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Food and Drinks

Cheap eats: 17 Hong Kong and Macau restaurants get the thumbs up from Michelin

List of 73 Hong Kong restaurants features a congee shop for the first time

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 October, 2017, 8:03am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 November, 2017, 1:24pm

Seventeen restaurants offering Asian cuisine from congee to clay pot rice have been added to Michelin’s list of moderately priced eateries in Hong Kong and Macau.

The additions expanded the list of Bib Gourmands to 82 from 75 last year, meaning that six restaurants dropped out. The new list includes 73 venues in Hong Kong and nine in Macau – each offering three-course menus for under HK$400.

The announcement will be followed by the release on November 30 of the highly anticipated Michelin guide, which awards stars to upscale restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau that offer the same number of courses for more than HK$400.

Among the new names are eight Cantonese restaurants, including family-run businesses such as the prawn wonton noodle shop Mak Man Kee in Jordan – in business for 40 years – and Eng Kee Noodle Shop in Sai Ying Pun, operating for 23 years.

The first congee shop on the list, Trusty Congee King in Wan Chai, offers a wide selection of dishes cooked in fish broth. Michelin inspectors who regularly visit ­restaurants ­locally to test their dishes hailed its flavour.

Staff at Eng Kee were happy, but not overly enthusiastic about the recognition from an international benchmark of good food.

“I feel happy for the shop … but we often receive awards, so we are not too concerned [about additional pressure],” said Sarah Chan, who has been a waitress at Eng Kee for 20 years.

She said she would not bother notifying the owner, who she identified as Mr Chiu, as he was out of town and she did not consider it a big deal.

Charlotte Morling, a Swedish fashion designer who works in Hong Kong, said Eng Kee was one of her favourite places in the city.

“The barbecued pork is very tender … and tasty. The taste of the soup is very balanced too,” said Morling, who has been visiting the noodle shop at least once a week over the past two years.

Ng Kong-kiu, director and chef of another awardee, Ju Xing Home in Mong Kok, was excited about the accolade.

“I’m happy and feel like I have made one more step,” said the 40-year-old, who has been working as a cook for 19 years and opened his own restaurant six years ago.

“My hard work was worth it … I dedicated my heart to cooking. It is also important to choose fresh, top-quality ingredients,” Ng said.

He said that incorporating ­elements of Sichuan cuisine could elevate the taste of Guangdong dishes. Some of his signature dishes include salt-baked chicken and boiled beef in spicy soup.

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Max Chan Sze-kit, whose Ho To Tai Noodle Shop has been on the list since 2011, said his ­business had risen by about 30 per cent in the year following the ­accreditation.

Kai Kai Dessert in Jordan, however, was slapped with a drastic rise in rent following its inclusion in the 2015 Michelin list and was forced to move to a new location.