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Lastly!! A compilation of some of Hong Kong's BEST ( and worse? ) Won-Ton Noodles!!

Charles Yu Mar 30, 2013 06:41 AM

The following are most of the famous and popular ones.
From left to right:-

- Mak Siu Kee, Tin Hau
- Bamboo Room, Causeway Bay
- Wing Wah, Wan Chai
- 'Jor Lun Yau Lay', Hung Hum
- Mak's, Wellington Street, Central
- Mak An Kee, Wing Kut Street, Central
- Chee Kee, Mong Kok
- Mak Man Kee, Jordan
- Tasty, Kowloon Bay
- Mak Siu Kee, Happy Valley

My favorite, Bamboo Room. My least favorite, Wing Wah ( Yuk!!! ) and Mak Man Kee.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  1. eatdrinknbmerry Nov 4, 2013 02:45 PM

    Thank you Charles. Amazing list and will check these out when I fly into Hong Kong tonight! My last trip to HK was in 2008 and I have so much wonton-eating to make up for.

    34 Replies
    1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
      Charles Yu Nov 4, 2013 05:17 PM

      Pleasure! Have a great time!!
      FYI, Bamboo Room in Causeway Bay is closed due to horrendous rent increase!!

      1. re: Charles Yu
        eatdrinknbmerry Nov 8, 2013 04:01 PM

        多謝 / 唔該! Just an update... it's been 6 years since I've been to Hong Kong for wontons. I'm from Los Angeles and our wonton gene pool is near extinction, has always been. Only in Richmond Vancouver have I found wontons close, but better than HK.

        I first went to Mak's Noodle (Wellington) and Tsim Chai Kee (Wellington). At TCK, I thought the wontons really lacked the flounder/shrimp roe aroma and pretty much fell apart within a minute. I did appreciate how the 師父 mixed the noodles with a little bit of pork fat/lard for extra flavor points. The noodles had excellent bite. Across the street at Mak's Noodle, I thought the broth was what I was looking for with the flounder/shrimp aroma. Noodles were good. Wontons just didn't work for me though I appreciated the small size. I've always been exposed to big golfball-sized wontons. But what I enjoyed the most at Mak's Noodle is his dried shrimp roe low mein (蝦子麵) with a hit of red vinegar, white pepper, chili, oyster sauce and 3 spoonfuls of that great broth. Man.

        After these two, I started to steer away from wonton because I haven't been happy with what I was eating. But I never blame Hong Kong, it is very possible my tastes have changed. I had actually begun to gravitate towards beef brisket/tendon noodles 牛腩麺. Side note, my most enjoyable have been the Leaf Dessert Stall (玉葉甜品) in Central, the place directly across the street from it on the corner and Mak An Kee (37 Wing Kut Street). Kau Kee, to be honest, I wasn't into the "new school", clean white broth. It was good, beef was tender but the usage of the yee mein noodles threw me off since I think tastes better as "gon sieuw yee mein" noodle dish. In all fairness, the beef brisket low mein did look tasty though.

        It wasn't until I ate at Mak An (37 Wing Kut Street) that I regained my hope in pursuing HK wontons. The broth was excellent. Loved the bouncy/spring (song) of the noodles. I love the one-bite size of the wontons too. I know a lot of HK'rs complain about the price of the small bowl but to me, this is done right. You have a smaller bowl to eat, you will eat it fast and reduce the opportunity of making everything soggy.

        So now, based on your list and some others I found, I have some more research to do. Today I plan on hitting up Tasty (Causeway Bay), Mak Siu Kee, Sister Wah and Wing Wah.

        Few questions:

        Have you added any other wonton noodle shops to your list since this posting?

        It pains me that each of the restaurants will excel in soup vs. soupless (low mein) noodles. Hard to choose when you're mainly eating alone! If you have time, could you clarify which of the wonton places ALSO offer other great dishes?

        Besides Kau Kee, where do you go for beef brisket noodles?

        Thanks in advance. I've got 3 more days and have to leave on a good note!

        1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
          l
          Lau Nov 8, 2013 04:20 PM

          nice review, that place across from leaf is good? i noticed it last time...will try next time

          1. re: Lau
            eatdrinknbmerry Nov 8, 2013 04:58 PM

            Hi Lau, I serendipitously found the Leaf Dessert daipaidong and saw that other people were eating beef brisket noodles. One guy bluntly told me the wontons were "OK, lah" haha. I know HK'ers and they don't hesitate to tell you the truth! FYI, I'm from LA though, and my exposure and tastes for HK food will differ from yours.

            I took a peek at the place across the street which I'll get the name of. Their beef brisket/tendon noodles just did the trick and I think Leaf has a slight edge over it because it wasn't as salty. But still, both braise the beef nicely and the noodles are "song" (bouncey). I much rather eat these places over Kau Kee. Where do you go for beef brisket noodles?

            1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
              l
              Lau Nov 8, 2013 05:04 PM

              go try the 糖不甩 at leaf next time, i really like those
              https://www.lauhound.com/2012/09/leaf-dessert-a-great-old-school-dai-pai-dong-chinese-dessert-specialist-in-central-hong-kong/

              i dont live in HK btw although i go there about once a year and i used to go to HK a ton when i lived in asia. i like Sister Wah btw although i havent really gone out of my way to find the best beef brisket noodle soup (not bc i dont like just bc i havent gotten around it
              )http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...

              1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
                K K Nov 8, 2013 11:46 PM

                The place across from the dessert dai pai dong is called Man Yuen...they were a dai pai dong before then moved indoors. I suppose that place is ok, but heard the alkali water flavor is very heavy in the noodles.

                Cheung Fat in Sham Shui Po is a famous local noodle dai pai dong...but people only go there for soy sauce lo mein.

                Kwun Kee in Cheung Sa Wan does bamboo pole noodle (and they offer a fried lard bits lo mein)...but the noodles are made with chicken egg, not duck.

                1. re: K K
                  eatdrinknbmerry Nov 9, 2013 05:00 PM

                  Hi KK, yeah Man Yuen! It just does the trick if you're in the area. With so many beef brisket noodles in HK, I wouldn't make it a destination. Let me see if I can add Kwun Kee to the mix. Thank you.

