In search of Hong Kong's 'BEST WON-TON NOODLE'
- Charles Yu May 6, 2007 08:18 PM
During my last two visits to Hong Kong, I have been using my spare time in search of the Best Won-ton Noodle in town. The evaluation criteria was provided to me by a real local Chinese food connoisseur. He told me the ultimate won-ton noodle should comprise of perfection in the following four components. The broth, the noodle, the won-ton and finally the condiments. The broth should be made from prawn shells, chicken and pork bones, dried tile fish, shrimp eggs and dried buddha fruit. The noodle strand should be as thin as a thread and cooked just below 'al-dente'. The won-ton should comprised of crunchy fresh prawns wrapped in paper thin wrapping skin. The cooked noodle, before being placed in the bowl, should be dressed and drizzled with a few drops of lard. Finally, the end product should be sprinkled with finely chopped yellow chives and shrimp eggs. So far, I only managed to locate outfits that satisfy two or three of the four criteria. Either they have great noodles and won-ton but mediocre broth or, they have great broth and noodles but so-so won-ton or great won-ton and broth but dissappointing noodles....etc etc. I've been to all the 'chain stores' such as Mak-Man-Kee, Mak-Un-Kee.....etc and found them so-so. Question, any local chowhound knows of some 'out of the way outfit' that still applies the traditional method and ingredients in creating the ultimate bowl of noodles?! Thanks in advance!
Never ate here, but here's a blog post of Ping Kee in Tai Po
Use your web browser and search for Ping Kee.
Address: Taipo Heung Market, 2/F, Taipo Complex, 8 Heung Sze Wui Street, Taipo
Tel: 2658 4567
Opening hours: 7am – 4pm
Fare: HK$16-30, cash only
Service: Minimalism; close two weeks every July; no English menu
Nearest railway: Taipo KCR
Transportation: again, catch the New Territories taxi (the green ones) from Taipo KCR -- just walks away from Sun Tsui Yun Kee
re: Charles Yu
That's single greatest Chinese food blog I've ever come across, and I think Cha Xiu Bao is a natural foodie (no, make that chowhound). His reports from Shanghai had the foods and places I was familiar with absolutely nailed, and this by a Hong Konger. I imagine he's right on the mark with regards to the HK stuff.
re: K K
I had the won ton meen and the yu dan meen (fish ball noodle) at Ping Kee in December of last year, on ChaXiuBao's recommendation. I'm not sure whether ChaXiuBao is just full of it, has totally weird standards of what food qualifies as good, or if there was a different person cooking on the days we went.
The won ton were rather hard and there was almost no flavor. The yu dan were a little better because they at least had some seasoning. There was also some lettuce in there. That new Tai Po Complex has a pretty excellent food court and a very clean, new-style wet market, and I've had some great dim sum at a place on the same floor as Ping Kee, but I wouldn't recommend Ping Kee itself.
As for other won ton meen in the area, there's a place (sorry, I didn't catch the name) in Tai Po Centre (right next to the wet market building) that's famous for its extra-large won ton. They are indeed big, and they're also very tasty. They offer a super-duper-hot chili oil to go with it, and some pretty good fresh soy milk. I believe it was HK$13 for a bowl, and they do other noodles as well for a similar price.
I am kinda late in this thread, but I stumbled on it trying to find the name of this restaurant. But I finally found it (by calling my sister up). I went to it about 6 months ago. It is Jim Chai Kee in Wellington Street off Central in Hong Kong. It is not a chain like Tsui Wah. It has been around for a very long time. Just delicious fish cake (leung yu dan) and wonton. I'll try the place mentioned by Luther in Tai Po. (Visit HK often on business).
There's a great book I'm reading printed in Taiwan, basically the Taiwanese edition of the HK book "HK Wei Dao" by Craig Auyeung. In Vol 1 he mentions three places for great won ton noodles. This author who I think is in his 40s or 50s has written numerous books and from what I can tell he knows his stuff (history, culture, etc).
Mak's (dunno how to pronounce the whole name properly)
Wellington St 77 (ground floor)
28543810, hours 11 am to 7:45 pm
Notes: 3rd generation owner whose origins are from Canton.
Henessey Road 89 (ground floor)
Hours 12 pm to 5 am (M to Sat), 12 pm to 1 am (Sunday)
Des Voeux Road Central 267 (ground floor)
Hours 10:30 am to 8 pm
re: K K
EVERYONE goes to Mak's or Mak Un Kee on Wellington Street - it's in guidebooks, local media etc. But there's actually another place also called Mak Un Kee (I think they were brothers and had a feud decades ago or something) in Sheung Wan, and their wonton noodles, imo, are much better, and slightly cheaper ($22. if i remember correctly).
Mak's wonton noodles
Wing Kut St (off Des Voeux Rd Central)
(strictly speaking between Sheung Wan and Central, close to Central Market)
Is this the one across from the 'Wing On' department store? Been there and indeed the product is pretty good. I was also told that further up the street there's another great noodle place that serves one of the best 'braised beef brisket and tendons' noodles in town. Any fellow chowhound knows its name and exact location?
re: Charles Yu
That book of mine is in the office so I can't recall the address off hand, but it translates to Nine's Place (Gau Gei) Ngau Lam. They specialize in brisket, red stewed or clear broth.
I haven't been back in 5 years and I'm only learning about these great places right now :-/
Also Wing Wah as I mentioned above in Wanchai, supposedly their noodles are made the old school way, using a bamboo pole to knead the dough, with the initial mix of eggs, water, flour, etc all done by hand (except machine to cut).
Somewhere near Sheung Wan on Queen's Rd is a very famous rice/noodle/congee place called Lor Fu Gei. I last ate there in '89 and even guidebooks and gourmet speak praises of it for good cheap eats.
re: K K
There were three main families who were at the top of the game in terms of wonton noodles, and some of them are still around today:
1. Mak Um Kee (Mak's) on Wellington
2. Chee Kee in Causeway Bay (moved from across Times Square to Percival St I believe)
3. Wong Chee Kee on Wellington across from Yung Kee
I love going to Tsui Wah for the convenience but it's not where I'd go for wonton noodles. Loh Fu Kee is on Lyndhurst Terrace I think, and they are not bad.
This might be heresy, but are there any sources won ton with good "fishetarian" broth, without the chicken/pork components. I had some super shrimp won ton in Wan Chai a few years ago, and we're returning to HK this fall, but my wife doesn't eat anything with legs (other than crustaceans). I'd like to share the experience with her, but she can sniff out chicken or other meat-based broth from across the room.