What is your favorite restaurant on campus? For me, Hong Kong Noodle is my favorite restaurant. They have really authentic food and make me feel like home. For example, the minced beef and scramble egg with rice, fried squid, and Wanton Soup are something I always order. However, these are only tip of the iceberg. Known as the “Food Paradise”, Hong Kong cuisine is almost influenced by all over the world due to the fact that it has a long history of being an international city. Therefore, you can choose from a wide variety of DOD when you visit Hong Kong.
Among all kinds of food, I think Chaw Chuan Tent is one of the most popular foods in Hong Kong because it really reflects our culture in different ways. The history of Chaw Chuan Tent explains why high efficiency is one of the main cultures of Hong Kong. In the early Hong Kong, the British opened high- class restaurants in the city that provided western food and they did not welcome Chinese to get in. It is also a luxury expense. Therefore, not a lot of local people know how western food taste like.
In the sass, Hong Kong ultra was influenced by British culture and they started to like drinking tea with milk and sugar and eating cakes, but they are only available for British or wealthy people with high social status. In order to challenge such discrimination, local people decided to open their own restaurants serving affordable Western food, which is known as Chaw Chuan Tent. It literally means Tea Cafe or Tea Restaurant. According to Disdains Manacle’s article in the New York Times, he describes this as a “classic, sass-ass style coffee shop diner. Think Howard Johnny’s, Horn and Hardhat, or the original
Cha Chaan Tengs
Dyne’s, but with Chinese chefs in the kitchen”. Finally, this kind of restaurant slowly developed a culture of fast service and high efficiency in Hong Kong during the post-war industrial boom, because factory workers only had short breaks, and they needed to eat cheap and fast. Customers normally receive their dishes couple minutes after their order, and they only spend 10-minutes to finish a meal and get back to work. Now you might start to wonder what kind of food do they actually serve? The wide variety of food they provide shows the gluttony of Hong Kong people.
Chaw Chuan Tent usually consist of three cooking places; a bar, which makes drinks, toasts or sandwiches, a noodle stall which prepares many different types of noodles and dumplings, and a kitchen, which makes rice plates, conge, or other more expensive dishes. Most people do not only get in during breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime, but also between meals. No matter how full they are, they will certainly feel like ordering something to eat or drink in the restaurant. Sometimes people are full and they just want to get a drink, a yanking would definitely be their choice.
It is a mixture of 30% black coffee and 70% milk tea. The coffee will wake them up after eating while the tea will help them digest the food better. It might sound awful but it is a perfect match. Sometimes people are only half full but not too hungry, they would choose a Hong Kong Style French Toast as their afternoon tea. It is essentially a deep fried sandwich with a thick layer of peanut butter in between, served with syrup and a brick of butter on top. The fluffiness of the bread combine with the sweetness of syrup and butter makes it a popular teatime snacks in Hong Kong.
Finally, if people can eat more food, they should order Wanton Noodle Soup. It is usually served in hot broth with vegetables and wanton dumplings, which contains shrimp. Apart from Wanton, you can also add other toppings, such as sliced beef, meatballs, steak, pork chop, and grill chicken. That will fill you up for the rest of the afternoon. According to CNN News, even Donald Tsars the former Chief Executive of Hong Kong, has declared in an open letter to the public that he loves going into a chaw chuan tent for some beef brisket noodles and milk tea.
As you can see, the wide range of choices, from drinks to snacks to rice or noodle dishes always fulfill people’s craving for food. In conclusion, the reason why Chaw Chuan Tent is so popular in Hong Kong is because of its interesting history and the wide range of food they provided, which reflects the important culture of Hong Kong. In 2007, the Legislative Council in Hong Kong passed a proposal to recognize these restaurants as “intangible cultural heritage of humanity’. If you will ever visit Hong Kong and wonder what you should get, Chaw Chuan Tent would be your first choice.