Shanghai: Cha’s Restaurant – Cantonese Diner

August 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Cha’s Restaurant is renowned for faithfully recreating an authentic Hong Kong “cha canting” dining experience in the style of the 1950s. From the black and white attire of the wait staff to the green-and-white tiled floors, 50s pop music pouring from the speakers, old-timey drink cases that cool soda by circulating cold water, and vintage lavatory signs from 1950s Hong Kong, Cha’s is wonderfully nostalgic for many Cantonese old-timers, and the food is as remarkable as its retro themed setting.

The owner is a film producer who loves this bygone era and has gone to great lengths to recreate the old-school atmosphere this place has become known for in addition to its extensive menus – which can be found under glass right on the tabletops, and are in both Chinese and English.

We had:

  • Iced milk tea – not too sweet and made with whole milk, this rich-yet-refreshing black tea beverage comes filled with cubes of more iced tea, making it the tea-est, milkiest iced milk tea that ever was
  • Singapore style fried rice vermicelli
  • Marinated beef shank, eggs and radish – the succulent radish was the perfect accompaniment to the slightly chewy beef
  • Pork fried rice
  • Chinese water spinach with garlic
  • Red bean cream with lotus seeds
  • Purple sticky rice with coconut milk – not to be missed!

They were out of the pineapple butter buns during our visit, but we hear it’s a must-have. All that bounty above plus a couple of beers , and it was still just 60rmb per person for our group of four. That’s six dishes, family-style plus drinks, for under $10 a pop.

Diner, take note: as with much of Shanghai, you’ll have to brace yourself for a bouquet of smells when you enter this place. During our visit, whatever is used to clean here had left a strong sour scent in the air. Once you get past this initial obstacle the food is well worth it!

1/F, 30 Sinan Lu,思南路30号1楼 / near Huaihai Zhong Lu 近淮海中路
+86 21 6093-2062, 11am-2am

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