Cha Chaan Teng
In the early days, Western cuisine was available only in high-end restaurants and was considered a luxury. It wasn’t until after WWII that the Cha Chaan Teng became popular along with the British influence in Hong Kong. Cha Chaan Tengs bridged that gap, offering cheap, Canto-Western food and drinks.
Today, Cha Chaan Teng culture is slowly changing as larger chain restaurants move in, but it’s still considered a core part of Hong Kong culture. Being that our head office is based in Hong Kong we wanted to show you How To Cha Chaan Teng!
Step 1: State of Mind
It’s a Cha Chaan Teng state of mind. These little restaurants are cheap eats with no frills. The atmosphere is fast paced, so don’t take it personally if you get yelled at. The design of a Cha Chaan Teng is meant to get people in, fed, and out. It’s not a place for indecisive people or for hanging around.
Step 2: The Menu
A few staples and specialities that you might find at the local are –
- Baked pork chop with rice
- Hong Kong style French Toast
- Wonton noodles
- Egg macaroni soup
- Hong Kong milk tea
Step 3: Rinse ‘Em
That jug of hot water or tea on the table is not for drinking, it’s for rinsing. Before you eat, it is tradition – and good practice – to rinse your cutlery or chopsticks by pouring the hot water into a glass or bowl and swizzling your weapons around in it. Stick to drinking the beverage you ordered. And this isn’t because the cutlery hasn’t been cleaned. It’s actually because they use harsh dish soap that contain bleach, so the rinsing is done as a final precaution.
Step 4: Chow Down
The final step is the easiest. Relax and enjoy your food! Just don’t relax too long – remember, the the rhythm is to get in, eat, and get out.