The Realist: An Ode to Tsui Wah

Hong Kong is an eater’s paradise with delightful bites abounding
From Causeway Bay to Shek Kip Mei it’s really quite astounding
On any given day I’ll eat French, Thai, Italian, Japanese
And dim sum, dumplings, Sichuan cai, we’re oh-so-varied in Chinese

But there’s only one true satisfying spot, I hope this is not faux pas
I’m talking of course of our singular love, the ubiquitous Tsui Wah
I found the spot just like you did, after sunset before sunrise

One beer had turned to two to three and I was with some unknown guys
My friends had all abandoned me in the basement of Volar
And even though they were at Le Jardin I knew it was too far

“So Ebeneezer’s for a kebab or Rat Alley for a bite?”
The random dudes laughed really hard, “No, none of that tonight
Instead we’ll travel to Wellington, braving that slippery hill
That girls in heels all tumble down, but you’re a guy, you’ll do well”

So we made that long and arduous trek; we walked for a minute and change
And stopped we at a monolith; the guys smiled like they were deranged.
“It’s Tsui Wah! They’re all over town, you can eat to your heart’s desire
They’re open 24 hours, through sun rain wind and fire”

My eyes went large as the saucers we poured our vinegar in
I stared with intent at the menu, the food that they could bring
The drunks surrounded, laughing, screaming, a few about to fight
I wondered why at 5am I’d be in this room with halogen lights

(A quick aside to all of you who have met the girl of your dreams
Dancing in a sultry club, she shines brighter than a sunbeam
You grind a little, perhaps a peck, your hands roam throughout the night
You invite her back! She agrees with you, but first, a little bit
But as soon as you walk into Tsui Wah all flaws will become clear,
The caked on makeup, your mustard stains, cut through the haze of beer)

So though I wasn’t with a girl that night, the principle stayed the same
I looked at these strangers I’d met at the club, who clearly were insane
“Maybe I’ll just leave” I mentioned to one, but he grabbed my wrist tightly
“Just try a wonton, just one wonton!” he said, a little too firmly

Ok fine. I ordered a wonton soup, and some of that Canto Toast
And a milk tea, an egg sandwich, and sizzling beef, I do not mean to boast
The food arrived – I took a bite – mein Gott! I was in Heaven
On a scale from 1-10 it clearly was one thousand and eleven

I munched until my stomach hurt, until I couldn’t eat anymore
Then watered up at 7-Eleven and back home to my floor
The next morning I woke up feeling (gosh) pretty fucking weird

I was sweating, shaking, discombobulated but perhaps it was from the beer
I never want to eat Tsui Wah when I pass it in the streets
I never dream of Tsui Wah food when I lie in bed asleep
I see folks dining there at lunch, and I’m like W-T-F, my dude
I guess you and all your learnings have taught you that it’s early afternoon food?

But when the clock strikes 3 or 4 and I’ve had a few too many drinks
My brain goes into drunk Yalun mode and all that I can think:
Is Tsui Wah Tsui Wah Tsui Wah Tsui Wah Tsui Wah Tsui Wah
Tsui Wah Tsui Wah Tsui Wah Tsui Wah Tsui Wah Tsui Wah 
Tsui Wah Tsiu Wah [Editor’s Note: this continued for 10,000 words]

About the Realist: Yalun Tu is a writer based in Hong Kong. He wrote The Straight Man column for HK Magazine, and TV scripts for HBO Asia, Channel V, and Fox Movies Premium. You can contact him at or @yaluntu on Twitter.

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