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Jul 24, 2011 01:03 PM

Hong Kong - need specific herbal soup, seafood, street food / dai pai dong recs

Hey - I have a friend from shanghai (shanghainese born and raised) who is going to HK for the first time. She asked me for recs and ive given her a bunch. However, she has two recs i needed some help with:
1) herbal soup: she was interested in having some good chinese / cantonese herbal soup type places. this is not something i normally get, so i didn't really have an recs for her
2) seafood: she was looking for good seafood that isn't too expensive (doesn't have a huge budget), i know good seafood places but most of them are quite expensive. i was thinking maybe a good dai pai dong
3) street food / dai pai dong: she was looking for good street food / dai pai dong recs. street isn't as common in HK as it is in say taipei or singapore, but i she was looking for that type of thing. i was thinking maybe bowrington road mkt (the 2nd floor food court) or maybe that seafood place tung po in north point

Anyhow, any recs would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. Ser Wong Fun ( aka Snake King Fun ) on Cochrane street, Central, close to Mak's, has about 15 different variety of double-boiled herbal soup in addition to the famous snake soup/ragout

    I would combine your seafood with your Dai Pai Dong request since nowadays its really unrealistic to find ' inexpensive but good seafood ' in restaurants. Any seafood that is 'live' will be expensive and charged by weight and/or market price! Xin Dan Ji on Cheong Lok Street , Jordan is one of my go to seafood place 'in the city'. Excellent food, however, they are 'not cheap'. If one doesn't mind the travelling, then Sai Kung, Lau Fau San, Lantau Island or Aberdeen are all 'seafood focus' destinations. On the other hand, if one is OK with 'hole-in-the-wall' atmosphere then most Dai Pai Dong, especially the ones located above wet markets stalls with 'fish tanks' and serve fresh, live seafood. A couple I've been and like are the wet market at the bottom of Sing Woo Road in Happy Valley and the huge food court atop of the North Point wet market. Great food and atmosphere and very reasonable priced!

    Good Luck!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      oh good call on ser wong fun, ive been meaning to try that place forever and i know they are supposed to have good herbal soup

      do u know the characters for xin dan ji? much easier for me to find things with the chinese names, is this the place?

      i think tung po is in that food court above the north point wet market

      1. re: Lau

        Yup! Thats the one! The King size fish tank is very impressive! They have their own appointed fishermen for their fish supply. Therefore, selection is very varied! Almost like looking at the aquarium in Ocean Park!! Ha!

        In addition to seafood, their wok-hay stirred fry is pretty good as well. The third photo is their 'Stirred fry goose intestine with Chinese preserved mustard green and fermented black beans'. One of the best dish, if not the best tasting dish I had during my 5 weeks stay a few months ago.

        Regarding establishments inside North Point's wet market food court. I'm not sure whether Tung Po was the one I visited. However, there are quite a few really good ones there. Anthony Bourdain in his No Reservation Hong Kong also visited this food court. Unsure the stall's name though! Its the one that serves ' house made cuttle fish balls with its own black ink sauce.

        1. re: Charles Yu

          yah thats the one, tung po is the one that anthony bourdain visited and they are also the ones that specialize in the cuttle dish ball ink noodles

    2. You can find a few remaining dai pai dong in Shamsuipo, around Yiu Dong St. and Sheck Kip Mee St. Authentic streetside restaurant. Check in for their exact locations. For cheap seafood, you can even buy from nearby market and have them cook for you in some of this dai pai dong.

      1 Reply
      1. re: clalll52

        ah i forgot about those places, thats a good its kind of a cool thing to do in HK

      2. Re herbal soup: go to Lei Garden and order their daily herbal soup 例湯 . It never failed me, best 例湯 in town.

        4 Replies
        1. re: FourSeasons

          But 例湯 generally is not herbal, especially in the summer which most 例湯 are light and veggie based.

          1. re: clalll52

            ahh thanks FourSeasons, I haven't had 例湯 in many many years and probably have only had it a couple of times ever

          2. re: FourSeasons

            Lei Gardens classic 蓮藕章魚煲豬展 soup (lotus root with dried octopus and pork) already has me salivating.

            1. re: K K

              this thread is kind of killing b/c now i wish i was going to HK instead of giving friends recommendations of where to eat awesome food

              i literally have a big word file with all these places i want to try....i should just move to HK for a year or two, im like kid in a candy store there food wise

          3. For herbal soup, try Sei Wong Liang (Snake King Liang) at North Point. It has all sort of double boiled soup with ingradient such as silkie, softshell turtle, ginseng, fish mew, snake penis, Teal duck, whelk, dried gecko, exotic herb such as "dong chong cao (winter worm summer leaf)"...... Of course their snake soup is good too, together with snake wine. Give them a call to reserve in advance.

