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Thick slices of custard-dipped bread stuffed with peanut butter, deep-fried to crispy golden perfection, topped with butter, and doused in condensed milk or syrup. An indulgent concoction that is nearly impossible to resist when those 4 pm hunger pangs hit. Yes, we are indeed talking about Hong Kong-style French toast!
This iconic tea-time staple can be found in almost every cha chaan teng (茶餐廳; Hong Kong-style tea restaurant), but we’ve had our fair share of soggy fried bread packaged as Hong Kong-style French toast to know that not every eatery does the delicacy justice. We’re here to save you the unnecessary calories and guide you through the eight best places to get your fix of Hong Kong-style French toast!
If you stroll by Water Street at any given time, you’ll almost always find a crowd of people milling outside the entrance of Chau Kee, waiting to be seated in this the hole-in-the-wall local eatery. That’s because Chau Kee’s legendary molten French toast has a cult-like following. Whether you order their signature salted egg yolk flavour ($34) or opt for other enticing variations like taro ($34) or black sesame ($34), you’re in for an experience that is captivating to the eyes and tantalising to the taste buds. When you cut into the crispy battered sandwich, the runny lava-like filling oozes onto the plate in a satisfying gush. The filling is generous so feel free to drench every bite in the sweet molten goodness!
Chau Kee, Shop H1, G/F, Tung Lee Mansion, Water Street, Sai Ying Pun | (+852) 2559 2389
Unbeatable price, consistent quality, and lightning speed service, no wonder Kam Wah Café is heralded as one of the best local eateries. While this old-school cha chaan teng located in the heart of Mong Kok is most known for their egg tart and pineapple bun, we think their French toast ($20) is equally a show stopper. Always served fresh and piping hot, the rich peanut-butter filled toast is fried to a deep golden brown, maintaining a crispy exterior even as the thick slab of butter and syrup melts on top. The interior is soft and full of eggy flavour without being soggy. We guarantee you will devour the dish in a flash!
Kam Wah Café, G/F, 47 Bute Street, Prince Edward | (+852) 2392 6830
Humbly tucked into Stanley Market, this small, weathered dai pai dong may not look like much from the outside, but locals know it as a hidden gem within the seaside town. Give their kaya French toast ($30) a taste and you will see why. Unlike many Hong Kong-style French toasts that are smothered in syrup, Si Yik’s kaya French toast is sweetened only with the star ingredient—kaya, a coconut and pandan-flavoured spread. Slathered liberally in between the two slices of eggy bread, the coconut jam lends the perfect amount of sweetness to the dish without additional syrup, so that its flavour can shine through undiluted. The bread encasing the luscious filling is also ridiculously soft and pillowy, with a nice bit of chew on the outside for textural contrast.
Si Yik (泗益), 2 Stanley Market Street, Stanley | (+852) 2813 0507
Can’t decide between satay beef noodles and French toast? Lok Yuen’s beef satay French toast ($29) fuses the two cha chaan teng classics into one plate so you don’t have to choose! Located in Kowloon City, the beef satay at Lok Yuen is so well-loved that it has made its way into multiple dishes across the menu. Yes, including French toast! Thanks to the tender and juicy beef marinated in a rich homemade satay sauce, this French toast dish packs a powerful flavour punch. Pairing the umami notes from the filling with sweetness from the condensed milk drizzled over the French toast, the whole dish comes together in a symphony of contrasting and well-balanced flavours.
Lok Yuen (樂園), Shop 6, 3/F, Kowloon City Municipal Services Building, Nga Tsin Wai Road, Kowloon City | (+852) 2382 3367
Hong Kongers tend to like their French toast thick, and Red Point’s signature Super French Toast ($35) goes above and beyond to deliver. If you find yourself in Cheung Chau, you will not want to miss out on this classic Hong Kong-style French toast on steroids. This behemoth of a dessert is a whopping four inches thick and served bathing in a pool of condensed milk. For the filling, you can take your pick from six decadent flavours—including coconut, coffee, green tea, blueberry, condensed milk, and peanut butter! We particularly love their green tea & peanut butter rendition. The portions are hefty, so prepare to share!
RedPoint (紅點), G/F, 65 San Hing Street, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2981 0303
The western side of Kowloon has no shortage of cha chaan tengs, but Hong Kong Tastes (almost exclusively referred to by its Chinese name of “雪山冰廳”) outperforms many of its competitors with its affordable menu, comfortable seating, and soul-warming food. Established since 1956, this local eatery has withstood the test of time and now has locations in Sham Shui Po and Cheung Sha Wan. Their famed hazelnut French toast ($32) will have you revisiting the place over and over again. Instead of the usual peanut butter, binding together the two pieces eggy bread is a slather of hazelnut paste. With the nutty flavour rounding out the sweetness, the dish is rich but not cloying.
Boasting an extensive selection of old-school clay pot rice and Cantonese small plates, Casserole Buddies is a stylish update on Hong Kong’s dai pai dongs from the 70s. Apart from their famous clay pot rices, the diced French toast with chocolate and hazelnut ($39) is a huge crowd-pleaser. For a bargain price, this Ferrero Rocher-inspired dessert features bite-sized cubes of French toast drizzled with condensed milk, chocolate and hazelnut sauce, and finished with chocolate chips. If you love the crispy edges of French toast, you will be happy to know that the golden cubes are cut before frying to ensure maximum crunch with each bite.
If you’re looking for a relaxed environment to enjoy the cha chaan teng classic, head to Baofanji. Perched on a quiet alleyway in Prince Edward, this whimsical café draws in a hipster crown with its zen and cosy atmosphere. Many come for their fusion baos (包, Chinese-style buns), but their French toast ($68) is an absolute must-try. Offering an upgraded twist on the classic, Baofanji’s rendition of the Hong Kong-style French toast is topped with creamy vanilla ice cream, a divine butterscotch sauce, and crushed peanut brittle. In addition to the textural component from the crushed confection, the juxtaposition of the hot French toast and the cold ice cream takes this dish to another league. As if it couldn’t get any better, the creation is exquisitely plated to make for the perfect Instagram photo!
Baofanji (包販子), G/F, 254 Tung Choi Street, Prince Edward | (+852) 2656 5605