Meen – healthy fast-food noodles for under HK$100 in Central, if you don’t mind a queue
The servings are big at Queens Road area newcomer, where you can pick your own ingredients for a HK$58 bowl of noodles or order sets which start at HK$78; there’s not much choice for vegetarians or vegans, however
Packed on a weekday lunchtime with a queue stretching out onto the street, newish healthy Hong Kong fast-food restaurant Meen seems to be a hit.
Located just off Queens Road Central, its exterior is unassuming. Inside, Meen has light wooden floors and an open ceiling with exposed black pipes. The trendy interior is colourful and cosy, the lighting just right, and the music soft, giving a background hum without the need to raise your voice while eating.
One side of the casual restaurant is lined with high stools for solo diners taking a quick pit stop, and there are half a dozen small tables. At the back, the kitchen is open and you can watch chefs whip up orders.
Meen prides itself on using fresh ingredients, and none of its dishes contain MSG.
Two menus are available. The first is a “Build Your Own Meen” for HK$58 (US$7.40): you choose one of four flavours of soup, or teppanyaki sauce; one of five types of noodles; one portion of protein; and two portions of vegetables. Extra protein portions can be added for HK$10 each and extra vegetables for HK$6.
Alternatively, you can opt for a “Signature Combo”: a set dish, appetiser and drink priced between HK$78 and HK$98. A seasonal special is also available.
We ordered the eight hours slow-cooked char siu with yakisoba udon – choi sum, carrot, cabbage, onion, char siu and udon noodles for HK$88 – as well as two tiny appetiser dishes of beans and sweetcorn, and a drink.
The noodles were thick and well cooked, and accompanied by crisp vegetables and juicy, fatty meat, with the whole dish tossed in the right amount of sauce. Although the portion was large, it did not leave you too full.
The second dish we built ourselves: chicken soup with rice vermicelli noodles, pulled chicken, cabbage and broccoli. It came out fast, piping hot and topped with crunchy dried garlic. There were lots of vegetables, and a good ratio between crunchy greens, tender chicken and the simple, warming noodle soup. Again, the portion was very large, making it well worth HK$58.
Meen offers a selection of side dishes, most of which are meat-based, and ranging in price from HK$48 to HK$78. We opted for the deep fried calamari, one of the few fish options, for HK$68. Although a little oily, the rings were crisp with the right level of saltiness, and came with a sweet and slightly spicy sauce.
Service was very attentive, fast and friendly. Takeaways are available, and the restaurant offers a 20 per cent discount for customers who come between 11am and 12pm or 3pm and 5pm. Happy hour starts at 5pm, when diners are encouraged to BYOB.
One issue is the lack of variety for vegetarians or vegans: the protein choices are meat or fish, with tofu included as a vegetable, and only one starter is purely vegetable-based. Three side salads are available, however.
Meen, 2 Queen Victoria Street, Central, tel: 2808 0380. Open: 11am-10pm