Tuesday, September 30, 2008

5 Food You Must Eat In Hong Kong: No 2

No. 2: Roasted Meat, Cantonese Style




You must've seen those golden brown ducks, chickens and pork hanging in the front windows of Chinese restaurants, calling you in for a bite. Whenever I go to any western city, the sight of roasted meat hanging in restaurants window gives me comfort. It's just so home. I suppose it's like the Americans seeing The Golden Arches in the middle of Mongolia.

In HK, roasted geese and suckling pigs are top items in roasted meat restaurants. And no wonder, because these are absolutely totally delectable. I'm not so partial to suckling pig--images of squealing piglets torn from their frantic mother prevents me--but I love roasted goose. I used to think that maybe I love roasted goose more than roasted duck because I can't find goose here, where I live, but after my recent trip to HK, I realise it's because goose just tastes superior to duck. This fact became obvious to me when I attended a full-month banquet dinner two weeks ago where everybody at my table had second, third helpings of roasted duck whereas I struggled to eat the tough, dry, tasteless piece of duck someone had eagerly served me. While my Hub said he couldn't tell between duck and goose (which disappointed me. He said he can't tell between turkey and chicken too), I can. Goose is clearly the better 'quack', its meat being more tender, moist and flavorful in a much more pleasant way than duck. Agree?

It seems like each time I go to HK, I give cha siu (pork shoulder marinaded in soy sauce and sugar and roasted) a miss because the roasted pork we get in KK is quite good and I don't want to waste my stomach space on something I can get at home. Another reason is I avoid food with artificial coloring, and cha siu normally comes stained in red. I do bother to eat HK's crispy roasted pork belly, because HK crispy pork belly is excellent.

A post about roasted meat is not complete without a mention of the most famous roasted meat restaurant in HK, Yung Kee Restaurant (see Droolteam's review). I may have eaten Yung Kee's roasted goose before, years ago, I can't quite remember. Nearly everybody I've asked tells me that sure, Yung Kee's roasted meat is good, but they also tell me Yung Kee is not better than the other good but lesser known roasted meat restaurants. A taxi driver summed it up this way: if there are enough of you to fill a table, and you don't mind paying the price (RM300+/US$90+ per goose. Or is it half a goose?), go ahead and try Yung Kee just once. But if there's just two of you and you can't eat a whole goose, Yung Kee will give you cut portions and that's a no-no; he said HKgers won't eat cut portions, which he had a term for. So, given that advice, there's no point paying for something you can find in other shops for much less. Yung Kee seems like one of those over-rated restaurants for tourists.(Note: HKgers unanimously told me that the best roasted goose is in Sham Tseng "Deep Well" out in the New Territories. For the best roasted pigeons, head out to Shatin.)

Roasted meat lunches are the Chinese equivalent of fast food in the sense that the meat is already cooked and they only have to chop it and bring it to your table, which in HK is almost as soon as you've given your orders. For an economical lunch, order your roasted meat combination on rice rather than have rice and meat served separately; it's much cheaper this way.


Now that I've told you, don't forget to eat roasted meat the next time you are in HK. It's No. 2 on my list, that's how great it is. Don't think that since you get roasted meat where you live you don't need to try it. Somehow those HK chefs just do it perfect. I have a feeling that the secret is not just in the recipe, but also in the way the animals are reared (we know that for example, pork in most western countries is only good if it is from Asian grocers; something to do with the feed and sex -male or female-of the pig?), that makes HK's roasted meat the best in the world.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hong Kong Day 5 Dinner Part 2

This is TWW's famous pork oil rice. It comes steaming hot in a medium-sized claypot. The rice is top grade white rice, fluffy individual grains that aren't too soft or too hard. Served with the rice are superior soya sauce and pork oil.

Perfect rice.

Drizzle the pork oil. The more the better.

Then the soya sauce.

Mix the rice thoroughly.

I ate every single grain, like my ma always told me to.

