Breakfast in Chinatown: Buttered Pineapple Bun and Eggs at Cha Chan Tang


Where to go for the first meal of the day.

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Cha Chan Tang is a bustling Hong Kong-style diner come lunch and dinner, but come breakfast, it offers a somewhat more serene opportunity for a quick, satisfying breakfast—for a whopping $4.

We stopped in on a rainy Tuesday morning to pick up a fresh pineapple bun generously slathered with butter. It came with "stir eggs,"* at least two or three to a portion, and a cup of hot Hong Kong-style milk tea.

If you've never heard of stir eggs, have no fear, they're just scrambled eggs, cooked without much disruption for a final product with extra-large curds. And the pineapple bun contains no actual pineapple; its name comes from the slightly sweet crust spread on top that crackles while baking to mimic the skin of a pineapple.

The whole package is richer than mac and cheese and just as comforting: soft, buttery bun, warm, unadorned egg (best with a swipe of hot sauce), and a bit of sweet, crusty topping. Though the eggs toughen over time, this works well as a to-go meal; the bun steams in its container, turning extra soft.

And again—$4! That's enough to forget about soggy toes and leaky umbrellas. We'll be looking forward to this on cooler days.