Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nameless Charcoal Grill Eggettes (大坑炭爐伯伯雞蛋仔) - ♕♕♕♕♕

The scarce Charcoal-Grilled Eggette (aka 雞蛋仔, Gai Dan Jai) stalls left remaining in Hong Kong can be counted on just one hand, as the majority of shops followed the much easier way and began quietly selling electric-grilled versions.  At last count, there’s only 2-3 Charcoal stalls left within the whole of Hong Kong, and one is located on a far away remote island... the irony being that these are all operating as illegal stalls awaiting to be caught and towed away!!  How ridiculous is that?    Unfortunately, little street stalls like these have never gone through proper processing via the official passage and acquiring proper licences, much like those equally rare issuances required for operating Hawker stalls or Dai Pai Dong on the Street.   My immediate suggestion was to follow in the Macanese and Singaporean Government’s food steps and migrating these into some sort of refuge cooked food centres – but as I penned this review, a fellow foodie friend stressed that while this may be the easier next-best solution, only by letting these carts thrive on the streets where they really belong can we retain their original street-stall attractiveness and nostalgical experience  (rather than measuring them purely from as a food quality rating!).   And this makes a lot of inherent sense.  

He has developed a 6th sense to look out for authorities,
about to come confiscate his earning assets…

Afterall it is not easy to implement and satisfy the strict Fire Safety Hazard Requirements for selling Charcoal-Grilled food inside a food centre, and not everybody can afford it.  Most pertinently, these ‘illegitimate’ food stalls have already existed in our city’s history for many decades and had become a large part of our culture after World War II.  And if you think authorities might let off this little old man’s stall lightly, pleasse think again – as during my singular visit waiting patiently for my cake of Hong Kong Style Eggettes, I witnessed him running away with his kart once in a hurry as he had accidentally spotted the Hawker Control Team (小販管理隊) coming his way to handcuff him away (and I was thinking woops there goes my chance to eat my share today, damn!)…  only for him to return after some minutes as he realised his blooper and over-reaction, before he finished selling his last order of $10 Eggette to me. 

Apparently, he has already grown accustomed to this panicking daily life, and he would rather stop taking customers orders around 2:50pm and make less profit than increasing his chances of being caught out as deadline looms before him.   Its a stressful job indeed – need to keep a 3rd eye out for the imminent threat that might take away your cart and all your investment…  And if the HK Government is listening, may we urge you to reconsider the matter and weigh up the Pro’s and Con’s and start planning into the future, by not only conserving, but to promote our existing HK Culture and attractions, rather than killing them off using a blanket, single dimensional bureaucratic viewpoint -  asking real people around may be a good start and I am pretty sure the majority of us will try our hardest to keep these rare historical stalls on our streets, just as Beijing and Shanghai are doing up North.  As long as they remain hygienic that is, and it will be for the benefit of any Mainland/Overseas tourists as well as of our future generations to come…!


Real Charcoal used for Baking. 
Only 3-4 stalls left within the whole of Hong Kong.

The Bamboo fan helps to crisp it up at the last minute..

Eggette, aka 雞蛋仔 (Gai Dan Jai) -
Amazing.  Simply astonishing the amount of charcoal flavour & custardy egginess infused, together with an externally crisp coating and internally spongy soft centre.  None of any other existing stalls comes remotely close..

This is what a properly cooked Eggette should Look, Taste and Smell like!
Eggy and Spongy in the centre, Crisp on the outside, with a devily aroma to accompany it all..


Price: $10 per person
Score:  ★★★★★☆

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun - 12:00pm - 15:00pm (Arrive early)

Address:  大坑銅鑼灣道尾
(5 Minutes walk from Tin Hau Station, along Causeway Bay Road.  Often found near Metro Park Hotel’s entrance.)
Ph: 2527 5181



  1. I'm a big fan of gai dan jai~! can't wait to try!
    can't agree more with your opinions on the hawkers, it's HK culture and we should keep it!
    reli like ur wordings on this entry

  2. Thanks for your encouraging words ar ! Yes I love this guy's Gai Dan Jai a lot :D

  3. Never knew that this was originally cooked using charcoal! There are many stalls around my area selling gai dan jai but all of them are using the electrical stove version.

    Hmmm, I have yet to try one.


  4. Dear Raz,

    Yeh and that is the irony behind it - all the proper charcoal grilled versions are operating as hawker stalls, even though they make the best versions available, sigh!

    We as citizens need to do something about it! :)

  5. Late to this posting, but what a beautiful writeup. Now I fully understand (even though I live overseas) what this revival and memory preservation movement is all about. Food is an integral part of HK culture and nowadays talking about how it was like, is no longer the lunacy ravings of the elderly, but those who grew up eating this stuff and having such profound memories of, hence collective memories 集體記憶 which while is overused in the food media, is a very much a part of all of us who experienced this, and a key part of history. I can only hope small businesses like these (even though illegal) continue to thrive. HK certainly has bigger problems to deal with than chasing down an old man making a living (yet making so many people happy).

  6. Dear Beef No Guy,

    Great point you raised when you brought up the topic of Collective Memories - which I treasure a lot, on top of the food quality itself as well. Its both being practical and emotional at the same time!

    In fact, even though I am not that old, I remember a lot of dishes which used to be served in HK but are fast disappearing. Funny thing is, some of these are often found in overseas China Town or Chinese restaurants, where they're still preserved. Eg. a lot of Dim Sim items which were really awesome are no longer served locally! Or say the Flat Roasted 'Pipa' Duck - you can see them overseas at a lot of places, but in HK nowadays, people need to advance order it at say West Villa, and how ironic is that? :O

    You're so right about the bigger issues at hand vs chasing down the old man making a living, and they come in big trucks as well! What a waste of human resources... :P



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