Friday, July 20, 2007

The Best Wonton Noodles In Hong Kong

From Shenzhen, we took the subway train into HK, a ride of about an hour so it was about 4 pm when we got to our 'lodge'. It was a nightmare, after the hotel suites (from RMB600/MYR300/US$80 in Zhuhai to RMB680/MYR340/US$100 in Shenzhen) we'd been staying in in China. We walked around the Jordan area but the rooms in renovated Nathan Hotel (I highly recommend this, for the size, class, comfort and location. Do not go next door to Eatons, where I stayed last time I was in HK because the twin-sharing/ordinary rooms are very small and cost the same as Nathan H. which costs HK$1,200+/MYR600/US$170 per night) were all taken, and so was Majestic Hotel, our last choice. Crummy, dirty-looking Chung King Hotel across from Majestic H. dared to charge HK$780 per night for their smoke-smelly, cheap dirty rooms. So back to our dingy cockroach-infested, barely air-conditioned lodge, right in front of Eatons Hotel.

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Nathan Road, the most tourist-trodden road in Hong Kong.

We were to meet Hub's cousin James and his daughter Queenie at 8.15 for dinner. James is a top financier who works at the IFC Building in Central. That was perfect, because that's where the best wonton noodles, Tsim Chai kee( I spelt it Jimjaikee in my earlier post), is located. We went from the mainland where Jordan/Tsimshatsui is located to Central on HK Island, by subway undersea. Costed HK$9 per person. You can notice the difference between HK and China: there are Chinese and English signs, people dress better, everybody speaks Cantonese. You'll hear young people speak English with a Canadian accent, a result of the massive migration in the 90s when HK was to be returned to China. Nobody spits. Or smokes. The buildings are classy, Gucci is everywhere...

Yi said I seemed like a different person in HK, suddenly full of energy. Ha, this is one of my favorite cities. When I was 12, I came to HK to visit my maternal grandparents and Aunt Rosa and was totally taken by the city's pace and materialism. It was both love and hate, because I wasn't used to big crowded cities. But I've now been to HK more than 20 times, and I just LOVE it!

Anyway, back to the wonton hunt. We had a hard time finding Tsimchaikee, walking long distances and climbing up stairs built into steep alleyways. We walked along Wellington St, to where the restaurant should be, but it wasn't there! In its place was a nice-looking restaurant with the same name.

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She said "Mak's serves the best wonton in HK" while I said "Isn't Tsim the best ??"

A helpful lady waiting by the road directed us to a restaurant right in front of the new Tsimchaikee and told us "That's Makenkee, where all Hong Kongers go. The wontons are small and price is steep but the soup's unbeatable." I was torn. It was 7.10 pm, dinner was in an hour and we didn't have much time to get to the IFC Building. Tsim was full, Mak was empty, at dinner time! I strode into Tsimchaikee (with Hub and Yi following) and you can see what we had:

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Tsimchaikee (77 Wellington St, Central), excellent noodles at unbelievably low prices!

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My hands couldn't stop shaking at the thought of eating my favorite wontons...but you can still see that a bowl of wonton noodles soup is only HK$14 (MYR7/US$2) which is probably the cheapest in HK. Looking closely at the menu, I now see we should've ordered item no. 5, noodles with 3 toppings, for only HK$22!!! Aww!

I looked across and saw somebody eating blanched Kangkong with fuyee (fermented beancurd) sauce (a must-try, its so so yummy!), and raised my hand to order one, but Hub and Yi physically restrained me...

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Soup wonton noodles

The biggest wontons ever! The wontons were crunchy, savory-sweet with a slight smoky flavor (will talk about that later), while the noodles were super springy, and the soup delightful. Ahhh...

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Soup fishball noodles

You'll need to open your mouth really wide to munch on these things. Unlike most commercial fishballs, these ones tasted homemade, with a good bite, sweet-savory taste and flavored with dried tangerine peel.

When Hub was still licking the last drop of soup in Tsimchaikee, Yi and I dashed across to Makenkee and ordered a bowl of their wonton noodles.

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Mak's Noodles (Makenkee)at 98 Wellington St, Central

Right across from Tsim's, but with only 2 tables occupied. Why??


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Mak's wonton's were elegantly small and very tasty and the noodles were also excellent but, wait a minute, can it really be that I find the soup slightly better than Tsim's?? However, the portion is ridiculously small--that is a rice-bowl, not a noodle-bowl like Tsim's. Yet it cost HK$27, almost twice as Tsim's. Hub and Yi couldn't taste any difference and pronounced Tsim the winner.



11 comments:

Shan said...

Hi Terri - thanks again for taking the time out to email me. A very good read :)

BTW I gave Jenny (of the pies) a call yesterday and ordered 5 chicken and 5 beef pies.
Got some old friends coming over for drinks and nibbles tomorrow and I think the pies will go down a treat. Looking forward to trying them.

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

hey shan, may i suggest u also serve them molten choc cakes (recipe under 'cakes')??trust me, they'll love them (n u!).

Shan said...

Sorry I only just read your comment about the molten cakes. Will try them for next time.

The pies went well. The guys loved em :)

raina said...

Can I follow u to HK the next time u go?

Anonymous said...

NEE: the wanton looks yummy..no good to go on your blog when it is near lunch...too much temptation and no where to satisfy in kuching...

write more on hongkong please esp on food and shopping hehe..who knows can plan a trip one of these days.

Anonymous said...

Nee: how big exactly is the pie say in diameter - 2 inch or 3 inch? cant really tell in photo.

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

shan:happy tt u liked d pies :D
raina: let's go, with vms n pl!
nee: d pies r about 10 cm (4 ") across..will send u some if A. Linda goes to Kuching...

Anonymous said...

Hi

This is such a coincidence.

I just returned fm HK a week ago. A friend will be going next month and I was cracking my head to recall the name of the wonton noodle restaurant in Wellington St.

Thanks for the pix and info. I agree with you 110% that Tsim is the winner. When I was there last time (2nd visit to the eatery) the price was HK$16, still very reasonable compared to Mak's.

I've eaten at Mak's in the past. They are good too, BUT not that good that they should charge so much more for a tiny portion!

So these days, it's Tsim's or nothing! Funny thing is, I discovered Tsim's by accident in July 2007 cos I instinctively felt that they'd be good. My recent return visit confirmed it and know what? When I was going into the shop I noticed the Mak staff looking (a little enviously?!)and wondering why everyone was going to Tsim's and not Mak's ... they should realise that their pricier (but not necessarily much better) product has to be re-worked, esp during financially difficult times.

Another coincidence, Majestic has been re-worked over and is now Novotel Nathan Road - I stayed here during this visit and the location is ideal. Try it next time. The lounge has a fantastic value set of salad bar, pasta & coffee for only HK$58+ - you wont regret trying it, both pasta and salad of excellent quality.

Bon Appetit!

Lena_W

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