Hong Kong-style diners, or cha chaan teng, are a unique result of city's modern history. After the Second World War, Western food became increasingly popular in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, it remained beyond the financial reach of many people. Local diners started offering dishes with Western influences and, more important, reasonable prices and the trend took off.
Hong Kong’s dining scene has since changed dramatically but the Hong Kong-style diners continue to serve their hybrid creations to a captivated audience. Part of the reason for their success is they meet the local relentless demand for convenience and flexibility. Wherever you are in the city, there is usually a cha chaan teng within walking distance. Moreover, most stay open into the wee hours, while many operate around the clock. And they serve a variety of food to suit most hankerings, from stir fries to pineapple buns, Chinese barbecue to the local fusion style known as Soy Sauce Western.
As a result, the cha chaan teng attracts a diverse crowd, and it is not unusual to see brickies sitting across from business executives, and school kids alongside pensioners. Quite a number of cha chaan teng have English menus, making this institution of Hong Kong dining culture totally accessible to foreign visitors. Drop in, grab a booth and enjoy the food and the people watching!