                  1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
                    K K Nov 9, 2013 05:12 PM

                    There's also 平記麵家 Ping Kee Noodles in Tai Po where Josh Tse took Anthony Bourdain, and still around despite the rumors of the owner closing shop some time ago. Also a bamboo pole noodle shop but much further away depending on where you are staying.

                    If you want to experience some stuck in time very old style noodle shop that also does congee, look into
                    彌敦粥麵家 Nathan Congee and Noodle in Jordan that has a more old timer HK feel, even though it's not a destination stop specifically for won tons necessarily.

                    There's also 蟹麵膳 Crab Noodle in Central. This one is pretty funky...they make wonton fillings with shrimp and crab meat (where the crab is a substitute for what otherwise would have been pork) and the broth is made with crab as well.

                    1. re: K K
                      Charles Yu Nov 9, 2013 07:52 PM

                      No! No! No! Nathan Congee was OK but their noodles sucks!! Horrible broth!!

            2. re: eatdrinknbmerry
              K K Nov 8, 2013 11:42 PM

              Kau Kee has been around for a while....I wouldn't say is the new school, but it has certainly been thrust in the limelight in the last 6 to 8 years or more. If you want to experience beef tendons at Kau Kee that can only be had if you order the curry version, and efu noodles soaks up the curry juices best. For the clear broth version you probably want to get either hahng lam or the highly coveted sohng lam...but honestly getting half lean half fatty brisket is a decent enough substitute.

              At Sister Wah, you want to go for the "sohng lam" or "hahng lam" cuts. If you go for sohng lam, there may be a surcharge, and I've heard upwards of $100 for a bowl of broth plus that cut of meat. Don't forget to try a side order of daikon (which has the clear broth soaked in). Stick with the Tin Hau location of Sister Wah (not Sheung Wan new location). Apparently they say Sister Wah herself is retired and may not be in the store as frequent.

              Wing Wah's brisket noodles is very good. That was the only thing I had back in January there...and do not miss the pickled daikon cubes (self help) at the tables. The portion is small enough that you can sample other things. I would also try shui gow there, but probably would not try the won tons (some locals like it).

              Lau Sam Kee's (Sham Shui Po) prawn roe lo mein is very good...and their shui gow is excellent. The pork "penny sauce" (ja jeung) lo mein is also very good because they use Yu Kwen Yick chili sauce to make it, and you can request their house bottle to season your food further. You can also add black booktripe to your noodles. I think they have braised/stewed pork knuckle lo mein as well, but that might be better somewhere around North Point area.

              Another great place for ja jeung lo mein is Good Hope Noodle in Mongkok (another bamboo pole noodle place) but it is not known for won ton or brisket.

              If you are feeling really adventurous, you might want to venture far north into Yuen Long. 學記麵家 (Hok Kee Noodles) is a brisket and stomach specialist noodle shop...and they do one of the stomachs called 沙瓜 (sa gwa) pretty well. You might also want to try Yuen Long's famous oldest noodle shop, 好到底麵家 (Ho To Tai noodles). Also famous for their prawn roe noodles too.

              You can see a nice writeup of Ho To Tai from these Singaporeans here in English

              http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/...

              1. re: K K
                l
                Lau Nov 9, 2013 06:35 AM

                good point at sister wah about the song lam, ive only been to tin hau not sheung wan so good point on that too

                haha i was just about to ask if u had been to good hope when u wrote about ja jeung mein, but then i read further...that place has been on my list for a while but i always run out of time when i try to go

                1. re: Lau
                  Charles Yu Nov 9, 2013 07:33 AM

                  Try killing two birds with one stone when heading over to Sister Wah at Tin Hau. Leave room for a bowl of Won Ton Noodles at Mak Siu Kee just down the road!

                  1. re: Charles Yu
                    K K Nov 9, 2013 09:21 AM

                    And if he is still hungry after Sister Wah and Mak Siu Kee, he can walk to Tai Hang from Tin Hau to burn off a few calories, visit Shun Hing Dai Pai Dong and get a plate of runny scrambled egg cha siu (or shrimp) rice plate, then Lab Made (liquid nitrogen) ice cream for dessert, or Mun Sing café and pile up a steamed pork patty with salted egg over rice for local flavor (plus a pretty interesting coffee shop in the area too)! Or see what crazy stuff Pizzazaza is offering...I would try Shanghai hairy mitten crab roe pasta, or uni risotto made with an entire tray of sea urchin...

                    1. re: K K
                      l
                      Lau Nov 9, 2013 09:41 AM

                      kind of off topic but i really like that area in tin hau, its getting gentrified but at least so far in a good way...cool looking area

                      1. re: K K
                        Charles Yu Nov 9, 2013 10:47 AM

                        Hay K K!! I'll buy if you can eat all these in one go!! Ha!! Better identify the nearest hospital location as well! Just in case!!

                        1. re: Charles Yu
                          K K Nov 9, 2013 02:22 PM

                          Haha, not in one go. But I think identifying the nearest toilet would be handier :-). My personal record January 2013....first breakfast...hot dog at Danish Bakery. Walked a few feet then turned into the dark lobby of a building and found "Wah Bo" eatery, had some plain cheung fun with sauces (bite #2). Then walked to Tai Hai and had a scrambled egg toast and milk tea at Bing Kee dai pai dong for breakfast #3. Then walked to Tin Hau, spent an hour chatting with a family member at Café De Corral (didn't order anything), and I polished off a bowl of hahng lam ho fun at Sister Wah afterwards.

                        2. re: K K
                          eatdrinknbmerry Nov 9, 2013 05:14 PM

                          Sorry off topic. KK, I tried Lab Made and thought it was quite novelty. I couldn't help but wonder if those employees are suffering some bad long term effect with all that liquid Nitrogen haha. The flavors we had at the Tsim Sha Tsui location were lemon and red bean tofu. We ended up at a HK style dessert place with durian crepes and mango pudding.

                        3. re: Charles Yu
                          eatdrinknbmerry Nov 9, 2013 05:12 PM

                          That's the plan! Today will be a rough, but doable day as I have my sister's stomach to help out.