What's my verdict? How can anything so simple taste so good?! I tasted the rice individually, then the soya sauce and the oil before mixing them. The rice of course was beautiful top grade rice. The soya sauce was slightly umami/xien/savory sweet, making me wonder if there was msg in it. But it was the oil that stumped me. Why was the pork oil so light? When we make pork oil out of pork fat at home, the oil usually comes out dark golden in color with a distinct pork oil flavor. TWW's pork oil was very light (must've used very small heat to slowly coax the oil out) in texture and color, and the pork oil smell was not there. Yet that bowl of rice tasted beyond my high expectations. I think the secret lies in cooking the rice to perfection, and because when food is so simple, it must also depend on quality ingredients. Highly recommended. Hub and I cleaned a bowl out each.

Anyone of you ever eaten rice done this way before? A and Hub both remembered childhood days in Shanghai when this was the way rice was commonly eaten. This was the first time I've eaten pork oil rice. My kids eat a similar version (taught by their father): butter and Bovril mixed into piping hot rice. It is yum too, but the flavor of the Bovril and butter is heavier than pork oil rice. Ming came up with a version of Bovril and butter with spaghetti and it is damn good.

TWW's most famous dessert is ma lai go (Malay cake), which, like I said in my post on TWW last year, is not a Malaysian creation. I'm guessing that it was a HK chef who came up with this and gave it the exotic name. Most ma lai go are golden-brown in color, an allusion to the brown-skinned Malays, but TWW has kept its ma lai go a yellow color. Ma lai go should not be confused with chinese sponge cake because the former has lard while the latter is devoid of fat. There is another cake, usually served in dim sum places, called the chin chen go (1000-layer cake) and it has several, not thousands, of layers. I was surprised to see that TWW's ma lai go had several layers-- ma lai go is usually one solid block with no custard in between.


Tww's ma lai go is softer than cotton puff, lightly fragrant with lard, eggs and some flavor I can't quite tell. Ma lai go is probably the only cake which you eat with chopsticks if you want to practise HK dining etiquette.

So that's TWW and its fantastic food. If you go there and your stomach allows it, try their house noodles too. It is super fine and crunchy. A bought me two boxes. Am keeping them for special occasions.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hong Kong Day 5 Dinner

My recommendation of a restaurant for dinner in HK last year and this year is still Tai Wing Wah Village Cuisine. There are two Tai Wing Wah (TWW) restaurants, one in Yuen Long (the original one) and another in Kowloon Bay.


HK is well-known for food, shopping and wealth. Nobody disputes that. So who is the most famous food critic and celebrity chef in HK/Asia, the Asian version of Anthony Bourdain and Jamie Oliver? I think most people will give that honor to that white-haired gourmet called Hugo Leung Man-to, or Toto for short. This guy is everywhere on the TV screens when it comes to Chinese food programs. Toto personifies his career--he looks like a big barrel, and a friend who has seen him in person said that if Toto ever fell down, he'd not be able to get up on his own. I was told Toto used to work in Wing Wah (a long established HK restaurant that to this day churns out mooncakes and Chinese sausages-which I don't find any good-and other food products) as a chef and then he quit and opened the TWW in Yuen Long. It was a hit, and the second TWW soon followed. I'm told that when he's in town, he'd be at the Yuen Long branch. You've been told.

toto leung
HK's top food critic celebrity, Toto

TWW is so popular that you need at least 7 days' prior booking to get a table. I arrived HK Tuesday and called them Wednesday morning to get a table but the lady said they could only fit me in the following Monday. I told her I was from Malaysia, that I dined there last year, and that I was leaving Sunday and all the while I could imagine her thinking "So what"; it was pathetic of me. Of course she still said no, and informed me that the only table available was for lunch on Sat. Aw. We already had a lunch date with relatives Sat.

So at dinner with A (who, together with my ex-roomie from college, H, was the one who brought me to TWW last year) at Ye Shanghai on Friday, I told her my sad story and she said "You want to eat at Tai Wing Wah hei ma? Hoe, ting man, ting man la." Like a kid who got her toy, I went, "Really? You really can get a table?? Tomorrow? A Saturday?!" I would've kissed her feet if she wanted me to.

