[Hong Kong] Hong Kong’s Cafes, better known as Cha Chaan Teng, are a class of their own not found in other parts of the world. I am not talking about places where you sit down quietly and slowly to drink a cup of coffee.
In fact, Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng are better known for their tea, and you should finish your food as efficiently fast as possible. People are waiting for your seats!
Here are some distinct characteristics of Hong Kong Cafes
– Hong Kong style milk tea is served, or more commonly known as ‘si mud’ silk stocking tea.
– Many sell almost everything under the roof, from toast, instant noodles, barbecued meat, congee, curry, steak to desserts. Order the sets if you are lost.
– Due to their colonial influence; food generally has an east-meets-west twist. Like curry spaghetti, or pork chop burgers.
– Some cafes open for extremely long hours. If you crave for midnight supper, you know where to head to.
Here are 5 Hong Kong Cafes you can look at heading down. For a quick summary, go Australian Dairy Company and Capital Cafe for the scrambled eggs, Lan Fang Yuen for milk tea, Tsui Wah for variety, Yee Shun for milk puddings, Star Café for tomato noodles, and Mido for nostalgic ambience.
Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司
G/F, 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan, Hong Kong (MTR Jordan Exit C2) 佐敦白加士街47-49號地下
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 11:00pm (Closed Thursdays)
At one of Hong Kong’s most popular and famous Hong Kong café (Cha Chaan Teng) Australia Dairy Company, expect attitudes, partly rude service, chaotic ambience, long queues, and a very good plate of scrambled eggs. The morning set at HKD$28 consisted of a buttered toast, scrambled eggs, macaroni soup with ham and coffee or tea. The eggs are fluffy and tasty, some say the secret ingredient is canned cream soups. The café is a frantic battle zone during peak hours. Tip: Join the queue, get your way in, squeeze into a table, order and enjoy your food.
Capital Café 華星冰室
Shop B1, G/F, Kwong Sang Hong Building, 6 Heard Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (10 min walk from Wan Chai MTR) 灣仔克街6號廣生行大廈地下B1號舖 Tel:+852 2666 7766
Opening Hours: 7am – 11:00pm
Capital Café 華星冰室 sells exactly the same meal sets with Australian Dairy Company. The breakfast set (HK$38, served from 7am – 12pm) comes with two scrambled or fried eggs, macaroni with ham, butter toast, and coffee or tea. Their scrambled eggs are excellent for its price – creamy as it is fried with Hokkaido milk, fluffy, every mouthful tasty while staying hot. But the bombshell is the Scrambled Egg Toast with Black Truffle (HK$38). The dining environment is pleasant for its price, with big open spaces and comfortable booth seats. More sane place to dine at.
Lan Fong Yuen 蘭芳園
2 Gage Street Central, Hong Kong (MTR Sheung Wan Exit E2 or Central) 中環結志街2號 Tel: +852 2544-3895/ 2854-0731
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 8:00pm (Mon-Sat)
Lan Fong Yuen is most famous for two items: Pork Chop Burger (HK$44 with a drink, HK$2 extra for iced drinks) and ‘Silk Stockings’ Milk Tea (HK$16). They are said to be the creator of the pantyhose milk tea (wonder how they even got it started) so it is the must-have here, even if it may not be the best. They have been established for more than 50 years, started as a ‘Dai Pai Dong’, thus the inconspicuous shop entrance. Tip: You are likely to walk past and miss it. Look for the shop sign ‘Lan Fong Yuen’ and walk all the way inside. Don’t assume it is closed even though it looks like it.
Tsui Wah Restaurant 翠華餐廳
Various locations, including 15-19 Wellington Street, GF-2F, Central, Hong Kong Island (Central MTR)
77-81 Parkes Street, Jordon, Kowloon
Opening Hours: 24 hours Daily for certain locations
Before I fly away from Hong Kong airport, I would get a cup of “I love Tsui Wah” milk tea, or pre-packed bottles so that the taste of Hong Kong will still linger after I reach home. Tsui Wah had its beginnings as a ‘bing sut’, a predecessor of tea cafes way back in 1967 at Mong Kok. Already a listed company, they are the pricier Hong Kong cafes around. Know not what to order? Get one of their “Top 10” food listed in their menu which includes Crispy Pork Chop Bun (HK$35), King Prawns in XO Sauce with Tossed Noodles (HK$51) and Swiss-style Chicken Wings(HK$51). Tip: Tsui Wah can be found in many parts of Hong Kong, but its most popular branch at Central opposite Yung Kee near Lan Kwai Fong.
美都餐室 Mido Café
G/F, 63 Temple Street (Yau Ma Tei MTR Exit B2) 油麻地廟街63號地下, Tel:+852 2384 6402
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 9:30pm
My friend who stays in Hong Kong says Hong Kong directors actors like to hang out at the old and nostalgic Mido Café. Sure enough, I spotted veteran actress Zheng Pei Pei in the corner, silent and dignified. Some of the recommended food at Mido are the Spare Ribs Baked Rice, Fried Noodles with Pork and Ying-Yang, a mixture of coffee and tea. Many Hong Kong cafes are becoming a part of history. Before Mido would ever disappear, just go to experience this ‘time machine’. Tip: Take the corner booth. That’s the ‘Hong Kong celeb’ corner.
Honolulu Café 檀島咖啡餅
G/F & Mezz Floor, 176-178 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai (Wan Chai MTR Exit A4) 灣仔軒尼詩道176-178號地下及閣樓, Tel: +852 2575 1823
Opening Hours: 6:00am – 12:00am
(And the sixth) Jacky Cheung and Tang Wei filmed “Crossing Hennessy” here, if you are the sort who like to go on celebrity hunts. Most tourists come all the way here for their egg tarts, which are divinely smoothly filled and fluffy crusted. Get a ‘simple’ budget set at HK$26 which can include an Egg Sandwich, Beef Satay Nissin Noodles and Hot drink. The food is nothing fanciful, but that is a typical Hong Kong café culture for you. Tip: Buy the egg tart. No, buy a few.
Additional note: This post took me 6 visits in 3 years to decide which are my personal favourites. Tell me which are your must-goes in Hong Kong.