[Hong Kong] Hong Kong’s Cafes, better known as Cha Chaan Teng 茶餐廳, are a class of their own not found in other parts of the world.
These are NOT places where you sit down quietly and slowly to drink a cup of coffee.
In fact, Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng which are better known for their tea, are 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, and pork chop burgers.
– Some cafes open for extremely long hours. If you crave for midnight supper, you know where to head to.
Here are 12 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 (Jordan MTR Exit C2)
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 11:00pm (Mon – Wed, Fri – Sun), Closed Thurs
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 HK$32 or HK$38 (SGD5.34 or 6.34) consisted of a buttered toast, scrambled eggs, macaroni soup with ham and coffee or tea.
The eggs were fluffy and tasty, some say the secret ingredient is canned cream soups.
Warning: This café is always a frantic battle zone during peak hours. Tip: Join the queue, get your way in, squeeze into a table, order and enjoy your food. Some say “over-rated”, but go if you are curious how crazy it gets. Don’t take it personally if you are scolded. Australian Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司 (Jordan, Hong Kong)
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)
Tel:+852 2666 7766
Opening Hours: 7am – 11:00pm
Capital Cafe 華星冰室, sometimes known as Chrisly café, offers similar meal sets with Australian Dairy Company.
The breakfast set (HK$38 SGD6.34, served from 7am – 12pm) came with two scrambled or fried eggs, macaroni with ham, butter toast, and coffee or tea.
Their scrambled eggs were excellent for its price – creamy as it is fried with Hokkaido milk, fluffy, every mouthful tasty while staying hot.
But the ‘bombshell’ was the Scrambled Egg Toast with Black Truffle (HK$42, SGD7), superbly creamy and with wok-hei (heat).
The dining environment was pleasant for its price, with big open spaces and comfortable booth seats. More sane place to dine at.
Note: They have opened up several branches, though reviews commented that standards might not be consistent. Capital Café 華星冰室 (Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
Lan Fong Yuen 蘭芳園
2 Gage Street Central, Hong Kong (MTR Sheung Wan Exit E2 or Central)
Tel: +852 2544-3895/ 2854-0731
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 6:00pm (Mon-Sat), Closed Sun
Lan Fong Yuen is most famous for two items: Pork Chop Burger (HK$44, SGD7.34 with a drink, HK$2 extra for iced drinks) and ‘Silk Stockings’ Milk Tea (HK$16, SGD2.67).
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.
Lan Fong Yuen has 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.
There is another branch at Chungking Mansions basement, at Tsim Sha Tsui. Lan Fong Yuen 蘭芳園 (Central, Hong Kong)
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, SGD5.84), King Prawns in XO Sauce with Tossed Noodles (HK$51, SGD8.51) and Swiss-style Chicken Wings(HK$51, SGD8.51).
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. (Tsui Wah Restaurant 翠華餐廳 is also opening up in Singapore at Clarke Quay.)
Mido Cafe 美都餐室
G/F, 63 Temple Street (Yau Ma Tei MTR Exit B2)
Tel:+852 2384 6402
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 9:00pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Sun), Closed Wed
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 Coffee Shop 檀島咖啡餅
G/F & Mezz Floor, 176-178 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai (Wan Chai MTR Exit A4)
Tel: +852 2575 1823
Opening Hours: 5:15am – 1:30am (Mon – Sun)
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 (SGD4.34) 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. The true star is the Egg Tarts. Honolulu Café 檀島咖啡餅店 (Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
Kam Wah Cafe & Bakery 金華冰廳
47 Bute St, Prince Edward, Hong Kong (Prince Edward MTR Station Exit B2, 5 – 10 min walk)
Tel: +852 2392 6830
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 11:00pm (Mon – Sun)
Google Maps – Kam Wah Cafe & Bakery
Kam Wah Cafe & Bakery 金華冰廳 on Prince Edward Road is known for its Pineapple Polo Buns and Egg Tarts.
Other recommended Kam Wah items included Large Pork Chop (HK$21), Pork Chop Polo Bun (HK$21), Club Sandwich (HK$37), Hot Dog Bun (HK$17) and Satay Beef Bun (HK$21).
There are other fuller meals available such as Sing Chow (Singapore) Bee Hoon (HK$44), Stir-Fried Beef Rice Noodles (HK$44), Yang Chow Fried Rice (HK$44) and Chicken Chop Fried Rice (HK$46).
There was something about the signature Polo Bun (HK$10) which came with a slab of butter sandwiched in between – the contrast between hot bun and cold butter, sweet and savoury was alluring to the palate.
Best to go with some Hong Kong Milk Tea to ‘wash down’ some of the oiliness. Kam Wah Cafe & Bakery 金華冰廳 (Prince Edward, Hong Kong)
Star Café 星座冰室
36 Basement Champagne Court Block A 16 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong (Tsim Sha Tsui Exit B2, next to Mira Hotel)
Tel: +852 2724 4408
Opening Hour: 8:00am – 9:00pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
You cannot imagine the excitement when I finally found this café, this very old-looking place which looked transported back in time to the 1970s.
