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Aug 26, 2009 06:40 PM

Tantanmen/ dandanmian in Hong Kong

I got very used to the Japanese take on Szechuan dandan mian ("tantanmen" in Japan) and was wondering if there is a place in HK that might do something similar? I know there are thousands of soupy noodle places, but I'm chasing a specific taste - ideally where they make their own noodles...any ideas?

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  1. Not 100% sure I've tried the "Japanese take" on dan dan mien (擔擔面) so my suggestion may not apply that well. Whenever I have my 擔擔面 craving I always go to my dad's childhood spot (used to be at Diamond Hill) called Wing Lai Yuen (詠藜園) in Whampoa. I believe they make their own noodles there. The noodles has quite good chewiness and the soup base is also quite good.

    6 Replies
    1. re: big_apple_ken

      Wing Lai Yuen is probably one of the, if not the top choice for Japanese style Chinese food fans for dan dan mian. The rule is one bowl per order. If you want to eat it again, you can pay the bill and get back in line. Just a heads up, there is no meat in WLY's DDM.

      I haven't been since 2002, but I wonder if the 80 year old original noodle chef is still around (he decided to take apprentices last I heard, as he uses tai chi/breathing exercise type techniques when he hand mixes the dough).

      While there may be one in Whampoa, it is said the one in Wong Tai Sin is better.


      There's even a great local youtube video on how to get to the Whampoa Cantonese though but it's not hard to figure out, along with footage of other recommended dishes.

      1. re: K K

        That's sounds like a great recommend KK and BAK. I'll have to go find that one too.

        1. re: causticcandy

          Actually the rule (1 bowl per sitting) that KK suggested no longer applies. I remember when they were in Diamond Hill that was definitely rule. If you go to the one at Whampoa you can get as many bowls as you want but sometimes the wait to get a table can be a little long. Also the 'original' dan dan mien there had no meat but you can, if you want, order one with meat (if you pay a few dollars more).

          There's actually an interesting story behind Wing Lai Yuen. Supposedly some Asian businessman in the US tried to get them to franchise it but the owner wouldn't allow it. So almost like a joke the owner goes "if you can get the US president to eat one of my bowls of noodles, I'll let you open one of our restaurants in the US". Lo and behold this Asian businessman actually knew people in high places and overnighted a bowl to George W. Bush. After Bush had a bowl he signed some certificate that said the bowl was tasty and the owner was so shocked he let this businessman open a restaurant in LA. No idea how that restaurant is doing in LA though...

          Regardless...Wing Lai Yuen has so much business daily the owner describes the money he is making like "continually being doused with buckets of water". Crazy.

          1. re: big_apple_ken

            Thanks everyone - I'm off to start sampling immediately!

            1. re: big_apple_ken

              I too remember my mother taking me to the Diamond Hill location during the 1980s, we even walked up the stairs in the rain one time just to have it.

              The Goi Leung Dan Dan Meen is probably the one with meat, you're right...but the standard one does not.

              That is quite an interesting story...any idea what is the English name of the "branch" in LA? I doubt they would be able to reproduce that flavor in the US.

              My information of the 1 bowl per order per person is 2002 rules, that was when I was last in HK. I thought the current owner is Ms Yeung (based on the video) who is 4th? gen owner.

              Also BAK, is Din Tai Fung still upstairs in the gourmet court of Whampoa? Maybe Miss Lambkins can do some food sampling. I remember a peddler noodle (Che Jai Meen) place, a Vietnamese restaurant. I'm sure some of the tenants are gone now.

              1. re: K K

                Ding Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) actually shut down in Whampoa. They reopened in TST on Canton Road. I went there about 1 1/2 months ago. The food is still pretty good (obviously not as good as the head shop in Taipei) but what really impressed me was the service. Absolutely top notch. Someone mentioned to me that the reason the service is so good is because the management is Japanese. I went to the bathroom and this lady literally did this pose and said "PLEASE" while pushing open the bathroom door. It doesn't sound like much but when I saw it it was rather comical...haha. The decor was also much better than Whampoa now that the tables are spaced further apart and it looks much cleaner.

                If you are in Whampoa there are definitely other restaurants to try but they are 'decent' but not that good in my opinion. The few that I can think of are Tastys (正斗粥麵專家) which serves good won ton noodles and congee and maybe Noodles of HK (鍾記車仔麵) for their cart noodles (which you mentioned). The Vietnamese place you mentioned Cuisine De Vietnam Restaurant (越棧) is a decent place.

      2. Am totally hooked on the version at the noodle bar in the Cathay Lounge in HKIA. I don't even know if this is considered an authentic dandan mian. Have tried asking them for the recipe but they flatly refused. Not been able to find a similar version elsewhere but sometimes make do with a bowl at Crystal Jade Shanghai La Mian.