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From cha chaan teng to dim sum: Iconic spots to yum cha in Hong Kong

From cha chaan teng to dim sum: Iconic spots to yum cha in Hong Kong
PHOTO: Instagram/One Dim Sum, Facebook/Yum Cha HK

Although synonymous with dim sum, Yum Cha literally means tea time in Hong Kong. Whether it's your breakfast tea or brunch fare, Yum Cha is a time for dim sum, all-day breakfast, noodles, and more.

Beyond small bites from the bamboo baskets, be sure to bookmark these dim sum and Cha Chaan Teng spots for a truly quintessentially Yum Cha experience in Hong Kong .

Cha Chaan Teng

The Australian Dairy Company

You can’t say you’ve been to Hong Kong without visiting this popular cha chaan teng. Besides serving some of the best scrambled eggs on toast and steamed milk custard, they are also known for their super efficiency and service (or lack of), giving you the quintessential cha chaan teng experience.

But to be fair, they need to keep the well-oiled system going to feed throngs of time-starved (and starving) customers — so expect no small talk here. Decide what you want outside the shop and don’t hog the seats when you are done. P.S. Apart from it’s name, there’s nothing Australian here!

The Australian Dairy Company is located at 47 Parkes St, Jordan, Hong Kong, p. +852 2730 1356. Open daily 7.30am –10pm.

Sing Heung Yuen

Nestled within an alleyway, Sing Heung Yuen is one of the oldest surviving dai pai dong (open-air food stalls) and a local favourite for Tomato Beef Noodles.

The signature dish is made and topped with fresh tomatoes and served with generous slices of beef, a comforting combination so good that even celebrities like Chow Yun Fatt have been spotted here (According to the boss, he’s a regular). Other favourites include the Tomato Soup Macaroni and the crispy Lemon Honey Bun.

Sing Heung Yuen is located at 2 Mee Lun Street, Central, Hong Kong, p.+852 2544 8368. Open Mon – Sat 8am –3.30pm. Closed Sun.

Kam Fung Restaurant

This hole-in-the-wall is a traditional Hong Kong eatery best known for its Bolo Bun (sweet crusted bun that’s known as ‘pineapple’ bun), Egg Tarts, and Chicken Pie. Most regulars will go for the buns with their set meals, even though there is an extra charge, or order them for takeaway. 

Just like any other Cha Chaan Teng, efficiency is the name of the game, so slurp up your Satay Beef Noodles and make space for other diners in the queue. 

Kam Fung Restaurant is located at 41 Spring Garden Ln, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, p.+852 2572 0526. Open daily 7am – 6.45pm.

Chrisly Cafe

What started as an alternative to Australian Dairy Company (ADC) in Wan Chai, Chrisly Cafe, formerly Capital Cafe, has developed its own following with multiple outlets around Hong Kong.

Its menu may be similar to ADC but its bougie options like the Scrambled Egg Toast with Black Truffle keep diners coming back. Heartier offerings include Macaroni and Ham with Fried Egg and Corned Beef Sandwich, to be enjoyed alongside traditional milk tea. Be prepared to share tables and eat fast. You might just see another celebrity here too!

Chrisly Cafe has multiple outlets around Hong Kong. 

Café Seasons


Café Season’s take on macaroni is anything but ordinary. Their homemade soup, simmered with pig bone and eggshells, is thickened with Japanese rice, which creates a comforting broth that pairs perfectly with macaroni. 

Here, food is crafted from quality ingredients, just like their velvety smooth scrambled eggs, which use a blend of Japanese, Chinese, and American eggs, sans milk and cream. 

However, it’s the BBQ Pork Rice with Scrambled Eggs that takes the cake as the best-seller. Their affordable lunch sets are hugely popular, so try to avoid dropping by from 12pm–2pm, unless queuing is on your agenda. 

Cafe Seasons is located at  88 Des Voeux Rd Central, Central, Hong Kong, p.  +852 2650 2088. Open daily 7.30am –8pm.

Dim Sum

Luk Yu Teahouse 

At Luk Yu Teahouse, time seems to come to a standstill; its furniture and furnishings are from more than 90 years ago, and even its staff have been working there for decades. Generations of regular customers gather on the first floor for their daily dim sum breakfast, leaving the second and third floors for other diners.

However, those fill up quickly too. It is said they even had to turn down a visit from the Queen of the UK. Locals and tourists come for traditionally prepared dim sum served like Char Siew Bun, Prawn Toast, Egg Tarts, and more, served via the dim sum trolley. Not the cheapest dim sum but definitely the most nostalgic.

Luk Yu Teahouse is located at 24-26 Stanley St, Central, Hong Kong, p. +852 2523 5464. Open daily 7am –3pm.

One Dim Sum


One Dim Sum is a wallet-friendly dim sum spot that won the hearts of Michelin inspectors in 2011 and 2012. Popular among locals and expats, you’ll have to strategise your visit — either arrive before they open or skip weekends — to save you from waiting in the queue. Steamed Beef Balls and Dumplings are a hot favourite here — juicy and succulent.

Made the traditional way, BBQ Pork Buns are steamed until pillowy soft, then filled with sweet and savoury pork to the brim. Totally affordable and delicious.

One Dim Sum is located at G/F, 209A Tung Choi St, Prince Edward, Hong Kong, p. +852 2677 7888. Open daily 9.30am –10.30pm. 

Yum Cha HK

Known for their innovative and iconic BBQ Piggy Buns, Yum Cha HK is the spot for a fun and delicious experience that’ll fill your tummy and your Instagram feed. Some diners have been having fun with the oozing Hot Custard Buns (Liu sha bao), while others are wolfing down all the baos and dumplings they can get.

But keep a lookout for its seasonal menu that features new creations or order classic Chinese dishes like the crowd-favourite Sweet and Sour Pork.

Yum Cha HK is located at  2/F, Nan Fung Place, Nan Fung Tower, 173 Des Voeux Rd Central, Central, Hong Kong, p.+852 3541 9710. Open daily 11.30am –3pm & 5.30pm – 10pm.

Sun Hing Restaurant 

One for the night owls or the super early risers! The chefs at Sun Hing Restaurant begin their work when most people are in bed, rolling dough and wrapping dumplings in the middle of the night to serve piping hot dim sum to the hungry crowd at 3am.

Eating here is not for the faint of heart; once you beat the queue, jostle your way to your seats (plastic stools) before ordering the freshly made Siew Mai and Salted Egg Custard Bun. Other outstanding dishes to try include Loh Mai Kai and Fried Milk.

Sun Hing Restaurant is located at G/F, 8 Smithfield Rd, Markfield Building, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, p. +852 2816 0616. Open daily 3am –4pm.

Tim Ho Wan


Sure, we have ten outlets here in Singapore, but nothing beats trying the original and Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan at Sham Shui Po. The cosy 20-seater restaurant, where it all started, snagged its first star one year after opening; at one time, it was said to be the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in the world.

Savour your favourite items like BBQ Bun, Steamed Turnip Cake, Har Gow, Siew Mai, and more, and see if it’s any different from what we have here in Singapore. 

Tim Ho Wan Sham Shui Po is located at G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Shan Shui Po, p.+852 27881226. 

ALSO READ: Just opened May 2024: New restaurants, cafes and bars in Singapore this month

This article was first published in City Nomads.

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