I told you my friends A & H have a way around HK. Imagine, no tables until Monday yet within 24 hours we were seated at Tai Wing Wah, with about 70 people waiting outside! People kept coming, even at 9 pm. I hope me telling you this doesn't get my friends in trouble. But they are regulars, so I guess they are privileged.

Left: half of the crowd that was waiting outside the restaurant, the other half on the left of the pic. Right: inside the restaurant, which is thrice as big.

The restaurant in Kowloon Bay is a little out of the way, and I don't know if the subway stop is nearby. But whatever the inconvenience, it is worth all the trouble. First of all, TWW serves Cantonese food at its best, unpretentiously simple and delicious. Secondly, the price is crazy cheap. Every item on the menu is HK$52/RM24/US$7 (up from HK$48 last year), from the chicken to the fish to the veg to the tofu to the noodles to the steamed cake. We can't eat at that price in Malaysia, let alone HK, one of the most expensive places in the world!

Although there were only 3 of us (H, remember, was in Vancouver) , A ordered enough for 5. To our credit, we finished everything except the chicken and the ma lai go, which I hand carried back to Malaysia.

Soya sauce chicken, yummyyy!

TWW's soya chicken is always served in a bowl, and it is one of the top items so nearly every table will have this dish. However, I think the chicken last year was more fragrant.The thing about HK's chickens (and China's too) is that they taste home-reared, with flavorful meat and thin juicy skin that I love to eat. In Malaysia, home-reared chickens have thick fatty rubbery skin which I avoid most of the time. Sometimes I do smuggle a slice into my mouth. Sometimes.

Roasted baby pork rib, A's favorite but I find it kinda common although it was tender and tasty.

King prawns in special sauce.

If you look at the same dish I had last year, you'll see that the prawns were smaller and there was a whole plate of it but this year there were only 5 or 6 big(ger) prawns.

Woo toe steamed with pickled lime.

Pronounced differently ("woo" on the 3rd note in the 4 chinese ways of pronouncing a single character/syllable), woo toe means taro but this woo toe ("woo" on the 1st note) is a kind of fish. The fish was absolutely fresh, sweet and had a nice taste and flavor. The sauce was slightly tangy; the pickled limes are the same types that are pickled in brine for years and made into drinks to soothe dry throats. My Hub said if he comes to TWW again, he'll order two of this. The way he said it, he intends to have the two orders to himself, that's how much he liked this dish.

Fried kangkong in fermented beancurd sauce.

I wanted blanched kangkong with fermented beancurd, a dish that's always found in small wonton noodles restaurants. This version is fried. It's yum but I still prefer the blanched version. HK kangkong is very young and tender.

The ultimate dish came towards the end; I wanted a winter melon soup, cooked and served in the melon (doong gwa jung) but they didn't have it (usually available in colder weather). I didn't know that A had ordered another soup in place of it, and it was not an ordinary soup she had ordered.


Pai chee (whole fins), eaten with a drizzle of quality black/red vinegar.

Sharks' fins soup, not the ordinary sharks' fins, but the mother of them all, the pai chee or "row of fins"! I haven't had this for decades! Out with my animal rights thinking; I'm carnivorous anyway. A kid at the next table was saying "Wah, pai chee..." in wonderment. He obviously knew good stuff when he saw it.

Nearly all the sharks' fins in soups these days are imitation gelatine fins (those individual strands) but pai chee can't be imitated so you know this is the real thing.


So much fins it's like eating noodles! The soup was light and just nice, not too salty or too xien/savory-sweet. None of us spoke as we ate. It was like a sacred moment. And you know, it was considered cheap: HK$500/RM230/US$70 (still, that one soup costed twice as much as all the 5 dishes above!) and we had two bowls each, with leftover soup sans fins. There's just no way you can eat that anywhere else.

TWW's dishes are very home-cooked, the flavor just nice and not overdone. I really love eating here. I want to meet Toto and tell him so one day. I also want some cooking tips, Toto.