                          1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
                            K K Nov 9, 2013 05:21 PM

                            Yeah it's definitely a novelty for HK. I might try it out personally for the hell of it, since we have a few liquid nitro ice cream joints in NorCal. There are lot of gimmick eats in HK, but I guess you have to be a youngster hipster to really appreciate it. But I have to hand it to the owner who turned this into a success...akin to Meter Chan building his Butao ramen empire. People in HK would rather line up 3 hours for Ichiran ramen, while Mak's Wellington next door, you can waltz in and sit down and eat, then finishing eating and come out and laugh at the Butao ramen line of people who have only moved a few feet.

                        4. re: Lau
                          K K Nov 9, 2013 09:15 AM

                          Ho To Tai 好到底麵家 Facebook page just listed several branches on a posted photo of a business card (in Chinese). Flagship stays in Yuen Long, but they're opening one in Mongkok, and Wanchai (openrice already lists Wanchai location). They also sell dumplings and dried noodles to go, as well as their signature prawn roe for $100 a bottle. I think there was a signing ceremony for another location in New Territories. So no need to go to YL...unless one wants to do a food crawl over there and visit a piece of YL food history at the flagship.

                          1. re: K K
                            Charles Yu Nov 9, 2013 10:16 AM

                            YL!!! Lard with Premium Dark Top Soya sauce over rice!! - with 'Crestor' on the side!!

                            1. re: Charles Yu
                              K K Nov 9, 2013 02:27 PM

                              Oh...you are referring to Tai Wing Wah in YL for their lard soy sauce rice. Not on the itinerary when I visit (to experience that restaurant you need a bigger crew)...but that is the Death Star in a bowl.

                              Watch on the 24th second.

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQm5nI...

                              Chef Leung Man To 梁文韜 must have a 80% body mass of Lipitor and Crestor to be still so active from a diet like that. To be fair the amount of lard he demos with is a little...the whole bottle is made from a large grown pig (not for sale). The stuff dreams are made of.

                              1. re: K K
                                l
                                Lau Nov 9, 2013 02:40 PM

                                haha oh man i want that...lard rice is like top of mind next time im in HK. Tso Choi is where ive been planning to go
                                http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...

                        5. re: K K
                          eatdrinknbmerry Nov 9, 2013 05:12 PM

                          KK, thank you again, excellent run down and info. Man, the photos from the Ho To Tai posting... love how they offer their noodles and chili sauce. I may not have time for this place!

                          1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
                            K K Nov 9, 2013 05:25 PM

                            I would recommend hitting up Lau Sam Kee in Sham Shui Po while you are still there above all others (even above Kwun Kee). Ho To Tai, maybe save for another occasion, or try the Wanchai branch if it's on the way. Getting to Yuen Long from HK or Tsim Sa Tsui shouldn't take more than 30 mins though on a good day.

                            And if you are flying out of Terminal 2 from Chek Lap Kok back to LA, there is a Tasty's at the airport post security, pre flight boarding for one last won ton noodle and beef chow fun fix. Unfortunately you won't be able to bring any liquid on board (security will ask you to consume or throw away, as this is the rule for all US bound flights from HK).

                            1. re: K K
                              eatdrinknbmerry Nov 9, 2013 05:57 PM

                              Lau Sam Kee is on my list for sure, thank you! Have you heard of a place in Hung Hom called "Cheng Dou" for wontons? A few relatives have suggested this for their wontons. I don't know the correct spelling or the Chinese characters.

                              1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
                                K K Nov 9, 2013 06:18 PM

                                Cheng Dou would be 正斗, which is the Chinese name for the chain known as Tasty. The Hung Hom branch has closed.

                                Here are the addresses of all their locations

                                http://www.tasty.com.hk/shop.html

                                The Happy Valley branch is supposed to be pretty good, and Mak Siu Kee HV location is also on the same street.

                                1. re: K K
                                  eatdrinknbmerry Nov 10, 2013 03:33 PM

                                  Hi KK, thanks. We ended up at Jor Lun Yau Lay which replaced Cheng Dao. I've had "Tasty" only at the Hong Kong airport which for airport food, is not bad at all ha! How is Tasty and Ho Hung Kee in Causeway Bay?

                                  Wonton report coming soon, have a few more places today!

                                  1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
                                    Charles Yu Nov 10, 2013 04:07 PM

                                    Ho Hung Kee IMO is a reap-off!!! They have hiked their prices by $2 per year and lower the quality. Once, they even offered me a bowl with scallions rather than yellowing chives!! A No-No in my book!!
                                    Tasty in both Happy Valley and Kowloon Bay were both excellent. IFC was acceptable except the luncheon crowd!!
                                    BTW, how did you find "Jor Lun Yau Lay", Did you also try their 'Shredded pork penny hot sauce noodles' and the Pig's liver congee?? Sooo good!!

                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                      l
                                      Lau Nov 10, 2013 04:54 PM

                                      i dont find ho hung kee all that great, but i do like their chow fun (a dish i typically am not all that fond of)

                                      my post on it:
                                      https://www.lauhound.com/2010/10/ho-h...

                                      1. re: Lau
                                        Charles Yu Nov 10, 2013 05:27 PM

                                        I noticed you had your 'Gone Chau Ngau Ho' at Ho Hung Kee in 2010. Things have gone down hill a lot my friend!! Fellow chowhounders Fourseason, skylineR33 and myself all tried that dish this year. We all arrived at the common consensus that it was too greasy and lacking 'wok-hay'.
                                        On the othetr hand, the plate I had at Tasty's this March have much better colour appeal, almost greasless and full of 'wok-hay'

                                         
                                        1. re: Charles Yu
                                          l
                                          Lau Nov 10, 2013 05:44 PM

                                          really? damn thats a shame, i actually generally am not a fan of this dish bc its overly heavy, but they did a nice job particularly getting some great wok hay...blehhh oh well

                                          1. re: Lau
                                            Charles Yu Nov 10, 2013 06:00 PM

                                            Don't be disparaged! There's always Tasty's!!

                                            1. re: Charles Yu
                                              M_Gomez Nov 10, 2013 10:38 PM

                                              Charles Yu, you meant 'discouraged' not 'disparaged', right?

                  2. ckshen Aug 9, 2013 10:52 PM

                    Bamboo Room seems to be closed...

