Monday, May 19, 2014


One of the most peculiar styles of Chinese cuisine, from the viewpoint of most Westerners, is the selection of dishes offered by a "tea restaurant" (茶餐廳 'cha chaan teng'). Many of the ingredients are more familiar than "normal" Chinese food, yet presented in guises far less expected.
Plainly put, this ain't your mom's Chinese.

What it actually is, is quick easy comfort food, hearty and filling, for an audience that happily mixes and matches whatever is available, and wants lots for less. And they want it now. They're starving, please hurry!
Especially if the time they have to dawdle is limited.
Snacks, savoury or sweet.
Fast energy.


Hong Kong tea restaurants began back in the thirties when entrepreneurs set up near construction sites, docks, and factories, and with more verve than actual skill invented a selection of food and drink that everyone could afford. Once dairy specialties and bakery offerings were added, the rocket took off.
Almost nothing could be more Hong Kong than the neighborhood joint where cheap sandwiches, pork chop over rice, spam, and sundry modern convenience foods are available from morning till almost midnight, all with a cup of strong bitter tea mixed with sweetened condensed milk.

You just want a cholesterol bomb and tea? Also can!
Tomato soup, French toast, plus tea? Will do!
Toasted pineapple bun and butter? Yep!
Iced lemon tea? We've got that too.
Tomato sauce, or Portugee.
Baked spaghetti!

Nothing fancy here, but we pride ourselves on getting you happy fast, and getting you on the road again. Or stuffing you silly for a low-low price, with stuff that you never cook at home, but not-so-secretly crave.
This is what reminds you of the place you came from.
You got familiar with it over several years.
And boy do you miss it.

Of course it's totally Hong Kong style, but I associate it primarily with Chinatown and the Richmond District, seeing as I live in San Francisco. Yeah, spam too. It's a queer vice -- we white folks are supposed to sneer at that humble substance -- but not something I'm embarrassed about.


For your delectation, here's a list of offerings; most good cha chanteng in Hong Kong will have many of them. They're more limited overseas.
Although in San Francisco it seems far harder than it should to get a pineapple bun (so named because of the top crust) toasted, with a thick wedge of fresh creamery butter shoved in.
Or a hot buttered piggy bun.
Oil-sand toast.


Soup 湯類
羅宋湯 Russian borscht soup
西班牙番茄湯 Gazpacho
粟米忌廉湯 Sweet corn cream soup
紫菜牛丸湯 Seaweed beef ball soup
紫菜豆腐湯 Seaweed tofu soup
鮮蝦雲吞湯 Wonton soup

Toast 多士類
黃油多士 Buttered toast (油多)
港式)西多士 HK style French toast with butter and condensed milk
牛油果占多士 Toast with butter and jam (油占多士)
奶油厚多士 Condensed milk toast (奶油多)
奶醬厚多士 Condensed milk and peanut butter toast (奶醬多)
咖央西多士 Coconut jam French toast
菠蘿飽 Pineapple bun
菠蘿油 Toasted pineapple bun with butter
餐肉菠蘿包 Toasted pineapple bun with butter and luncheon meat
叉燒菠蘿包 Char-siu pork pineapple bun
油沙厚多士 Oil-sand toast; thick buttered toast with coarse sugar
奶油猪仔包 Crispy hot buttered piggy bun

[NOTES: The jam used in HK is strawberry (草莓酱 'chou mui jeung'). Coconut jam is called 'kaya' (咖央'gaa yeung'), that being the Malay and Indonesian name. The most common version of HK style French toast (港式西多士 'gong sik sai do si') consists of two thick slices of spongy bread glued together with peanut butter, dipped in barely sweetened beaten egg, fried in lots of butter on both sides, served with thick drizzles of sweetened condensed milk and golden syrup. And a pat of butter melting on top, for extra good. It's called 奶醬厚多士 ('naai jeung hau do si') or simply 奶醬多 ('naai jeung do'). Jeung (醬) refers to 花生醬 ('faa sang jeung'), which is peanut butter ("pinda kaas", "beurre d'arachide"). An upscale modern variant is the nutella toast (能多益西多士 'nang do yik sai do si'). Nutella in Chinese: 能多益巧克力醬 ('nang do yik jiu gu lik jeung', 能多益榛子果仁醬 ('nang do yik jeun ji gwo yan jeung').]

