For many Hong Kong families, Sunday or Saturday offers a program that’s as unvarying as it is unbreakable. Go home to mom and dad, and sit down with your brothers, sisters and assorted relations for a family homestyle meal. For Hong Kongers exiled overseas, whether for study or business, it’s one of the things they miss the most.
Hence the popularity of homestyle restaurants in Hong Kong. There’s something about sitting around a big table – and in the larger sort of Chinese restaurant you’ll see tables as big as or bigger than wagon wheels being maneuvered into position – dipping into a variety of dishes, sharing the food and the experience, as happy to be filling your tummy as enjoying a fulfilling experience.
It’s not just Chinese restaurants, such as Jumbo, which are popular. One of the longest running establishments in the city, Jimmy’s Kitchen, has made comfort food its forte, and grandparents who remember when their feet dangled beneath their seats now treat their grandchildren at those self-same tables.
Homestyle restaurants also allow full play to another great Hong Kong custom – the (mock) argument over the check, with various diners lunging for the waiter, waving their credit cards, protesting that it’s their turn to pay. It’s all part of the fun.