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: ckshen
                      Charles Yu Aug 10, 2013 06:05 AM

                      What??!! That is one big surprise and a pity!!

                      1. re: Charles Yu
                        k
                        klyeoh Aug 10, 2013 06:55 AM

                        Another victim of HK high rents?

                        1. re: klyeoh
                          l
                          Lau Aug 10, 2013 11:07 AM

                          appears to be correct! ugh

                          http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...

                          1. re: klyeoh
                            Charles Yu Aug 10, 2013 07:14 PM

                            @#%^&^&^*)*)*$^*&!!!!!!!!!

                            1. re: Charles Yu
                              k
                              klyeoh Aug 11, 2013 08:53 AM

                              Charles, maybe you should start your *own* wanton noodle shop in HK - after all, you know what the best should taste like. You can seek out the best chefs (ex-Bamboo Room) to work for you :-D

                              1. re: klyeoh
                                Charles Yu Aug 11, 2013 09:25 AM

                                Great idea klyeoh! BUT I CANNOT AFFORD THE RENT!!!! Ha!!

                                1. re: Charles Yu
                                  l
                                  Lau Oct 15, 2013 04:08 PM

                                  hey what do you like the best now that bamboo room is closed? im putting together and HK list for a friend is going there soon, but im not even sure where to put for wonton noodle soup anymore

                                  1. re: Lau
                                    Charles Yu Oct 15, 2013 07:22 PM

                                    - 'Jor Lun Yau Lay', Hung Hum
                                    - Tasty's, Happy Valley
                                    - Mak An Kee, Wing Kut street
                                    - Mak Siu Kee, Tin Hau
                                    ...in that order.

                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                      l
                                      Lau Oct 15, 2013 07:46 PM

                                      Do you know the chinese characters for Jor Lun Yau Lay?

                                      1. re: Lau
                                        Charles Yu Oct 15, 2013 08:01 PM

                                        左麟右李粥麵小菜專門店

                                        1. re: Charles Yu
                                          l
                                          Lau Oct 15, 2013 09:08 PM

                                          thanks!

                                      2. re: Charles Yu
                                        K K Oct 16, 2013 12:44 PM

                                        Charles, which Tasty's out of them all does the best dry fry beef chow fun, ja jeung lo mein, and offers Yu Kwen Yick chili sauce? I might try the one at the airport before I leave when I visit end of the year. So Happy Valley does the best won ton noodles out of all Tasty locations?

                                        1. re: K K
                                          l
                                          Lau Oct 16, 2013 01:46 PM

                                          ja jeung lo mein...man that sounds good, i haven't had that in many years

                                          1. re: Lau
                                            K K Oct 16, 2013 04:56 PM

                                            I may just have to revisit Lau Sam Kee and try their ja jeung lo mein, that I hear is made especially with Yu Kwen Yick chili sauce, and they stock the bottles in house for additional seasoning if you like the fiery punishment :-).

                                          2. re: K K
                                            Charles Yu Oct 16, 2013 02:57 PM

                                            Personally, I like the Happy Valley branch the best. Kowloon Bay is fine too. However, the one at IFC could be inconsistent around lunch time due to the office crowd.

                                            1. re: Charles Yu
                                              K K Oct 16, 2013 04:53 PM

                                              That is perfect, thanks. I'm actually staying within easy walking distance from there. Tasty and Mak Siu Kee are on the same street, so maybe I'll do one after the other for fun! But I will also see if I can squeeze in MSK in Tin Hau (have relatives that live in the area). Bad enough that Gonpachi and Sushi Iwa (via Ginza) just opened up in HK, and I already have plans on visiting at least two Chiu Chow Da Lahng joints....I need more stomach space!

                                              1. re: K K
                                                l
                                                Lau Oct 17, 2013 12:00 AM

                                                chiu chow da lang...man wth is there not a decent one of those places here

                          2. p
                            p0lst3r Apr 12, 2013 01:55 AM

                            So off the back of this review, I make my way down to Bamboo Room in CWB. Never been before but have now been three times in a week.

                            Haven't kept historical record of my wonton noodle experiences in HK but can confidently say Bamboo Room is now my favourite. Super-fine but springy noodles with light bite. Clean/light tasting stock. Shrimp that are seasoned to bring out a full and pleasant shrimp flavour (definitely marinated, maybe with garlic), wontons not oversized. Just really nice and satisfying.

                            Also tried the beef tendon noodle in spicy/sour broth and it was good. Chewy and flavourful (though I prefer the subtlety of the regular wonton noodle dish).

                            One of my favourite HK comfort dishes is shrimp and egg on rice. When it's done right, it's great, otherwise it's just like claggy scrambled eggs. I've had so many bad ones I've stopped ordering in recent years. But I noticed the Bamboo Room menu pic looked spot on. And as expected, they definitely do a good one - this is how it's supposed to be - shrimp in egg-thickened stock, like a sauce.

                            This little restaurant is clean, cheap, fast, relatively pleasant decor, has English menu. Great all round in my book!! Thanks Charles!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: p0lst3r
                              Charles Yu Apr 12, 2013 09:31 AM

                              You are most welcome!! Glad you enjoyed the food!!
                              If you are into 'Congees', their's supposed to be one of Hong Kong's best!!

                            2. k
                              klyeoh Apr 3, 2013 01:20 AM

                              Hey, Charles - inspired by your photo collage of HK-style wonton noodles, I'm putting together my collection KL-style wonton noodles in Kuala Lumpur for comparison - you can just see the difference of this ubiquitous Cantonese dish between two largely Cantonese cities! Interesting how food evolves, eh?

                              From left to right:
                              - Koon Kee, Chee Cheong Kai
                              - Ho Weng Kee, Lot 10
                              - Toong Kwoon Chye, Bkt Bintang
                              - Ming Kee, Happy Gardens
                              - Sungei Besi Wanton Mee
                              - Hung Kee, Loke Yew Rd

                               
                               
                               
                               
                               
                               
                              1. M_Gomez Apr 2, 2013 08:26 PM

                                Oh my goodness, Charles. Did you even have any space for anything else after this noodle orgy?

                                By the way, I think you should get together with this young lady who wrote about best wonton noodles in Hong Kong for CNNGo:

                                http://travel.cnn.com/hong-kong/eat/b...

