Sunshine HK Cafe

Price
Cuisines
Mon, Wed to Sun, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM | Tues, Closed
635 Laurel Street, San Carlos, CA 94070
Nearby Places
  • Paris Baguette
  • Susie Cakes
  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Siamese Kitchen
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About

Sunshine HK Cafe: Delicious Taste of Hong Kong in San Carlos

Sunshine HK Cafe is the newest gem on Laurel Street in San Carlos, bringing the comforting flavors of Hong Kong-style cuisine to the Bay Area. Originally launched as a ghost kitchen in San Mateo in October 2022, the cafe transitioned to a physical location in November 2023. Managed by Jane Lau and her brothers, James and Joe, who previously worked in accounting and engineering, the family’s passion for Hong Kong cuisine inspired them to embark on this delicious journey.

“Being born and raised in Hong Kong during our childhood years have made us longing for authentic, home-like Hong Kong flavors around the bay area. Then we decided to open a location in San Mateo for everyone to experience our hometown Hong Kong cuisine. For those who are not familiar with Hong Kong style food, please let us have the honor to introduce these unique flavors to you and we will not disappoint. We are committed to –‘Bring Sunshine to your Table’” – Jane & James, A sister and brother team. Owners of Sunshine HK Cafe

Hong Kong-Style Cuisine: A Flavorful Fusion

Jane Lau described Hong Kong-style food as a delightful blend of sauces, flavors, and ingredients influenced by British colonial history starting in 1842. This fusion creates a unique culinary experience that combines Eastern and Western tastes.

Must-Try Dishes

For those new to Hong Kong-style cuisine, Sunshine HK Cafe offers several popular dishes that showcase this blend of flavors:

  • Baked Pork Chop with Cheese and Tomato Sauce: A comforting dish of tender pork chop, baked with melted cheese and a rich tomato sauce.
  • Spaghetti Bolognese: A Hong Kong twist on the Italian classic, featuring savory ground meat sauce over spaghetti.
  • Garlic and Pepper Wings: Juicy chicken wings seasoned with garlic and pepper, offering a perfect balance of flavors.
  • Chicken with Portuguese Sauce: Chicken served in a coconut-based Portuguese sauce, reflecting Macau’s influence on Hong Kong cuisine.

These dishes are also available as discounted combo meals due to their popularity.

Refreshing Beverages

No Hong Kong meal is complete without a handcrafted beverage. Sunshine HK Cafe serves classic drinks such as:

  • Hong Kong-Style Milk Tea: Strong black tea mixed with creamy milk.
  • Yuen Yang: A unique blend of coffee and milk tea, providing a caffeine kick with a twist.
  • Hong Kong-Style Lemon Tea: Refreshing lemon tea, perfect for a hot day.

Dining Experience

Sunshine HK Cafe offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere with a small but comfortable interior. The decor and ambiance give off major Hong Kong cafe vibes, which regulars and newcomers alike appreciate. Despite the limited seating, the cafe plans to expand to the adjacent space to accommodate more guests.

Ordering is efficient and convenient, with a QR code system allowing customers to place orders quickly. The food is prepared promptly, ensuring a minimal wait time, which is perfect for those with busy schedules or looking for a quick, satisfying meal.

Customer Favorites and Recommendations

Frequent visitors rave about the flavorful dishes and generous portions. Popular items include the baked pork chop with cheese and tomato sauce, and the garlic and pepper wings. The chicken with Portuguese sauce is another standout dish, praised for its balanced and savory coconut-based sauce.

The sampler platter, featuring salt and pepper wings, BBQ pork, and other favorites, is also highly recommended. Customers appreciate the juicy and well-marinated BBQ pork and the light, flavorful batter on the wings.

Convenient and Family-Friendly

Sunshine HK Cafe is an excellent spot for families and individuals looking for affordable and convenient meals. The cafe’s dedication to quality and authenticity is evident in every dish they serve. Whether you’re craving a hearty meal or a refreshing drink, Sunshine HK Cafe promises a delightful dining experience that pays homage to the rich culinary traditions of Hong Kong.

