The cha chaan teng is another great Chinese invention and whilst we have them in the UK, there are not at all the same. Cha chaan teng, literally translating to tea meal room, is the equivalent of the English cafe, except the sorts of food on offer, whilst similar, are much more ‘exotic’ than in the UK.
You might expect sandwiches, pies or jacket potatoes in your typical English cafe but in the CCTs you find dishes like pork cutlet with chips, beef brisket curry or roast pork with bitter melon rice. The range of dishes available is greater and the range of drinks is greater; things like cold Horlicks, cold Ovaltine and red bean ice are all on offer.
But arguably the best thing about the CCT is the quick service and the price; I ordered a Chicken Satay Spaghetti, which cost $33 (£2.80), and it arrived in 5 minutes. The other dishes were just as quick, including the pork cutlet with chips and a stir-fried beef noodle dish.
There are many similarities between the English cafe and the CCT, but this is something you probably won’t find in the sandwiches part of the menu in the cafe. The club sandwich, filled with ham, fried egg, tomato, lettuce and corned beef, is something I tend to always associate with the CCT and every single CCT has a different way of doing it.