As much as I longed for a trace of familiarity in China, in Hong Kong I felt at home in simple coffee shops and cafes like this one (the Mido in Kowloon). I didn’t hang out in the traditional expat spots like Lan Kwai Fong very much. And when I went clubbing in Wanchai, it was usually with locals.
In these no-frills coffee shops, you can sit for hours and no one bothers you. If it’s a popular place, though, especially during lunch or dinner, eager diners will hover over you while you finish eating so as to secure your seat just as you begin to stand up.
I got used to that quickly and even practiced this custom, especially in the university canteens.
My favorite drinks in Hong Kong coffee shops were hot lemon tea (ningmung tsa) and iced red bean milk (hungdau bing). But if you just asked for tea (tsa), it would often come with evaporated or condensed milk, a custom adapted from the British. Although I don’t usually take lemon in my tea, I ordered ningmung tsa because I didn’t care for that heavy milk in my tea (although I loved it in the red bean drink!).