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Star Cafe
Photograph: Freddie Rodgers

13 best cha chaan teng in Hong Kong

Milk tea, French toast, pineapple buns – we've got them all

By Time Out Hong Kong
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Much like the city’s traditional bakeries, cha chaan tengs are a cornerstone of Hong Kong culinary culture. Popular for their down-to-earth and affordable menus stuffed with local comfort food, not all CCTs are the same. Some might specialise in one particular dish, while others are good across the board. Read on to discover the best cha chaan tengs in Hong Kong that you absolutely have to try. 

RECOMMENDED: If you’re after more local cuisine, sample our pick of the best cart noodles in town.

Best cha chaan tengs in Hong Kong

Australia Dairy Company
Australia Dairy Company
Photograph: Freddie Rodgers

Australia Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司)

Restaurants Cafés Jordan

Anyone can cook eggs, but no one does it better than the Australia Dairy Company. The breakfast set consists of fluffy and moist scrambled eggs served with rich buttery thick toast, and comes with a plate of macaroni along with char siu in chicken broth. Australia Dairy Company also specialises in steamed milk pudding and custard dishes. Whatever you choose, just make sure you order fast, eat fast, and leave fast as there’s almost always a long queue of people waiting, no matter what time you go.

(Australia Dairy Company is temporarily closed until further notice)

Cheung Heung Tea Restaurant (祥香茶餐廳)

Restaurants Cafés Kennedy Town
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Cheung Heung Tea Restaurant, one of the most renowned old-school cha chaan tengs in Hong Kong, is a must-visit spot. This place still retains the OG layout with its own outdoor stall selling all kinds of baked goods, and a nostalgic interior that gives a window back to the 1960s. Cantonese pastries take centre stage here, with their egg tarts and cocktail bun stuffed with lotus seed paste being all-time favourites. Go for an afternoon snack and savour it with a hot milk tea. If you're lucky, you’ll arrive just in time to see the egg tarts coming fresh out of the oven.

Delivery is available for nearby areas in Kennedy Town

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For Kee Restaurant (科記咖啡餐室)

Restaurants Chinese Sheung Wan
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For Kee has long been a classic staple in Sheung Wan’s local food scene. The popular cha chaan teng establishment is most famous for their signature pork chop rice set, which perfectly combines a juicy marinated piece of pork loin with the sweet and savoury flavours of soy sauce. Place all this on top of some fluffy white rice, and voila, you’ve got yourself an unmatched authentic dining experience. If you’re still craving more (we don’t blame you), try their other crowd favourites such as pork chop bun and satay beef toast for a light, homemade meal. Still not convinced? Just take a look at For Kee’s adorable feline mascots – we dare you to say no to those eyes!

Delivery is available for nearby areas in Sheung Wan

Hoi On Cafe
Hoi On Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Freddie Rodgers

Hoi On Cafe (海安咖啡室)

Restaurants Sheung Wan

Once located near the harbour before the years of land reclamation, this stalwart neighbourhood favourite offers diners a simple menu with authentic Hong Kong dishes such as egg tarts, toasted goodies, pineapple buns, and classic HK style beverages. Drool over its minced beef with scrambled egg on toast, cubed honey French toast with butter, and their milk tea or classic red bean shaved ice drink. Hoi On remains one the last authentic old-school HK diners keeping it real in this fast-moving cosmopolitan city.

(Hoi On is currently closed until further notice and promises to return as soon as possible)

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Kam Wah Cafe
Kam Wah Cafe
Photograph: Freddie Rodgers

Kam Wah Cafe (金華冰廳)

Restaurants Prince Edward

Kam Wah Cafe is a regular haunt for many Kowloon residents. Its famous pineapple bun stuffed with a thick wad of butter has crowds queuing up all day long. The contrast of the crisp, sweet, crumbly top and pillowy bread underneath paired with the cold, salty butter is like heaven in your mouth. Kam Wah also serves a superb version of Hong Kong-style French toast.

Hoi Chiu Canteen (海潮食堂)

Restaurants Cafés Kwun Tong

Hidden within a factory building in Kwun Tong is Hoi Chiu Canteen, a popular cafe serving creative twists on cha chaan teng classics that can’t be found anywhere else: condensed milk toast sprinkled with Ovaltine powder; scrambled egg sandwich stuffed with an ample amount of scallion. Don’t think it’s imaginative enough? Then go ahead and order their signature macaroni dish. Instead of serving it in a classic chicken broth, the macaroni is wok-fried with spicy mala sauce, and topped with shredded chicken, spicy pork cubes, and scallion oil. 

