There’s something comforting about a steamy bowl of noodles, bathed in a flavour-packed broth simmered with Chinese spices, and served with chopstick-tender beef brisket. Beef brisket noodle soup is a humble yet incredibly flavoursome dish consisting of three components: beef brisket, noodles and broth. Every noodle shop in Hong Kong has its own recipe, but the best ones are often praised for their tender beef cuts and clear soup that imparts an aromatic flavour.
But what makes a truly great bowl of beef brisket noodles? Pun Kwok Hing, the second-generation owner of Kau Kee, Hong Kong’s oldest and most iconic beef brisket shops, answers without hesitation: “Fresh, quality beef cooked from the heart.”
Just in time for the colder months, here are four beef brisket shops that have impressed our MICHELIN inspectors—and warmed the souls of Hongkongers.
Located in Tin Hau, Sister Wah has been feeding hungry locals with beef brisket served in a clear broth since 2003. Their famous local beef brisket is freshly butchered daily, which gets delivered to the shop every morning. The beef brisket is then blanched, seasoned and simmered with aromatics to create a broth that’s packed full of flavour.
The beef brisket, as well as other cuts of beef like boneless short ribs and butterfly brisket, can be enjoyed in two ways: alone or with noodles. Apart from the clear broth, Shanghai-style dan dan noodles is also a popular choice.
RELEVANT: Behind the Bib: Sister Wah
This unassuming noodle shop in Sai Ying Pun has been around for more than two decades, perfecting their beef brisket noodles with beef brisket braised and steeped in a spiced marinade overnight. The result is tender cuts of beef brisket served over springy wonton noodles and a flavourful beef broth.
Eng Kee is also famous for their oven-grilled char siu (barbecued pork), which is made with pork neck and pork shoulder to give a juicy, marbled texture. While you’re there, try the deep-fried wontons and homemade chilli sauce on the side. For those looking for variety, other toppings like beef tripe, squid balls, fish balls, beef meatballs and deep-fried fish skin are also on offer.
A neighbourhood joint that has been around for close to a century, Kau Kee is almost synonymous with beef brisket noodles. The restaurant offers a variety of noodle types and soup bases. The most famous noodle here is yi mien, a type of Cantonese egg noodle made with wheat flour, which costs extra but for good reason. It is known as the noodle of longevity and has a spongy texture. Other options include rice noodle, flat noodle, and egg noodle.
When it comes to the broth, Kau Kee is known for their specialty curry broth, which can be served in a thicker gravy separately with dry noodles. For those looking for lighter options, the clear broth is simple, but it helps to cut through the fattiness of the beef brisket. Beef tendon is also available, if you prefer a chewier texture.
One of the new entrants to the MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2021’s Bib Gourmand selection, Eight Treasures specialises in a beef broth simmered with eight Chinese herbs, including female ginseng, yam and longan, for over 10 hours, lending it a distinctive aromatic sweetness.
On the menu, you’ll find an informative page dedicated to different cuts of beef, of which the finger rib, skirt steak, and point end are considered the most desirable. If you’re lucky, you can have all three cuts in one bowl (which costs a whopping HK$218)—but they’re usually sold out before lunch time. Another popular choice is a combination of beef brisket, honeycomb tripe and tendon, but you can also opt for noodles with a single beef cut.