given how flavourful and tender the beef was. However like before I wish there was a more even meat to noodle ratio, and that the noodles used weren’t the instant kind. I have instant noodles on a weekly bases, so am less inclined to pay for it when dining out. However, once again I see the appeal, this was never my childhood so I have no nostalgia attached to any of this. Whereas my friends could recall how they families prepared it when they were younger, and if it was comparable today.

And we would end our me with egg tarts, a nice egg custard in an ashy flaky crust. This was nostalgic and in my childhood, and therefore delivered.

Overall, I think we all came to the same conclusion. Good for the pricing, with plenty of room to improve and grow.

Ho Yuen Cafe
#113 – 1750 W 75th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6P 6G2
(226) 368-3891

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