Ask any local for their favorite Hong Kong-style breakfast (cha chaan teng) and odds are their answer will be Australia Dairy Company. Since opening in 1970, this iconic Hong Kong institution has gained a reputation for its steamed pudding, scrambled eggs, and chicken soup.
Dim sum, roast goose, and wonton noodles might be the kings of Hong Kong cuisine, but at any hour of the day, you’ll find a line of hungry people outside Australia Dairy Company, patiently waiting to taste the food.
If you are wondering about the name, the owner worked on a farm in Australia in the 1940s. Hence, Australia Dairy Company.
If you’re planning on visiting for breakfast, I recommend you arrive at 7:30 AM when they open. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait in line, sometimes up to an hour.
Traveling alone and arriving before 8 AM, I was seated quickly at a small shared table. This was a common occurrence on my visit to Hong Kong.
The interior was bright but simple with almost no color except for a few stripes of yellow injected into the white walls. Where there was space, there was a table. The tables were so small and cramped leaving hardly any room. I often found myself picking up my plate to eat. Function over form.
Hectic, crowded, and loud. That is how I would best describe my visit to Australia Dairy Company. It was a great experience eating and talking with some of the locals. Though I had to travel halfway around the world for this experience, it was worth the trouble.
At times it seemed as if the workers in their bright white shirts outnumbered the customers. It was amusing watching the rushed workers as they ran back and forth between the kitchen, tables, and cashier.
This was not the place to hang out before or after eating. Everyone was either eating or leaving. It was all part of the experience.
Australia Dairy Company Menu
While steamed pudding was the house specialty at Australia Dairy Company, everyone around me appeared to be ordering the breakfast set with eggs, toast, soup, and tea or coffee. The breakfast set was only served until noon. Arriving in the afternoon? You can order the lunch set or go for the tea set which was served all day.
While I recommend the breakfast, a lunch menu was available with items including spaghetti, porridge, and an assortment of sandwiches.
Servers can be rude and rushed, so be prepared. Know what you want beforehand. Be ready to point at what you want on the menu as some servers don’t speak English.
I did enjoy how fast my food arrived. It couldn’t have taken more than 30 seconds to receive my food after ordering.
Almost everyone on my visit seemed to order the Breakfast Set ($36 HKD or about $4.59).
This set, which was available until noon, included scrambled or fried eggs, toast or bread and butter, macaroni with ham in chicken soup, and coffee or milk tea.
Scrambled eggs and toast. One of the simplest breakfast items you can order. For something so simple, it’s surprising how easy it is to screw up.
There was something magical about these eggs. They were cooked to perfection until just the right temperature. The texture was smooth and creamy with a buttery rich flavor. The eggs were seasoned with just a dash of salt. I couldn’t imagine eggs being cooked any better. I want to know their secret. See the line out front? This is why. People wait up to an hour just to try these scrambled eggs.
On the side were two thick slices of white bread. One side of the bread was lightly toasted while the other side was drenched with more rich, delicious butter. They sure love their butter here in Hong Kong. Take a piece of bread, top it with some of the scrambled eggs, and you have something really special.
I wasn’t as impressed with the Macaroni with Ham in Chicken Soup.
The salty brown broth tasted like your run-of-the-mill chicken broth. Floating in the milky broth were thin slices of ham and elbow macaroni. I strangely enjoyed how the broth soaked up the flavors of the rich processed meat and tender, chewy noodles. The noodles, cooked al dente, also soaked up the broth.
Hearty and forgettable.
The servers at Australia Dairy Company have gained a reputation with customers as being extremely rude. I would describe the service on my visit as efficient, not necessarily rude.
After being led to an open seat, I promptly ordered, ate my food as fast as I could, and moved on. If you follow these same steps, you will have no issues with the staff. Just remember about the line out front that needs to keep moving. Knowing what you want to order beforehand will also save you some trouble and time.
Even if the service was rude, it was worth it for the quality and taste of the scrambled eggs.
Australia Dairy Company is an interesting place. The first time I visited, I was confused why people would wait in line so long for scrambled eggs and soup. I wasn’t all that impressed. On my second visit, I wondered the same thing but soon realized how special the scrambled eggs were. No other place can compare. They were that good.
So is it worth it to wait in line for an hour to deal with the servers and almost no space just for scrambled eggs? Only you know that answer. Some people will love this place while others will hate it.
As for me, I can’t figure out why but I enjoyed the experience, the chaos, and the food. It’s a place I would only go a few times, but in the end, it was worth the trouble and the experience.
- The most delicious scrambled eggs I have ever had
- One of the oldest restaurants in Hong Kong
- Service can be rushed and rude
- Tables were too small