30 Sinan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu 思南路30号, 近淮海中路 +86 21 6093 2062
11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Cha's Restaurant has earned the crowds that line-up outside of it night after night with its amazingly accurate replication of the Hong Kong cha canting experience.
Unfortunately, there's only one Cha's for a city of 19 million people, so if you don't want to wait in line, your best bet is to make it a stop on your late-night bites trail and go after 10 p.m. on weekdays (the kitchen closes at 1:30 a.m.) -- it's is about the only time when you won’t have to queue up to get in.
Cha does a springy macaroni (ramen) with spam that diners swear is the real thing transported from Hong Kong. It's authentic down to the watered-down chicken broth.
Other favorites are the soy sauce chicken and the silky tofu with fresh scallops and black bean sauce.
For those who need sweets, Cha's offers crumbly-on-top pineapple buns that come with a fat pat of butter, and very, very (did we say "very"?) good Hong Kong milk tea among the other delicious offerings.