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Hong Kong: Best "Beef brisket tendon hor fun"

On my last trip to Hong Kong, I thought I had the best beef brisket tendon hor fun at Sister Wah in Tin Hau district. The beef is tender and delicious, the hor fun is slippery and smooth, the soup is not greasy or salty like most others. I had a much more enjoyable experience compared to the legendary Kau Kee at Central. I am going back to Hong Kong again and wonder if I should come back here or try a new stall. Just want to check with fellow hounds where you think the best beef brisket tendon hor fun is in Hong Kong. Will appreciate any comment.

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  1. without a doubt 群記清湯腩 at Tai Po http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr... has the best beef (the song lam which is the "point" cut of the brisket) as well as the meltingly tender beef cheeks are to die for. The biggest problem with most places is they cook the beef in water, the flavour of the beef goes into the soup...at Tai Po they use a rolling stock, as there's already equal amounts of beef flavour inside the beef and in the soup there will be no loss of flavour....also after cooking it is aged in its soup for 1 day before serving, this further enhances flavours, relaxes the muscles and increases moisture...the soup isn't oil fry like a consumme but it's gooood.

    It beats Kau Kee at their best and other local favorites like Sister Wah and their nextdoor Tai Lee, Sino in CWB etc...

    There are other things to eat in Tai Po area like Fung Lum's Pigeon so it's a definite must-go...

    18 Replies
    1. re: Sher.eats

      Based on the review from openrice.com, it seem that Sister Wah gets slightly better review than 群記. The approval rating (those who tick smiley face) is 66% (155 out of 235) for Sister Wah and 60% (77 out of 129) for 群記. Based on the lone comparison that one reviewer wrote (I just read the first page as there are simply too many reviews on these two shops), Sister Wah has better hor fun, more varities, cheaper, better location (closer to MTR) but 群記 has better beef taste. Too bad did not compare the soup base which is very important.

      1. re: FourSeasons

        i'm an openrice addict (i read every one of the 400 or so reviews submitted daily), the =) / =( is not very useful because some votes are irrelevant.

        I've eaten both many many times, Wah's soup is really sweet from all the turnips, the soup is oil free and has moderate flavour. yes they are much more convenient, has better service, cheaper, and better opening hours. They do have other foods but why would anyone eat those...

        For me the beef has unrivaled weighting and 群記 wins easily, their cuts are more collagenous, slightly more marbled, more complex in flavour because of the aging, and they have cheeks which nowhere else has...

        ....they're only 20min train from kowloon tong...

        1. re: Sher.eats

          Hi sher.eats:

          I finally tried 群記 today. Business is very good because we still have to queue for 10-15 minutes at 2:30pm. Finally, we ordered a bowl of song lam爽腩, beef cheek, beef tendon. To be honest, not really overwhelmed by the experience but this is probably due to a few personal reasons. First, I think I have too much beef for the last two days on this trip, two days ago at Yung Kee 4th floor for its 清湯牛爽腩, then yesterday at Chiu Yuen for its 坑腩. Second, this is our second lunch after Fung Lam for its pigeon, salted pepper sea prawns and stuffed tofu. We were still full by the time we reached 群記. Third, I think my personal preference is a simple bowl of hor with beef brisket. This 3 bowls clearly were too much for us. But I have to agree the beef cheek was very delicious and often not available in other places. Song lam was good but pale in comparison to the one at Yung Kee, which was truly excellent that wow me even more than its legendary roast goose. Beef tendon was equally impressive.

          Will I be back here again? I am not sure because of the distance, it is like 30 minutes (or perhaps more...) train ride from Wanchai where I started the journey, so for that factor alone, I think I will go back to Sister Wah for its much more convenient location. But this is a good experience and I want to thank you for the recommendation.

          1. re: FourSeasons

            haha i did tell you to arrive HUNGRY. yeah you did have an OD of beef...so....

            how was fum lam?

            1. re: Sher.eats

              Fum Lam is interesting, the deco reminds me of what Hong kong was like 30 years ago. Just ordered ONLY 3 dishes because we knew we wanted to try 群記 later. They were all good but I would not say "spectacular". My favorite is the "heads" of the pepper salted sea prawns, good flavor but very high cholesterol!!! Pigeon was well done, tofu crispy on the outside and soft inside but I think the size is too big. But I enjoy the experience.

              1. re: Sher.eats

                Just one more note, the dessert 豆腐花 (soft beancurd dessert) just next door to 群記 is excellent!!! One bowl is HK$5, we ordered the ginger style, very smooth, even better than most restaurants. The lady told us she it is handmade just behind the stall with better quality soy from Canada rather than Mainland China. I wish we have such good quality in Singapore!

                  1. re: Sher.eats

                    Neither. I forgot the name, the stall is just on the left side right next to 群記.