One of the reasons why I came back to TWW was that last year, I didn't try one of their top items, jee yau fan or pork oil rice. I just thought it'd be so weird and unhealthy. But since then I've read the raves about TWW's famous delicious pork oil rice on other blogs, and all the HK friends and relatives whom I asked on this trip all give two thumbs up for this item. I will have to break here and keep you on the edge of your keyboards until my next post when I present TWW's pork oil rice and a dessert that is so good, every table had one. We even gave up the 2 free desserts--red bean soup and something else--for this heavenly item because we were so full we had room for only one more mouthful of food.


Tai Wing Wah Village Cuisine
Shop No 2, 1/F
Chevalier Comm Ctr
8 Wang Hoi Rd
Kowloon Bay, HK

Tel: 2148 7773 (reservations); fax: 2148 6559

Book before you leave for HK!

p.s. A & H didn't know about this blog (I just sent them my link yesterday--hope they have the time to check it); this is how they eat--hedonistically. Once a year I visit them and drown in my sig fook, eating fortune.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Readers' Rory Lion Cakes

Last month, I received an email each from two readers, Mahwish of Pakistan and Lily of Germany, who both made Rory Lion cakes for their sons' 1st birthday celebrations. How coincidental and lovely is that?!

Mahwish's Rory Lion cake:

This Rory looks handsome, thoughtful and gentle, agree?

Mahwish wrote to ask me what I used to ice the cake but unfortunately I was in Penang at that time and couldn't reply her on time. However, Mahwish went ahead and made a beautiful cake using marzipan for Rory's features which is as per the original recipe from the book. I substituted with sugarpaste fondant when I make this cake because marzipan is expensive and hard to find here. Mahwish's Rory's mane looks like it was made with buttercream. Royal icing would give stiffer results. Rory's whiskers were spaghetti. I like the wiggly mane on Mahwish's Rory's forehead.

Lily made her Rory Lion cake for her son Leon and I want to share her letter with you all because Leon's such a cutie, and that picture of the toddler sleeping standing up--it's priceless and so funny! (Is that one of Leon's guests, Lily?) Lily said this was the first cake she has ever decorated, and she was very good at it. She said:

Hi Terri,

i want to show you my first try:

rory lion

I had big problems with putting the royal icing (3 colours) in the same piping bag.
The consistence of my icing was too thick.
And I hadn't enough icing, so some areas are not covered with icing.
But it was too late to make some new. I went to bed at 6 am!
I was tired like this :-))

sleeping baby stands

...but it was my first cake decorations...so i can be proud of, that the cake really looks like a lion :-)

And Leon had a nice birthday party with some friends.



leon 3

Next Saturday we'll celebrate his birthday with the big family. I'm gonna bake this cake again and I hope
the cake will look better. :-))
I'll send you more pics.

Everybody loves this lion cake, especially my husband. He was surprised that I could do that!
As I told, I have never decorated a cake in my life before.
Thanks you so much, Terri for this wonderful recipe.

All the best wishes

A week or two later, Lily made a second attempt and it looks like she can start a bakery shop:

This Rory looks mischievious!

Well done and thanks to both Lily and Mahwish who shared these precious moments and pictures with us. A store-bought cake will still get the kids smiling but it is extra special when their moms make an effort, just for them. What are moms for, if not to make us feel we are precious and loved, the center of their lives! I think it's wonderful.

I love getting mail from you all, and have started a category called Readers' Mail. I look forward to more mail from all of you!

p.s. Did anyone notice that both Mahwish and Lily placed their cakes on clear glass stands?? Another coincidence!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hong Kong Day 3

Today (28/8/08) we went to Cotton Tree Drive to witness a wedding registration. Unfortunately the cotton trees were not in bloom. It turned out that the garden next to the wedding registrar office, surrounded by concrete and glass towers, was designed by C, Hub's classmate from KK. Cotton Tree Drive is the best wedding registry in HK, the others being offices with no gardens .However, the registrar office was so...old-fashioned and cheesy. It reminded me of those funeral parlors in the US. We decided to take a photo, and here's how old weds look like:


