Hong Kong people like eating. They are obsessed with eating. Out of the top 10 search keywords on Yahoo in 2011, the first is “restaurant” and the second is “餐廳” (Chinese meaning of “restaurant”). So, it’s not absurd to say Hong Kong is a “Dining Paradise” as seen in countless travel outlets and guidebooks. The food might be excellent, but what about the staff?
Here, I divide the Hong Kong restaurant staff in three main categories (ignore the so-normal-that-is-not-worth-to-talk-about ones):
1. The Frisbee Throwers
I played frisbee in a 500-sq meter park when I was small, and I was really bad at hitting the target (don’t make it personal). Restaurant staff in Hong Kong, especially those who work in a “Cha Chaan Tang” (tea restaurants, the most local and typical restaurants in Hong Kong), can throw frisbees at a 60-sq meter restaurant, be really good at it, and hit the target accurately. What I’m saying is that when Cha Chaan Tangs get busy during lunch time, the staff try to serve (actually, throw) the food to customers as fast as they can. They treat the plates like a frisbee and throw them to the table (target) accurately and rush away for getting food for other customers without saying a word. All you would realize is that a black human-like shadow just skimmed over in non-human-like light speed, and all you can see is that a dish of lunch you just order 2 minutes ago suddenly popped up on your table magically with a loud “bang”. Now, what you should do is to wolf your lunch and disappear immediately. I also discuss this briefly in my other article about how efficient Hong Kong people are.
2. The Table Sweepers
So we talked about the dish. Let’s talk about the table. Good food and good environment would make you want to stay at a restaurant for more a while after finishing all your dishes, but be prepared that your plan would get ruined by the Table Sweepers. Table Sweepers are restaurant staff, especially those who work for low-priced Michelin-starred restaurants (by the way, Hong Kong has the cheapest Michelin one star restaurant in the world), who take away your plates and cups 2 seconds after your mouth stop chewing, drinking or, moving. They can clean up your table automatically even though you haven’t finished your dish. And while you keep yelling “hey, I haven’t finished” at the back, their faster-than-machine hands have also thrown the food left on your plate away to the giant garbage can full of Michelin-starred food lees.
3. The Royal Butlers
If you ‘re really concerned about being thrown food at or your dining table being swept over, you should go look for restaurants that employ Royal Butlers. Royal Butlers are staff that work for Michelin-starred restaurants (note: the three-starred ones) and would take care of you like you’re a royalty. If you want to share the food, they split it into two dishes for you without you even asking; if you want to take a photo, they do it for you as if they really know photography professionally (or they’re good at acting like one); if you are feeling cold, they turn down the air-con and hand you a blanket. They also give you humane smiles and talk to you in a humane tone. Yeah, because they are human.
Actually #1 and #2 can be nice, it’s just that when the restaurant is getting busy, they can’t help it and would become so efficient that freak you out. #3 is a rare category, but once you’ve seen it, flowers will grow in your heart.
What is the category that you usually run into?