The Wonder of Mr Wong's

15 March 2014

Nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of Mongkok, the most densely populated area on earth, you’ll find a tiny restaurant run by the most extraordinary man. His establishment needs no other marketing than word-of-mouth such is his reputation amongst his regular customers. Whenever there is a new arrival in Hong Kong, they are whisked away for an evening in the presence of the legend. “Wong’s”, as the restaurant is affectionately known amongst expats, is one of the most welcoming places to frequent. And economical too.

At Mr Wong's At Mr Wong's

Mr. Wong seems to be something of a philanthropist; he loves to meet new people and hear where they hail from. He knows all the stereotypes about most countries and also some of the most arbitrary information which he will impart, whether you are interested or not. He helps the community around him. And if you, or your family, are ever desperate for somewhere to stay, Mr. Wong is your man. He may even organise a barbecue for you and your friends’ birthday celebrations.

A birthday barbecue by Mr Wong A birthday barbecue by Mr Wong

He is an excellent host and he loves to chat. He’ll talk Thai politics or the latest Premier League scores. He’ll ask after your parents or your friends who haven’t come around for some time. He especially loves a new face. “Where are you from? Ah, Edinburgh? My brother lives there. Good place! Where are you going tonight? To the horses?” And he’ll do all this while serving you an array of deliciously simple Chinese dishes.

Mr Wong with a Bafana Bafana Soccer Jersey Mr Wong with a Bafana Bafana Soccer Jersey

There is always enough space for everyone who arrives, even if you have to sit out in the alley at the back. The chairs and tables seem never-ending. You can stay as long as you like and eat as much as you like. And you’ll leave paying a lot less than a hundred bucks.

Most battle to understand his generosity; it knows no bounds. I think he just loves to see people happy. As you walk into Mr. Wong’s restaurant, you’ll look directly onto the back wall which is covered in the word “friendship” written in all the languages of his diverse customer base. If you are lucky enough to visit his apartment, you’ll be amazed at the number of postcards, photos and signed football jerseys adorning the walls from those who have lived and moved on from Hong Kong; hundreds of people thanking him for being such a memorable part of their travel experience.

I urge you: if you live in Hong Kong or if you are coming here for a visit, don’t miss out on Mr Wong’s. An evening at his tiny restaurant in the heart of Kowloon certainly promises to be a most memorable affair. And there’s little doubt that you’ll want to pass on the recommendation.

Philippa Francis

Over the last few years, I have fallen in love with travel and I am not sure I will be able to stop, except for my other great love; writing. After studying journalism at Rhodes and Stellenbosch Universities, I wanted to get a taste of the bigger world. I have worked all sorts of jobs and I have saved. I have ‘bused’ around Europe and backpacked around south-east Asia. I have seen magical sights and met wonderful people from all walks of life.