New restaurant in Hong Kong: Sun Chuk Yuen, Wan Chai - fast, cheap Vietnamese, but dishes and decor are nothing special
This busy Wan Chai restaurant is a popular lunch venue, with a large menu full of inexpensive Vietnamese classics, but the decor, ambience and flavours need some work
Vietnamese restaurant Sun Chuk Yuen in Wan Chai, is immediately noticeable because of the line of people waiting to get in for lunch.
Fortunately, the queue went pretty fast – we only waited for about 10 minutes, thanks to its automated ticketing system.
The smart, newly refurbished spot is spacious inside with frosted glass panels creating booths. However, the overall ambience and decor still leaves a little to be desired if it wants to attract diners looking for somewhere special.
Service was fast despite the slightly chaotic lunchtime rush – few of the other diners stayed for longer than 20 minutes.
First up was a dish of bun: grilled lemongrass beef vermicelli salad (HK$62). The portion was generous, with lots of rice vermicelli, but the herbs and toppings were a bit scant. Likewise, the beef was very well flavoured and tender, but there was not that much of it. Overall, the dish felt like a jumble of ingredients hastily assembled – a dressing or sauce; more fresh herbs and toppings would have lifted it to another level.
Next, we tried the Vietnamese staple, pho, with slices of rare beef and beef brisket (HK$62), which came in a huge bowl. We were impressed by the freshness of the beef slices, and the broth with ginger and onion had a deep flavour. It was a decent choice, but as with the beef bun, not spectacular.
We also opted to try the Hanoi softshell crab summer roll (HK$55) to see if the appetisers on Sun Chuk Yuen’s extensive menu might outshine the mains. The roll, cut into four large pieces, was quite chunky and packed with vermicelli, though it did not have much flavour apart from the deep-fried softshell crab.
Sun Chuk Yuen certainly provides a big variety of Vietnamese dishes at wallet-friendly prices, but the restaurant interior and quality of food were average, and there are far better ways to satisfy your next pho or bun craving.
Sun Chuk Yuen, York Place, 22 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2586 1828. Open 11am-11pm
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