Visit Sunshine HK Cafe

Located on Laurel Street in San Carlos, Sunshine HK Cafe is the perfect place to enjoy Hong Kong-style comfort food. The family-run business prides itself on offering delicious meals that bring a taste of Hong Kong to the Bay Area. With their planned expansion, there will be even more opportunities to experience their delectable cuisine. Don’t miss out on this culinary treasure!

Order Online

You may order online at Sunshine HK Cafe Online Ordering Portal


Resources

Sunshine HK Cafe Official Website

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About Mark and Viv

Mark Martinho and Vivienne Kelvin are among the best realtors in San Carlos CA and the co-owners of Vabrato, a luxury real estate brokerage serving San Carlos CA in Silicon Valley.

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Top Reviews for Sunshine HK Cafe

Phoebe C. |
San Francisco, CA

We were craving some Chinese food after a long day and found this spot on Yelp, so we decided to give it a try. It gives major HK cafe vibes which we love and everything was as expected.

We ordered via QR code and the food came out super quick. We ordered the curry beef with rice, baked spaghetti pork chop and Chinese broccoli. All of which we usually get from HK cafes so this was a great tell how everything else would be. Everything was so yummy, and nothing we could really critique.

Overall, we’d come again!

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Candy T.
South San Francisco, CA

First off, there is very limited room inside the restaurant and no bathroom (I think). Food came out relatively fast. Service is minimal but expected given the style of the restaurant.

I got to try the sampler, salt & pepper wings, pieces of BBQ pork, and the red bean coconut milk drink.

Sampler – good, but I wish the rice roll was not as soft as it was. The sauce on fish balls was tasty.

Salt & Pepper wings – better than expected, the meat was juicy, the batter was light and flavorful.

BBQ pork – juicy and well marinated.

Mike L. |
Belmont, CA

Authentic HK cuisine in San Carlos. A family-run business that cares about the quality and authenticity of the food they serve. Great location on Laurel Street. The current space is small and narrow, but they are working on an expansion next door. On to the food…

For me, the highlights were the wings and anything with a pork chop. Pork chops were moist and flavorful. We had them fried with a curry sauce as well as baked in their house-made tomato sauce over rice. Both were very flavorful.

The chicken with Portuguese sauce was good. The sauce is coconut-based which isn’t my fav but the table next to me was raving about it.

The sizzling platter had an excellent presentation. Crinkle-cut fries and gravy were served on the side.

Last comment is on portion size. Except for the wings, the portion sizes are huge. We rolled out of there!

Kathy L. |
San Francisco Peninsula, CA

I’ve been wanting to come here ever since I knew they were in a food hall in San Mateo. When I discovered their new location, I could not wait to try it. The new location is small, occupying a former Mr. Pickles. It’s a bright & well-lit space.

Let’s talk Hong Kong-style comfort food–not a common nor easy find on the Peninsula. I now no longer have to drive to SF for my afternoon milk tea fare with condensed milk butter toast, soy milk with a Chinese breadstick, or macaroni dishes or my Macanese-inspired comfort food dishes.

I’ve been here several times already and so far I’ve had the baked pork chop with cheese and tomato sauce over rice, shrimp with Portuguese sauce and spaghetti, fish fillet with corn sauce, salt & pepper chicken wings, salt & pepper fried tofu, preserved egg & pork congee. Everything was satisfying and my favorite so far is the fish fillet with corn sauce–lightly batter-fried and the creamy corn sauce–it reminded me of a dish my mom made. The tofu was crispy and I kept rolling it in the fried garlic, even the leftovers next day, the tofu was crisp and not soggy or greasy.

The food overall is delicious! The portions were generous and for me, it was HK comfort food and it tasted good. I am definitely coming back to try more items on their menu.

NOTE: They do not accept cash and ordering is with the QR code scan.

Fiona C. |
San Jose, CA

Legit Hong Kong-style restaurant!!

When you are ready to order, you place your order at the counter, and they will bring the food to you.