                                21 Replies
                                1. re: M_Gomez
                                  Charles Yu Apr 3, 2013 11:44 AM

                                  4th time lucky??
                                  I tried replying to your posting 3 times in a row but somehow my write-ups did not post?
                                  Anyways! Greetings M_Gomez! Missed you during our Hong Kong Chowmeets. We all had a great time. Both fourseasons and klyeoh showed up!! May be you can make an effort to join us next time?!
                                  Thank you for the CNN article! Interesting!!
                                  Unfortunately, IMHO, not only was the information outdated, the article focused too much on establishments with a historic background rather than the quality and taste of the products! There were some funny reasons behind the author's choice in representing 'Hong Kong's BEST'! eg., Wing Wah and Mak Man Kee ( my least favorite) both happened to make the list?! Interesting?
                                  BTW, cost has also gone up a lot!! At least an average of HK$4 per bowl! In fact, in CWB's Ho Hung Kee's case, they've raised their price by $5 in 2 years!! Wow!! Rent increase?!

                                  1. re: Charles Yu
                                    PhilD Apr 3, 2013 04:14 PM

                                    Its true rents are rising, but so are wages, the minimum wage has risen and many pay rates are moving at 5% a year so its inevitable prices need to rise even for food that is only ~ $30 a serve.

                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                      M_Gomez Apr 3, 2013 05:05 PM

                                      What to do, Charles, unlike you freewheeling bachelors, I have to help my daughter here keep an eye on her 5-month-old baby and 3-year-old toddler. There's only that much we can rely on a domestic helper.
                                      Maybe next year, Charles. You are doing it in HK again?

                                      1. re: Charles Yu
                                        k
                                        klyeoh Apr 3, 2013 06:28 PM

                                        Charles, would you like to lend your expert opinion in the current on-going discussion about wonton noodles on the SF Bay Area Board? Their dish of the month is, what else but ... WONTON NOODLES! :-D

                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896524

                                        1. re: Charles Yu
                                          l
                                          Lau Apr 3, 2013 07:32 PM

                                          not to turn this into an economics board, but HK has pretty high inflation, so i actually find it amazing how cheap food is in HK (although HK has horrible income disparity to be fair)
                                          http://www.tradingeconomics.com/hong-kong/inflation-cpi

                                          Hong Kong's dollar is pegged to the US dollar and they have to use US interest rates (literally), which are probably too low since the US basically has zero interest rates trying to kick start the US economy post-financial crisis, which causes big inflation in HK even though HK probably had no reason to have such low interest rates (hence HK's real estate prices, wage inflation, rent infation etc etc

                                          )

                                          here's an article what's happening to small businesses. It's actually interesting b/c last summer when i was in HK I ate in Tai Hang at Fisherman's Cuisine Hamayaki Taisho and was shocked at how much that area has changed and how trendy it's becoming
                                          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04...

                                          1. re: Lau
                                            PhilD Apr 3, 2013 08:02 PM

                                            There are also the infrastructure changes like the new escalators on Centre Street in Sai Ying Pun which will start extend Soho west making access up the steep hills easier. We are already seeing new restaurants and galleries spread out in this direction.

                                            I think economic change is one driver but I also see a post colonial change since 1997 with local business changing and developing with lots of innovative local ventures, shops and restaurants i.e. the 3rd wave coffee shops are owned and run local nor expats. The new buzzy bakeries like Po's are local etc etc. So yes the old Won Ton Noodle places are changing but it's a dynamic city and its good to see the young locals driving change in food not simply big international brands (like it is so often in retail)

                                            1. re: PhilD
                                              l
                                              Lau Apr 3, 2013 08:13 PM

                                              yah that is nice about HK, i don't feel like HK is losing any of its edge in food at all really whereas in singapore i question how long the hawker culture will really survive at least in a quality way

                                              1. re: Lau
                                                k
                                                klyeoh Apr 3, 2013 09:20 PM

                                                Lau - sadly, quality hawker culture in Singapore has *not* survived at all since the early-80s after the Singapore Government cleaned our streets and moved all the old hawkers into designated food centres. Many of the old masters retired, bringing their tried-and-tested recipes and much-honed skills into oblivion.

                                                Then, came the centralized food manufacturing plants in Jurong and Pandan Loop, with their mass-produced "nasi padang", "beef noodles and beef balls", "economy rice" dishes which were cooked en masse in factories, not kitchens, then distributed all over Singapore - to be warmed up and served by franchise stall-owners.

                                                Out went charcoal cookers, in came gas burners.
                                                Out went pork lard, in came "healthier" vegetable oil.
                                                Out went artisanal hawker food preparations, in came supermarket fishballs, meatballs, noodles, etc, etc.

                                                The younger generation of Singaporeans, born after 1980, had not tasted the *real* Singapore hawker food. They are less discerning, food is regarded as fuel for the stomach rather than something pleasurable. They have no appreciation for the cooking skills of the old hawker masters.

                                                Hawker food in Singapore just does *not* hold a candle to the type of traditional street food in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand or next-door Malaysia.

                                                Look at our top hawker centres: Maxwell Road, Tiong Bharu, Amoy Street, Old Airport Road, Adam Road, Serangoon Gardens - none of them really are standouts, or some place I'd proudly bring a first-time visitor to Singapore to. Contrast that with, for example, Ho Chi Minh City's touristy Ben Thanh market, where I had some of the most flavorsome, artisanal "bun rieu cua", "banh uot" and "hu tieu" I'd ever had and which still stayed on my memory after a few years!

                                                What you see in the media today about Singapore's "vibrant" hawker food culture is merely Tourism Board of Singapore's clever spiel.

                                                1. re: klyeoh
                                                  K K Apr 3, 2013 09:50 PM

                                                  That's very interesting, it sounds like what is happening to Singapore is also in some ways happening to parts of Hong Kong...someone did post before that the Central dai pai dongs went through the same retrofitting (e.g. Towngas) so woodfire/straw like material burning woks are gone and the gas powered woks don't output those killer BTUs like they used to. Yet some food bloggers in HK think Singapore seems to be retaining its food culture even better (grass is greener on the other side i guess), and there's been massive interest by HK food TV documentaries going around Guangdong province (Shunde, Foshan, Pearl River Delta, Panyue) as well as various parts of Malaysia.

