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Hong Kong’s Best Char Chaan Tengs

 2017-03-06    Tilda    Food    Hong Kong    2259  

Char Chaan Tengs are an institution in Hong Kong and predates the rise of the global hipster café culture. Before free WIFI and specialty coffee beans became the reason for going to a café, Hong Kongers have been heading to Char Chaan Tengs for their weekend brunches, late-night suppers, and almost every meal in between. There are desserts, snacks, drinks, and dishes that are so connected to the Char Chaan Teng culture that you can’t possible visit Hong Kong without spending a lazy afternoon in one. 

Classic Char Chaan Teng items 

The humble Char Chaan Teng literally means Tea Restaurant. There are some unmissable items that you should order because they are so unique you’ll probably have a hard time finding them at home unless you have a Char Chaan Teng in your city.

Yuan Yang: It is baffling that this drink hasn’t already had a history of a few centuries. “Coffee or Tea?” is an unimaginative question when you can literally have both. Yuan Yang is a delicious mix of milk tea and black coffee, a testament to how the best of East and West can produce something even better. You can have this drink hot or cold, and you’d want this in copious amounts throughout the day.

Thick Toast: This is breakfast, snack, or maybe even a dessert. Think of toast that’s a few slices think, drizzled with condensed milk and butter or better still, peanut butter. Served warm and oozing with unhealthy goodness.

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Image Credit: Wikimedia

Pineapple Buns: There is no pineapple in the pineapple bun. But that’s just one part of the mystery. The second part is…why does it taste so good? This is a kind of sweet bun that tastes so decadent, fluffy, and especially so when a slab of butter is left in it to melt.  Also called Bo Lo Bao, these buns are common in Hong Kong’s bakeries and Char Chaan Tengs.

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Image Credit: Flickr

Instant Noodles:  Wait, what?  Yes, instant noodles in Char Chaan Tengs are the best comfort food you can ever ask for after an alcohol-fueled night.  Besides, it’s not just instant noodles, but a jazzed up version served with vegetables and meat.

The best Char Chaan Teng for a cultural experience

Capital Café

Scrambled eggs with truffle on toast. How does that sound for starters? The meal sets are great value for money, and the café does a good selection of toasts. Try the Hong Kong Milk Tea or Ice Yuan Yang to go with your meal. Situated in bustling Wan Chai, this place is favourite amongst locals and tourists in the know.

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Image Credit: Wikimedia

Address: Kwong Sang Hong Building Block B-d, 6 Heard St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Lan Fong Yuen

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Image Credit: Wikimedia

This is popular establishment has been serving cups of ‘Silk Stocking’ tea since the 1950s and is one of the city’s most historic Char Chaan Tengs. It pops up in many guidebooks as the go-to place for the best milk tea in Hong Kong. With a Central location to boot, you’d really have to try hard to miss this. Some of the must-try items include the Pork Chop Burger as well as the French toast. The ambiance is undeniably old-school Hong Kong, so imagine yourself in your favourite Wong Kar Wai movie while you slurp some Instant Noodles with spam and egg.

Address: Gage St, Central, Hong Kong

Star Café

Instant noodles not cutting it for you? Make your way to Star Café and have yourself a bowl of fresh Tomato and Beef noodle soup. It’s the ultimate comfort food that is especially good if you’re visiting Hong Kong in winter. Although that’s the star dish, other items like the French toast are delicious too. The café is a little out of the way, but true foodies never complain about distance.

Address: Shop No. 36, Champagne Court, 16-20 Kimberly Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Kam Wah Café

This place is so retro that it feels like a blast to the past. Another sure sign of authenticity? The signboard doesn’t have a single English word. The Bo Lo Buns (pineapple buns) here are to die for. Remember pineapple buns have no pineapples in them, but are a delicious mix of sweet and savory, with a crisp exterior and soft interior. Wash it down with their silky smooth milk tea and come back the next day for another round of breakfast

Address: 47 Bute Street, Prince Edward.

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