Finding Star Café is a challenge. Look out for Dadol Hotel sign, get to Champagne Court beside the Mira Hotel, go to the basement where you will past by a doughy-looking Moon Spring Foot Massage shop.
What do people come here for? Tomato noodles.
The Tomato Beef Noodles (HK$28, SGD4.50) was covered in bright-red sauce, you know it has to be prepared fresh on-the-spot.
The sauce was unexpectedly refreshing, without that extreme sour-tangy aftertaste. Okay, the draw-back was that it could get gooey and some might find it tough to stomach that many tomatoes. Star Café 星座冰室 (Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong)
Yee Shun Milk Company 港澳義順牛奶公司
G/F, 506 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (Causeway Bay MTR Station Exit C)
Tel: +852 2591 1837
Opening Hours: 12pm – 12am
The famed product is the “Double-Skin” Steamed Milk Pudding 雙皮奶, made using a special technique of steaming, which results in smooth runny milk pudding with a thin sheet of milk on top.
First timers should really go for their Original Double Skin Steamed Milk Pudding (HK$36, SGD6) for that taste of the unadulterated, curdy smooth pudding.
The milk used, which has higher water content, is provided by their own buffalo farms in China.
Tourists sometimes overlook that Yee Shun Milk Company functions like a Cha Chaan Teng (Hong Kong Café), offering savoury food such as Ham & Egg Toast (HK$27), Macau Pork Chop Bun (HK$31) and French Toast (HK$33).
In terms of quality, it doesn’t depart far from the average Hong Kong café. So go for the Milk Puddings which are truly the star here. Yee Shun Milk Company 義順牛奶公司 (Causeway Bay, Hong Kong)
Kam Fung Cafe 金鳳茶餐廳
41 Spring Garden Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Wan Chai MTR Station, Exit B2)
Tel: +852 2572 0526
Opening Hours: 6:45am – 7:00pm Daily
Google Maps – Kam Fung Cafe
The old style Hong Kong café enjoys brisk business and support from tourists, many came armed with guide books.
The Chicken Pie (HK$11, SGD1.85) was one of my favourite items, with a butter-heavy crust and hot and moist flavourful fillings.
Although the Pineapple Polo Bun (HK$6, SGD1) came colder than I would have liked it to be, the exterior layer and sweet and crisp – to the point of slightly crunchy, with a nice contrast to the fluffy interior that tore apart easily.
Some might have overlooked that the Cold Hong Kong Milk Tea (HK$22, SGD3.70) came without ice, which meant it stayed non-diluted with that smooth milky texture and delicate bitterness. Kam Fung Cafe 金鳳茶餐廳 (Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
Mon Kee Café 旺記冰室
G/F 142 Jaffe Road (Wan Chai MTR Exit A1)
Tel: +852 25282927
Opening Hours: 7am-6pm (Mon – Sun)
Google Maps – Mon Kee Café 旺記冰室
Mon Kee Cafe uses imported eggs from Japan, scrambled with premium Japanese milk and the result is a silky smooth scrambled egg mixture.
Their char siew (BBQ roast pork slices) and the sweet soy sauce that they use to drench their famous rice with are also made in house.
Their concept is on keeping their offerings simple but preparing them well. I personally find this very welcoming as opposed to having quantity over quality.
The crowd pleaser here is their Scrambled Eggs on Rice 日本滑蛋飯. There is the option of having it with either prawns, just BBQ pork slices or both.
I ordered the combination 日本滑蛋雙併飯 lunch set HKD58 (SGD10) – which was prawns and BBQ pork slices with scrambled eggs topped on a bed of rice and drenched with their secret homemade sweet soy sauce. Mon Kee Café 旺記冰室 (Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
Mrs Tang Café
Shop 3-4, G/F, 272 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2698 5599
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 9:00pm (Mon-Sat), Closed Sun
Mrs Tang is a crowded lunch spot for the Wan Chai working crowd and is popular for their rich tomato soup noodles, bolo bun sandwiches and Hong Kong Milk Tea.
It is named after The Tang Clan, one of the Great Five Clans of Hong Kong and considered to be made up of native Hong Kong people.
I ordered the Tomato Soup Macaroni with Grilled Chicken Wings and Pork Chop (HKD53, SGD9.20) for a serious meat indulgence.
I also tried their Signature Bolo Bun Sandwich (HKD20 SGD3.50) – a bolo bun stuffed with a slab of butter, a thick slice of tomato and an egg.
They have given the classic bolo bun a twist by using it in place of sandwich bread (similar to some Macau Pork Chop buns.) Mrs Tang Café 華嫂冰室 (Wanchai, Hong Kong)
Other Hong Kong Entries
Yee Shun Milk Company 義順牛奶公司 (Causeway Bay, Hong Kong)
Kam Wah Cafe & Bakery 金華冰廳 (Prince Edward, Hong Kong)
Kam Fung Cafe 金鳳茶餐廳 (Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
Honolulu Café 檀島咖啡餅店 (Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
Capital Café 華星冰室 (Wan Chai, Hong Kong)