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It’s 8 p.m. in a rather dull multi-story government building and wet market center in North Point, Hong Kong.
Most of the lights are off. The market stalls are all closed.
Suddenly you hear the faint sounds of Michael Jackson classics, the vibrations getting stronger as you move towards the music.
You’re on the right path to Tung Po, the wildest restaurant in town.
The dancing boss: Robby Cheung
Tung Po’s different from most restaurants located inside cooked food centers and wet markets – popular among locals in search of no-frills cheap but delicious eats – thanks to one person: the restaurant’s energetic owner Robby Cheung.
Wearing an apron and a pair of white wellington boots with tops scissored into zig-zag shapes, Cheung is often seen doing the splits, drinking, dancing and taking selfies with customers.
“The people just enjoy the food, enjoy the music and we dance together,” the 55-year-old tells CNN. “I just like to dance. I’m 55 years old right now and I still dance. It [would be] so sad if I can’t dance – that would mean that I’m very old.”
‘Favorite dish is black ink squid, because it’s funny’
On any given night, it’s almost impossible to find an empty table in Tung Po.
Prior to taking over the spot 25 years ago with his friends, Cheung worked in various industries – from acting to managing a disco to working in hotel restaurants.
Far from being the cheapest restaurant in a cooked food center, Tung Po’s menu ranges from classic Cantonese dishes to fusion cuisines such as prawn in orange sauce or tom yum-style fried rice cake.
“My favorite dish is black ink squid,” says Cheung.
“It’s a funny dish, you know? When you eat the black ink squid, you get a black mouth and black teeth.”
Other Tung Po signature dishes include Wind Sand Chicken, fried rice with duck sauce wrapped in lotus leaf and deep fried giant grouper with black pepper and toast.
Tung Po’s rowdy atmosphere has made the restaurant a unique attraction, luring locals as well as travelers from around the world.
“Every night we are all sold out. Over 60% is girls, office ladies,” says Cheung.
Like everything else in Tung Po, drinking beer is a dramatic affair.
Instead of a glass, beer is served in an iced “battle beer bowl” – a blue and white bowl with the Chinese word “victory” printed on the bottom.
In Cantonese, yum sing (literally translated as drink victory) means bottoms up.
The ultimate party trick
With “Billie Jean” booming in the background, Cheung moonwalks to a table to deliver beers to his customers.
Then he shows off one of Tung Po diners’ favorite tricks – opening a beer bottle with a chopstick.
“A long, long time ago – before we opened this restaurant, I saw it once outside a restaurant when they opened it with a chopstick,” he recalls.
“It was quite funny. Sometimes when a gweilo [foreigner in local slang] or a Chinese person wants to learn, I’ll teach them.”
Check out the above video to see how he pulls off the trick.
Reservations are recommended. Tung Po only accepts calls for bookings between 2:30-5:30 p.m. each day.
Tung Po, 2F, Java Road Municipal Services Building, 99 Java Road, North Point; +852 2880 5224