Delivery is available for nearby areas in Kwun Tong

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Lan Fong Yuen-flickr-sstrieu
Lan Fong Yuen-flickr-sstrieu
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/sstrieu

Lan Fong Yuen (蘭芳園)

Restaurants Chinese Central

Despite being a classic, Lan Fong Yuen can be easy to miss. A shack that’s half photo-op for tourists, half station for preparing food and drinks blocks the entrance to the restaurant. To enter, customers must pass through a small space around the side. Treat yourself to a cup of Lan Fong Yuen’s famous ‘silk stocking milk tea’ paired with French toast or a bun with condensed milk.

Delivery option available near Sheung Wan and TST branch.

Sing Kee (誠記)

Restaurants Cafés Kennedy Town
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Established for more than 60 years, family-run Sing Kee started as a cha dong – a cha chaan teng that operates in a dai pai dong style. Since then, it has moved into the hawker centre of Smithfield market in Sai Wan. Although the location and chef have changed, Sing Kee still preserves its old-school layout, and has been serving the same delicious Hong Kong eats since its very first day. Everyone comes here for the famed satay beef noodles, but really, it's their golden-brown french toast filled with peanut butter and slathered with syrup and butter that will make you fall in love with this place.

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Star Cafe
Star Cafe
Photograph: Freddie Rodgers

Star Cafe (星座冰室)

Restaurants Tsim Sha Tsui

Located in the basement of an old residential building – sometimes referred to as Kowloon’s ‘four floors of whores’ – next to the Mira Hotel, this basement cha chaan teng can be a little difficult to locate. The retro Coca Cola posters and faded newspaper reviews that decorate the walls and the mismatching wooden tables and chairs lend Star Cafe a nostalgic vibe. Locals flock here for the refreshing tomato soup noodles with egg and luncheon meat. The place is pretty ghetto, but that’s all part of the charm.

Ma Sa Restaurant (孖沙茶餐廳)

Restaurants Cafés Sheung Wan
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Any fan of Stephen Chow should recognise the above dish – spam with fried eggs on rice – from the actor’s classic Hong Kong film God of Cookery. Ma Sa Restaurant, an old-school cha chaan teng in Sheung Wan, rose to fame as a result of taking this particular dish to the next level, loading it with three eggs rather than the standard two. The runny, creamy egg yolk spreads all over the steaming-hot rice like a finger-licking sauce, the flavour enhanced by a dash of soy sauce. Not a fan of spam? Char siu is actually the norm, but ham is another equally popular choice of meaty topping. Expect some riculously long queues if you turn up during lunchtime.

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Swiss Cafe
Swiss Cafe
Photograph: Freddie Rodgers

Swiss Cafe (瑞士咖啡室)

Restaurants Central

If you’re looking for some good ol’ comfort food that’s quick and filling, Swiss Café is the place to go. It offers a full cha chaan teng menu with your usual instant noodles and macaroni served with different types of toppings, a large variety of sandwiches and different rice dishes. The star attraction, though, are the Swiss wings – braised chicken wings marinated in a divine sticky, sweet soy sauce.

Delivery is available for nearby areas in Central, alternatively, you could pay for the delivery guy’s taxi fare

Wah Fai Restaurant & Cake Shop (華輝餐廳)

Restaurants Cafés Tai Po
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For those who love Hong Kong-style pies, this rustic cha chaan teng in Tai Po is not to be missed. Wah Fai serves up tummy-filling food from morning to night, and is deadly serious about their handmade pies. These winning pastries have been attracting customers since 1981, and later became even more famous when their apple pie appeared in a local movie. This slice of goodness filled with apple chunks, encased in a glossy burnt crust is simple, classic, and utterly tasty. If you're more on the savoury bandwagon, order the old-school chicken pot pie – deep-filled with chicken, cream soup, ham, and onions. There's no chance you won't be back for seconds.

Delivery is available for areas nearby the restaurant

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noodles
noodles
Photograph: Calvin Sit

Wai Kee Noodle Cafe (維記咖啡粉麵)

Restaurants Chinese Sham Shui Po

Looking for some authentic chinese-style noodles? Wai kee has got you covered. For more than 60 years, the local cha chaan teng has refined their craft of making pork liver noodles and beef noodles down to a tee. You will probably struggle to find another place that matches their light yet subtly sweet broths, and we think the long daily queues outside agrees with us. If you’re still hungry after that, Wai Kee also serves a sweet kaya French toast that will never let you down.

Delivery is available for nearby areas in Sham Shui Po

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