We came here with high hopes – well, at least one of our fellow foodies did as she was craving the little treats that one can find in a Hong Kong style café. What makes it a HK style café, versus the cafes we have here? Well, for one, there’s the Hong Kong style milk tea – brewed super strong and served with a healthy dollop of condensed milk – served hot or cold, it packs a flavorful punch. Also, from her travels (and a few other foodies treks), HK style cafes offer a plethora of menu items designed to satisfy anything you might crave (foodwise folks) lol! So when we heard that Café de Tropika opened recently in the south end of town and was run by the owners of Tropika, we headed over on a Saturday morning to check things out. And eat :)
Simple lines and splashes of color give this new space a fresh, bright and clean look. We were quickly seated as we had luckily just missed the start of the lunch rush. We waded into the extensive (if poorly translated and vague English) menu and everyone ordered either something they craved or something random.
One of measuring sticks of a good HK style café is its HK style tea. In HK, there are some cafes that only sell the tea because they are so good at what they do. In North America, we have our hot cuppa java, in HK style cafes, its HK style tea! So everyone orders up either a hot version, +/- coffee (Western influence here)…
We ordered a random selection... if we ordered everything off their menu – eating that much food would be insane. First up was the stir fried rice noodles with beef or “gone chow gnow hoa”. The portion size was a bit small for the price, but since we ordered plenty of dishes, it wasn’t a big deal. Aromatic with ginger, sliced tender beef, soft rice noodles and a good handful of bean sprouts, while moderately greasy (expected), it could have been improved with a bit more time in the wok or a higher cooking temperature to give the dish a bit more “wok hay” – the caramelization process that gives this dish its characteristic flavor that’s so much more than the sum of noodles, beef, onions, bean sprouts, soy sauce, ginger and oil.
Overall, a good but bumpy start to Edmonton’s only Hong Kong style café in the south (currently). We did expect better as Tropika has had years of experience running restaurants. Because of the extensive menu (and resulting chaos in kitchen), once the kitchen works out some of their grand opening kinks, this will be a good place to stop by for brunch when you feel like something Chinese, but don’t feel like waking up at the crack of down for dim sum.
Cafe de Tropika
Address 3040 Calgary Trail, Edmonton, AB T6J7C2
Hours Open daily for lunch and dinner
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