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HK foodie trip in October

It's time to be brave and reveal my shortlist of HK restaurants, after having done a lot of research on Chowhound. I don't have that many lunch and dinner slots in HK, so please let me know your opinions! I've also had to take into consideration the husband, who's vegetarian, so if you're wondering why I've left certain places off my list, that's why. Plus, I have 6 days in Beijing plus a trip to Macau, so that's 16 days of eating, which means I have to keep an eye on the wallet (and waistline!). I speak Cantonese, but can't read Chinese menus.

Breakfasts, Lunches & Snacks:
Mak's Noodles (Wellington St) & possibly pop in to try Tsim Chai Kee afterwards, if I'm still hungry - for wonton noodles
Lor Fu Kei, 144 Queens Rd Central - for congee
Tai Cheong for egg tarts
Lock Cha Tea Shop - Admiralty, for vegetarian dim sum
Mak's (the other one) on Wing Kut St - for wonton noodles
Lei Yuen Noodle & Congee Restaurant - for beef brisket noodles & congee
Ho Hung Kee - for wonton noodles
Freedom Noodles - for wonton noodles
Lung King Heen - for dim sum
Fu Sing - for dim sum
T'ang Court - for dim sum

Dinners:
Yung Kee
Kung Tak Lam
Wing Hop Shing
Spring Deer
Xiao Nan Guo
Chung's Cuisine, Times Square
King Crab, Causeway Bay
Star of Canton, Lee Theatre Plaza, Causeway Bay
Hutong - I really would like to know if it's really worth the experience (heard about the HK$300 minimum spend per person in the evenings too)

Many thanks in advance!

Helen Yuet Ling Pang
http://www.worldfoodieguide.com

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  1. Great list Helen, I would add Kau Kee on Gough Street on the list too. My personal favorite! Check it out on my blog www.siuyeh.com when you have a chance! Cheers and have fun!

    1. I'm leaving for HK tomorrow and was on the board looking for recommendations for this jaunt. I read your question regarding Hutong - I've only been 1x (based on a NYT 24-hours in Hong Kong article). The view was fantastic. I found the food to be unsatisfying. Did not enjoy the whole experience and will not return. I was excited and then disappointed by the fried lamb. The dim sum place a few floors down (name, anyone?) has a nearly identical view with enjoyable food, but the atmosphere is completely different. On the way to dim sum, I feared that the company I was dining with was taking me back to Hutong. I don't spend enough time in HK for second chances. But I know Hutong has their fans.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Nibbs

        siuyeh - great blog, thanks for the tip! going to be spending ages going through all your posts now. and i'm going to do the peak walk as you suggested. how come I've never come across you on wordpress?? I've been on it for the last year...

        Nibbs - I'm so divided on Hutong! I keep reading good and then bad reviews. Thanks for your opinion though, it's good to hear from someone who actually dreads going back!

        1. re: foodie guide

          Hutong tends to get mixed review because it depends on the background of the person. It is not as popular to the locals, especially the more conservative crowd, because it is not really authentic Chinese food (and trust me, it is not northern food as well based on the menu I reviewed) and feel it is way overcharged. However, it is popular with tourists and hip young crowd because of the view and the ambiance. Also this crowd will also accept how Hutong interpret its own version of northern Chinese food.

          1. re: foodie guide

            Hi Helen, thanks for the positive comments. I'm relatively new to food blogging, which is probably why. I've only started a couple months ago.

            In response to your question, I don't think Kau Kee offers anything without beef. I'm not sure what kind of vegetarian your husband is, but if he can have beef broth / soup, then I would strongly recommend he just have a bowl of plain "e-noodle" in broth. And perhaps a "Yao Choi" on the side (they only have lettuce though).

            How many bowls for you? Well that depends whether how stuffed you are from your itinary. It looks pretty packed to me!

            Enjoy!