                                                  Is Hainan Chicken Rice for example better in Singapore than in Hong Kong?

                                                  1. re: K K
                                                    k
                                                    klyeoh Apr 3, 2013 10:08 PM

                                                    It is indeed "the grass is greener on the other side", KK. What are food bloggers, but usually a bunch of younger people more interested in taking photos of the food in front of them, than actually tasting the food.

                                                    But I think HK visitors to Singapore are usually impressed by the sheer *variety* they see in our foodcourts: Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Nyonya. Even the Chinese component can be subdivided further, and would include Chiuchow "koay teow", Hokkien "noodles", Cantonese roast meats, Hakka "yong tau fu", Hainanese chicken rice, etc. - as the Chinese diaspora in Singapore are more diverse than mainly-Cantonese HK.

                                                    Plus, HK cuisine eschews the assertive chillies and curries which Chinese-Singaporeans have incorporated into our cuisine as *our own*. No Chiuchow-Singaporean would want their fried "koay teow" noodles *without* chilli paste stir-fried in, no Hokkien-Singaporean would think of having the ubiquitous fried Hokkien noodles without a dollop of ultra-spicy chilli paste on the side, and no Hainanese-Singaporean would be able to eat his/her Hainanese chicken rice without the minced chilli-garlic-vinegar dip. And to think that in the old homeland, fresh red chillies are alien to Southern Chinese cuisine.

                                                    I prefer Singapore's Hainanese chicken rice much more than those I'd had in Hong Kong (or Malaysia, or in Rowland Heights/Hacienda Heights in Los Angeles) - the rice is moister and oilier in Singapore, with a heavier pandan scent. I hope to do Wenchang chicken on Hainan Island itself one day, although my annual pilgrimage to the old homeland at the end of this year may likely be back to my maternal ancestral village in Shantou (Swatow) - where the Chiuchow food is super-delicious, compared to what we get in HK or Singapore!

                                                    I think HK's rising rents are driving out the traditional food purveyors. In Central, for example, the rents seemed to have spiralled out of control - when Abercrombie & Fitch took over Shanghai Tang's old spot on Pedder Street last last year, they reputedly paid HKD5 million a month for the rent. And when Zara later took over the old Lane Crawford premises on Queen's Road, they paid between HKD9-10 million for the monthly rent!

                                                    1. re: klyeoh
                                                      l
                                                      Lau Apr 4, 2013 04:29 AM

                                                      i love chicken rice in singapore and i think chicken rice is fine and will probably stay fine, it's never really changed for me from when i eat it today from when i lived in singapore (although you would consider me fairly young i think); i have heard along time ago the actual chicken was better but that was a function of having free range chickens grown in singapore which is no more. However, i think that's a function of how you make chicken rice, which is different than certain other hawker foods such as char kway teow and hokkien mee which you really need someone who knows how to fry it up, which i largely think is a function many many years of experience or stuff like ngor hiang where as you said you can cut corners by using centralized factories so you really just have to heat it up quickly kind of thing.

                                                      i also think that the amt of money people expect to pay at hawker centers is what will really kill / already is killing the hawkers. People in singapore complain like no other about food prices (go read hungry gowhere) where they complain about how this uncle charge like $4 SGD for char kway teow or whatever (which i think is sort of silly given the prices of popular western food) b/c of that no young person is going to really want to slave away in some hot hawker center on their feet 10 hours a day when they can make multiples of that in an office job. So i unfortunately think it's probably somewhat of a doomed industry at least from the standpoint of great quality.

                                                      People might complain, but i dont know i really don't think HK food culture / quality is dying in the least bit. You do bring up the point of the dai pai dongs, but the regulation that killed dai pai dongs has been in place for a very very long time and maybe im just too young, but i dont think dai pai dongs are really what i thought was the best food in HK anyhow. don't get me wrong i like DPDs alot and i actually went to a bunch them and wrote about them on my last trip bc they are dying, but i dont think there was ever a time where i thought about DBDs as the first thing related to HK food whereas i do think about that when i think about singapore or when i think about taiwan (although there is alot more to both food cultures than street food).

                                                      also i kind of feel like HK is getting more chinese (post-british rule) whereas i feel the opposite in singapore (although singapore does have 3 main ethnicities as HK only has chinese), which matters from the standpoint that it seems to me that young singaporeans eat less of their indigenous food and more of non-singaporean food although i can't substantiate this, its just the feeling i get after going there alot more in recent years vs a long time ago.

                                                      klyeoh - btw my friend is part hainanese told me they thought wenchang chicken was bland compared to what you get in singapore / malaysia although i'd like to try it as well

                                                      1. re: Lau
                                                        k
                                                        klyeoh Apr 4, 2013 07:18 AM

                                                        On Hainan island, Wenchang chicken connoisseurs will ask to be served the left side of a halved, poached chicken - their logic is that a chicken uses its *right* leg to scratch the ground for feed, hence the meat from the right leg will be tougher. Old wives' tale, but commonly followed in Hainan! :-D

                                                        Hang on! Why are we discussing Hainanese chicken rice on Charles Yu's wonton noodle thread?! ;-)

                                                        1. re: klyeoh
                                                          Charles Yu Apr 4, 2013 07:23 AM

                                                          May be you guys wanted to lure me into saying once again that the 'mushy' chicken used in S'pore's Chicken rice sucks!! Ha!! Free Range Chicken, way to go!!!!

                                                          1. re: Charles Yu
                                                            k
                                                            klyeoh Apr 4, 2013 07:31 AM

                                                            Charles, I *still* remembered your disappointment with Maxwell Road Food Centre's famed Tian Tian chicken rice - more than 4 years ago now? ;-)
                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/599638

                                                            Maybe we should have brought you to Five Star chicken rice which used free-range chicken.

                                                            1. re: klyeoh
                                                              Charles Yu Apr 4, 2013 08:05 AM

                                                              Great memory! Elephantan Yeoh!!

