Cha chaan teng (茶餐廳) is on almost every corner in Hong Kong. In the United States, they are known as “Hong Kong style café”. Here’s a short description of the term, from Wikipedia:
Cha chaan teng (lit.: tea restaurant) meaning tea restaurant, is commonly found in Greater China, including particularly Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and parts of Guangdong. They are known for eclectic and affordable menus, which include many dishes from Hong Kong cuisine and Hong Kong-style Western cuisine. Since the 1980s they can also be found in the Chinatown districts of many Western countries like Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States.
That Food Cray has some insight into a typical cha chaan teng:
Hong Kong has an abundance of tea cafés or Cha Chaan Tengs offering quick, affordable Hong Kong style fast food notorious for terrible customer service. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a Cha Chaan Teng, just picture an old school Chinese style diner with unfriendly waiters serving Hong Kong’s own versions of unhealthy, convenient fast food such as noodles, sandwiches, French toast, and even curry. Regardless of how unhealthy and terrible the service of Cha Chaan Tengs may be, people can’t stop, won’t stop. Locals just seem to value fast service and affordable prices above all.
I went with a friend’s coworker to grab late lunch / afternoon tea at Lan Fong Yuen’s original location in Central. This location is a hole-in-the-wall; the narrow entrance is in between Lan Fong Yuen’s storefront stand and a grocer.
If you’re doing takeaway (take-out / to-go), orders are placed at the stand through a narrow window. If you’re dining in, proceed through the narrow walkway to a small dining room crowded with tables and stools.
We did a takeaway with an afternoon tea set that included iced stocking milk tea ($34 HKD), and crispy buns ($14 HKD). The crispy buns and stocking milk tea are both included in breakfast sets which is sold at 7:30-11:00am daily and priced at $29-33 HKD.
My Takeaway w/ Egg Tart from Tai Cheong Bakery
Verdict- Tasty and filling! Lan Fong Yuen’s cha chaan teng takeaways are quick, if you’re short on time. However, the humidity and hot weather melted the iced tea and watered it down. And noodle soup takeaways can get messy. I think it’s too ma-fan… I’d rather dine-in, eat quickly, and let the restaurant clean up after my mess. ;)