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Hong Kong budget eats

Hong Kong’s 7 best wonton noodle restaurants

Eggy ribbon-shaped noodles, rich broth and wonton filled with shrimp and pork – it’s the ultimate combination for the city’s hungry hordes. We’ve tried seven places that serve this ubiquitous meal and found our favourite

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 February, 2016, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 February, 2016, 8:42am

For many of us living in Hong Kong, a bowl of wonton noodles is the among the great comfort foods. The dish may look simple, but it takes a lot of attention because each of the three elements need to be right – rich broth, eggy, springy noodles, and goldfish-like wonton filled with shrimp and pork all combine to make the perfect bowl.

 

Mak’s Noodle (Overall winner)

Mak’s Noodle was launched by Mak Woon-chi in Guangzhou before the second world war. One of his sons, Mak King-hung, opened a food stall in Central in 1968 and eventually set up shop on Wellington Street in 1989. The business is now run by third-generation Mak Chi-ming, and has outlets in Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore. First-time diners may be surprised to receive such a small bowl of wonton noodles for HK$39, but we can see why people keep coming back for more. Each bowl contains only four wontons, but each of them has a whole shrimp along with a bit of minced pork. The noodles are thin and refined with an alkaline taste and a springy texture, a sign that it is cooked perfectly. For us, this shop won hands down for the best wontons in the city – although you might need to eat two bowls to keep the hunger pangs at bay.

77 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2854 3810. HK$39 per bowl

 

 

 

Ho Hung Kee (1st runner up)

Ho Hung Kee began as a food stall 60 years ago, opened by Ho Wing-fong and his wife in 1946. The stall was frequented by Chinese opera stars, well-known businessmen and government officials, and, in 1973, the Hos moved to their first premises on Sharp Street East in Causeway Bay. In 2012, Ho Hung Kee was awarded its first Michelin star, which it has kept ever since.

Now located in Hysan Place, the restaurant has a white interior with a floral theme. Its prices are on par with Mak’s at HK$39 a bowl. The wontons are a decent size, filled with whole shrimp and some pork. We like the egg noodles, too, which are smooth and springy with an alkaline taste.

Shop 1204-1205, 12/F Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2577 6060. HK$39 per bowl

 

 

 

Good Hope Noodle (2nd runner up)

We grabbed the first seat we saw in the crowded shop and it turned out to be a good one. Our table was right next to the kitchen, giving us a glimpse of the activity through the window: we watched the cook as he boiled the noodles, drained them and drizzled on some oil. The noodles that went into our bowl were glossy, and tasted firm and springy. The wontons were good but not the best we have tasted. The shop has been around since 1971, although it closed its original site on Sai Yeung Choi Street and launched two branches on Fa Yuen Street and Sai Yee Street. Other than the wonton noodles, the zha jiang (spicy minced pork sauce) noodles and congee with offal also look very tempting.

18 Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, tel: 2384 6898. HK$32 per bowl

 

 

Tsim Chai Kee

Located across the street from the venerable Mak’s Noodles, Tsim Chai Kee created quite a stir when it opened in the 1990s because not only were its wontons more than twice the size of Mak’s, but a bowl was priced at only HK$10, attracting long queues at lunchtime. Fast forward to 2016 and the price has nearly tripled but it’s still value for money. Diners get three giant wontons chock full of prawns and minced pork, that take several bites to get through. The noodles are thicker and coarser in texture than Mak’s. The fish paste with noodles is another good option.

Jade Centre, 98 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2850 6471. HK$28 per bowl

 

 

Kwan Kee Bamboo Noodle

This six year-old shop may have a short history, but the noodles are made in the traditional way, kneaded with a bamboo stick and using a recipe inherited from the owner’s grandfather. The shop is not the easiest to find, owing to the confusing street numbers and our trust in Google Maps, but once you see the Bibendum image you know you’re in the right place – it’s been in the Bib Gourmand section (promising good food at a reasonable price) of the Michelin guide since 2012. If you’re lucky, you get to watch a sifu making the noodles in the glass-walled kitchen next to the entrance. The noodles are flatter than usual and although not as springy as others, they have a pleasant bite. The soup base is fragrant with toasted flounder powder, and our only complaint is the tough dough near the seal of each wonton. While many shops now offer bottled chilli sauce, the home-made XO sauce served here won with its depth of flavour.

1E Wing Lung Street, Cheung Sha Wan, tel: 3484 9126. HK$28 a bowl

 

 

 

Lau Sum Kee Noodle

Launched as a street stall in Guangzhou in the 1940s, Lau Sum Kee Noodle is now run by the third generation of the family and has expanded to include three shops – two in Sham Shui Po and its latest launched in mid-January in Cheung Sha Wan. The owners insist on making everything from scratch and claim that the dough is kneaded with a bamboo pole for more even pressure and a better texture. Despite this, the noodles were a little too soft for our liking and the broth, which had a brown hue, tasted bland. The wontons, however, were of good quality: the wrapper was thin and silky, and filled with a balanced amount of well-seasoned pork and shrimp. But our favourite item was the pickled turnips. Shops including Ho Hung Kee and Wing Wah Noodle Shop also provide this condiment, but Lau Sum Kee’s was crunchy, refreshing and moreish.

48 Kweilin Street, Sham Shui Po, tel: 2386 3533. HK$27 a bowl

 

Wing Wah Noodle Shop

Of the seven places we tried, this place was the most expensive at HK$40. We wondered if this is because it has a prime location across from Southorn Playground, because the interior is cramped and doesn’t invite diners to linger. However, it serves a pretty reasonable bowl of wonton noodles. The wonton here are bite sized, filled with chunks of shrimp and bits of minced pork, while the egg noodles are hearty, although they were just a touch overcooked when we visited . A good accompaniment is the deep-fried fish skin that you dunk into a bowl of broth and savour the crunchy texture.

89 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2527 7476. HK$40 per bowl