                                                              1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                l
                                                                Lau Apr 4, 2013 08:29 AM

                                                                haha sorry for hijacking the thread

                                                  2. re: klyeoh
                                                    a
                                                    akated Apr 5, 2013 12:10 AM

                                                    wasn't it not too long ago that some singaporean minister was proudly unveiling a robot that could "fry" char kuay teow?

                                                    what we sacrifice in the name of efficiency...

                                                    edit: found the link - http://www.spring.gov.sg/NewsEvents/I...

                                                    1. re: akated
                                                      k
                                                      klyeoh Apr 5, 2013 01:18 AM

                                                      Singapore ministers tend to be quite robotic themselves anyway.

                                                      Funny how a high-tech society like Japan can still treasure traditional cooking techniques and careful sourcing of ingredients.

                                                      1. re: klyeoh
                                                        l
                                                        Lau Apr 5, 2013 06:07 AM

                                                        haha...politician's will say anything for a vote

                                                        i just imagine him cringing and saying "it tastes good"

                                                        1. re: Lau
                                                          Charles Yu Apr 5, 2013 07:21 AM

                                                          Former Hong Kong Tourism Head Mr. B.J Tin once took a US foodie and its TV crew to Mak Man Kee for won-ton noodles and claimed it to be Hong Kong's best! Politician!!!

                                                          1. re: Charles Yu
                                                            l
                                                            Lau Apr 5, 2013 07:31 AM

                                                            i always find it interesting that anyone cares where a politician eats...i.e. like the big hoop la about donald tsang / thaksin and ng ah sio

                                                            like who is thinking of donald tsang must be this guy with great taste or something

                                        2. p
                                          penang_rojak Apr 2, 2013 05:04 PM

                                          The photos looked like an Andy Warhol collage, but with HK-style wonton noodles instead of Campbell soup cans :D

                                          From the amount you consume, Charles, you are either a 6 feet 5 inch testosterone-driven football player, or a 300 lb eating machine :D

                                          I'm more into Malaysian-style wonton noodles, the dry or "kon low" variety where the noodles are dressed in dark soya sauce, sesame oil, pork lard, onion oil and topped with char-siew and spring onions. Malaysian wontons are mainly minced pork and prawns. The soup version of Malaysian wonton noodles is also available,but not as popular.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: penang_rojak
                                            l
                                            Lau Apr 2, 2013 05:40 PM

                                            haha andy warhol of wonton noodle soup...i like that

                                            the malaysian-chinese version is more of a flavor bomb (like most stuff in malaysia) vs the HK / cantonese style wonton noodles, i imagine the HK / cantonese style might be considered somewhat bland by some chinese-malaysians although i really like the complexity of it that i dont think exists in the malaysian version although the malaysian version is very tasty albeit almost a totally different dish

                                            1. re: Lau
                                              k
                                              klyeoh Apr 2, 2013 07:00 PM

                                              Agreed, Lau - HKers' palates appreciate subtlety, and the finesse in their cooking often had other cultures mistaking it for blandness.

                                              As for me, I appreciate HK-style, Singapore-style, KL-style and Penang-style wanton noodles, each for their own unique tastes and characteristics. The only commonalities of these different versions, besides the ubiquitous thin egg-wheat noodles and the poached wanton dumplings, is that the purveyors are all Cantonese.

                                              Early wanton noodle pioneers in Singapore, Johore (Southern Malaysia), Kuala Lumpur and Penang came straight off the slowboat from Canton in the 19th- and early-20th century. In their new homes in Malaya/Singapore, they mingled with the majority Hokkiens (Fujianese), and fellow Guangdong migrants like the Hakkas and Chiuchows. Their wanton noodles began to evolve to take on the different taste preferences of the local Chinese diaspora.

                                              Post-World War II, two competing wanton noodles sellers in Johore started using canned Singapore-made chilli sauce to dress their noodles due to the shortage of soysauce caused by the war. Their chilli-dressed wanton noodles were a hit, and spread back to Singapore - hence the spicy chilli-paste-spiked wanton noodles we have in Singapore today:
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/744161

                                              KL-style wanton noodles is another genre altogether - its dressing is an addictive blend of oyster sauce, dark soysauce, light soysauce, pork lard, a smidgen of sesame oil and sugar. No chilli paste here (unlike the Singapore version) - in fact, it's heresy to even suggest that to a KL-lite! I first got acquainted to KL-style wanton noodles during a visit to KL back in the early-80s, and have been hooked on it ever since! It's my personal favorite type of wanton noodles:
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/813210

                                              Penang-style wanton noodles is a variation on the KL-style wanton noodles, but has a trademark "al dente" springiness to its texture, akin to HK-style wanton noodles (KL and Singapore's wanton noodles have a smoother, softer texture). Some wanton noodle vendors in Penang also liked to serve crispy deep-fried wantons atop the "kon-lou" noodles, plus poached wanton dumplings in a side-bowl of consomme soup. I find Penang-style wanton noodles to be slightly "one-dimensional" in taste, due to its predominant dark soy/light soy dressing.

                                              Well, the Cantonese diaspora stretched its wings all over South-East Asia, here are a couple of places where I was surprised to find the ubiquitous wanton noodles:

                                              1. Thai-style wanton noodles outside Bangkok, which were absolutely delicious - the "moo daeng" (Thai for "red meat") a close approximation of "char-siu":
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/832524

                                              Most Thai-Chinese are of Chiuchow descent (the half-Chiuchow King Taksin, before the advent of the Chakri dynasty, encouraged large-scale immigration of the Chiuchow people into Siam towards the end of the 18th-century), with a strong Hokkien presence. The migrants from Guangdong are mainly Hakkas, so the wanton noodles in Thailand are largely Hakka-influenced.

                                              2. Indonesian-style wanton noodles in Malang (East Java) close to Surabaya:
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/816274

                                              Most Indonesian-Chinese are of Hokkien descent, but with significant Hakka and Chiuchow presence. Again, the wanton noodles here probably has Hakka influences.

                                              1. re: klyeoh
                                                l
                                                Lau Apr 2, 2013 07:12 PM

                                                yah agreed on liking all of the different styles. i think for me when i'm totally starving stuff from singapore / malaysia is extremely satisfying maybe more so than any other food in the world (taiwan would be ranked pretty high too), but when i'm sitting down and having a little more time to eat the food and really pick through the flavors etc i really love HK style food (japan would be the other place ranked highly in that category as well).