            Keep in mind it is a very small place with only 4 tables and the washroom is 7x2 feet or something like that.


            1 Reply
            1. re: skylineR33

              yah this seems like it will work well for the herbal soup request

            2. How much time does your friend have to explore dai pai dong?

              Here's a short list


              Sing Heung Yuen - 勝香園-中環美輪街 2 號排檔. Very very famous and incredibly crowded but the line moves a lot faster than many other places. Gets heavily visited from tourists via SE asia, Japan, Taiwan etc. Just around the corner from Gau Kee beef brisket noodle. People go there for no nonsense macaroni or rice noodle with beef tomato broth, or their crispy toasted burger style buns with honey lemon jam 檸蜜脆脆. The locals love the old school flavor and the fact that the employees remember the likes, dislikes, and custom orders of regulars, almost like that really professional sushi chef.

              玉葉甜品-中環伊利近街 2 號. Also in Central. Specializes in Cantonese desserts.

              盛記-中環士丹利街 9-10 號舖. This place was featured on a few local TV shows. Current owner took over his dad who founded the dai pai dong, and he is famous for stir frying with two woks simultaneously. Lots of decent stir fry type looking dishes.

              蘭芳園-中環結志街 2 號 Lan Fong Yuen - well the original stall is still there but looks like they only leave it there for brewing their signature tea. LFY invented the Hong Kong milk tea, and thus gets heavily visited by the same gang of Asian tourists, and touted by tons of travel guide books and what not. For a first visit to HK, it is a must. They usually also get their other signature invented over 12 years ago...instant noodle lo mein with ginger scallion oil and brazilian grilled chicken filet. Of course they have other things like pork chop bun, beef tongue sandwich, and the usual French toast and what not.

              水記-中環吉士笠街 2 號牌檔 - this place specializes in beef offal. The current owner, I think 70+ something years old, is hardcore...wakes up really early and starts cleaning the innards and parts. Very labor intensive, and is passionate about what he does to retain the old flavors. Not sure how this compares to Yeung Luk Kee in Macau (which is another legendary dai pai dong that does beef offal and beef offal congee).

              Sham Shui Po:

              強記-深水埗耀東街 4 號牌檔 - Keung Kee, been around since 1952. Here's a youtube Cantonese promo clip where there's a link to their website. It's high on my to visit someday list. Baked fish intestines, yin yang ribs, typhoon shelter softshell crab, beef marrow with assorted seafood, salt and pepper "nine belly" fish + "white rice fish" lamb brisket claypot, jeh jeh chicken claypot, and many more.

              6 Replies
              1. re: K K

                Most of those mentioned had moved indoor, loosing the authenticity of Dai Pai Dang. 強記 & those around that neigborhood are still operating under shacks streetside. Still toasting their toast on top of fire like they're decades ago.

                1. re: clalll52

                  K K - thanks alot for this very helpful; ive been to a couple of the ones in central before, but i forgot about them b/c its been a while

                  強記 from that youtube looks awesome....i really want to go there next time im in town now

                  1. re: Lau

                    Yeah the short list are the more well known ones. There are some obscure ones that might have less foreign visitor traffic, but are just as good, if not better.

                    There are some search results for dai pai dong (Chinese) on openrice, but this one is probably the funniest one


                    very tongue in cheek sarcastic.

                    This one in Sham Shui Po might have moved its kitchen indoors (but with outdoors seating



                    but it is hard to resist their charcoal grilled suckling pig, in fact all the other dishes from openrice (the pics) look very very very good.

                    Chan Kun Kee, previously mentioned on this board by others, sounds like another winner, although in Shatin.

                    1. re: K K

                      haha interesting a dai pai dong serving abalone

                  2. re: clalll52

                    Yeah you are absolutely right. 愛文生 in Sham Shui Po


                    looks like one of those truly stuck in time, and never moved indoors kind of places. Very obscure, not mainstream (like Central), and only has about 5 tables.

                    Gotta love Apple Daily sending some no talent hack hostess to cover this place


                    This dai pai dong claims to go through one wok every 4 days due to the extreme high heat.

                    But I think the youtube comments (likely from males) are more hilarious if you can read Canto Chinese :-)

                    1. re: K K

                      haha that place does look good that pig foot in the black bean sauce looks ridiculous