MAN CHA TEAS

Purveyor of Premium Chinese Tea and education provider to children in need.


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Toast Box, Tai Koo Shing

toast box

Mrs Man and I thought that we would try out this branch of Toast Box. I don’t think it is new but we are still so unfamiliar with this area. Besides Hong Kong is always changing so fast, its common that a whole building may have been demolished since your last visit to an area!

Anyway we were hungry and our visit to other branches have always been enjoyable.

toast box pour

Walking in felt alright, place fitted like other branches. Lots of steam from the boiling water and the signature butter mountain (sorry no picture), however it did feel a little sparse. There were customers but staff wise there seemed to be only three few buzzing around. This may have explained why although the restaurant was not full the queue was strangely long.

Anyhow I wanted my milk tea and a snack. As it’s customary when it’s 3pm, I was famished!

toast box set

So we ordered a Beef Rendang set with a milk tea and a Kaya Toast. Beef Rendang is an Indonesian curry dish  with caramelised beef. Kaya is a type of spread made of egg, sugar, coconut milk and flavoured with pandan, which is a common plant used in South Asian cooking.

Foodwise the Beef Rendang was acceptable, the beef was fairly tender and the rice was coco-nutty. However, the signature Kaya toast was so-so. There wasn’t much Kaya compared to a serious wedge of butter. It looked like a badly assembled cheddar cheese sandwich! I get somewhat calorie conscious when I see a copious wedge of unnecessary butter strangled between slices of toasted white bread. So I used a knife to chip away some of the wedge.

toast box cup

Now to the milk tea. The cashier was also the tea maker today. I was impressed that she warmed and rinsed my cup with hot water. I believe that this is essential to keep the tea warm once poured and I like to see it done for hygiene reasons. In Hong Kong at Yum Cha restaurants it is customary to wash your cutlery and bowls before you eat, as the kitchen washers often do not rinse the detergent off thoroughly. Then she poured the tea from a great height. I love seeing this as I’m sure it takes some practice. If I ever tried something like this I would more than likely slash hot tea across chest and face then be admitted to A&E!! Please as they say “don’t try this at home!”

Maybe I was impressed by the lady’s precision so I clumsily spilt a few precious gulps on the way to our table, which explains this wet looking cup. From first inspection of the tea, it looked a bit too milky. I did ask for less sugar as they usually add sugar for you at Toast Box. The smell was creamy but didn’t have a strong tea scent. My initial observations were correct. The tea was creamy and not so sweet which I liked but had no depth of tea flavour. Last time in Cafe Matchbox the tea had too much strength and was steeped too long, this time it was almost the opposite. It goes to show that its worth going the distance for your perfect cup of milk tea.

To sum up, this branch of Toast Box is not especially outstanding but if you are in the area and fancy a quick milk tea its worth a visit but be warned of the Kaya  Butter wedge toast.

Mr. Man

P.S as suggested by previous comments, I should give contact details of places I visit. So here goes…but I won’t be divulging addresses if the place is bad. Don’t want you to suffer like I did.

Toast Box
Shop 514, G/F, Hing On Mansion, 5 Tai Yue Avenue, Taikoo Shing. Telephone, (852) 2115 9985.


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Lan Fong Yuen, Tst

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On the weekend I managed to squeeze in a late lunch at Lan Fong Yuen. Being a seasoned Hong Konger I thought going at 3pm will avoid the peak lunchtime craziness. How wrong was I! Unfortunately I’m not that seasoned and Hong Kong is constantly in peak time craziness!
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Anyway waiting until 3pm I was absolutely starving and gasping for their “lai cha” or milk tea.

Lai cha literally means milk tea but it can also represent how the tea is made. “Lai” can mean to pull in Cantonese which describes the way the tea is pulled through the filters and sieves. Sometimes it is pulled through 7 times to get the full flavour from the tea.
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Each shop has their own way and blend to make their own signature lai cha. Usually a blend of Ceylon tea and sometimes even Chinese Pu’er is used in the blend. Then boiling water is pulled through the tea and filters several times.

Rumour has it that some very old shops still use lady’s tights as the filter. Maybe this is continued from the colonial post and the war when filters were in shortage. I know that in Britain that was the case during WW2.

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What I really like about this place is the “local-ness” in menu and atmosphere. Although this is not the original shop and not as old as it looks, it does feel genuinely aged. What I also like are their signature items. Obviously the hot milk tea is smooth, with deep dark tea taste topped with a creamy condensed milk finish.

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But seriously, their cold milk tea is really good too. I get really annoyed whenever I order cold milk tea and I don’t drink it instantly the ice cubes melt and dilutes the tea.  Grrrr..I want a cold milk tea not a cup of watery milk!

However at Lan Fong Yuen some genius invented the frozen milk tea ice cube! When this ice cubes melts it just oozes more coldness and keeps its tea concentration.

I highly recommend coming here for a cuppa and a condensed milk bun to help relieve yourself from that late afternoon slump.

Be warned..there are a lot of local treats here you might overeat!

Mr.Man