                                                i also always love seeing the dispora of southern chinese food around the world (cantonese, hokkien, teochew specifically). its very interesting how it developed everywhere and sometimes in very different way wonton noodles being a good example. one day i'd like to go from where my dad is from in guangdong to see what the food is like there, ive always wondered how different it might be from the cantonese food everywhere else.

                                                interesting tidbit on Johor btw, i didn't know that

                                                1. re: klyeoh
                                                  Charles Yu Apr 2, 2013 07:15 PM

                                                  This is the history and origin of 'CANTONESE WON-TON' which all of my above were based on.

                                                   
                                                  1. re: Charles Yu
                                                    l
                                                    Lau Apr 2, 2013 07:23 PM

                                                    ah cool, its really small and i probably couldn't read the whole thing without a lot of help anyhow (my chinese reading skills outside of food are probably like a 1st or 2nd grade level or something like that). what's the high level gist of it?

                                                    1. re: Lau
                                                      K K Apr 2, 2013 09:29 PM

                                                      It's from the cover sheet that goes over the trays at the Tasty food court Chek Lap Kok :-)

                                                      The same verbage from the sheet is a combination of

                                                      http://www.tasty.com.hk/story.html

                                                      and

                                                      http://www.tasty.com.hk/aboutus.html

                                                      1. re: K K
                                                        k
                                                        klyeoh Apr 2, 2013 11:06 PM

                                                        Thanks, KK - I *thought* that looked familiar, then realised I'd indeed read that in Tasty's outlet in IFC Mall when I was there last year.

                                                        1. re: klyeoh
                                                          Charles Yu Apr 3, 2013 07:30 PM

                                                          Mak Siu Kee in Tin Hau and Happy Valley, Mak's Wellington and Mak An Kee in Central all have table mats with won-ton noodle history printed on it!!

                                                        2. re: K K
                                                          l
                                                          Lau Apr 3, 2013 07:26 PM

                                                          ahh thanks, ill read it this weekend...it'll take me a long time to get through it haha

                                                          1. re: Lau
                                                            k
                                                            klyeoh Apr 3, 2013 09:05 PM

                                                            Oh, you can use GoogleTranslate, and get it over with in 10 minutes ;-)

                                                2. re: penang_rojak
                                                  n
                                                  NilesCable Apr 3, 2013 04:14 AM

                                                  The Warhol analogy is even greater considering that HK art museum had an Andy Warhol exhibition at the same time as Charles visit.

                                                  Having seen both, I prefer Charles "art" ;)

                                                3. l
                                                  Lau Apr 2, 2013 11:41 AM

                                                  wow did you really eat every one of these this trip?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Lau
                                                    Charles Yu Apr 2, 2013 01:12 PM

                                                    Yes! And more!! ( Penny Hot Sauce Shredded Pork, Braised Beef Brisket and Tendons...etc ).
                                                    Also, ate at two more, one in Sha Tin and one in Central but forgot to take photos.

                                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                                      l
                                                      Lau Apr 2, 2013 02:13 PM

                                                      wow impressive!

                                                  2. k
                                                    klyeoh Mar 31, 2013 07:28 PM

                                                    Thanks, Charles - so, *Bamboo Room* it is on my next trip to HK!

                                                    1. K K Mar 30, 2013 09:55 AM

                                                      Thanks for this compilation Charles! I'd take a bowl of Wing Wah over the "best" won ton noodles in California any day.

                                                      Can you let us know if you purposely repositioned a wonton on the surface of the bowls just for a picture of the two together (and if so which bowls were they)? Which bowls/restaurants served the noodles with the won tons beneath them originally? And it looks like only one or two of the wonton bowls had the wontons where the excess slack skin made it look like goldfish tails?

                                                      I wonder how Yung Kee's small wonton noodle bowls are faring these days in comparison...better than Wing Wah's? :-)

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: K K
                                                        Charles Yu Mar 30, 2013 11:53 AM

                                                        Every outfit above served the noodles the 'traditional' way! That is, all won ton below, covered by noodles on top.
                                                        I need to extract one morsel from the bottom to highlight and photo it.
                                                        I would like feed back on Yung Kee's famous ' Fung Shing Shui Gau ' as well!! Freshly made to order, together with a great broth, they used to be so good. I sometimes think those morsels and their great 'Yang Chow Fried Rice' sometimes overshadows their roasted goose!!
                                                        Pity their family feud and the death of their leading figure owner caused people to shy away from the uncertainty?!!

                                                        1. re: Charles Yu
                                                          K K Mar 30, 2013 02:53 PM

                                                          Some say the most traditional way is that the spoon goes in the bowl first, then wontons, and some of the won tons should be sitting on the spoon, then broth and finally noodles on top (so they don't get too soggy). I guess that formula goes out the door if it's golf ball sized won tons. But looks like quite a few places these days, don't even bother with this detail with the spoon any longer.

                                                          I passed by Yung Kee a number of times during my previous trip to HK, only to take pictures of the fatty chickens and roasties by the window. Have not seen such humongous fatty glistening glowing soy sauce and empress chickens. At least taking pictures is risk free. Did not want to risk disappointment. At least the roast goose at Ser Wong Fun was pretty decent (although boney, but good flavor).

                                                          1. re: K K
                                                            Charles Yu Mar 30, 2013 04:23 PM

                                                            Yat Lok is just a few steps away on Stanley!

                                                            1. re: K K
                                                              k
                                                              klyeoh Mar 31, 2013 07:25 PM

                                                              Off-topic here, KK, but spurred by your talking about "pictures of the fatty chickens and roasties by the display window" - I was amazed to see these rows of poached whole chickens at the window of Bijin Nabe, a specialty Japanese chicken ramen spot in Plaza Singapura, Singapore (see photo).

                                                              Their ramen broth is reputed to have a collagenic stickiness to it and bursting with flavors. At least, that's what one of my friends (Japanese residing in Singapore) told me. I'd not tried it myself yet.

                                                               
                                                               
                                                              1. re: klyeoh
                                                                K K Mar 31, 2013 07:58 PM

                                                                That is some good stuff! Chicken stock shoyu ramen sounds good about now.

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