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Wah Nam Milk Tea
Photograph: Calvin Sit

Where to find the best milk tea in Hong Kong

These milk teas bring all the boys to the yard

Ann Chiu
Jenny Leung
Written by
Ann Chiu
&
Jenny Leung
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Everyone knows that Hong Kong-style milk tea (lai cha) is by far the most iconic beverage that represents our city. From choosing the right tea leaves and knowing how long to brew them, to how 'hard' to pour the tea while controlling the temperature – making milk tea is a work of art, and learning to do all of the above is something that takes years to master. With so many options available at an assortment of cha chaan tengs and dai pai dongs, we’re determined to track down the best ones. Here are some of our faves right here.

RECOMMENDED: Want to try other unique and iconic foods in the city? Check out these dishes that epitomise Hong Kong's East-meets-West culture.

Some venues may be temporarily closed due to the current social distancing regulations, please check ahead before paying a visit.

Best milk tea in Hong Kong

  • Restaurants
  • Sham Shui Po

Having been in the Sham Shui Po neighbourhood for more than 50 years, Chung Kee Cafe hasn’t made any effort to keep up with the times – and we’re all for it. The milk tea here uses a traditional HK-style brewing method, where a nankeen (Chinese cotton cloth) is used to separate the leaves from the tea, leaving you with a silky smooth beverage and rich, lingering taste. Chung Kee also uses three types of tea leaves to make their milk tea, giving the drink extra layers of flavour. Their made-to-order fried drumsticks and chicken wings are well worth a try too.

  • Restaurants
  • Sham Shui Po

Feel the pulse of the Sham Shui Po neighbourhood and pay a visit to Wah Nam Bin Sutt. The cosy local joint is buzzing from morning to evening, packed with local patrons enjoying a sweet cup of the famous milk tea. The secret to their milk tea recipe involves using a mixture of Ceylon red tea with different pekoe grades, brewing it for roughly five to 10 minutes, and pouring it twice before adding in the milk. The cafe also has some local rarities like 'Buddha jumps the sea' (hot water, raw egg, and sugar) and hot cocoa.

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  • Restaurants
  • Tai Hang

The laidback neighbourhood of Tai Hang is a mishmash of narrow streets, old-style five-storey buildings, and monolithic slabs blotting out the sun for all pedestrians. Just like the area it is in, Bing Kee has a casual air. Come here to find local residents, foodies, plus a spattering of Hong Kong hipsters ordering the stall’s best-known dish and beverage: pork ramen and milk tea.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Central

Street stall setting aside, this rustic diner has been making waves (and probably serving amounts that would equal the size of a wave) for over half a century, seducing both locals and tourists alike. Often described as one of the most authentic places for a cup Hong Kong-style ‘silk stocking’ milk tea, the unrivalled liquid here is smooth, velvety, and bursts with flavour. It sounds off-putting but the 'stocking' used to strain the tea is, in fact, a pioneering straining device made with stained-brown micro-fine sackcloth. So yes, it looks very much like a pair of stockings, but we don’t mind. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Cheung Sha Wan

One look at Sun Wah Cafe and you can tell it’s a classic. From its rigid seatings and loft design to the mini dumbwaiter and simple menu, this place has remained true to its era for over half a century. With their own in-house bakery, Sun Wah has all the classic local baked goods: egg tarts, pineapple buns, char siu bun, cocktail bun – the whole shebang. But of course, the most famous item here is their mike tea. Brewed using a combination of at least three types of tea leaves, the beverage is not only smooth and easy to go down, but it's also lusciously packed with flavour. It’s so well-loved that some of the long-time locals in the area even call it the king of milk teas.

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