Fat Chad’s: Hearty East Coast Sandwiches at a Comfy Price

Fat Chad’s: Hearty East Coast Sandwiches at a Comfy Price

Fat Chad’s is the venue for homely, comfortable, fat, dirty food – a selection of crafted sandwiches, tangy salty side dishes, homemade hot sauces, and curated beers, sodas, and sugary American snacks.

Sandwiched in on Sai Ying Pun’s Second Street, the comfy four-seat café is Hong Kong’s answer to the New York bodega: a boastful selection of hearty, homemade sandwiches inspired by the salty and buttery East Coast flavours of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston.

The quaint hole-in-the-wall is a concept born in September 2020 from Sai Ying Pun’s F&B veteran group, Blacksalt Kitchen, with the team of Taran Chadha, Camille Glass, Si Hyeong Kang, and George Kwok seeking to innovate the sandwich




Venue

Fat Chad’s is only a one-minute walk west of Sai Ying Pun MTR Exit B1, located at the perimeter of Sai Ying Pun’s bustling food neighbourhood.

The boozy bodega’s interior is uniquely Brooklyn: corrugated aluminium sheeting and exposed, white-painted brick curving around the store, and the red and gray bricks from Sham Shui Po building the front counter pronounce the barebones and simple message of Fat Chad’s: the sandwiches speak for themselves.

Open from Tuesday to Friday serving weekday lunch and dinner and their signature weekend Hungry Chad’s (HK$150), a 1 lb. breakfast platter, and with only four seats and two elevated tables, customers are encouraged to congregate and enjoy their sandwiches with a beer in hand and a friendly chat with new friends.

Fat Chad's Beverages


Food and drink

Experiments and inspirations from East Coast American breaded creations are central to Fat Chad’s dietary principles – a careful selection of their adapted New York culinary palate with their “Signature Sandwiches,” simple and cheesy bites with the “Big Kids” section, and their novel sweet and sour “Fan Favs.”

To begin our culinary journey with Fat Chad’s, we first savoured the signature Reuben (150g meat, HK$80), a delicately structured sandwich piled high with in-house corned beef brisket, house kraut, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and sourdough.

Keeping with the tradition of the classic kosher-deli style, Fat Chad’s Reuben is a delicate exploration of sour and salt: the mustard seeds and rye bring earthy tones to the colossal bread meal, vinegar-infused Russian dressing, kraut, and slaw introduce a nice tangy flavour whilst also controlling the salt of the beef, and the cheese and grease-soaked sourdough add a soft texture to each bite.

Next, we tried Fat Chad’s sole-vegan option, the tangy and earthy Mean Green Wrap (HK$ 75), a mix of beetroot falafel, roasted cauliflower, lentil hummus, spinach, and kale encased in a crisp, thin wholewheat flatbread.

The citrusy salad of spinach and kale help to wet the dry and charred falafel, whilst the mushy lentil hummus, rich with cumin and coriander, solves the textural problem of the crumbly flatbread and cauliflower. Whilst Fat Chad’s is designed to be a culinary meat-fest, vegan customers won’t be disappointed by the blend of mild Indian spices and lemon tang.

Onto a more American tone, the Phat Philly (150g, HK$90) is Fat Chad’s newest special sandwich offering, perfectly emulating the childhood favourite of East Coasters familiar with the easy cheesy and meaty snack. However, non-Americans may be blindsided by the overwhelming cheese and onion flavours.

Fat Chad’s does a great job with their rendition of the Philadelphia cheese steak, employing the same classic ingredients of Cheez Wizz spray, roasted onions and peppers, and grilled ribeye strips. Eating this sandwich is designed to be a messy childhood adventure: lick your lips from the beef grease oozing out and savour the aftertaste of the cheap, yet addictive spray cheese.

For a taste of Fat Chad’s’ sides selection, we munched on the Twister Fries (HK$45 + HK$10 Animal Style), a chaotic mix of caramelized onion, garlic powder, paprika, mozzarella, and Russian dressing. The platter is perfect for two people splitting with a sandwich each, but too much for one person to eat.

The fries are addictive with a non-offensive mix of sweet oniony flavours and sour Russian dressing. With Fat Chad’s distinct style, the side plays into the kid in us of eating sloppy food bad for our stomach fat, but great for the heart.

Finally, to end the dine-in experience at Fat Chad’s on a sweet note, we munched on the PB&J French Toast (HK$75), a milk-bread vanilla dunked French toast encrusted with cornflakes and holding raspberry jam, peanut butter, and strawberries.

Fat Chad’s’ only dessert sandwich is best shared with a friend as a digestif snack following another of their salty sandwiches. The homemade raspberry jam and peanut butter induce nostalgia for many-a-childhood late-night snacks, whilst the crunch of the whole peanuts and cornflake crust help to balance out the soggy nature of the sandwich.






Atmosphere

Fat Chad’s does well to create the vibes of a neighbourhood hangout spot. With the limitation of only four seats available in the small venue, customers and staff are forced to stand and mingle outside with a beer in hand and balancing a sandwich in the other. The four chefs at Fat Chad’s operate as sandwich consultants, counsellors, and a new friend to chat about work and life. They always greet you with a smile.

The rolling playlists of ‘90s East Coast rap, 2010 pop music, American folk songs, and rock and roll bands are testament to the curated hip atmosphere driven by customers. Like the Spotify playlists that regulars help to build, the creation and selection of sandwiches are driven by the conversations and constructive criticism of customers.

Verdict

With reasonably priced sandwiches and decent portions designed to fill bellies, Fat Chad’s hits the nail with a comfortable spot for casual snacking and beer-drinking in quiet Sai Ying Pun. A quick pit-stop from the MTR, Fat Chad’s is excellent for a hungover treat, after-work casual bite, or a street-side family meal.

The changing menu of new Americana-inspired sandwiches and seasonal side dishes offer a healthy selection of bread and fillings for recurring customers seeking new flavours. The combo meal deal of HK$50 add on for a side and house drink, on top of a sandwich, is a supreme choice for a well-rounded meal. We recommend the Reuben (150g, HK$ 80), Chopped Cheese (beef, HK$80), and Phat Philly (150g, HK$90) for a nostalgia inducing meal.

This food review is based on a complimentary media tasting provided by Fat Chad’s in exchange for a truthful review and no compensation. The opinions expressed within represent the views of the author.

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