A cha chan teng, for the uninitiated, is local eatery in Hong Kong that serves comfort food at affordable prices. These local diners are where Hong Kongers go for their regular meals, and you can find them almost everywhere. I guess the reason that Singapore has cheap food is because of the food courts and hawker centres offering a huge variety of food.
1) Tsui Wah Restaurant 翠華餐廳
15-19 Wellington St
Central, Hong Kong
+852 2525 6338
Nearest MTR: Central station
There are several branches of Tsui Wah in Hong Kong, and even in neighbouring countries such as Macau, China. It captures the essence of Hong Kong cuisine, such as noodles, rice dishes or western food such as pasta, baked rice with a Hong Kong twist as it is served in a bamboo basket. Do try their Malaysian beef brisket curry with rice which is among the popular items on the menu. Their French toast, crispy bun served with condensed milk and milk tea are nice too. I tried one of their top 10 dishes which is Shredded Pork & Mushroom w/ Fried Noodles (w/ Abalone Taste). It is made up of crispy and golden pan-fried premium whole egg noodles covered with lean pork, fresh sprout, leek and mushrooms. The portions were generous and I liked the crispy noodles.
2) Australian Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司
47 Parkes Street
Jordan, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2730 1356
Nearest MTR: Jordan
Some people say that Australian Dairy Company should be on the top of your checklist of cha chan tengs to visit, but I personally felt that the place was overrated and the staff were rude. I went there for desserts and had the steamed milk pudding. The staff told me Hong Kong friend, “don’t even think of sitting at the bigger table meant for three.” as we were only two of us. They also asked a couple (impolitely) if they can finish eating within 10 minutes as they were going to close soon. Thus Australian Dairy Company is very much a quick service restaurant, you’re not meant to linger here. They also serve breakfast items such as scrambled eggs and toast.
3) Tim Ho Wan 添好運
Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall) , Central, ifc mall
Nearest MTR: Central
This Michelin-starred restaurant is also available in Singapore, but I think the dim sum here tastes much better. Tim Ho Wan is one of the cheapest Michelin restaurants around, but for me I find it to be overhyped and I am not your typical-chasing-Michelin-stars tourist, so I would rather visit Lin Heung (see review below). Order the typical dim sum eats such as char siew (barbecued pork) buns, steamed malay cake, chicken feet in black bean sauce, siew mai, har gau, chee cheong fun, pan fried carrot cake, osmanthus jelly dessert etc. You can’t go wrong with these items.
4) Lin Heung 蓮香樓
Tsang Chiu Ho Building
160 Wellington St, Sheung Wan
Nearest MTR: Central
Lin Heung’s food is traditional and delicious, especially their dim sum, which makes the restaurant quite famous and popular among local people, as there are not many restaurants that still provide traditional dim sum nowadays. I like this traditional dim sum place where staff push dim sum trolleys around.
When the fresh dim sum came out of the kitchen, customers would immediately swarm the staff to take their orders. It was done in special way, just give your paper to the staff who would stamp a number on it and the quantity. At the end of the meal, bring the paper with the stamps to the cashier for payment. It is an efficient method of making orders and people have the freedom to choose the food they like. There are also other items which need more preparation, such as fried rice or noodles, so these orders have to be placed separately with the waiters or waitresses. You have to share tables with other people in this restaurant as business is brisk and whenever there are empty seats at any table, you will be directed by the staff to fill the table.
5) Budaoweng Hotpot cuisine 不倒翁中日火鍋料理
23/F, iSquare, 63 Nathon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, iSQUARE
Nearest MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui
Located on the 23rd floor of the shopping centre, this restaurant offers you dining with a view. You can have unobstructed views of the harbour and watch the ferries in the busy harbour. At 8pm every night, there is a lights show at the waterfront, so if you are dining in this restaurant, you can also enjoy the lights show without the crowds. The use of quality ingredients for the soup stock and steamboat is commendable. The beef slices were very delicious and had a melt-in-your-mouth texture, requiring only one minute in the soup before getting cooked. We ordered the beef slices, assorted meat balls, green vegetables, mushrooms, meat dumplings, udon noodles. It may not seem alot at the start, but we were so full at the end of the meal and thankful that we did not order more. We also received a complimentary dessert of a watermelon slice and jelly which added a sweet touch to the end of the meal.
6) Tong Shui Lo 糖水佬甜品
Ferry Street, 25 Man Wui Street, Jordan
Nearest MTR: Jordan
For the sweet tooth, it is time to try some Hong Kong desserts to end off your meal. Be it hot or cold desserts, this place has a variety of desserts on its menu that entices you to come back again to try all the signature stuff. From sweet potato soup, mango sago pudding, bean curd barley and eggs, red bean soup, glutinous rice to coconut mixed beans, you are spoilt for choice.