Hong Kong budget eats

Rempah Noodles in Wan Chai – US$12.50 laksa bowls as tasty as Malaysian, Singaporean friends said

The small restaurant is known for its aromatic Nyonya laksa lemak, but its dry laksa, with rich, flavourful gravy, was the dish of the day

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 October, 2018, 8:47am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 October, 2018, 8:47am

I’d been hearing good things about Rempah Noodles from my Malaysian and Singaporean friends. The shop on Hennessy Road is small and charming, with backless stools along the walls and around a communal table (and books such as Crazy Rich Asians to help you pass the time if you’re dining solo), friendly service and a brief menu, offering only three choices for noodles.

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Because they do not take bookings, we arrived early and were the first customers in the door when the place opened at 11.30am. By 12.30pm, the shop was full, and people had to wait for seats.

The premium prawn noodles (HK$98) with yellow noodles and thin rice noodles had a broth that wasn’t as deeply flavoured as others we’ve tasted, but it was light, clean and mild. In addition to the noodles, there were prawns, pork belly, water spinach and a plentiful amount of fried lard.

Nyonya laksa lemak (HK$98) is what the restaurant is most famous for, and it’s the dish that most of the other customers ordered. The broth, laden with ingredients that included fish cakes, prawns, shredded chicken and bean curd puffs, was aromatic, not too thick and just slightly spicy, although it could have been hotter.

The dry laksa (HK$98) was my favourite dish of the day. The short, thick and toothsome silver needle rice noodles were served with the same ingredients as in the laksa lemak, but instead of soup they were coated with a rich, thick, flavourful gravy that we mixed in.

There are two non-noodle dishes on the menu. Pai tee (HK$60 for four, HK$80 for eight) were delicious – airy, crunchy shells filled with vegetables such as jicama, carrot and mushroom.

Dessert was kaya toast (HK$38) – a rich pandan-scented coconut jam slathered between thick slices of lightly toasted bread.

Rempah Noodles, 18 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, 3618 4863. Open: Monday to Friday 11.30am-8pm, Saturday 11.30am-6pm

While you’re in the area:

Ni hao: Mandarin greeting for diners at new Wan Chai restaurant

New restaurants in Wan Chai: Sueño – enticing menu, great service

New restaurant in Wan Chai: great Middle Eastern food at Francis