Hong Kong questions: wonton noodles, Tim Ho Wan, Cheung Chau Island recs, rice-noodle-roll breakfast, and other advice
Hello HK Chowhounds,
My parents and I are in China at the moment, and we'll be in HK later this week wrapping up our trip. We've had excellent food so far (Beijing and Yangshuo Chowhound reports coming soon) and we're looking forward to more in Hong Kong.
Some background about us: We'll be in HK for only about 48 hours (so 2 lunches, 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts and maybe a few more meals in between those if I can fit them in). We're staying at the Eaton Hotel which is between Jordan and Yau Ma Tei. We're looking for casual dining, probably leaning more toward hole-in-the-wall places, street food than anything else, but perhaps a dinner or two could be a bit nicer- but certainly focused on the food (not the environment of the restaurant)
Here are some specific questions:
1- wonton noodles - When I was in Hong Kong last year, I had wonton noodle soup at Mak Man Kee, which I thought was great (particularly the wontons). I think I might bring my parents here, since it's close to the hotel and also close to the Temple Market. However, if someone has a better suggestion, I'd be glad to take it. Also, if anyone can recommend another place with a specific dish that might compliment a half-meal of soup at Mak Man Kee, then that would be great!
2 - dim sum - We're meeting up on Wednesday morning w/ a friend of mine who is living in Hong Kong, and is a native Cantonese speaker. We're thinking of going to Tim Ho Wan, assuming it's worth the wait. We'd probably try to arrive at 9:15 AM and line up in preparation for their 10 AM opening. Is this early enough? Will it be worth it? This is my one chance (perhaps EVER?) to have dim sum in Hong Kong with my parents, so I want it to be great. Food is definitely the focus, and we don't care much about decor, ambiance, rudeness of waiters, language barriers or anything like that. The possibly good thing about Tim Ho Wan is that it's only 15 minutes walk from our hotel, which makes getting there at 9:15 not such a big deal.
3 - Cheung Chau Island - I'm thinking of going there w/ my parents on Wednesday afternoon to walk around, explore, and then have dinner. Any good ideas of places to check out? This would probably be seafood focused (good shrimp dishes in particular) but not necessarily....I like the idea of taking a ferry somewhere, but if Cheung Chau is less of a good option for food, then somewhere else would be okay too.
4 - breakfast of rice noodle rolls - Last year when I was in Hong Kong, I stayed near Mong Kok and enjoyed eating at hole-in-the-wall breakfast places that served rice noodle rolls and congee. Any good recommendations for finding this near-ish Eaton Hotel? Or any particular recommendations for rice-noodle-rolls in general? Beef and/or shrimp filled are my favorites.
Any other recommendations would be great as well, and I will definitely report back!!
Thanks in advance,
Well, Hong Kong chowhounds.....I guess I had to figure this out on my own! Nobody responded to any of my questions!
But I'm happy to report that I ate very well in Hong Kong.
Went back to Mak Man Kee, which was good. I had the wontons with noodles (dry), Dad had the wontons and noodles in soup, Mom had dumplings in soup. We liked all of them, I preferred the pure shrimp wontons, while my parents liked the shrimp/pork dumplings. Broth and noodles are quite good, but not too amazing. The dumplings/wontons are amazing though.
Went for dim sum at Tim Ho Wan. We arrived at 9:15 AM on Wednesday, and we were the second group in the queue. We had our menu card all filled up by the time they opened at 10:00, so we were eating by 10:10. Things came out kind of in a hurry. Everything was good, and some things were great:
Crispy BBQ pork buns: A+ These are really fantastic. We had two orders for the four of us, which was a good idea. The outer dough was quite sweet, almost reminded me of a sugar cookie. But I had never had anything like this before, and I think they are worth the hype.
Shumai: A+ This was one of the last things to arrive, so possibly it was slightly fresher than anything else we had. But these were fantastic, possibly the best I've ever had.
Fried Glutinous Dumpling (filled w/ pork): A+ Expertly fried, very good filling. Perfect rendition of this dumpling.
Har Gau: A Skins were maybe a very tad overcooked, but this is being nitpicky, since overall they were great and shrimp were fresh and cooked perfectly.
Spare Ribs: A Solid rendition - not earth-shattering, but really no complaints.
Green Vegetable Filled Dumpling: A- Good for what it was, but a bit boring for my taste.
Crispy Vegetable filled dumpling: A- Again, pretty good, but not too special.
Bean curd skin roll w/ beef: A- I didn't love the flavor of this dish - it was different than versions I'd had at dim sum elsewhere. Still, not bad.
Rice noodle roll with shrimp: A Good rendition.
I think that's everything we had. Overall, I was glad we went and my parents liked it a lot. We also bought some excellent mangoes at the market nearby, a bit west of the restaurant near Yau Ma Tei.
Thanks to a tip from big_apple_ken in this thread:
we had our final meal in Hong Kong at Fu Sing Shark Fin Restaurant. We had a very good meal. The roast pork (cha siu) was fantastic. We also had the Chinese lettuce with shrimp paste - really delicious and a nice presentation in the sizzling hot plate. I was worried the flavor would be too strong, but it was perfect (and also nice and garlicky). Also ordered some broccoli with garlic, which was good, and a tofu stuffed w/ crabmeat dish which was very nice and delicate. Overall service here was great - this was one of the fanciest places we ate during our 5 weeks in China but we still felt comfortable, and I liked how the menu was in Chinese as well as English. I'd recommend this place for visitors to Hong Kong looking for good quality Cantonese food.
I got to try the durian filled mochi at Hui Lau Shan - I loved them. My parents hated them. The sago w/ coconut and mango was also as good as ever.
We had rice noodle rolls at a mediocre chain place near Yau Ma Tei. Later on, after my parents left for the airport, I had some better ones at a small nondescript place on Jordan Rd, close to the Austin Station.
On my last day a friend and I ate at Crystal Jade restaurant in the IFC mall. The XLB were very good, but I thought the vegetable and la mian dishes we had were only OK. A bit expensive, and this place was also very popular at lunch.
Overall, a quick visit to Hong Kong, but I had fun and enjoyed the city. Hopefully I'll be back again someday,
re: Dave MP
Sorry, dude, but I automatically ignore any thread that talks about Tim Ho Wan. Just got really sick of people going gaga over this place. C'mon... it's decent but it's not ALL THAT...
wonton noodles have been discussed ad nauseum and there will forever be 2 camps here... just like there will always be 2 camps for egg tarts. Another reason why I passed up this thread...