        2. most people either love Maks/hate Chim Chai Kee or the other way around, so few would go to both.
          Ho Hung Kee - go not for the wonton noodles but for the stir-fried rice noodles with beef. Sister restaurant Tasty's (in Happy Valley or IFC) also does the same dish well. Arguably the best in HK.
          Lock Cha Tea Shop serves great veggie dim sum.
          Xiao Nan Guo has been struck off my list of Shanghainese restaurants
          Hutong - I would expect to pay double the minimum you quoted, judging from how much sister restaurants charge and adding a premium on top
          Kau Kee for sure

          6 Replies
          1. re: Peech

            Hi Peech! Thanks for these tips. I've read many opinions on Mak vs Chim Chai Kee, but put them both on the list as I'm headed to Wellington St anyway. I'm most definitely prioritising Mak's over CCK, and will try to fit Kau Kee in. I think Hutong is dropping further down the list too...

            Thanks again!

            1. re: foodie guide

              With so many of you 'Won-Ton Noodles Aficionado' out there, I am really surprised that none of you actually mention 'Jen Dao' in Hung Hum's Whampoa Garden or the one off Blue Pool road in Happy Valley?!

              IMHO, of all the noodle houses that I tried ( including almost every one mentioned on this board and more ), the 'JD' version I find to be the most authentic and delicious! All three of the major components are well prepared and executed. First the broth. This ultra delicious authentic tasting broth truly reflects the use of all the key ingredients into making this gem - shrimp eggs, roasted dry flounder, buddha fruit, prawn shells, chicken, pork and Chinese ham bones. Then comes the noodle. Their version is amongst the finest and most al-dente around. The authentic part is that the cook tossed the finish product with a few drops of 'lard' to 'kick it up a notch'. As for the won-ton, these 'shrimp only' morsels have just the right amount of white pepper/sesame oil seasoning and the crunchy consistency reflects that fresh shrimps are used. Lastly, the final product is dressed by a sprinkling of chopped yellowing chives and more shrimp eggs before serving! Now, this is what I call 'Won-Ton Noodle'!!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                JD is actually Tasty's... and I don't find their wonton noodles to be superior to other places. Good, but not better. I live in Happy Valley so Tasty's on King Kwong St is kinda my backup kitchen. I go for the fried beef noodles and - surprisingly - cha siu bao.

                1. re: Peech

                  Hello Peech and skylineR33!
                  Greetings Peech! Thanks for the name clarification. I've tried both locations but somehow I found the quality and taste of the Hung Hum location a lot better, especially in the evening, after the dinner rush. May be its my own imagination?!
                  As for Stir fried beef noodles. The absolute best version I have tried, believe it or not, was at the canteen of Ying Wa Boy's school in Kowloon Tong before they moved to their new address. The single portion was cooked using a giant wok, over this huge butane burner, the size of an oil barrel located on the side street! The resulting 'wok hay' was simply unreal! No wonder even the MaryKnoll girls from nearby came over for the food??!! Ha!

                2. re: Charles Yu

                  Hey Charles, Jen Dao (Tasty) actually opened by Ho Hung Kee's second generation (who also manage Ho Hung Kee now), and they are both good I think but expensive. The stir fried beef noodles at both places are actually really great with the lard used, make it so much better in taste !

              2. re: Peech

                I agree with Peech. I love Maks because I love their noodles. If you're going there, you must try the Sui Gao in addition to the wontons - I personally think the sui gao is better than the wontons although it's usually the wontons which get the good reviews. Wing Wah's noodles are no where nearly as good as Mak's.

                I don't like the wonton noodles at Ho Hung Kee.I am told the stir fried stuff is actually better there.

                Xiao Nan Guo used to be a favourite but like Peech, I have struck it off my list. For Shanghainese, I now prefer Liu's Pavilion. If you can get a local friend who is a member to take you - go to the Kiangsu Chekiang Association.

                If you want authentic Chinese food, Hutong is the wrong place to go. authentic

              3. I wonder why you do not include any Chiu Chow restaurant on your list. Hong Kong has the best Chiu Chow food. And your list seems to be dominated by wanton mee, dim sum and Cantonese Cuisine for 10 days; would you want to seek other varieties like non-Southern Chinese food and others.