              2. re: FourSeasons

                FourSeasons, do you know the chinese name for Fung Lam? Tried searching for Fung Lam on openrice but couldn't come up with anything. Would like to try it if I go to Tai Po for 群記 as I'm a big fan of pigeon. Thanks

                  1. re: FourSeasons

                    Thanks, if someone has mentioned a really good restaurant but in english and you cannot find it when searching on openrice, is there any other way of finding the chinese name for it? I usually try searching in google, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. It doesn't help that I can't type chinese.

                    1. re: FourSeasons

                      Hi FourSeasons,
                      So is 楓林 in Tai Wai MTR and 群記 and the sweet tofu dessert at Tai Po Market MTR? I was just searching for the addresses and maps and noticed that 楓林 is not that close to 群記.

                      1. re: ey2006

                        They are located near two different MTR stations. I can't remember the names but I think you are correct.

                        1. re: FourSeasons

                          Thanks FourSeasons and Charles for confirming. Previously I thought they were both located at Tai Po as I had never been there on previous visits to HK!

              3. re: Sher.eats

                Hi Sher.eats, if I was to order the song lam beef at this restaurant, what would be song lam in chinese, or how would I order the song lam beef brisket noodle in chinese? Thanks

              4. Hi FS,

                Last time I was at Tin Hau, there was a hugh line for Sister Wah, even much longer than the one I line up for at Kau Kee ! Probably part of the reason is it is too convenient.

                6 Replies
                1. re: skylineR33

                  I went late at night, I think 10 or 11pm so there was no queue though it was still full. We have to share the table with another party. But I don't think the reason is due to the convenient location, there are so many restaurants in that area. If you like Kau Kee, then you should try Sister Wah. I was actually quite disappointed with Kau Kee, it never live up to the standard I expected from such a legendary name.

                  1. re: FourSeasons

                    Probably maybe it is because of the new year flower market, so that night is crazy. I am quite satisfy with my bowl of beef noodle at Kau Kee eventhough I have to say it is not as good as before, another advantage going to Kau Kee is I can have a really delicious crunchy 檸蜜脆脆 (Lemon honey crunchy bread) next door at 勝香園 (Sing Heung Yuen) afterward eventhough the line there is even longer !

                    1. re: FourSeasons

                      at kau kee, one must order the "song lam" which is the point cut of the brisket, it's only available after 4pm

                      no one interested in tai po??!?!?!?!

                      1. re: Sher.eats

                        Ok, maybe that is why I was disappointed with Kau Kee, I was there at 11:45am, queue on the front door for 45 minutes until it opened at 12:30pm, being squeezed with others to share the table, and end up with just an above average beef brisket tendon hor. Maybe next time I will go after 4pm, avoid the lunch time office crowd too.

                        But your focus seem to be entirely on the beef. To me, the "hor" and the soup are just as important...

                        群記 at Tai Po is on my radar screen now, likely to try it on this coming trip. But the only concern is quite far away since I normally stay at Hong Kong Island.

                        1. re: FourSeasons

                          haha I usually have it plain without carbs...but they don't made the hors themselves do they? at Kau Kee would you have the "e fu" instead of the hor?

                          as for soups, sister wah is the sweetest and clear, like a consumme, whereas kau kee and tai po's is much like a light sauce...

                          well there are a few "must eats" in new territories...which you could string together as a day-eating-trip... =)

                          1. re: Sher.eats

                            No idea if it is made in-house. No, I had the hor.

                            Yes, planning to do the day-eating trip with Charles in Tai Po area...

                  2. Looks like all the discussions are focusing on the 'clear broth' version. How about the 'Chu Hou' and/or 'Five spice' brown sauce version? Any recs for the best? Anthony Bourdain visited a hole in the wall place run by three 'body-builder' brothers in Mong Kok. Is it a good one?! So far, the best I've eaten were those from Mak Man Kee in Jordan. Looking to surpass that!

                    26 Replies
                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      For late night snack, revisited Mak Man Kee for a plate of their 'Chu Hau Beef Brisket and tendons ". Great value for $30. Deep dark brown gravy and ultra delicious. Texture and chewiness of the morsels was just perfect - very tender but still with a feel.
                      Won ton noodle was good but not great. The noodle was still very chewy and al dente however, thickness of noodles not 'fine' enough for my liking ( not as thin as Tasty's or Mak's versons). Won ton on the other hand was perfecty seasoned, plump and the prawns very crisp! ( better than the other Mak's ). Soup was flavourful but lacking the flavour of the flame toasted dry flounder.

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        That's right, and besides their Chu Hau Beef Brisket and tendons, I also enjoy Mak Man's Hot and Sour pork meat sauce noodle (炸醬撈麵). However, the wonton is all shrimp, personally I prefer wonton with some pork in it.

