Cafe de Coral (大家樂), is one of Hong Kong’s biggest fast food franchises.
Far from burgers and fries associated with fast food in North America, Cafe de Coral whips up fairly healthy meals in an astonishingly efficient manner. I’ve never had to wait more than five minutes from ordering to getting a piping hot meal and sitting down.
The same goes for leaving after a meal. Workers tend to swoop in immediately to take your tray and wipe down the table for the next customers.
And the best part, I don’t think anything costs more than $12 CAD.
The Hainan chicken set menu that I got at the Hong Kong airport — chicken, oil rice, pickled carrots and turnips, a bowl of broth, stir-fried vegetables and a hot drink — cost HK$68 ($10.70 CAD).
Cafe de Coral has a rotating menu through breakfast, lunch, tea time and dinner. Breakfast is mostly Chinese-style noodles and rice (about HK$20 or $3 CAD), with one or two Western combos (typical eggs and sausage).
My only gripe is their triangle-shaped bowls; I knocked one over one morning, spilling soup all over myself.
Again, the ridiculously efficient staff were there immediately to clean up my mess.
Except for the takeout-only counters, Cafe de Coral serves food in reusable dishes.
I also enjoy the revamp the franchises underwent in 2006. The restaurants have leather upholstery, modern light fixtures and a very sleek grey, cream and black colour scheme.
Staff are dressed in retro orange uniforms, including pillbox hats, that remind me of flight attendants from the ’50s.
You’ll find Cafe de Coral in most major malls, business towers, and general busy intersections.
Cafe de Coral, more than 120 locations in Hong Kong. Generally open 7 a.m.-10 p.m.