Sandwich 三文治
公司三文治 Club Sandwich
咸牛肉蛋三文治 Corned beef and egg sandwich
芝士火腿三文治 Grilled ham and cheese sandwich
火腿蛋三文治 Ham and egg sandwich
午餐肉三文治 Grilled Spam sandwich.
芝士午餐肉三文治 Grilled Spam and cheese sandwich
午餐肉蛋三文治 Spam and egg sandwich
烟肉生菜蕃茄三文治 Bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich
吞拿魚三文治 Tuna sandwich

Baked Rice/Spaghetti 焗飯/意粉
焗火腿芝士意粉 Baked ham & cheese spaghetti with cream sauce
焗牛肉片飯 Baked beef rice with tomato sauce
煎蛋焗豬扒飯 Baked pork chop rice and a fried egg
焗葡汁/茄汁雞飯 Baked chicken rice with Portuguese sauce or tomato sauce
焗肉醬意粉 Baked spaghetti with carbonara sauce
焗葡汁/茄汁牛脷飯 Baked ox-tongue rice with Portuguese sauce or tomato sauce
焗腸仔肉醬意粉 Baked spaghetti and sausages with carbonara sauce
焗葡汁/白汁石班飯 Baked cod rice with Portuguese sauce or cream sauce
焗茄汁鴛鴦扒飯 Baked pork chop rice and chicken rice with tomato sauce
焗白汁雙魚飯 Baked salmon and cod rice with cream sauce
焗白汁三文魚飯 Baked salmon rice with cream sauce
焗白汁帶子蝦飯 Baked scallops and shrimp rice with cream sauce
焗白汁海鮮飯 Baked seafood rice with cream sauce

Curry Rice/Spaghetti 咖哩類飯/意粉
咖哩雞球 Curry chicken
咖哩牛肉 Curry beef
咖哩牛腩 Curry beef brisket
咖哩豬扒 Curry pork chop
咖哩石班 Curry fish
咖哩牛脷 Curry ox-tongue
咖哩海鮮 Curry seafood

Congee (rice porridge) 粥類
鯪魚球生菜粥 Dace and vegetable congee
海鮮粥 Seafood congee
牛肉粥 Beef congee
雞粥 Chicken congee
免治牛肉粥 Ground beef congee
[Same as: 碎牛粥 Minced beef congee.]
魚片粥 Fish congee
皮蛋瘦肉粥 Pork and preserved egg congee
蝦球粥 Shrimp congee
柴魚花生粥 Dried fish and fried peanuts congee
火鴨粥 Roast duck congee
爽滑肉丸粥 Pork meatball congee
猪肝粥 Pork liver rice porridge
碎牛粥 sui ngau juk: rice porridge with minced beef
艇仔粥 Sampan congee (with squid, crackling, ground meat, peanuts, crisp noodly bits)
香菇肉鬆粥 Black mushroom and pork floss congee
魚片粥 yu pin juk: fish curls congee
鮑魚滑雞粥 Abalone and chicken congee
白粥 Plain congee
油條 Chinese doughnut (fried dough stick)

Noodle soup (rice noodles or thin mein) 湯麵類河粉/米粉
海鮮湯麵 Seafood noodle soup
魚蛋湯麵 Fish ball noodle soup
牛丸湯麵 Beef ball noodle soup
牛腩湯麵 Beef brisket noodle soup
牛筋湯麵 Beef tendon noodle soup
雙丸湯麵 Beef and fish ball noodle soup
炸菜肉絲湯米 Pork shreds and pickled vegetables rice noodle soup
沙茶牛肉湯麵 Satay sauce beef noodle soup
鮮蝦雲吞湯麵 Fresh shrimp wonton noodle soup
炸鯪魚球湯麵 Fish curls noodle soup
蝦球湯麵 Shrimp noodle soup
車仔麵 Assorted noodle soup
三文魚湯麵 Salmon noodle soup

Side dishes 菜類
蠔油芥蘭 Chinese broccoli in Oyster Sauce
蠔油西生菜 Lettuce with oyster sauce
腐乳西生菜 Lettuce with soy curd sauce
腩汁西生菜 Lettuce with beef brisket sauce
釀豆腐 Deep fried minced shrimp stuffed tofu
釀茄子 Deep fried minced shrimp stuffed eggplant
羅漢齋 Lo Han vegetables

Instant noodle or macaroni in soup 公仔麵/通粉類
雞絲公仔麵/通粉類 Chicken instant noodle or macaroni
腸仔蛋公仔麵/通粉類 Sausage and fried egg instant noodle or macaroni
火腿蛋公仔麵/通粉類 Ham and fried egg instant noodle or macaroni
蝦球公仔麵/通粉類 Instant noodle or macaroni
午餐肉蛋公仔麵/通粉類粉 Spam and fried egg instant noodle or macaroni
蝦球公仔麵/通粉類 Shrimp and instant noodle or macaroni
沙爹牛肉或雞肉公仔麵/通粉類 Satay sauce beef or chicken instant noodle or macaroni

