Cantonese restaurant

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Cantonese restaurant
HK Sai Kung Seafood Street n restaurants.JPG
A seafood restaurant in Sai Kung, Hong Kong
Traditional Chinese 茶樓
Simplified Chinese 茶楼
Literal meaning tea house
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 酒樓
Simplified Chinese 酒楼
Literal meaning wine house

A Cantonese restaurant is a type of Chinese restaurant that originated in Southern China. This style of restaurant soon flourished in Hong Kong.


Some of the earliest restaurants in Colonial Hong Kong were influenced by Cantonese people.[1] Throughout the history of Hong Kong cuisine, a great deal of Southern China's diet became synonymous with Cantonese style food.

As many Cantonese people, including chefs, emigrated from Hong Kong to the Western world, authentic Cantonese restaurants began appearing in many Chinatowns overseas. From 1980 to 1986, an estimated 21,000 left Hong Kong permanently each year. Beginning in 1987 the numbers rose sharply to 48,000 people a year.[2]

Many Chinese restaurants in the United Kingdom are actually Cantonese take-out restaurants with few people recognising the difference between Cantonese and mainstream Chinese.

Restaurant types[edit]

Typically in the afternoon, dim sum are served during yum cha hour. A few Cantonese dishes may be available. In the evening, various Chinese banquets of Cantonese cuisine are held in the restaurant.

  • Tea house: chaa lau (Chinese: 茶樓), is a place serving only tea, dim sum and simple dishes.
  • Wine house: jau lau (Chinese: 酒樓), is a place serving banquets. i.e. 9-course menu usually for a table of 12 guests. From the early 20th century, jau lau started providing tea and dim sum like cha lau. Thus only a few chaa lau remain in business.
  • Seafood restaurants (Chinese: 海鮮酒家), are restaurants that specialize in live seafood dishes.

Modern cantonese dishes are a far cry from its early root in Guangzhou. They include generous use of off-the-shelf condiment, enrich by natural and artificial additives, boosting uncanny color and favor. Most Chinese restaurant nowadays cannot afford 100% cooking with raw herbs and spices.


Nearly all the Cantonese restaurants provide yum cha, dim sum, dishes, and banquets with their business varying between the hour of the day. Some restaurants try to stand out by becoming more specialised (focusing on hot pot dishes or seafood, for example), while others offer dishes from other Chinese cuisines such as Szechuan, Shanghai, Fujian (Teochew cooking, a regional variation of Guangzhou is similar to that of Fujian), Hakka, and many others.

A new kind of Cantonese restaurants are quickly spreading overseas and mainland China. It is often referred as Hong Kong-style zau lau (Chinese: 香港式酒樓) outside Hong Kong.

Michelin-starred restaurants[edit]

In the inaugural 2009 Hong Kong and Macau edition of the Michelin Guide, 14 restaurant received stars including two stars to three restaurants, ten with one star and the maximum of three stars to Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong helmed by Chef de cuisine Chan Yan-tak. It remains the only Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong to carry such distinction.[3]

Other Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurants includes:[4][5]

In the 2013 edition, independent restaurant Pang's Kitchen in Happy Valley was awarded one star.[8]

Notable restaurants[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wiltshire, Trea. [First published 1987] (republished & reduced 2003). Old Hong Kong - Volume One. Central, Hong Kong: Text Form Asia books Ltd. ISBN Volume One 962-7283-59-2
  2. ^ Manion, Melanie. [2004](2004). Corruption by Design: Building Clean Government in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Harvard University press. ISBN 0-674-01486-3
  3. ^ Kühn, Kerstin (26 November 2009). "Four Seasons hotel sets world record in new Michelin Hong Kong guide". CatererSearch (Reed Business Information). Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Lim, Le-Min (2 December 2008). "Michelin Hong Kong Gives 3 Stars to 2 Restaurants (Update1)". Bloomberg. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Lam, Tiffany (1 December 2009). "Hong Kong restaurants to avoid right now: Michelin guide's newest stars, the complete list". CNN Travel. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Christopher DeWolf; Doug Meigs (3 October 2011). "The best Hong Kong dim sum". CNN Travel. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  7. ^ 一星遭謫 鏞記「跌落凡塵」, Apple Daily (in Chinese), 2 December 2011, retrieved 2011-12-01 
  8. ^ Chan, Candy (5 December 2012). "Owners seeing stars as foodie bible is unveiled". The Standard. Retrieved 5 December 2012.