The restaurant itself was unpretentious, one of those places that has not changed in years. Those looking for impressive décor may wish to go elsewhere. For us it was a refreshing change from some of the overly ornate Hong Kong restaurants. It’s one of the few places left that provides a charcoal fired hot pot at your table when you order a hot pot meal. For those unfamiliar with hot pot, is a way of dining where the guest is provided with tidbits of raw ingredients; meat, fish and other seafood and vegetables. These are cooked by the customer at his table in a bubbling pot of hot broth and eaten seasoned by various garnishes and sauces supplied as part of the meal. Almost all restaurants now use electric or other modern hot pots but not Tai Fung Lau. You get an impressive old fashioned charcoal fired hot pot with a high chimney rising over your table. It’s quite a unique dining experience.
So there’s nothing nouvelle about Tai Fung Lau. Quite the opposite. You get good traditional Pekingese cooking, large portions and modest prices at Tai Fung Lau. Perhaps that explains its popularity. It’s interesting that some Hong Kong residents pan Tai Fung Lau on the Hong Kong restaurant review site Open Rice because it’s old fashioned whereas Western reviewers on Trip Advisor feel it should be honored and preserved for the very same reason.
We initally selected Tai Fung Lau because it seemed well rated on Open Rice and cost less than some of the other well know Pekingese restaurants in Hong Kong. We made our reservations well in advance. We were a little apprehensive because other Open Ricers had suggested that Tai Fung was not friendly to Caucasian customers. In our experience, nothing could be further from the truth. We were with the greatest courtesy. Further, menus in English were available and they had a staff members who spoke English to help us with our order.