The Hong Kong-Style Macaroni Soup might be our new favourite way to start the day.

Cha chaan teng are a type of casual restaurant commonly found in Hong Kong. Though cha chaan teng literally means “tea restaurant” in Cantonese, these establishments serve much more than just tea.  They offer a wide range of inexpensive Chinese and Western-style dishes, including breakfast items.

Breakfast in Hong Kong can take many forms, from toast to ramen to curry. After five days of starting her mornings of at a cha chaan teng, though, our travel-loving reporter Ikuna Kamezawa was in the mood for someplace more familiar for breakfast…


It was around 9 in the morning on a weekday, but the nearby McDonald’s was already packed full of people.

As well as the usual McDonald’s breakfast menu items like pancakes and hash browns, there were some uniquely Hong Kong menu items, like these Twisty Pasta Meals.

The ‘Sausage ‘n’ Egg Twisty Pasta Meal (Original Flavour)‘ seemed to be McDonald’s take on Hong Kong-style macaroni soup — a soup containing macaroni pasta, luncheon meat, and assorted vegetables swimming in a light chicken broth. McDonald’s version included a hamburger patty, fried egg, hash browns, and a drink for 36.5 Hong Kong dollars (US$4.62). For an extra 3.5 HKD, Ikuna changed her drink to an iced milk tea — a favourite of many Hong Kongers.

The broth was very mild, but the patty was incredibly rich in flavour. The two paired together well, and while it wasn’t mind-blowingly tasty, it was perfectly pleasant, and Ikuna felt like she could eat it every day. There were a bunch of more traditional Hong Kong style macaroni soup restaurants in the area, and yet many of the locals were eating this McDonald’s soup, so its reputation must be pretty solid among the locals too.

Keen to see if the menu was wildly different in the afternoon, Ikuna returned to McDonald’s later that day. The afternoon menu featured a wide variety of chicken side items, and Ikuna felt like she’d been transported to a Hong Kong branch of KFC instead.

Chicken at McDonald’s in Japan is either nuggets or shaka-chicken, a fried chicken fillet. But Hong Kong McDonald’s have lots of drumsticks, still on the bone. Ikuna decided to order three flavours — from left to right, Salt & Pepper, Original, and Honey Barbecue.

The drumsticks were sweet and tender, and reminded Ikuna of a marinated tandoori chicken. The flavours were unique and yet hard to describe. If Ikuna had eaten them blindfolded, she would have had trouble naming them specifically, but she was satisfied with them all. For Ikuna, finding hidden overseas-only gems like these from chains she’s familiar with in Japan is one more thing that makes travel fun and meals abroad special.

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, and in Hong Kong, it might be the most delicious too, so Ikuna recommends anyone travelling to Hong Kong to wake up early and experience as many ‘breakfasts’ as you can!

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