Hong Kong Choi
This cha chaan teng-style “tea restaurant” is the Hong Kong equivalent of a greasy spoon and serves the region’s typical Canto-European crossover cuisine, the result of its colonial history, fusing British and southern Chinese elements in a real east-meets-west repertoire of dishes.
There are noodle bowls like satay beef and crispy vermicelli plus lots of egg-fried rice, as with the Japanese-inspired teriyaki chicken and the pork cutlet with curry, then there are pasta plates, such as spaghetti, though done in a wok, and tomato macaroni soup. Cha chaan teng favourites on the menu in Salford include hand-shaped wonton dumplings, filled with pork and shrimp, then drowned in broth and baked pork chop rice, or gok ju pa fan – this filling number consists of a casserole of fried rice and pork chop that’s lathered in tomato sauce and cheese, then baked so it’s crispy on top and gooey inside. Featured items at this old-style Hong Kong feel joint – complete with authentic 80s and 90s soundtrack – range from the bean curd roll starter or snack to the generous gingery grilled shogayashi pork chop on egg-fried rice topped with an ajitsuke tamago ramen egg, a Hongkonger’s taste of Japan. Stir-fried spaghetti with sliced black pepper steak is another house special, and the Italian influence is back in the beef fried rice with stringy mozzarella – a kind of HK take on a risotto. Don’t leave without trying the classic dessert of red bean ice (hong dau bing) – crushed sweetened red adzuki beans are added to evaporated milk and syrup, then topped with ice and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
And of course definitely don’t leave without a cup of the signature drink: sweet and smooth milk tea, designed to go with everything on the menu, and ordered hot or cold. A strong black tea is brewed to a secret blend (usually ceylon, pu-erh, Assam and oolong – each cha chaan teng has its own recipe), then strained and combined with canned evaporated milk, lots of it.
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