Hong Kong has no lack of popular cha chaan tengs. These fuss-free local eateries serve comforting, delicious and affordable fare, and are great spots for you to experience Hong Kong culture at its best.
But there are only so many ham macaroni, instant noodles and Bo Lo Baos (pineapple buns) that we can take before we run out of stomach space.
That’s why, in order to help you maximise your holiday in Hong Kong, we’ve sussed out some of the best cha chaan tengs, complete with recommendations on what to eat there, so you only try the best they have to offer.
If you’re craving for soft, fluffy and milky scrambled eggs, look no further – this cafe has, in our opinion, the best scrambled eggs in Hong Kong (it’s scrambled with Hokkaido milk). Coupled with their crispy condensed milk buns and their signature pork chop buns which are freshly made, you’ll be filled in no time. Wash the food down with their thick milk tea. Top tip: Service here is infinitely better than the Australia Dairy Company.
Chrisly/Capital Cafe is at Shop B1, G/F Kwong Sang Hong Building, 7 Heard Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
Photo: Instagram/ ccccafe
A Hong Kong TV producer whom we were sharing a table with at a porridge stall introduced me to this local hit. Go to the original shop at a little village in Yuen Long and ignore the rest of the branches in the urban areas. Those are forgettable.
The real treasure is in this little village. They have a lot of signatures so you’d be spoilt for choice, but all their noodles are very good. Try their rich tomato soup noodles, and don’t forget their Bo Luo bun and signature beef bun as well.
Be warned – there are long queues, especially during weekends, and you’re only allowed to order once. If you finish your food and decide to go for seconds, you’ll need to queue again.
Mrs Tang’s Cafe is at Hang Tau Tsuen, Ping Shan Heritage Trail, Yuen Long, Hong Kong.
Photo: Instagram/ _bananapapa_
After burning your calories at the Ping Shan Heritage Trail, head to this popular stall and try their signature giant chicken thigh. Known for its satisfyingly crispy skin and juicy flesh, each one measures about 17cm across and is accompanied by rice and a sunny-side up. And if you have space for more, do go for their pork chop rice. The meat is equally tender and tasty, though a little smaller in size.
Foragers’ House is at Shop 4, G/F, Fung Cheung Building, 33-43 Fung Cheung Road, Yuen Long, Hong Kong.
Photo: Instagram/ love_food_love_cooking
This is another cafe that’s very popular with the crowds but skip the ubiquitous ham macaroni and dive straight into the Hong Kong style French toast. The lightly fried toast comes stuffed with peanut butte, and is topped with a square of butter for extra fragrance. Drizzle maple syrup on top for an absolutely sinful treat. Their Bo Luo bun is also another star that keeps the queues coming back.
We’ve been here a few times and it’s always served fresh and hot with a nicely browned crispy top and a slab of butter in between. Best when eaten hot! Some of us like the strong Yuen Yeung here as well, a popular beverage comprising brewed coffee and Hong Kong-style milk tea.
Kam Wah Cafe is at 47 Bute Street, Prince Edward, Mongkok, Hong Kong.
Photo: Instagram/ shadieding
This is another joint that was introduced to us by the locals for its omelette over Western fried rice. It doesn’t sound fantastic but words won’t do the piping hot and creamy omelette justice. While the location is a little out of the way (but not as bad as Mrs Tang’s), the food is worth the journey.
Just make sure you double check your orders because we’re told they can get it wrong sometimes.
Luen Fat Restaurant is at Shop 1, G/F, 2-4 Hau Wong Road, Kowloon City, Hong Kong.
This eatery has had an illustrious history, dating all the way back to the Qing Dynasty. Founded in 1860 by Mr Chui Lo Ko, the restaurant is known for its Chinese-Western fusion cuisine.
Locals and tourists alike come here for two dishes, the juicy Swiss wings and the souffle dish, which is freshly baked with a crispy surface and a thick stuffing.
Legend has it that these must-try Swiss chicken wings are not in fact, related to any part of Swiss cuisine, but was just a local’s mispronunciation of the word ‘sweet’ as the wings are flavoured with a sweet soy sauce.
Tai Ping Koon has various branches. Visit here for more information.
Photo: Instagram/ mobilefoodieyt
This joint is less a restaurant than a stall that’s located in a food court, which is something you seldom see in Hong Kong. Specialising in Macau-Portuguese dishes, they are famous for their farmer’s bun set, which is essentially a bread bowl filled with your choice of meat – pork, beef or chicken – and comes with a bowl of rich curry that you pour over the meat.
The bread has a crispy exterior and pillowy soft interior, and the meats are tender and flavoursome. Don’t forget the coffee as well. Locals highly recommend it.
Macau Tsui Yuen Restaurant is at Shop 8, 2/F, Cooked Food Market, Mong Kok Complex, 557 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong.
Photo: Instagram/ sistersnfood
Not exactly a cha chaan teng per se, but we think this cafe, located in the Excelsior Hotel just a few minutes walk from Causeway Bay MTR station, is worthy of a mention because they have one of the best Portuguese egg tarts around.
The recipe is imported from the highly rated Lord Stow’s Bakery in Macau. A flaky, melt-in-your-mouth pastry shell filled with a deliciously creamy and sweet custard topped with a caramelised layer — it’s a mouthful of joy.
EXpresso is at Lobby, The Excelsior Hong Kong, 281 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay.
Photo: Instagram/ excelsiorhk
This spot is notorious for its delicious food, chaotic ambience and terrible staff attitudes. But don’t worry about the service of the grumpy waiters – their bark is worse than their bite. Go in there with your order in mind and you’d escape unscathed.
Although their scrambled eggs are to-die-for, we recommend going after dinner for a quick dessert of their silky smooth steamed egg pudding that’s reputed to improve your complexion.
Also, the off-peak period means the staff will feel less harassed. The white pudding – made of egg white and milk – goes down more easily than the slightly pungent yellow pudding – made of egg yolk.
Australia Dairy Company is at 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Photo: Instagram/ chouxxx8
If you still have space after the steamed egg dessert at Australia Dairy Company, hop over to the nearby Kai Kai Dessert to tuck into very nutritious old-school desserts such as Almond Paste, Black Sesame Paste, and Sweet Sesame Rice Ball in Ginger Sweet Soup. You can even customise your bowl if you want. Freshly prepared and brewed to perfection, each spoonful is packed with flavour. In fact, the food is so good, the eatery was listed under the 2016 Hong Kong Michelin street food guide. Do add glutinous rice dumplings into your hot dessert – you’ll never taste another dumpling that’s better in Singapore.
Kai Kai Dessert is at 29 Ning Po Street, Jordan, Kowloon Hong Kong.
Photo: Instagram/ yuchen.fu