Shenzhen Food Scene: The Cha Chaan Teng!

Get to know the Cha Chaan Teng!

Originating in Hong Kong, the Cha Chaan Teng is also known as the Hong Kong Style Café.  Cha Chaan Teng can be historically traced to around 1950s when the western lifestyle became increasingly popular among Hong Kong people.  

Bing Sutt in late 19th century

Back then, western cuisine was only served in fancy restaurants and ordinary people could not afford them. Under this backdrop, Bing Sutt (ice room) emerged and soon became extremely popular in Hong Kong, serving light western foods with a Hong Kong touch. This special type of café would sell drinks and snacks at affordable prices.

As the life pace was getting faster, Bing Sutts gradually evolved into Cha Chaan Tengs and started to offer a larger variety of food, adding rice, noodles, steaks and other main courses in both Chinese and western cuisines. Traditional Bing Sutts foods are also served in modern Cha Chaan Tengs, and they are still widely enjoyed by people from different social classes. Popular foods served in Cha Chaan Teng include:  Yuan Yang (a mixture of coffee and tea), Stocking Milk Tea, Pineapple Bun (crispy and sweet bun with butter), Wonton Noodle, Beef Chow Fun,  Duck and Rice, etc.

Stocking Milk Tea is also known as “Pantyhose Tea” because it is often brewed in a large tea sock that looks like pantyhose. Made from black tea and evaporated milk, it has a smooth and creamy texture, and tastes good!

Beef Chow Fun

The Beef Chow Fun is a classic Cantonese noodle dish. The flat rice noodles, called “Hor Fun”, is stir-fried with beef and crispy vegetables.

Pineapple Bun

No pineapples in the pineapple bun! The name comes from its cute appearance resembling pineapples. One should have the bun with the slice of butter placed in between. It is much beloved by locals!

Cha Chaan Teng usually turn tables very fast and waiters normally deal with a large volume of costumers in a day. The experience in Cha Chaan Teng might be different from others.

Some useful tips:

1. You are encouraged to order and eat quickly  

2. You do not need to tip the waiter and do not expect world-class service  

3. You may be seated with strangers during peak hours

4. You may research the abbreviated slangs before going to Cha Chaan Tengs

Luckily, a Cha Chaan Teng, called “墨语轩”, newly opened in our campus!

The new Cha Chaan Teng is decorated in a Hong Kong style. The lighting, space and table setting combine to create a comfortable dining environment. As you enter the restaurant, you can actually see how your dishes are cooked by the chefs. Unlike traditional Cha Chaan Tengs, its service is quite good. The waiters are friendly and patient. You can also order the food through its WeChat official account, which makes it super easy to split the bill.

This restaurant serves almost all kinds of traditional Cha Chaan Teng cuisine with generous portion sizes at a modest price. It offers a variety of set meals for one person (e.g. Rice and Roast Pork, Rice and Hot Peer Beef, etc.), as well as snacks (Pickled Chicken Feet, Cantonese Sponge Cake, Shrimp Dumplings, etc.) that could be shared with many friends.

Feel stressed with academic life?

Ask a few friends out and treat yourselves to delicious food!  

Written by Hailey Qiu


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