                1. Sounds like there's going to be hard time finding the definitive verison of won ton noodles in HK as everyone will think the most well known or famous places are not as up to par. Wish I could go back to judge....My question to those living in HK or have been to the Maks, Hon Hung Kee's etc, is Wing Wah on Henessey Rd in Wanchai (where the noodles are supposedly kneaded with bamboo pole in the dough making process) worth a visit?

                  They say Tai Cheong has a cookie type crust for egg tarts, but their sa yung is also a big must (Chinese sugary doughnut without the hole). For multi layer flakey pastry (supposedly over 100+ layers) Honolulu Cafe in Wanchai (near MTR station?) is highly recommended, although the lard content is high. But at least the cafe will also have other things you can have and not just a bakery (supposedly their pineapple buns, walnut eggy spone cake, coffee and milk teas, are nice).

                  Agreed that I've heard good things also about Ho Hung Kee for dried stir fried beef chow fun.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: K K

                    Thanks everyone for your comments. No Chiu Chow restaurants on the list yet simply because I haven't had a chance to consult my Chiu Chow gourmet uncle in HK, and there are also a couple of restaurants that relatives will be taking us to. And I'm going to be in Beijing for 6 days as well, hence the focus on Southern Chinese. The list will be refined by the time I arrive in HK in two weeks! Many thanks...

                  2. I would also very strongly recommend Sang Kee in Johnston Road for very traditional Cantonese food and seafood. They are so popular that they have 2 seatings every evening. There are some dishes which your husband can have - the deep fried egg plant is very good as is the choi sum with preserved vegetables.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: bourgogneboy

                      I will second Sang Kee Seafood, in my opinion a hidden gem in Chowhound as few mentioned it. Reasonable price, excellent seafood, and the 鹽焗雞 (Englsih translation: baked salted chicken???) to die for. In my opinion, the congee is the best in town too. Here is the website:
                      http://www.sangkee.com.hk/

                      1. re: FourSeasons

                        Wow, thanks again for all your opinions! Much appreciated. I've narrowed the list down even more (I realised even I couldn't possibly eat 4 meals a day), and have dropped some (including Hutong, Xiao Nan Guo & Fu Sing & some of the wonton places) and added others (Sheung Hing, Kau Kee and possibly Sang Kee once I've had a chance to research it a bit more). Of course I'll be spending the next 2 weeks finalising it...

                        1. re: foodie guide

                          Just some words on Sang Kee and Sheung Hing. Both require reservation as they are full all the time; I think both are not tourists-friendly too as the customers are predominantly locals. And note that most Chinese like to dine in big group (like 4 or more) especially in this type of restaurants so that they can order more dishes so I am worried if you just go with your husband, you will feel intimidated. Also most of the signature dishes at Sang Kee require advanced booking as well so please order beforehand if you like them when you do your research. I think it will be a good idea if your Chiu Chow uncle or relatives bring you to the hole-in-the-wall Sheung Hing (which has a legendary reputation among the Chiu Chow fanatics) as I don't think it has English menu. An alternative Chiu Chow would be Pak Loh at Causeway Bay, which is in a convenient location with better atmosphere and more tourists-friendly with English menu. Pak Loh also serves excellent Chiu Chow food though I rate Sheung Hing as the best.

                          1. re: FourSeasons

                            FourSeasons - thanks for these tips, they're much appreciated! I was planning take my mother along to Sheung Hing with us, so that she can help me read the menu (and so that I can buy her dinner of course). But I'll see if my uncle can meet us there too, good idea! My mother hasn't lived in HK since 1969 so she's quite a tourist as well. And I came across Pak Loh today, so I might go there too with just my husband, as we're staying in Causeway Bay.

                            I think I would be more relaxed if I knew that there would be enough options for the vegetarian husband in each place that I've chosen. He's not even that bothered, but I can't tuck into my meat and seafood if he's sitting there hungry!

                            Am looking forward to the trip even more now that I've had so many tips and recommendations from everyone. Thanks!

                            1. re: foodie guide

                              Two or three years ago, Park Loh's food was very impressive. However, the meal I had there earlier on this year was a big dissappointment. Given its food is so-so and over-priced and the place is always packed, I would eat at Sheung Hing instead!

                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                Sheung Hing is probably the best chiu chow restaurant in HK if you are willing to pay the price !

