Cha Chaan Teng is an 80’s Hong Kong-inspired cocktail and tapas bar serving crispy roast pork, unique cocktails on tap & more

by Christabel Tan

A trip to Hong Kong is long overdue for me, but I’ve been making do by visiting cha chaan tengs around Singapore.

Photo: @cct.sg/instagram

One of the cooler concepts that recently caught my eye was Cha Chaan Teng along Lavender Street, a restaurant, cocktail, and tapas bar that might just make you feel like you’re on the set of a Wong Kar Wai film.

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With its red and green mood lighting and fluorescent ceiling fixtures, the open-concept space, which has both counter seating and regular tables, oozes “retro, moody vibes”.

cha chaan teng lavender
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The back of the restaurant, in particular, draws on the nostalgia of 1980s Hong Kong.

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Cosy up in one of the booths (so that you can recreate your own In the Mood for Love dinner scene) or round up the entire gang for a meal in the private dining area, which has to be booked in advance.

cha chaan teng lavender
Photo: @cct.sg/instagram

Whether you want bites to nibble on or a full meal, Cha Chaan Teng has it all, offering a progressive take on traditional Hong Kong flavours served tapas-style.

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We recommend kicking things off with the Wu Tau Gou (S$8.90), or traditional yam cake with a twist. Think crispy and addictive yam fries served in a brown bag with a side of hae bee hiam salt. You can either dip the fries into the salt or shake everything up.

cha chaan teng lavender
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Other bites include the likes of Chun Gyun (S$10.90), open-faced spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce reminscent of kueh pie tee; the yong tau foo-inspired Chin Yeung Sam Bo (S$12.90); and Har Cheong Tin Gai (fried frog legs, S$13.90).

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Those dining in a group can also order the Ye Coi Faa (cauliflower cooked three ways, S$13.90), composed of roasted cauliflower steak, cauliflower puree, and cauliflower chilli crumbs, to share.

cha chaan teng lavender
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Out of everything we tried, it was the Siu Yuk (S$13.90) my dining partner and I were pleasantly surprised by. From the succulent meat and unctuous layer of fat, to the salty, crispy crackling, this roasted pork belly ticked all the right boxes.

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You can also find other meats like Siu Aap (roasted duck breast, S$16.90), Char Siew (S$13.90), Cha Fun Gai (cold-smoked chicken, S$14.90), and Faan Lei Yu (steamed golden snapper fillet, S$15.90) that would fit right in on the menu of a fancy Cantonese restaurant.

cha chaan teng lavender
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If you’re planning to drink a lot, you’ll need carbs, and what better than the Zyu Jau Bun Faan (S$3.90)?

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We gladly dug into the bowl of steamed rice drizzled in lard and soy sauce, topped with spring onions, fried shallots, and the best part, lots of crispy pork lard. Talk about indulgent!

cha chaan teng lavender
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There are only two desserts on the menu for now, but we had to order the Syut Gou (S$6.90), or ice cream (flavour) of the month, because it happened to be French toast during our visit. It was served potong-style, drizzled with a sweet, salty, and utterly delightful dulce de leche of sorts.

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Moving on the drinks, Cha Chaan Teng pays tribute to the opulent and vibrant Golden Era of Hong Kong with cocktails named after iconic characters and phrases from the movies.

cha chaan teng lavender
Photo: @cct.sg/instagram

Start off with cocktails on tap, like the Tong Pak Fu (Stephen Chow in Flirting Scholar, S$18), a combination as “illogical as Stephen Chow’s humour” — rum, smoked plum, coke, and interestingly enough, roasted duck fat.

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If you’ve ever had a hot toddy (one of the few popular hot cocktails) and enjoyed it, you might find comfort in Mo Wan (Tony Leung in In The Mood for Love, S$25), a herbaceous, subtly sweet cocktail of rye, pineapple liqueur, pineapple bitters, and tea-egg air foam that’s stronger than it looks.

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We also got to try the Lei Siu Lung (Bruce Lee, S$22), a deceptively simple concoction of tequila, cointreau, salted preserved lime, and rosemary smoke that packed a punch — it should’ve been obvious from the name alone. Order this if you’re a fan of cocktails that are smoky, briny, and more savoury than sweet.

cha chaan teng lavender
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End the evening with the Hung Dau Soeng Si (Longing feelings, S$25) inspired by red bean ice dessert, comprising tequila, coconut milk, citrus, and coconut soda with a base of sweet red beans — it’s a two-in-one cocktail and dessert!

Will you be heading down to Lavender Street for a Cha Chaan Teng experience unlike any other?

Cha Chaan Teng
Instagram
📍 284 Lavender St., Singapore 338802
🕜 5pm—12am (Daily)

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Photos by Christabel Tan

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