Lo mein 撈麵
咖哩牛腩撈麵 Curry beef brisket lo mein
雲吞撈麵 Wonton lo mein
蝦球撈麵 Shrimp lo mein
牛腩撈麵 Beef Brisket lo mein
薑蔥撈麵 Green onion and ginger lo mein

Rice or spaghetti plates 飯類/意粉
煎蛋免治牛肉飯 Minced beef and fried egg over rice or spaghetti
柱候牛腩飯 Beef brisket over rice or spaghetti
餐肉蛋飯 Spam and egg over rice or spaghetti
干煎洋蔥豬扒或雞扒)飯 Fried pork chop or chicken cutlet over rice
粟米雞絲或石斑飯 Chicken or cod with corn sauce over rice
鮮蘑菇雞扒飯 Chicken cutlet with mushrooms over rice
鮮茄魚片或牛肉湯飯 Tomato soup rice with cod or beef
吉烈豬扒或石斑飯 Pork chop or cod fillet over rice
蕃茄豬扒意粉 Pork chop with tomato sauce over spaghetti
枝竹羊腩飯 Lamb Stew over rice
西蘭花牛肉飯 Broccoli beef over rice
鮮茄牛肉飯 Tomato beef over rice
豉汁排骨飯 Black bean spareribs over rice
芥蘭牛肉飯 Chinese broccoli beef over rice
菜遠斑片飯 Cod with bokchoi over rice
滑蛋牛肉或蝦球飯 Scrambled egg with beef or shrimp over rice
海南雞飯 Hai Nan chicken rice
凉瓜牛肉飯 Bitter melon beef over rice
凉瓜排骨飯 Bitter melon spareribs over rice
時菜牛肉飯 Vegetable beef over rice
蝦炒蛋飯 Shrimp scrambled egg over rice

Fried Rice 炒飯
菠蘿蝦炒飯 Pineapple shrimp fried rice
生炒雞絲飯 Chicken fried rice
生炒牛肉飯 Beef fried rice
招牌炒飯 House fried rice
粟米火腿蛋炒飯 Ham, egg and corn fried rice
咖哩牛肉炒飯 Curry beef fried rice
鄉下佬炒飯 Farmer's fried rice
楊洲炒飯 Yang Chow fried rice
咸魚雞粒炒飯 Salt fish and chicken fried rice
海鮮炒飯 Seafood fried rice
福建炒飯 Fukien fried rice
鴛鴦炒飯 Two flavour fried rice
瑤柱蛋白海鮮炒飯 Seafood fried rice with dried scallop and egg white

Pan Fried Noodle 煎麵類
菜遠斑球煎麵 Fish and vegetable pan fried noodle
菜遠牛腩煎麵 Beef brisket and vegetable pan fried noodle
鮮茄牛肉煎麵 Tomato beef pan fried noodle
沙茶牛肉煎麵 Satay beef pan fried noodle
豉汁排骨煎麵 Spare ribs black bean pan fried noodle
黑椒牛肉煎麵 Beef with black pepper sauce pan fried noodle
銀芽肉絲煎麵 Pork with bean sprouts pan fried noodle
海鮮煎麵 Seafood pan fried noodle

Yi fu noodle 伊麵類
牛腩燴伊麵 Beef brisket yi fu noodle
干燒肉絲炆伊麵 Braised yi fu noodle with meat shreds.
褔建燴伊麵 Fukien yi fu noodle
海鮮燴伊麵 Seafood yi fu noodle
蟹肉干燒伊麵 Braised yi fu noodle with crab meat

Chow Mein 炒粉麵類
干炒牛河 Beef chow fun
沙嗲牛肉濕炒河 Satay beef chow fun
豉汁排骨濕炒河 Spare ribs with black bean sauce chow fun
滑蛋蝦濕炒河 Scrambled egg with shrimp chow fun
豉汁牛肉濕炒河 Beef with black bean sauce chow fun
星洲炒米粉 Singapore fried rice noodle
鯪魚鬆炒米粉 Dace Fish fried rice noodle
牛肉炒公仔麵 Beef fried instant noodle
火腿蛋炒公仔麵 Ham and egg fried instant noodle
廈門炒米 Amoy fried vermicelli

