Another popular dining option in Taiwan are Hong Kong tea cafes, or tea houses, which serve traditional Hongkie grub ranging from rice and noodle stir fries to soup noodles, pineapple buns, toasts, and milk tea and lemon tea beverages. If you’ve been to one of these places in Hong Kong you’ll know what I mean.
Many of these places in Taiwan are average, expensive, or inauthentic, or all of the above. Hsin Hua Tea House (香港鑫華茶餐廳) on Jinhua Street in Taipei’s Da’an district is one of the few really authentic ones. On top of the dishes and atmosphere, the prices are also very reasonable (each person can expect to spend around NT$100-200) and the service is expedient. That’s why you can almost always expect to see the place full of people, though the wait is never as long as it seems because the turnover is so rapid.
I have been to this joint a few times but the variety is so great that there are still many dishes that I am desperate to try. Unfortunately, the menus are entirely in Chinese, so you will need some local help if you don’t understand the language.
From a quick look at the menu I can see that there are around 15 types of stir fried noodles alone, plus around 15 or so rice dishes. They have a special recommended pork chop rice with egg (a Hongkie favourite), as well as a selection of soups served with instant-style noodles. On top of that there are small dishes such as pineapple buns, turnip cakes, sandwiches, toasts, and of course, Chinese desserts. They also have daily specials on the whiteboard which are a little cheaper than the menu prices. I’d normally say choose wisely, except everything looks so appetizing.
On this occasion we chose a traditional HK fried pork chop bun with lettuce and mustard (sublime), a pan-fried rice noodle rolls with hoisin and peanut sauce (awesome), a steamed pork with black bean sauce on rice (authentic) and a classic pineapple bun (excellent). For a beverage we got their traditional milk tea. Here are the pics.
I’ve actually had a lot more stuff from this place but I always tend to forget to take photos. Their HK-style French toast is pretty good and I’ve also had their stir-fried beef with dry instant noodles. It’s all good stuff. Maybe I’ll add some photos if I remember take some next time.
Overall, Hsin Hua Tea House is definitely a place I would recommend. The food is authentic and tasty, the selection is vast, the service is efficient and the prices are fair. It’s one of those restaurants you can go to regularly and still keep wanting to go back for more.
Hsin Hua Tea House (香港鑫華茶餐廳)
Address: 126-1 Jinhua St, Da’an district, Taipei — across the road from National Chengchi University’s Center for Public and Business Administration Education (nearest MRT: Guting or Dongmen)
Phone: (02) 2391-2002
Note: cash only