Regional Hong Kong Style Cafes/Cha Chan Teng Roundup (SF Bay Area)

Hong Kong Style Cafes (Cha Chan Teng)

At a Hong Kong cafe, there is an eclectic mix of food from a fusion of Cantonese and Western (Primarily British) cuisine, Cantonese fares, and even Asian food from outside of China. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even late night fare are often found at these cafes. These cafes tend to be a jack-of-all-trades type of restaurants and have a wide range of opening time.

A few sampling items:


  • Hong Kong milk tea - Hong Kong milk tea is a tea drink made ideally from a mix of several black tea (oddly called red tea in Cantonese) and usually evaporated milk (though condensed milk is also another option). I’ve noticed a few bay area places tend to add sugar before hand so I prefer to ask them for the milk to be unsweetened and then add a few bits of additional sugar for my own tastes.Compared to boba milk tea, the HK milk tea tends to be a lot stronger in tea taste and concentration.
  • Yin yeung - A combination of Hong Kong milk tea and coffee.
  • Lemon Ice Tea - A perennial classic where the black tea is mixed with rock sugar syrup and a few lemon slices poked and prodded until the juices from the lemon is thoroughly mixed. Supposedly less sugary than sweet tea…
  • Lemon coke - To most people, this combination isn’t too odd… until you hear that the drink can be served hot as well! In fact, the heated version can be considered a cold remedy of sorts especially if you add a bit of ginger to it.


  • Macaroni in soup: Usually part of a breakfast set, macaroni in soup is literally elbow macaroni placed in soup (often chicken broth based). There is some protein source added to it as well, usually ham, chicken, or beef. For the breakfast set, usually toast and milk tea is included. I consider the simple macaroni and soup to be a comfort food item as well.
  • Baked rice/spaghetti: Typically a dish with fried rice or spaghetti on the bottom with some protein/vegetable item on top covered in a red/white sauce. A classic one would be baked pork chops over rice. Here’s a little criteria guide: [SFBA] Good baked pork chop rice?
  • “French” Toast: HK style French toast is an interesting take on the snack. The French toast is typically prepared with sandwiching at least two slices of bread with peanut butter (be aware if you have nut allergies!), and then dipping it in the egg wash and then deep fried. Served with butter and syrup, it is bound to give your cardiologist a heart attack.

Where to eat?
San Francisco

  • Cafe Bakery
  • Tak Kee Lee
  • New Regents Cafe
  • VIP Coffee & Cake Shop
  • Cafe New Honolulu
  • Orchids Cafe
  • Venus Cafe
  • Smile House Cafe
  • T-28 Bakery & Cafe
  • S & E Cafe
  • Ken Kee
  • Goldendelicious


  • Cafe Orchid
  • Cafe Salina
  • ABC Bakery & Cafe

East Bay:

Check out all the other topics on the regional Cantonese cuisine

Great post and list.

I’m not sure it’s correct to say that the Western-type dishes are primarily British. Most of the dishes are copies of what was once called “Continental” cuisine - spaghetti, “Swiss steak,” borscht, fried pork cutlets, beef stroganoff, and so on. As well as the layered cakes you see.

Western style restaurants, frequently Russian, flourished under British rule in the 1950s and 1960s. “Canto-Western” versions developed as lower priced copies, affordable and more accessible, taste wise, to Chinese people.

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Oh I meant primarily British based on the fact that HK was a British colony but no I think you’re absolutely right on the history.

Two new entries:

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Hong Kong cafe chain Baby Cafe is opening a branch in the Emeryville Public Market. It wasn’t opened yet when I visited yesterday.

ETA: The online menu seems to be as extensive as ones at other HK cafes, but the menu board at Emeryville looked a lot shorter.

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The Emeryville Baby Cafe is now open. I had lunch there today.

It does have a very restricted menu, about six dishes plus a list of “snacks”, some of which are dim sum.

This was a disappointment, since I wanted to try some of the less common HK dishes. My fish filet in curry sauce was ok, nothing special.

What did you want to try?

Maybe my favorite, pan fried noodles with mixed seafood, or that shrimp and egg dish over chow fun described uptopic. Or even baked pork chop on spaghetti, which I think you were looking for in another topic.

There’s also the problem that the Public Market has gotten kind of uncomfortable to be in. All the tables and chairs in the common area are now tall, so it’s hard to relax.

includes a link to Luke Tsai’s 2016 article on Baby Cafe in Oakland-

Ack, I’ll get to updating things one day, just a little busy atm. @_@