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  Hi Charles:

                                  I will offer a different opinion: I just went back to Pak Loh in early August and I thought it had maintained the same high standard. Regarding Pak Loh vs Sheung Hing: I go to both quite often, and I like both of them very much. It depends specifically on the dish: I prefer Pak Loh's goose and the Chinese cabbage 津白 (Attn foodie guide: you may have to request them not to add in the Chinese ham 火腿 for your vegetarian husband) but Sheung Hing's braised sharkfin, sauteed whelk (both very expensive) and oyster omelet are really the best in town. And Sheung Hing's price can be reasonable if you avoid the expensive items (like sharkfin, whelk, cold crab).

                                  1. re: FourSeasons

                                    Hello FourSeasons,

                                    My meal at Park Loh was on a saturday night and the place was packed! So might account for the deterioration of the food especially the freshly cooked ones. Agree with you the marinated goose was good..
                                    Interesting how our only divergence in opinion only happened to restaurants in Causeway Bay! First DD now PL! And they are across from each other. Ha!! Another restaurant in that area is Cova inside Lee Garden, have you eaten there? Business lunch is pretty good.

                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                      Hi Charles, funny you should mention Cova in the same post as Pak Loh. The last time I dined at Pak Loh on June 1 (braised goose, omelette with loofah squash, sea cucumber casserole with prawn roe/mushrooms, and fried noodle cake with vinegar/sugar), we proceeded to Cova afterwards for dessert - their extremely popular mango mousse cake.

                                      But I do agree with you, Pak Loh's standards seemed erratic. The June dinner was a disappointment. But when I dined there earlier this year, on Mar 12, the food was quite good - braised goose, oyster omelette, yin-yang chicken soup, steamed pomfret Chiuchow-style, and crystal dumplings.

                                      If you're there in winter, I'd highly recommend the braised sea cucumber with pomelo-skin.

                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                        Hi Charles:

                                        I don't think Pal Loh's standard has anything to do with the place being "packed" because it is packed all the time, whether lunch or dinner, weekdays or weekends. But I have been going to Pak Loh for years, so maybe the manager knows my face, or my friend's face, so extra care on my meal. I really think the standard has been consistent based on my experience.

                                        On other note, I have never been to Cova. But I did go to Lawry's Prime Rib in Lee Garden but left disappointed especially compared to the original branch in Los Angeles. But it is interesting that our opinions diverge on both Da Domenica and Pak Loh, and both happen to be in Causeway Bay.

                                  2. re: foodie guide

                                    Hi foodie guide:

                                    I am sorry I have not kept your vegetarian husband in mind when I wrote the above recommendations. Since I am not a vegetarian, I am at a loss what to recommend to him. But a social friend has once recommended a well known vegetarian restaurant at Wanchai which I show no interest at all. If you are interested, let me know and I will check with him again.

                                    Just one more note on Sang Kee and Sheung Hing which I think is tyical of many traditional busy restaurants in Hong Kong, they tend to know who their regular customers are and the new comers, and unfortunately, tend to give priority and better service to regular clients. THat is why sometimes new comers (Read: tourists) thought the food is just so so as they do not know the signature dishes as well. That is why I suggest your Chiu Chow uncle to come along as well.

                                    1. re: FourSeasons

                                      Thanks all for the comments! Just waiting to hear if Chiu Chow uncle can go for dinner and give us tourists a helping hand. If he goes, I know we'll have a great dinner. And don't worry about the vegetarian husband. It's complicated, as he'll occasionally eat a bit of fish (no seafood and no meat). I don't want to go any vegetarian restaurants (with the exceptions of Kung Tak Lam and Lock Cha Tea Shop). I've waited a long time for this foodie trip and I want to eat properly!

                                      1. re: foodie guide

                                        I have always had terrific meals at Sheung Hing, right from the first time I wandered in without a reservation. The old guy at the door can be a bit gruff, but just stick with it, keep smiling, and you'll eventually get in (here's a hint: if you're a twosome, then they'll often set you up at a folding table by the door).

                                        They have two storefronts, two or three doors apartm and two separate kitchens, and so there's always someone running food from one to the other. That means you can get a look at different dishes, and if you see something you like, order it.