Fried Spaghetti 炒意粉
鮮茄牛肉或石斑炒意粉 Beef or cod fried spaghetti with tomato sauce
黑椒牛肉或雞肉炒意粉 Beef or chicken fried spaghetti with black pepper sauce
干炒海鮮意粉 Seafood fried spaghetti
鮮茄海鮮炒意粉 Seafood fried spaghetti with tomato sauce
鐵板黑椒牛肉炒意粉 Iron plate beef fried spaghetti with black pepper sauce
鐵板咖哩牛腩燴意粉 Iron plate curry beef brisket with spaghetti
鐵板大千海鮮意粉 Iron plate seafood spaghetti
鐵板黑椒牛仔骨意粉 Iron plate spareribs spaghetti with black pepper sauce

Refined specialties 精美小菜
大地魚炒芥蘭 Stir-fried Chinese broccoli with dried fish flavour
蒜茸炒芥蘭 Stir-fried Chinese broccoli with garlic flavour
紅燒豆腐 Red-braised tofu with black mushrooms and fresh vegetables
牛肉炒唐芥蘭 Chinese broccoli and beef
鯪魚鬆炒時菜 Stir-fried seasonal vegetable with fish shreds
蔥油黃毛雞 Ginger and scallion chicken
薑蔥爆牛肉Ginger and scallion beef
薑蔥爆牛俐Ginger and scallion ox tongue
沙茶滑豆腐牛肉 Beef and tofu in satay sauce
蒙古牛肉 Mongolian beef
梅菜斑球 Preserved vegetable and cod
炸菜牛崧豆腐 Preserved vegetable with beef and tofu
麻婆豆腐 Ma-Po tofu
宮保雞 Kung pao chicken
魚香茄子煲 Fish-flavour eggplant
蒜子斑球豆腐煲 Garlic cod and tofu in casserole
八珍豆腐煲 Eight treasure tofu in casserole
咖哩海鮮煲 Curry seafood in casserole
生菜牛尾煲 Ox tail and lettuce in casserole
瑤柱蛋白扒龍利 Fish fillet with eggwhite and dried scallops
避風塘炒蟹 Typhoon shelter crab

Sets 套餐
營養餐 Healthy set meal
常餐 Regular set meal
快餐 Fast set meal
海鮮餐 Seafood set meal
特餐 Special set meal

[NOTE: A set usually consists of a beverage, an egg dish, a main or over-rice. The regular set often is a small omelette, something meat plus vegetables, rice or spaghetti, and a cup of hot milk-tea (奶茶 'naai cha') or coffee-tea mixture (鴛鴦 'yuen yeung').]

Beverages 飲品
港式奶茶 Milk tea Hong Kong style
鴛鴦 Mixed coffee and tea with condensed milk
凍檸茶(檸檬紅茶) Lemon tea
檸樂 Cocacola with lemon
檸檬蜜糖 Lemon honey beverage
阿華田 Ovaltine
朱古力 Chocolate
好立克 Horlicks
生薑蜜 Ginger honey beverage
荔枝冰 Lychee juice with crushed ice
涼粉冰 Grass jelly with crushed ice
紅豆冰 Red bean with crushed ice
什果冰 Mixed fruit with crushed ice
珍珠奶茶 Milk tea with tapioca pearls.
椰林珍珠冰 Coconut milk tapioca pearl crushed ice
椰林珍珠紅豆冰 Coconut red bean tapioca pearl crushed ice
橙汁 Orange juice
汽水 Soft drinks

[NOTES: You may have to specify whether you want your beverage hot (热;热嘅 'yit'; 'yit ge') or cold (凍;凍嘅 'tung'; 'tung-ge'). I always have my milk tea hot, but if you are younger than me and female, it will most likely be taken for granted that you want it cold, and probably with tapioca pearls (珍珠 'jan jiu', 波霸 'bo baa'). Tapioca pearl milk tea is usually called 波霸奶茶 ('bo baa naai cha'), and some variants shockingly contain no tea. Yuen-yeung (鴛鴦) is also frequently cold (凍鴛鴦) and pearly (波霸鴛鴦). Red beans ("adzuki"; 紅豆 'hung dau') are used in sweets and desserts. 冰('bing') is ice, often crushed.]

Dessert 甜品
芒果布甸 Mango pudding
香蕉班戟 Banana crêpe
雪糕班戟 Icecream crêpe
朱古力煉奶班戟 Chocolate and condensed milk drizzled crêpe
香蕉船 Banana boat
雲尼拿雪糕 Vanilla icecream

Always wait till the server has brought you a cup of weak regular tea before asking for gong-sik naai cha, because while plain hot tea is automatic in Hong Kong in almost all types of eateries, here in America restaurants realize that many people prefer ice water for some goofy reason. White folks probably will look askance at the strong milk tea, and young Chinese Americans will ask for a chilled dairy beverage with enormous gummy tapioca balls instead.
Immature people will be disturbed by the menu in any case.
Especially if they came from the Midwest.
Or were born in suburbistan.


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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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