1. Mak Man Kee
Its humble storefront and down-to-earth staff belie Mak Man Kee's illustrious history of more than 60 years. The noodle shop was started as family-run restaurant in the neighbouring city of Guangzhou, and has now become a popular inclusion on any foodie itinerary of Hong Kong. The wonton noodles are served in small but satisfying portions. Each dumpling is stuffed with firm and bouncy prawns, and presented alongside springy duck egg noodles swimming in a flavourful broth. The braised pork knuckles in fermented red bean curd is another popular order.
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Located in Hong Kong's Central district, Kau Kee has been a crowd favourite for the past three decades, particularly in the afternoons, when queues stretch down the entirety of the street. Diners share tables and sit elbow to elbow with strangers as they tuck into their steaming hot bowls of beef noodles. The bestseller here is the beef brisket noodles in clear soup, which feature meltingly tender chunks of beef brisket or tendon, while spice lovers can opt for the curry beef brisket noodles.
Ramen has always been popular among diners in Hong Kong. Shugetsu Ramen is famed for the rich soya sauce soup base they use in their ramen. The soya sauce is produced by a 140-year-old factory in Ehime Prefecture in Japan. It is fermented in an ancient wooden barrel for 18 months to allow it to develop nuanced layers of subtly sweet, savoury and umami flavours. Besides the soup, its springy noodles are also well-loved among diners.
This noodle shop stalwart is started by Ho Koon Ming, son of Ho Chiu Hung of the well-known Ho Hung Kee Wonton Noodle Shop restaurant. The older Ho originated from Guangzhou, where he made a name for himself with his noodle expertise. Besides its trademark wonton noodles, the restaurant has expanded its menu to include dishes such as fried wontons, porridge and stir-fried beef hor fun.
Eng Kee Noodle Shop in Sai Wan has been serving its wonton noodles - prepared using a combination of Cantonese and Teochew cooking techniques - for more than 20 years. The shop has carved out a name for itself for its wonton soup noodles, fried wontons and beef brisket. The latter is braised overnight and steeped in a spice-laden marinade so that it can develop deep flavours and a tender and silky texture. The oven-grilled char siew, which is made with pork shoulder and pork neck, has a juicy and well-marbled texture.
Samsen is located near the historic Blue House, a block of iconic heritage tenement housing in Wan Chai. Like its thoughtfully conserved neighbour, the restaurant's rustic Thai-inspired decor and antique furnishings offer plenty of nostalgia. The shop's speciality is Thai noodles and street food, and its signature dish is the Thai Boat Noodles, which has a rich and spicy broth that makes one sweat when digging in. More than 60 per cent of the shop’s ingredients are shipped directly from Thailand daily, which contribute to the authentic flavour of the dishes.
7. Lau Sum Kee (Fuk Wing Street)
This 60-year-old wonton noodle shop is run by the third generation of namesake founder Lau Sum Kee, who started as an itinerant hawker in Guangzhou. Its plump wonton dumplings are stuffed with whole prawns and pork. Besides wonton noodles, other popular dishes include tossed noodles with dry shrimp roe or pork knuckles. Enjoy them with the home-made crunchy radish pickles placed in a jar on every table.
This ramen restaurant in Causeway Bay is popular for its addictive broth, which is cooked according to a secret recipe concocted by its Japanese chef. The pork bone broth is simmered for more than 16 hours, in order to yield a thick texture, intense flavour and a snow-white appearance.
Many wonton noodles restaurants may be famous for their delicious ingredients and seasonings, but let down with their factory-manufactured noodles. At Kwan Kee Bamboo Noodles, the noodles are painstakingly hand-made. The chef uses the traditional method of kneading his noodle dough by pressing it with a bamboo pole in a see-saw fashion, in order to give the resulting noodles a stringy texture. The signature here is to enjoy them tossed simply with a generous sprinkling of shrimp roe and some oyster sauce.
Ho To Tai is a household name with over 73 years of history. Its egg noodles are "homemade" using the traditional bamboo pole method at a facility not far from the restaurant, and stand out for their aroma and springy texture. The wonton noodle’s condiments and soup are also unique: the noodle broth is simmered with pork ribs instead of local flat fish, and the skin of the wonton dumplings have a texture similar to fish paste.