Dining at a chan chaan teng is an obstacle course every time, from finding a seat to winning over the perpetually grumpy staff.
1. You circle like a hawk over a person about to leave, and swoop down the very second he stands up. No mercy!
2. No one’s reading the menu — the pros look right at the scribbles on the wall.
3. You throw your low-sodium/no-carb/less-oil foibles to the wind. It’s instant noodles, French toast, pineapple buns, processed meat ALL THE WAY.
4. In fact, you try very hard to flatter the CCT staff. You suck up, calling them “leng jai/nui!” You thank them. You flash your best smile. Because pissing off a CCT staff is nooot fun.
5. You can’t order because there are so many options! Set A, B, C, D or French toast, milk tea, yuen yeung or iced lemon tea? HELP!
6. You try ever-so-carefully not to touch any of the sticky, oily condiments containers. But skipping chili oil is simply not an option!
7. You find yourself speaking solely in CCT lingo. Siu teem 小甜 (less sugar), jou bing 走冰 (no ice), hang gai 行街 (takeaway).
8. Come time to pay, you realize your receipt is covered in food stains. The aftermath of a good CCT meal.
9. You make sure you have the exact change before walking up to the cashier. Or fear the wrath of CCT staff forevermore.