Hong Kong at 545am x Wai Kei (威記粥店) Porridge

I just did the craziest thing ever in a long long time. Took the 0120am flight, landed at 0445am in Hong Kong, and got on the 1420pm flight back to Singapore.

Well, had a very short meeting and the thought of spending 1 day away from home just did not appeal to me very much. How am I feeling now ? Absolute regret, I was trashed. The pay back time is like 2-3 days and i am still recovering now !!!

We all know Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Everywhere you turn your head is people, cars and more people. But what is it really like in the morning ? By the way, getting out of the immigration at 5am in the morning does not mean you can start the day immediately…..the airport express starts at 550am. Knowing that my time is very much limited, i took a Cab, which cost 3.5 times more.

Reached Central at 0545am. This is the financial centre and brain of the city. Most of us know this place, to walk around without bumping shoulders was almost impossible. I was expecting bankers having breakfast, drinking coffee, looking smart in their suits and ready to go making a killing(or be killed) at the stock market. But……it was all quiet and deserted, not quite what i was expecting.

Streets Hong Kong Morning 7Empty

Streets Hong Kong Morning 6

Streets Hong Kong Morning 5A Lone Taxi

Streets Hong Kong Morning 4Not a single customer in sight

Streets Hong Kong Morning 3

Streets Hong Kong Morning 2Heading to work

Streets Hong Kong Morning 1Rubbish still not cleared from last night.

Its feels…..not like Hong Kong, not like the Central that i know. Time passes slowly as well…..simply there was no one to look at. The mind is only focus on one thing…..the quietness.

That is until i hit Wai Kei (威記粥店) Porridge.

You know in Hong Kong, the people there are always rather “fierce”, I always have this fear to speak up and when i do, i make sure that i am louder than them. And with this visit to Wai Kei, these thoughts vanished, then suddenly it dawn on me why. The pace of life is always very fast and stress level very high. One simply does not have the energy or effort to make small talk or even hold a conversation with you if its not for work.

But when its empty and stress free in the morning, defences are down……The folks at Wai Kei were friendly. I was the first customer and the shop was not even opened yet. They happily tell me that they will be ready in 30 mins and ask me to take a sit if i have nowhere to go……*unexpected* Least of all I did not expect them to strike up a conversation with me.

“Where are you from ? Singapore ? Oh….cigarettes are very expensive there. How about some songs? Do you know this singer ? ” And blah blah blah blah………with the Bee Gees soundtrack playing away in the background.

“You know Sun Yan Zi ? She is the famous singer from Singapore ? Yes ? She also sings some of the Bee Gees songs, i can show you a video.” Obviously, the phone is an alien to him, spent 10 mins before he could get to the video.

“I have been working at these Cha Chan Teng for close to 30 years ? You see the fried dough sticks ? I can do it in the dark and with my eyes closed. And now, its my 9th year at Wai Kei. Life is tough, Am here at the shops at 3am, preparing for the day when i can still see the young people getting drunk along the streets. Who said life is easy ? Property prices, bills…..all very tough !!”

I suppose its the same everywhere in the world.

“Ah…its now 630am…let me put on my shirt and get you a piping hot bowl of beef porridge. Add a little fish slices and it will be even better. And you must eat my dough sticks, I will get the best one for you”

Slowly by the minute, the place starts to warm up with people. All regulars of the place and its heartening to see the Wai Kei folks remembering all their orders by heart. Striking up conversations, smiles everywhere and wishing them well along their way.

Wai Kei Porridge Hong Kong 10 Wai Kei Porridge Hong Kong 09 Wai Kei Porridge Hong Kong 08 Wai Kei Porridge Hong Kong 07 Wai Kei Porridge Hong Kong 06 Wai Kei Porridge Hong Kong 05

Where the cashier sits ? I am sure she is the best accountant in Hong Kong if she can work well in this mess.Wai Kei Porridge Hong Kong 04 Wai Kei Porridge Hong Kong 03 Wai Kei Porridge Hong Kong 02Wai Kei Porridge Hong Kong 01The porridge was wonderful, smooth, and silky, it warmed me up to start the day ahead. Had to go off for my appointment but I am damn sure that I will come back at 630am in the morning again……. 🙂



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