Chicken with Portuguese Sauce over egg-fried rice: It’s something I have been craving for a long time. It’s very common to see it in Hong Kong, where they place the rice at the bottom and cover it with saucy ingredients and cheese, then bake it in the oven to finish. The chicken is juicy, and the Portuguese Sauce tastes great, perfectly coating the rice. The flavor is balanced. It’s also a bargain when you can choose between egg-fried rice or plain rice with no additional cost. I always go with the egg-fried rice, which adds more fragrance to the dish.

Hot Milk Tea: Legit and authentic taste! It has sugar in it, which I am fine with, but I understand some might want to add their own sugar (or no sugar at all). Will order again next time.

I will come back again when I am in the area next time. Hopefully, they will have more seats in the near future.

Monica O. |
Menlo Park, CA

I loved the food! I really enjoyed the BBQ pork. It was so tasty. I also like how there are so many options! I can’t wait to come back and try a different one again!

The service was good. The lady (who I believe is the owner?) was really nice and accommodating.

The restaurant itself is just your typical cute small restaurant. Also note about the bathroom: It’s down the hall past the kitchen area so you just need to be careful when you step through (to not slip on the floor if they’ve mopped) or get in the way of the workers.

Parking was fine. I was able to park in a public lot nearby.

Brandon W. |
San Mateo, CA

Order:
* Fish Fillet with Creamy Corn Sauce with Steamed Rice
* Baked Pork Chop with Cheese & Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti

Pros:
* Quaint, comfortable interior, albeit small (hope they expand next door soon)
* Flavor, consistency, and portion size of both entrees are exactly as they should be.
* If you’re unfamiliar with HK café food, it’s never going to be earth-shattering or win a Michelin star. It’s meant to be homey comfort food and if you have experience with this cuisine, you’ll get exactly what you expect here.

Cons:
* Veggies with the fish fillet are a bit undercooked (benefit I guess being that they’ve retained more vitamins)
* Spaghetti is slightly overcooked for my taste, but I like my pasta al dente.

Comments:
* I’m giving them 5 stars because I like this kind of food, it tastes exactly how it should, I wish there were more of them in the mid-peninsula, and I hope they’re around for a long time and grow their indoor dining space.

Caren Q. |
San Jose, CA

Small hole-in-the-wall space that I’ve been eagerly anticipating as there are no HK cafes closer than San Mateo right now. A bit disappointed that it’s not open for breakfast hours, but still happy with the menu selection that’s different from everything else in the area. Ordered what I thought was salt and pepper tofu and a hot milk tea to go, and was impressed the tofu was still crispy when I got home. Was a bit sad to see there were no jalapeños or onions, just plain-looking fried tofu and some sweet chili sauce which is atypical of this dish. They actually called very shortly after to clarify for me that they have both fried tofu which is plain and salt and pepper tofu on the menu.

Was very impressed that they took the time to both look at feedback and respond in such a timely manner. You can tell they really care about the customer experience and making sure their food is enjoyed.

Helen F. |
San Carlos, CA

I would come weekly if I could indulge in carbs more often. Really hearty, filling, and delicious. Reminds me of late-night eats in college or in my 20s (there was an HK cafe in North Beach that was open late…)

Excellent fish ball noodle soup – I usually get fish cake, too. I love the wide rice noodles. Craving this on cold days.

Fried rice noodles – YES!! Great sauce.

Fried tofu – this was ok. Could use more seasoning, imo. Or maybe I’m a salt-addict.

Sweetest owners. I am overjoyed that they are expanding and hope they stay in SC for a long time. I have so many more items to try!!!

Also – their QR code menu has more options than the paper one.

Stephanie L. |
San Carlos, CA

Excited to see a new Asian food place popping up on Laurel. Never really had HK-style food so decided to try the pork chop with Portuguese sauce and the hot milk tea. Tea was not too sweet and hit the spot. The dish came out and it was a good portion! Definitely enough for two meals. I didn’t really know what to expect since I just ordered off the paper menu and didn’t see the online pictures, but it was super delicious. Pork was nicely pan-fried and the sauce was addicting. I’m sure I’ll be a regular here to try all the other items.

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