The first place to go, of course, is my home-country: Hong Kong.
Hong Kong-style tea dining rooms (cha chaan teng) are one of the origins from Hong Kong‘s fast-food restaurant, which provided the fusion of Hong Kong characteristic and western-style dining. It is a popular and common place for people dining together. You can find these kinds of tea dining restaurants in Hong Kong everywhere. Their business hours are not regulated. They usually start from 6 o’clock in the early morning to mid-night or 1 o’clock morning. Restaurants that located in the busy and crowded areas would probably do all night long.
One of the most famous foods is the egg tart. The tarts consist of an outer pastry crust, filled with egg custard and baked. HK-style egg tarts have two main types of outer casings: shortcrust pastry which made with butter, and puff pastry which made with lard. Shortcrust pastsy is similar to western pie crust, and taste like cookie, while puff pastry is thicker and crispy. For my personal opinion, I like the shortcrust pastry more than the puff one. The best time to eat egg tarts is when it is freshly baked, loose and soft crust with hot and smooth egg custard tastes extraordinarily delicious.
Today egg tarts come in many variations within HK cuisine. Thses include egg white tarts, milk tarts, honey-egg tarts, ginger-flavoured egg tarts, chocolate tarts, and even bird’s nest tarts. However, most of the tea restaurant would only provide the two traditional egg tarts.
HK-style milk tea, often known as “silk stocking milk tea”, is a popular beverage originating from HK. It consists of black tea sweetened with evaporated milk. People will drink this beverage usually in breakfast, afternnon tea, and/or in the rest time of work. People use nylon net to make the milk tea. Since the nylon net looks similar with the silk stocking, thus it calls “silk stocking milk tea.” However, many people misunderstand that the “silk stocking milk tea” is really filter with the silk stocking.
A cup of good milk tea is its “smoothness”, the proportion of tea and evaporated milk should divide eqaully, otherwise the milk tea would rather taste too sweet or too bitter and acerbic.
Before having a traditional egg tarts, I found a recipe of the egg tarts: Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts.
(1) Bakery shops‧Tai Cheong Bakery – No. 35, G/F, Lyndhurst Terrance, Central (near Cochrane Street) Tel: (852) 2544-3475
This bakery shop is one of the most famous shop in selling egg tarts. One of the reasons is this shop still provide the traditional and good quality of egg tarts. Their egg tarts often sold out before afternoon. Another reason is the last British Governor of HK, Chris Patten, was known in Hong Kong popular culture to be fond of this pastry. He particularly enjoyed the egg tarts sold at Tai Cheong Bakery.
‧Honolulu Coffee shop – Shop 037A, Level 6, Skyplaza, Hong Kong International airport Terminal 2
This is the coffee shop in HK international airport, but also have some distributions in various areas. If you want to have something traditional when you first arrive or if you do not have time to taste any within your vacation, here is a good place for all visitors.
(2) HK-style tea restaurants
‧Cheung Lee Restaurant – No. 120, G/F, Electric Road, North Point. Tel: (852) 2570-6655
‧Kam Fung Restaurant – No 41, Spring Garden Lane, Wan Chai. Tel: (852) 2572-0526
‧Cheung Heung Yuen Restaurant – No. 107, Belcher’s Street, Kennedy Town, Sai Wan. Tel: (852) 2855-7911
‧Cheung Fat Restaurant – No. 28D, Cheung Fat Street, Cheung Sa Wan. Tel: (852) 2958-1088