From there it was a 2 minute walk to Pacific Place (PP). While food is affordable in HK, branded clothes are expensive, unless you shop in Mongkok. If you go to PP, don't miss The Great Food Place in the basement. It is simply awesome, with the best imported foodstuff from all over the world: eggs from Denmark, all kinds of exotic fruits and veg that are so fresh it's unbelievable that they were flown in from other corners of the world, Godiva and Valrhona chocolate counters, and most impressive of all, a tiny corner where you can sit on bar stools and taste their Iberico ham, the world's best and most expensive ham. I was milling around the counter, very tempted to sit down for a taste of the famous ham that is made from a special breed of black pig. The cheapest item was about HK$68/RM31/US$9 but that seemed to be a selection of salami and such made from Iberico scraps. For the real thing, sliced straight off the bone in front of you, the price was about HK$280/RM127/US$38, including a glass of wine but the portion must be very small considering that this ham costs more than HK$20,000/kg, if I'm not wrong. I knew Hub would grumble so I reluctantly walked away. It's better to shop alone . For a no-pain taste of this ham, you can try City Super, an upscale supermarket, which sometimes offer free sampling of Iberico ham. My girl and I had a feast of Iberico ham in City Super one year. We ate and ate, unashamedly thick-skinned were we. I don't know, I just prefer Spanish ham to Italian ever since a Spanish food and wine dinner in TABH long time ago. Spanish ham seem smoother, tastier and less salty.

I didn't get to Fa Yuen Ga ('Flower St') this year but this window display gladdened my heart. All the flowers are real, the brown ones are dried.

I thought this photo turned out pretty good.

Now if I won a lottery, I'd want a Pucci dress. But then I'd be too old so I'll give it to my daughter.

I was craving for wagyu steak, but the queue at Toka, a new Jap restaurant on the basement floor of PP, was very long. Btw, if you want to eat classy dim sum, try Zen on the same floor. Items start from HK$40/RM18/US$5.50 per steamer basket. A & H took me there once, when the place was done up in black, and it was truly good. Again I didn't have to pay and if I had to, I wouldn't eat there even though the dim sum was excellent. Just too over-priced.

So we made the awful decision of going to Taikooshing Cityplaza by subway for Japanese wagyu. There were only 2 Jap restaurants there, one a sushi bar and the other, a regular Jap restaurant but it didn't serve wagyu. I was like a spoilt child, bent for wagyu. Hub was a dear, very understanding. We even walked to Taikoo Place, that new office complex of several buildings where 6th Aunt had her fall but there were no Jap restaurants there except for one old joint in between the office and the mall. In the end, we ended up at West Villa Restaurant in Taikooshing Cityplaza which someone had recommended to me for their roasted pork.


This is West Villa's famous roasted pork, which is half lean and half fat resulting in moist and tender yummy meat that goes well with rice.


We tried two of their dim sum (good) and I was still searching for ultimate the cheong fun and gon chow ngoe ho. I was disappointed. The cheong fun was okay but the ngoe ho was greasy and not tasty.

My friend H, when I told her about this restaurant, said that this is a great restaurant for a la carte dishes. So, do keep this in mind.


This is a seng jen bao (fried bun, sold at every corner in Shanghai) from a small stall near our hotel. It was delicious, and this bao is 2 to 3 times the size of seng jen baos in Shanghai. I think I am beginning to prefer sengjenbaos to xiao long baos.


Finally, I found the cheong fun I was looking for! This is the same stall behind Ibis Hotel where I bought that skewer of mixed cow insides:


This is a much more hygenic way to handle cheong fun. Why can't people do that in Malaysia and Singapore?

Plain steamed cheong fun with sweet sauce, chili sauce, sesame sauce and sesame seeds.

