Best cha chaan tengs in Hong Kong
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.
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.
Kam Wah Café is a regular haunt for many Kowloon residents. Its famous ‘boloyau’ 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.
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.
This legendary cha chaan teng sits just outside of Yuen Long town, on the Ping Shan Heritage Trail, but it’s well worth the trip. Mrs Tang’s speciality is her pineapple butter bun with tomato and egg. If a bun isn't enough to satiate your appetite, get a bowl of the delicious tomato noodle soup with chicken wings. Wash it all down with a bottle of ‘champagne’ milk tea, which comes chilled rather than diluted with ice. There are other branches in Kwun Tong and Wan Chai, run by Mrs Tang’s sons, but the original remains best.
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.
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.
Hungry for more?
From HK-style French toast to curry fish balls, these are Hong Kong’s best native dishes and the best places to find them. If you want a taste of home, start here.