Cha Chan Tang

45 Mott St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 577-2888
Cha chaan teng, or cha chan tang are widely known in the U.S. as Hong Kong-style cafes, popularized as places for a cheap, quick meal. Hear more about these cafes, which represent a local interpretation of Western food, and have spread throughout the Chinese diaspora, from culinary historian and professor Casey Lum.

Though people from Hong Kong share Cantonese language and cultural traditions with earlier immigrants from Guangdong, 156 years of British colonial rule on the island resulted in a distinctive hybrid cuisine. Locals had been largely excluded from high-priced Western restaurants until the second half of the 20th century, when cha chaan teng began popping up in Hong Kong, Macau, and parts of Guangdong. These modernized, affordable, no-frills cafes served an eclectic range of Hong Kong-style Western foods like curry fish balls, baked pork chops with rice, and toast with butter and condensed milk, alongside a selection of hot and cold black and milk teas, including yuanyang, a mix of coffee and milk tea.

After the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, Hong Kong residents migrated to America in large numbers bringing cha chaan teng to their new neighborhoods. The clean and bright Cha Chan Tang near the meeting of Mott and Pell streets follows this tradition, serving a predominantly Cantonese-speaking clientele since 2010. The cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering an extensive number of classic hybrid dishes at every meal, including congee, pineapple buns, curries, baked spaghetti and rice dishes, toast, and an array of milk tea.

Megan McGowan
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