The lady had added too much tahini. More sweet sauce would be better. This is still not as good as those on Fa Yuen Gai, but I was happy. The only nagging knot in my heart was that I knew I wouldn't be able to have my wagyu steak and a Vietnamese meal on this trip because there was only 2 more days to go and all meals for those days were already fixed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hong Kong Day 4: Dinner At Ye Shanghai


Ye Shanghai ('Shanghai at night') is a restaurant in a high class shopping mall called Pacific Place (PP) on Hong Kong Island. The very name brings to mind Shanghai in the 1920s when nightclubs and decadent living gave the city the name 'Paris Of The East'. I can picture nightclub girls in tight cheongsams, slim cigarettes in elegant hands, guys in suits and cigars at the corner of their mouths, and the gramophone playing that most famous song about Shanghai: Ye Shanghai.

Ye Shanghai the restaurant will not give you any feel of glorious Shanghai in the 1920s/30s. Unfortunate. Even the music they play is modern Chinese numbers although the decor is classic yet contemporary. The only thing Shanghainese is the food.

I have been eating at this restaurant for years, as it is one of my friends A & H's favorite restaurants. A (Shanghainese, like my Hub) especially has a soft spot for PP because this was her first major project as a young architect fresh from Canada. I was told that when this restaurant started out, they created an old Shanghai ambience by having girls in cheongsams sing old Zhou Xuan songs, but unfortunately the exorbitant prices kept people away so they had to stop the performances. The restaurant is a classy joint, so I enjoy dining here each time I come to HK because not only is the place elegant and the food great, I never have to pay! A & H are regulars and even when I try to pay behind their backs, the Maitre d' will not accept my money. Lucky me. It's good to have rich friends. Correction. Rich and generous friends.


Looking out to the entrance. The seats are positioned along full-glass windows and you can glimpse HK's neon lights through them as you dine. I spotted this beauty seated at the table behind Hub and pretended to play with my camera but unfortunately the pictures turned out blur. My friend A teased me about taking pictures in restaurants (it is quite uncool) so I toned down my photo-taking activity.


A display of teacups at the entrance of Ye Shanghai.


Top left: crispy spring rolls as starter. Right: delightfully crunchy, tender and sweet shrimps (size of 10 sen coins) sauteed and covered with salted duck yolks. Perfect with rice but we weren't having any that night because A had ordered too much for the 3 of us. My Shanghainese FIL disdains the prawns we get in Sabah because he considers them too big and coarse and I used to disagree with him, until I ate the tiny shrimps in Shanghai. It was a revelation. These little shrimps are from the river and they are exceptionally tender yet crunchy. I highly recommend this dish.

Bottom left: a bowl of fried minced pork, water chestnuts, pine nuts + other stuff (not sure what), eaten by filling into the thin crispy hollow pancakes. Right: This I really really love: fresh bamboo slices and meat mince in a most delicious sauce. I would give a finger for this recipe.


Top left: fried rice sticks, which was not as tasty as I expected. Right: xiao long baos, little buns. My tongue was so jaded it said these can be better even though they were as good as any I've eaten.

Bottom left: yes, I did gross my dining partners out by digging out and eating the pigeon's brains (if I get Bird Flu, everyone will know why). It was yum. Right: drunken pigeon. This was totally heavenly, the flavor of the shao xin wine hit my tongue, my palate, my nose, my brains. It was gastronomic climax, and A and Hub both nodded, dazed with the flavor and taste; words seem to sully the moment. I uncouthly spooned every drop of the wine sauce into my mouth. I didn't care what A thought; I've always been the country bumpkin from Sabah to her anyway.

p.s. My recommendation for dining for 2 pax at Ye Shanghai:

1) Drunken pigeon
2) Shrimps sauteed in salted duck yolks
3) Fresh bamboo and minced meat stir fry
4) Ba yeh (tofu 'skin') and green soya beans stir fry
5) One or two starters

Monday, September 15, 2008

5 Food You Must Eat In Hong Kong: No 3

No3: Noodles

I'm a noodles person, preferring noodles to rice anytime. Noodles are so integral to Chinese cuisine that each region and city in China has its own special noodle dish. For example, Quilin has its delicious mifun, Lanzhou is the place where hand-pulled noodles originated, Lijiang has 'crossing the bridge' mifun (haven't eaten that yet), and on and on. There's even a type of noodles called dao xiau men (knife-sliced noodles) where the dough is perched on the cook's head and he slices off pieces of the dough with both hands in lighting speed straight into a bubbling pot of tasty stock. I don't know if that's more theatrics than regional/cultural practices, but I sure want to see and eat those noodles one day.

