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Kau Kee (九記牛腩). What is "Song Lam" (爽腩)?

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Ok, so today I went to Kau Kee (九記) for the first time today after my gym session around 4PM (so no crowds). I order a bowl of beef brisket hor fun (牛腩河). Overall it was a pretty tasty bowl except I found it a little too oily, too much MSG and maybe a tad pricey at $26 for a bowl of 牛腩河. It's now 7PM and my mouth feels super dry. Outside of that the brisket was very tender/tasty, noodles pretty smooth and the soup pretty flavorful. IMHO it's more satisfying than say a bowl of won ton noodles at Mak's (I know it's comparing apples to oranges but they are equally priced at $26/bowl).

Anyway, I didn't order the 爽腩 because it was closer to $50 a bowl (does it come with noodles and if not how much would it cost to get it with noodles?). What exactly is 爽腩? I read Chinese so I know it literally means "refreshing brisket" but I have no idea how it is different from the regular 牛腩. Anyone care to enlighten me?

So on Hong Kong Island is the best place for 牛腩河...Sister Wah's (華姐) in Tin Hau? Also do you guys like 牛腩河 (hor fun), 牛腩麵 (regular noodles) or 牛腩伊 (yee mien) better? Any reason why besides personal preference? Thanks guys!

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  1. Wikipedia Chinese explains it nicely

    爽腩:又叫“绷纱腩”、“崩沙腩”或“蝴蝶腩”,是牛肚皮的腩位,面积很小,爽腩贵坑腩一半,由于有块薄软胶质,爽软不硬

    A particular cut near the belly. And it sounds like it is a miniscule portion of the cow, hence the higher cost. This stuff should be superb when done with a clear broth base too in clay pot at sit down non noodle type restaurants

    Here's an example for others reading

    http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/gary-lovet...

    It definitely looks different than regular cuts of brisket (ie the cheaper stuff) that requires overnight slow cooking to become super soft (or good enough for a HK style curry brisket clay pot....I miss that stuff).

    I've never had it in HK but the upscale cha chaan teng I used to go to in Northern California served this cut in clear broth (with or without ho fun or noodles) and was super tender and smooth. Other Chinese restaurants do a shortcut and use short ribs for the clear broth version and call it "牛腩" which is a bit of a travesty.

    7 Replies
    1. re: K K

      K K - which cafe in Northern California are you referring to? Thanks.

      1. re: hong_kong_foodie

        i am also interested in this NCal cafe as well, KK. thanks.

        1. re: ckshen

          That place doesn't serve that quality of cut anymore :-(

          1. re: K K

            @KK
            According to latest Hong Kong Television food program, they still offer those 'exotic and rare' cuts of meat. However, the secret is call ahead to inquire and go very very early before they sell out the few cherished portions!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              Thanks for the tip Charles! Though I think you are referring to Kau Kee. Ckshen was asking about the place where I had the cut in Northern California.

              1. re: K K

                Yes! I was referring to 九記牛腩

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Strange enough the NorCal restaurant (actually a cha chaan teng) actually once served the clear broth brisket entrée that had a cut that looked remotely similar to the 腩角 at Yung Kee (where it is said they only have 20 servings a day, 10 during lunch, 10 at night, and probably reserve some for their favorite celebrity customers). My buddy visiting from Hong Kong had the pleasure of partaking....wow that was 14 years ago. They haven't served that cut ever again.