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Sep 11, 2013 06:37 AM

Best fish ball noodle soup in Hong Kong

I haven't been back to HK in 3 years and the last time I was there, my favourite fish ball noodle soup was at Shan Loon Tse Kee Fish Ball. I'm going to HK in about a month, but now that my favourite fish ball institution is closed, I was hoping to get some recommendations for the best fish ball noodle soup in HK. Thanks in advance!

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  1. As you eluded to, Tse Kee was indeed an institution, In the past it attracted celebrities in their Rolls Royces or Ferraris to double or triple park outside the lane and walk in for that special bowl of Fish Ball Ho Fun. With its closing, it will be a tough act to follow. Especially, when the original owner of Tse Kee insisted on using ONLY FRESH products of the three types of fish in making the 'bouncy and fresh sweet tasting' fish balls! With fresh fish prices going up roof, 'most' fish ball eateries and establishments nowadays are using 'mass produced commercial products' made using frozen fish in factories!

    To answer your question, I guess you have to do some research by using sources like

    Hope this will help?!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      I did a little further research into media reports about Tse Kee's closure.

      It wasn't just a matter of fresh fish prices going up, but more so that the non fishing periods were prolonged (so fishermen could not go out to sea, whether it be regulations or weather), and in combination of heavy pollution, lead to a severe decline in fish availability, particularly the types required to make the traditional style fish ball and fish paste.

      The 2nd generation of owners at Tse Kee decided not to continue due to additional hardships, and the 3rd generation did not want to take over the business. HK government also placed a ban on bottom trawling methods to catch fish, which had been used for a while to catch the species required to make the fresh fishballs. This also affected fermented shrimp paste production at Tai O, where the shrimp paste company even had to outsource shrimp from SE Asia as a result of fishermen not being allowed to bottom trawl.

      Even my suggested alternative of On Lei, as well as another old school place (I think they do wholesale only) in Kowloon City called Tak Hing (德興魚蛋), unfortunately had to resort to purchasing fish from Mainland China ("fresh on ice") thus resulting in a different taste and texture. Those old timer fish ball shops may still make it the old school way, but with Mainland Chinese fish substitutes/alternatives.

      So whether it is shrimp paste or fish balls, the environment, regulations, and economics have unfortunately changed the food. And all we are left with are memories...

      1. re: K K

        I don't mind eating these commercial Mainland Chinese products made from 'Fresh on ice fish' if indeed they are 'real' fish!
        However, based on current trend and 'Greed' constantly reported by the media!! I am more worried about eating 'imitation products using unknown ingredients!! Industrial plastic or foam added to create the 'bounce'?? Scary!!!!

        1. re: Charles Yu

          "Real" fish? Reminded me of a vegetarian meal I had with my aunts here in Singapore yesterday. The mock fish and mock shrimps (made of soybean products) looked, smelt and tasted so much like the real stuff! :-D

        2. re: K K

          Agree with you many reasons for the changes to the old traditional shops. But let's not forget the bans on fishing and bottom trawling are a result of the HK fishing industries over fishing of local stocks and the bottom trawling destroying the eco-system. So without the restriction it would have been likely there would have been no local fish in HK in the near term so in some respects the changes are inevitable.

        3. re: Charles Yu

          Thanks. I did check OpenRice but find it hard to find out what people really think using OR since people seem to love and hate every place, even the old favourites.

        4. Not sure how good this place is these days but I'll be over to try it out end of the year

          On Lee Noodle 安利魚蛋粉麵 22 Shau Kei Wan Main Street East, Shau Kei Wan

          They're over 50 years old.

          Eat Man Drink Woman showcased Ha Ming Kee 夏銘記 in Yau Ma Tei (Shop A, Prosperous Garden, 151 Reclamation Street, Yau Ma Tei


          Since fishballs are a crucial part of Chiu Chow noodle shops, might be worth exploring areas in Sheung Wan or Kowloon City e.g.

          5 Replies
          1. re: K K

            speaking of chiu chow noodle shop, i thought the fishballs at chiu yuen were really really good!


            1. re: Lau

              Ooh, this place looks like a great option for me based on both location and reviews. Thanks!

              1. re: londonhk

                you know if u happen to decide to go here, this street has a ton of good food on it

                definitely stop by kam fung (i went before actually) and have a bo lo bao and some nai cha (best of both ive ever had)

                the curry rice restaurant just up the street is supposed to be very good too

            2. re: K K

              wow the beef brisket fried fish cake noodles look amazing in that second video...i miss hk

              1. re: K K

                Thanks. I'm aiming for something in Sheung Wan, Central or Wan Chai for reasons related to my itinerary, so a place in Sheung Wan would work. I'll try to take another look at OpenRice, although I find people's opinions on that website too all over the place (everyone loves and hates every single place!).