ABC Bakery Cafe


When I relocated to the Bay Area in October of 2011, my best friend and I set up weekly breakfast meetings to catch up and have discussions on our studies together before work. In the beginning, we hopped around different restaurants. Eventually, we began defaulting to ABC Bakery Cafe for a number of reasons: spacious atmosphere (raised ceiling, which I always appreciate in public spaces, as well as the booths – there is no need to raise our voices during our conversation-heavy meals!), centralized location, menu variety, and of course – the Hong Kong style cuisine.

Our typical breakfast is consisted of the following:

  • Rice porridge (jook) with preserved eggs and shredded pork
  • Rice rolls, stuffed with shrimp or beef
  • Hong Kong style milk tea, or Hong Kong style milk tea mixed with coffee (drinks are complimentary)

abc_cafe2Well… fine. Plus a bowl of noodle soup when we are extra hungry


Noodle soup with BBQ pork, shrimp wontons, and vegetables.

The service is quick. By this point, the waitresses know our normal orders. We’ve worked out a system for when one of us runs late to the breakfast – whoever arrives first does the ordering. This way, the food is served by the time the second party arrives.

We enjoy the food. Although such cafes are considered to provide “quick meals,” the dishes are authentic. It’s nice to have something warm in our stomachs without it being too heavy – who wants to start the work day with a food coma?

My best friend gets the warm Hong Kong style milk tea as her go-to drink. I rotate between the Hong Kong style milk tea mixed with coffee and the milk tea as mine. Instead of using sugar as the sweetener, ABC puts a little bit of condensed milk in both drinks. The sweetness is subtle, and it leaves room for the flavor of black tea, or coffee.

ABC Bakery Cafe has a few locations in the Bay Area, and we are regulars at the downtown San Mateo branch. We return every week not just because the location is on the way to our offices. Truthfully, when the time is limited on a weekday morning, it is nice to have something consistent before we both rush off to meetings and projects. There is no need to fight through a different traffic, figure out parking situations, or get delayed for who-knows-what reason.

Are you a regular at any local restaurant in your city? Why do you return? Share with us in the comments.

ABC Bakery Cafe
210 E. 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 685-8881
Parking: metered, street parking


  1. Jeno says:

    I think porridge is one of my top missed dishes… rice porridge is also called jook in Korean! That noodle soup looks so damn good!

  2. rockcreekangel says:

    Wonderful article and what a great way to start a day. Nice to have a tradition like this that you can look forward to each week. Friends are the best and being able to chat and bounce ideas off each other is a real blessing. Looking forward to more articles from all the editors and writers at Herb & Lace.

    • Isabelle says:

      Thanks! Yes, it is something we both look forward to every week… to catch up, do our devotionals, and eat. It’s truly refreshing and gets us ready for work.

    • Isabelle says:

      Yeah, thanks Jade. :) In Mandarin we call it Yuen Yang (two meanings: Chinese ducks as a pair/Ying Yang) Nai Cha (milk tea).

    • Isabelle says:

      It takes time. For the longest time, I kept whispering to my best friend, “Do you think they recognize us yet?”

      Her response would be, “DUH we’ve been coming here for a year… they should.” Hehe.

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