The most famous HK noodles are wantan noodles, thin springy egg noodles. I have a couple of friends who dislike wantan noodles because they can detect a hint of lye water/gun sui in them but strangely, I have a super sensitive nose but I don't find wantan noodles any pungent. The wantan noodles Hub and I had in a restaurant on Spadina St in Toronto on a visit 10 years ago was so pungent with gun sui it was like eating Toilet Duck, and we talk about it every time we taste gun sui in noodles.

HK's wantan noodles are usually served with wantans, fresh crunchy and tasty prawns wrapped in a thin smooth wheat-flour wrapper. You can also have your wantan noodles with fish or meat balls, beef brisket and entails, and other ingredients. Apart from soup wantan noodles, you can have them 'dry' or tossed in soy sauce and oil. Slurp.

Jim Jai Kei's wantan noodles at HK$17/RM7.70/US$2.40.

This is a bowl of wantan noodles I ate in Jim Jai Gei restaurant on Wellington St, Central, HK last year. Jim's wantans are the biggest I have ever eaten (see pic above--the wantan filled the whole spoon), and they are super tasty, the prawns fresh and springy to the bite. The noodles are also excellent, smooth and el dente. Many people, tourists especially, think that Mak's Noodles/Mak Ngen Gei's wantans are better, although my sharp-tastebudded HK friends tells me Jim's are better, taste and price-wise. I tried both last year, and I preferred Jim's although their soup was not as good as Mak's. On my recent trip to HK, I ate wantan noodles at Mak's because I happened to pass by. While the soup was truly excellent, tasty and flavorful with some kind of shrimp or fish roe flavor, and the noodles perfect too, the wantans were tiny and the whole bowl of noodles was served in a rice bowl, and that cost HK$28/RM12.70/US$3.70, which is why Mak's restaurants are always quite empty.


Mak's branch at G/F, 44 Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay boasts the praises of Anthony Bourdain.

Wantan noodles at Mak's.

This is a rice bowl, so you can see how small the portion is. The joke on Mak's is that the restaurant's middle name 'ngen' in Cantonese sounds like the word for lean--a reference to their tiny wantans.

There are so many kinds of noodles dishes HK can be proud of. I just can't post all of them here. Some other popular ones are:

Beef brisket* and wantan noodles.

This is an equally popular bowl of noodles among HKgers. I bought this from a small restaurant in front of the market building near Ibis Hotel, North Point for HK$16/RM7/US$2. It was gorgeous.

*A more accurate word would be beef skirt or hanger steak, the meat that hangs from the stomach of the cow.

Dry-fry flat rice noodles (ho fun) with beef slices is another famous Cantonese noodle dish.

I have just been told by H that the best dry-fry ho fun with beef is in Guangzhou, China. I am tearing my hair out, because I was in Guangzhou last year and didn't eat any.

Yee noodles with dried scallops and assorted mushrooms

Yee min reminds me of my maternal grandfather, who lived in Kwun Tong and then moved out to Shatin when he got older. Shatin is considered a suburban area, and is most famous for pigeons dishes. Gramps took me and Hub to the best restaurant in Shatin for Shatin yee gub (pigeons) and yee min, and until this day, that meal remains in my mind, and heart.

One type of noodles which I've heard about but never eaten is the cheh jai min (little cart noodles) which used to be sold from mobile carts. Through the years, the carts were discarded and the noodles were sold from tiny shops in the alleys. These days little cart noodles are hard to find, and I think they really are dying out.

So there you are, No 3 on my list of must-eat food of Hong Kong. If you don't have the time, just eat a bowl of wonton noodles, guaranteed to leave you happy and satisfied.
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