By David Sutton
G/F, 37 Leighton Road
Causeway Bay Tel 2893 0006
Vibe: This is a very typical noodle shop, though a little newer than most because it opened quite recently. The kitchen is on the left as you enter, and there's a row of tables for four along the right, and some circular tables with stools towards the back. The glass-topped tables act as photo frames for a selection of menus and magazine articles about the restaurant. An English menu is available, and service is friendly and efficient.
Who to take: It's a great place for a quick bite solo or with a mate; but it's particularly perfect to take visitors from out of town to give them a genuine taste of Hong Kong, an experience 'only locals know about'.
What's hot: Mak's is famous for its wonton soup, whose recipe has not been changed since the first restaurant opened in Guangzhou some time before the second world war.
The Hong Kong Mak's, which was established by the original owner's son, started as a noodle stall in Central in 1968. Today there are branches in Central, Jordan, Causeway Bay and on the Peak.
The egg noodles are fresh and supple, but the servings are quite small. This, apparently, helps to prevent them going soggy. The wontons, which are hidden beneath the noodles, are fresh and sweet. They are also small, but this can be a good thing because they can be popped into your mouth in one go. The soup base is made from dried flounder, dried shrimp roe and pork bones. It all adds up to a delicious little snack, or meal, depending on how hungry you are.
Or you could try one of the other dishes - the small menu does offer a few other choices. One excellent dish is the pork chutney with noodles. The pork is cut into small strips and cooked in a sweet-savoury sauce and served on a bed of noodles, with the flavourful soup served in a separate bowl. The meat is hard, rather like beef jerky, and makes for a satisfying chew. But again the serving is quite small.
If there are two or more of you sharing, you could order a plate of beef brisket, tendons or a mix of the two. For vegetables, order a plate of choi sum with oyster sauce.
What's not: The menu is small, and there are no desserts.
Cost: Noodles are HK$30 to HK$40, depending on what you have with them. Plates of beef brisket or tendon are HK$65 and choi sum is HK$21. Tea is complimentary, but soft drinks are HK$12 per can. With HK$100, you'll have plenty of change to go for dessert afterwards.