New Big Brother Cafe 大哥大茶餐廳 in Union City California

Big Brother Cafe
1640 Decoto Rd, Union City, CA 94587


Recently I noticed a lot more of these Hong Kong cafes opening up and the latest one of these is Big Brother Cafe. It is more like Cousin’s Cafe in Newark or Cooking Papa in Santa Clara versus Venus Tam’s in Newark. They have 12 yelp reviews but you can tell those people do not know what they are talking about. These cafe are a lower middle class establishment in Hong Kong which resemble their upper class British tea rooms, that is why we see a lot of Chinese dishes that seems to resemble European dishes (e.g. Milk tea, custard tart, baked pork chop…). The variety is smaller than Cooking Papa but the seating is very comfortable and it is opened late. If you like this place you would like Cooking Papa (in the south) or Ming Tasty (in the north).

The first thing you look for in a 茶餐廳 is the tea, it is in the name. True enthusiasts would also look for the pastry then the fusion dishes such as the baked pork chop over rice. Many of these places, even in Hong Kong, no longer make or serve the pastry. But if you are into the pastry then I recommend going to Lido in Richmond BC. No pastries here and I did not have the plain tea but I did get then baked pork chop over rice and Singaporean Chow fun. I drank the yin yang red bean (some fad in Hong Kong) but the coffee over powered the whole drink, so I need to drink the milk tea by itself. The Singaporean Chow Fun is not to spec (e.g. Not all the standard ingredient are there) but was acceptable for what it had. Most of these cafes do not make the curry they use to cook with and this is true for this cafe as well. So the curry is not good but it is probably as good as it can be given that curry. Regarding the baked pork chop over rice, the first thing I am looking for is a good egg fried rice at the bottom of the dish. They were acceptable to me but it could be better. The rice was not loose, did not have a taste of the Wok, and did not have an aroma of egg. They did not add anything extra (e.g. Peas and carrots) to the sauce, it did not have cheese on the top, and it seems to be thickened with cornstarch instead of a roux (which makes it easier to brown). It was less vinegary and more sweet than most of the cafe of this type. The pork chop was pretty standard as well, I would have liked a juicier and more tender chop.

I would say that is worth a second look since the service is friendly, it is open late, and has comfortable seating. But if it wants to stand out in a sea of these cafes it needs to be more than standard and have something (not necessarily everything) extraordinary. Interestingly the name of this cafe is the same as a popular dish at Venus Tam’s Cafe, but I cannot find that dish in this cafe, why is that?

Cooking Papa Restaurant
2830 Homestead Road
Santa Clara, CA 95051

Ming Tasty
1652 East 14th Street
San Leandro, CA 94577


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