A visit to Hong Kong is never complete without having a taste of its local cuisine. As a country with a unique and exciting food scene, one of the things you simply cannot miss out on is cha chaan teng! It literally translates to ‘tea restaurant’ in Cantonese and is a concept that’s similar to the traditional coffee shop culture in Malaysia and Singapore that we’re all familiar with, which is ‘kopitiam’. Serving various local comfort food, having a cha chaan teng meal is a truly iconic Hong Kong food experience.
Already craving for some of their delicious dishes? Then it’s time to throw your apron on and whip them up yourself at home! Thanks to Malaysian Celebrity Chef Ili Sulaiman’s Instagram live cooking session on how to recreate a Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng brunch, we tried making the recipes ourselves and they turned out to be super easy to do 😁 So check out the famous cha chaan teng dishes that you can and should make for a taste of Hong Kong at home.
P.S. Malaysian readers, read on to find out how you can stand a chance to win a return trip from KL to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific!
1. Hong Kong-style French Toast
Kick off your cha chaan teng experience at home with a plate of Hong Kong-style French toast. Made with a sweet peanut butter and jam filling sandwiched between crispy toasted bread, the dish is served with a final drizzle of condensed milk for a deliciously sweet finish. Perfect for breakfast or even midday snack!
Ingredients (yields 1)
- 2 slices of thick white bread/brioche
- 1 tbsp chunky peanut butter
- 1 tbsp strawberry or grape jelly jam
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup thick cooking cream
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Step 1: Make the sandwich
- 1 tbsp butter
- Condense milk for drizzling
Step 2: Make French toast
- Slice the crust of two slices of bread.
- Spread out peanut butter on one slice of bread.
- Spread out jelly on another slice of bread.
Step 3: Plate
- In a bowl, crack two eggs with cream and vanilla essence, and stir to combine.
- Soak the sandwich into the egg mixture on all sides.
- In a non-stick pan, add in butter and oil, and let it melt on medium to low heat.
- Slowly place the sandwich into the pan and cook for 1 minute on each side until browned.
- Remove French toast and set on a plate.
- Add a knob of butter and drizzle with condensed milk.
2. Macaroni soup and chicken ham
Another breakfast hit served at cha chaan tengs is macaroni soup and chicken ham. Savoury, rich and simply irresistible, one spoonful of this comforting dish is all it takes to fall in love. While it typically uses ham in its recipe, you can easily substitute it with a halal alternative like chicken. The taste will be just as delicious and satisfying as the original!
Ingredients (yields 1)
- 1 cup macaroni
- 1 litre of chicken stock
- ¼ carrot diced
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- ½ white onion diced
- 70g sliced chicken ham cut into cubes
- 1 large garlic clove chopped
- ½ ginger sliced
- ½ tsp white pepper
- Some oil for frying
- 1 tsp salt
Step 1: Fry chicken ham
- Light soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- 1 fried egg
Step 2: Stir-fry onion, garlic and ginger
- In a small pot, add in some oil and stir-fry cubed chicken until crispy and brown.
- Remove and set aside.
Step 3: Plate
- In the same pot, add in onion, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry until fragrant and onions become translucent.
- Add in diced carrots and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and add in salt.
- Add in macaroni and cook until al dante for about 5 minutes before adding frozen peas. Bring everything to a boil.
- Pour macaroni into a bowl with soup and vegetables.
- Top with a fried egg and crispy fried chicken ham.
- Drizzle with light soy sauce and sesame oil.
3. Hong Kong-style Iced Lemon Tea
Complete your dishes by pairing them with none other than a Hong Kong-style iced lemon tea! Ready in just 2 minutes, this simple yet delicious drink is the perfect thirst quencher whenever you need to beat the heat! Starting with English Breakfast tea as its base, the combination of lemon, honey, sugar and some mint leaves will hit the spot just right.
Ingredients (yields 2)
- 3 bags English Breakfast tea
- 1 whole lemon
- ⅔ cup honey or sugar
- 600ml hot water
- 2 cups of ice
Step 1: Make the tea
- Lemon slices
- Mint leaves
- Ice cubes
Step 2: Blend the tea
- In a pot, add water and 3 tea bags. Bring to a slow simmer, then set aside to cool.
- Take out the tea bags and pour the tea into a blender.
Step 3: Serve
- Peel the lemon, remove all the rind and roughly chop the lemon flesh.
- Add the chopped up lemon, sugar or honey and ice into the blender with the tea.
- Blend until combined.
Now that you know how easy it is to make these dishes, are you ready to find out how you can experience an authentic cha chaan teng meal on a trip to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific? It’s simple! All you need to do is participate in the upcoming Cha Chaan Teng challenge (only open to Malaysians). Here’s how:
The Cha Chaan Teng challenge
- In a nice jug, add ice and slices of lemon.
- Pour the blended tea into the jug and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
- Recreate any one of the Cha Chaan Teng dishes guided by the recipes above and feel free to add your own spin and be creative!
- #HHWT Tip: You can learn how to make these Cha Chaan Teng dishes from Malaysian Celebrity Chef Ili Sulaiman's video and we even tried it ourselves!
- Share your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #CCTChallengexHHWT #DiscoverHongKong #MissYouHongKong #MissYouHK and tag @havehalalwilltravel and @DiscoverHongKong
You can stand a chance to win 5 x GrabFood gift cards (worth RM50)
and the grand prize of a return trip to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific
If you're excited to embark on an adventure to Hong Kong, there's no better time than now to unleash your inner chef and whip up these popular cha chaan teng dishes at home.
This article was brought to you by Hong Kong Tourism Board.