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          Hi Charles / skylineR33, how do you order the Chu Hau Beef Brisket and tendons in cantonese? I know the Chu Hau bit but wasnt sure how to say the ret in canto, as I want to try this in MMK too.

                          Also, would you know what the steamed milk pudding is in cantonese that sher.eats refers to at the Australian Milk restaurant in the post below?

                          Thanks

                          1. re: ey2006

                            Brisket and Tendon is pronounced ' Lam Gun" in Cantonese.

                            BTW, the restaurant in Tai Wai is 'Fung Lum' not 'Fung Lam'

                            Authentic Won-ton noodle usually refers to the 'noodle/wonton in soup' version. The 'plate' or dry version is called 'Lo Mein' in Cantonese. One can have penny hot sauce, beef brisket, shrimp roe or ginger/scallions/oyster sauce to accompany the noodles ( usually placed on top of the noodles ).

                            The brownish powdery stuff on top of the noodles in openrice is the shrimp eggs/roe.

                            1. re: Charles Yu

                              Thanks Charles.

                              Does shrimp roe on top of lo mein mix with beef brisket since beef brisket has its own sauce?

                              I keep getting confused with the different beef brisket/tendon as I know what they are in chinese when I order but not the english translation.

                              Please correct me here as I think I'm wrong but want to get it right if I am to order the right food and not have people give me funny looks when I get it wrong!

                              So does that mean:
                              牛腩 = beef brisket
                              爽腩 = beef ?
                              牛雜 = beef intestine (combination)
                              Are there any other 牛 stuff that I'm missing that should be worth trying out at the top beef brisket restaurants in HK?

                              Also, from the link below, if you look at the 3rd post from the bottom, how come there is also 牛 'gun' in the 牛腩 noodles? Is the 牛'gun' the same thing as the 爽腩?

                              http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/re...

                              1. re: ey2006

                                Hi ey2006:

                                I would not advise you to add shrimp roe to beef brisket. Both would not complement each other, unlike the case when you add shrimp roe to wonton noodle.

                                sher.eats would be the best person to explain all but unfortunately, she has left chowhound. Let me try my best with those terms:

                                I don't know the exact part of 爽腩, but it is pronounced as "song lam", and perhaps the most delicious part as well. You got the other two right. You may want to know beef tendon = 牛筋, beef cheek = 牛面珠 (not 100% sure, if someone think I am wrong, please tell me).

                            2. re: ey2006

                              Hi ey2006,

                              The steamed milk pudding in cantonese is 燉鮮奶 = "Dun Sin Nine".

                              1. re: skylineR33

                                Thanks skylineR33. I know what it is now, I have not had that since I was a little kid back in HK, will definitely try it this time round to bring back good memories. Ed

                          2. re: Charles Yu

                            off topic, but remember to go next door (literally) to Australian Milk for a scrambled eggs toast (if hungry) or steamed milk pudding!

                            1. re: Sher.eats

                              The latter, for food enjoyment or complexion enhancer? Ha!

                            2. re: Charles Yu

                              With my memory still fresh from yesterday's noodle snack outing to MMK, I headed out to Mak's on Wellington street for a late won-ton noodle breakfast and taste comparison. For $4 more, I got a bowl with less noodle and smaller size won-tons. As I remembered, the noodle was indeed much finer than MMK but equally chewy. The won-ton morsels however were less flavourful. The soup was also sub-par. Definitely evolved into an over-rated establishment.....sigh! Tomorrow, Tasty's in Hung Hum and then Ho Hung Kee in Causeway Bay.

                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                Wing Wah in WanChai and Lau Sum Kee SSP?

                                since you'll be at HungHum, consider trying 大光燈麵食巷仔雲吞麵 also? 聯記川王 (sichuan) and 生記滷味are excellent eats nearby....

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  Hi Charles:

                                  I thought you have already finished your detailed survey of wonton noodle scene in Hong Kong last year( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/399024 ) , but you are still pursuing this project on this trip. You must be addicted to wonton noodle!!! But I suggest your write up should continue on your original "Best won-ton noodle" thread, so fellow chowhounders can enjoy your insight there.

                                  Let me know what is good at Tasty Hung Hom, I may go there for lunch next week. Or should I try 生記滷味 like sher.eats suggested? I will go to Da Ping Huo this time, so don't think want to try another Si chuan 聯記川王 on this trip.