                                        Yes, the cold crab is expensive-ish (price varies, you could spend up to $300 HKD for a big one) but ABSOLUTELY a must! You dip the meat in a tasty cold black vinegar...mmmmm.

                                        I also think their Lo Seui dishes are sublime.

                                        I'm pretty sure they have an English language menu, but if you speak Cantonese you can just ask them what's special, what's good in the kitchen today, and you don't need to rely on Chiu Chow uncle. (Good to do a bit of research on the basic specialties of CC cuisine first, though.)

                                        Have fun! I love Sheung Hing. Don't go there nearly often enough....

                                      2. re: FourSeasons

                                        I have a vegetarian friend, and going out for yam cha with her is challenging. Fortunately, she eats fish. And the other day, I happened upon a rather good place, right in Central, that has above-average dim sum, with a lot of fish and veggie specialties: in Cantonese it is called Bo Wu, in English, "Treasure Lake". It's right on the corner of Queens Road Central, under the escalator.

                                        Actually, I was taken aback at how good the place was, because I have passed it hundreds of times without having any curiosity or inclination to go in. I just assume that the big Central HK dim sum parlors are gonna be mediocre.

                                        But our yam cha the other day was great. The dishes I'd recommend are: deep fried hand-made fish dumplings (yu kauh) served with a kind of fresh oyster-ish sauce. A plate of Sichuan-style broad flat rice noodles with cucumber and shredded chicken, topped with sesame sauce (the chicken is served on the side, so this dish can be veggie). Mmmm--and the lo baak gou is prepared in an unusual way--it's cut into cubes and fried, with a little bit of laat mixed in, and with a hot pepper sauce on the side. Curry squid, tender and excellent. And the best veggie dish of all: an "omelette" cake made of tofu skin layers with fish paste and chives spread between the layers. (It is on the "specialties" section of the chinese menu, in the upper left corner, and it is called something like "Thousand layer tofu skin")

                                        The best surprise is that I felt no msg or greasy additive "buzz" after my meal here (which I always do at, say, Maxim's City Hall) the food at Treasure Lake was light and clean and delicious. My dining companions guessed that they have their own complete dim sum making staff on premises (a lot of the cheaper HK joints get their dim sum from factories).

                                        1. re: JiMaWu

                                          JiMaWu - thanks for these tips, much appreciated! I'll be going up the escalator anyway, so will look out for Treasure Lake. The lo baak gou sounds particularly delicious, not had it like that before. As does the omelette cake! Off in a few days. Obviously will report back on my eating adventures...

                            2. I would add Wu Kong to your list, particularly so now that you're in Hairy Crab season. It's an old-line type of place, like Spring Deer, but Shanghainese rather than Beijingese.

                              http://www.wukong.com.hk/

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Xiao Yang

                                Have you read the latest? Toxic level in one hairy crab is eqivalent to drinking 100 glasses of melamine contaminated Chinese milk! I used to love hairy crab, especially the Shanghainese way of sauteeing the crabmeat and brain. Now, I'm having second thought! Too risky!

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  Thank you for the Wu Kong tip. There are two dinner slots that I've left open until I get there on Thursday, so that I can have a look at the menus before I decide. It's very convenient for me to get to the Causeway Bay branch too, as I'm staying there! But perhaps I'll avoid the hairy crab this time round, otherwise I might as well drink milk during the entire trip...

                                  Thank you again everyone for all your advice and comments. I'm very much looking forward to it now.

                                  1. re: Charles Yu

                                    Curious as to your source. Googling brought me no confirmation. Do Dazha crabs drink milk?

                                    1. re: Xiao Yang

                                      Reported by both Pearl TV Hong Kong as well as Sing Tao newspaper. They are comparing 'toxic level' not melamine level!

                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                        I guess it's your 100:1 comparison that threw me. 100 appples to one orange? anyway, at my age a few heavy metals or whatever are the least of my concerns.

                                        1. re: Xiao Yang

                                          More like 100 drops of herbicide to one drop of pesticde! Good luck! Let us know when you start glowing in the dark! Ha!