Best Traditional Tea Houses & Cafes in Hong Kong
What can you say about Hong Kong - a pulsating metropolis of neon lights, towering skyscrapers that seem to merge with the clouds, immense energy and super fashionable people. It's surely one of the best cities in the world to have a great meal, go out for drinks or a night of partying. It's also a great place to go out during the day, swapping your drinks for some coffee or tea in one of the city's many charming spots. Here, we collate a list of some awesome cafes in Hong Kong, from the old school to the ultra cool.
1. Luk Yu Tea House
Built in 1933, this gorgeous teahouse is known for its masterful cooking and Eastern art deco décor. Over the years, it maintained a loyal following of patrons, many of whom were artists, writers and painters – making it a place where art and politics found equal and passionate expression. Visiting Luk Yu Tea House is like a rite of passage through Hong Kong. It has probably been featured in every guide book ever written – and for good reason. The colonial style and traditional recipes take you back to a simpler, bygone era. Interestingly, Luk Yu continues to unofficially reserve its entire first floor for loyal long-time customers.
2. The Cupping Room
The rise of third wave coffee in Hong Kong was thanks to Kapo Chiu, an internationally renowned barista who opened The Cupping Room. Apart from pour over single origin coffees and espresso‐based drinks, the Central café has two special pastry items, kouign amanns and cruffins, which are almost as popular as the coffee.
3. Clipper Lounge
Hongkongers love their afternoon tea – and arguably the best place for a spot of tea, jam and scones is still the Clipper Lounge at the grand dame of Hong Kong hotels, the Mandarin Oriental. The tea is served in style on an elegant silver stand, reminiscent of the classic British style. On offer is a tantalising array of savory finger sandwiches and pastries as well as a variety of desserts along with the ever-present mixed basket of plain and raisin scones. Don’t miss the delicious rose petal and strawberry jam which is very well‐loved.
4. Hoi On Cafe
A cha chaan teng is a local tea shop – a uniquely Hong Kong concept. These charming spots dish up some unusual fare – basically a twist on Western dishes – such as macaroni with ham in soup; deep‐fried peanut butter sandwiches known as “French” toast; and sweetened condensed milk poured over red bean paste and a compressed ball of shaved ice. Hoi On Cafe belongs to this set of traditional cha chaan tengs. It was once the neighbourhood tea shop of choice for sailors docking at the nearby ports. Some years ago, the entire place was renovated to being it back to its lost glory. A must have are the delicious coconut tarts which just melt in your mouth!
5. For Kee
Before the fancy coffee shops took over Hong Kong, the local beverage of choice was Hong Kong‐style milk tea, a strong tea served with unsweetened evaporated milk. Most people got their milk tea from their neighborhood cha chaan teng. While things are slowly changing, one place where you can be assured of a classic cup of milk tea is For Kee – a local, family run establishment - where just about nothing has changed. If you fancy a snack, dig into the pan‐fried pork chop, marinated in soy sauce and sugar.
6. Kam Wah Café
If you’re in Hong Kong, you simply cannot leave without tasting the succulent local specialty – the pineapple bun (“Bo Lo Bao”). Interestingly, the bun doesn’t have any pineapple in it but the name comes from the fact that top crust of the bun that resembles the fruit. Kam Wah Cafe serves the best pineapple buns in Hong Kong –a crispy golden brown crust, soft bread on the inside and a liberal chunk of butter that melts in your mouth.
7. Tai Cheong Bakery
The Tai Cheong Bakery was established in 1954 and is a well-loved landmark in the city. The traditional bakery is best known for its egg tarts (which is Hong Kong’s former British Governor, Chris Patten’s favorite).and Chinese donuts. It is also the place where the butter-flavoured shortcrust pastry was invented. Make sure to buy these treats when they are hot from the oven.
8. Halfway Coffee
Here’s to drinking your cuppa in style. Best known for serving its coffee in vintage Hong Kong porcelain cups– Halfway Coffee is an unusual spot tucked away near the antique shops on Upper Lascar Row – a perfect place to take a quick break. They serve all the classic coffee options and a wide selection of tea. We recommend trying the Okinawan black sugar milk for something a little different.
Picture credits: Triportreats.com, buffalotrip.com, jacefootprints.blogspot.no, foodiehongong
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