                                  1. re: FourSeasons

                                    VERY off topic, but here the best eats of hung hum:

                                    大光燈's wonton noodles
                                    聯記川王's takeaway-box-sichuan
                                    生記滷味's see-tao (lion head?) goose head/neck/leg/intestines/liver (not breast)
                                    越南亞呂's best-in-hk pho and spring rolls (with fresh basil mint)
                                    時新快餐店's HK-style "cheeseburger" (not gastronomic, just fun)
                                    三河屋's really authentic Izakaya dishes
                                    生記粥店's good congee
                                    老二和味館's Dai Pai Dong-like dishes

                                    ...yup..i ate all that for lunch....

                                    1. re: Sher.eats

                                      Hi Sher.eats:

                                      Thanks so much for the Hon Hum list. Wow...I only have time for just one lunch meal. Original plan is to go for Tasty but now I am torn between 生記滷味 or 越南亞呂???

                                      1. re: FourSeasons

                                        they're like 30 secs walk from each other though...

                                        if i had to choose then 越南亞呂, because it has the best pho in HK (roasted beef neck bones, clear broth, excellent blend of spices herbs and seasonings, fresh herbs, skirt steak beef = flavourful, no fat and "with a chew") and spring rolls (good oil temperture, fresh herbs). Whereas you can get similar quality goose elsewhere (namely 鹵八鵝店 in Wan Chai)...

                                        1. re: Sher.eats

                                          Thanks for the advise. Or maybe I can go to 生記滷味 for breakfast (they opened at 9am), attend my meeting and then have a late lunch at 越南亞呂.

                                          Just read the review of 聯記川王: 67 "Smiling faces" vs 0 "Crying face". That is extremely impressive; I don't think I have ever read one without "crying face" with so many inputs, especially considering Hong Kong people don't even eat so much spicy food yet rate a Si chuan place so highly. Or maybe they have adjusted their spicy level to suit the taste bud of native Hong Kongers???

                                          1. re: FourSeasons

                                            but wherever your meeting is, there's something else to eat =P

                                            聯記川王's biggest advantage is price = excellent value and there won't be complains about service or cleaness...

                                            the best sichuans IMO (i've tried most of them) apart from dai ping hou and 聯記川王 are 雲陽閣川 for 灯影牛肉(paper thin chillied beef jerky), 青米素麵 (green pepper noodles), 辣子腸頭 (intestines fried with chili), 金絲麵陣 (micro-thin egg noodles), 口水烏雞 (silkie in sour-chili dressing);

                                            and 川味港威記川菜 for 麻辣魚胶 (sichuan peppercorn fired carp winglet), 水煮 (chilli braised beef), 蒜泥白肉 (cold pork shank slices in garlic dressing), 川椒皮蛋(green chili with 1000year egg), 毛血旺 (pig blood jelly and pig offal in chili soup) &怪味牛舌 (ox tongue braised in roasted seaseme coulis)

                                            i've only started eating real-spicy for months and now i'm addicted haha

                                          2. re: Sher.eats

                                            Schuuuucks! I walked pass that 'goose' place in Wan Chai just yesterday!! Didn't realize it was on your radar screen. Could have bought some and try!! Oh well!

                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                              it's not very popular, strangely.

                                              make sure you ask for the "lion head geese" and not the breast!

                                            2. re: Sher.eats

                                              Hi Sher.eats:

                                              Not really a big fan of 越南亞呂; the beef was really good but the hor was too thick and not refined, and I find the broth just average. Agree the spring rolls were quite delicious. My friend who lives in Hung Hom told me there is a small Si chuan restaurant 巴蜀烤全鱼 that specialized in spicy fish that is hugely popular with regular queues outside the shop, maybe you can try it: http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr...

                                              If I have time tomorrow, maybe I will try 鹵八鵝店.

                                              1. re: FourSeasons

                                                oh.....hmmmmm that's the thing with one-man-bands, consistency could be shaky....although the few times i've been it was always great, although thinking about it, i was always there at night, maybe that has something to do with it....

                                                1. re: Sher.eats

                                                  I was the first customer this morning at 11am. For me, I like hor that is smooth and slippery, the ones at 越南亞呂 is just too thick, maybe that is just a personal preference but I do agree the beef is really delicious and surprise to find such good quality beef at that price level.

                                                  1. re: FourSeasons

                                                    hmm i'm not sure whether they gave you last night's soup (good) or thebatch which was just made (quite diluted probably)...

                                                    the cut of beef is the skirt steak =)

                                                    1. re: Sher.eats

                                                      Hello Sher.eats!
                                                      Just a short note to let you know that I ventured over to Wan Chai just to try '13 Jor's' beef innards. Total disappointment! Way too 'herbie'.

                                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                                        argh....should have went to the North Point one "home store"!

                                2. 群記清湯腩 and Sister Wah are good, but don't over-look dai pai dongs such as Shui Kee: http://www.womguide.com/restaurants/r...
                                  Every day, they have only 6 servings of "崩沙腩". Oh-so-tender... and good balance between fat and meat content.