Quick and affordable, bowls of seemingly plain and unremarkable wonton noodles have comforted the bellies and souls of many Hong Kongers over the years. To make their wonton noodles more appealing, noodle makers called them fu yong meen (or “hibiscus noodles”, with hibiscus symbolising youth and beauty). Wonton noodles also came in different sizes: smaller portions are called sai yong, and larger ones are called dai yong. Today, wonton-making has become an intangible cultural heritage of Hong Kong, but it may take you by surprise to know that wonton noodles didn’t actually originate in Hong Kong. It first appeared in Hunan over a thousand years ago, and was later introduced to Guangzhou and then Hong Kong during the war. The filling of Guangzhou-style wontons is predominantly lean pork and the wontons are bite-sized; Hong Kong-style wontons are characterised by a very thin wonton wrapper stuffed with pork and shrimp. Each mouth-watering morsel is about the size of a ping pong ball.
The heart of a bowl of wonton noodles is, of course, the wontons; but the quality of the noodles and the broth are equally important. The noodles should be firm and al dente, thanks to the hard work of the noodle makers kneading the dough with a bamboo pole. This gives the noodles a unique texture that cannot be easily replicated with machines. The broth contains ingredients like dried flounder, pork bone and shrimp shells, elevating the dish with sweetness and umami.
In the past, wonton noodles were sold by street hawkers. To keep the noodles from softening too much for being in the soup for too long, special tricks were used to assemble a bowl of wonton noodles: wontons were placed at the bottom of the bowl with noodles on top, and a ladle of clear broth was then poured in. This special technique kept the noodles and soup separated inside the takeaway container, so when the customers got home, they were still able to enjoy a delicious bowl of wonton noodles. Today, wonton noodles have become a signature dish at many distinguished restaurants. Where can you enjoy a bowl of soul-restoring wonton noodles that have stolen the hearts of our MICHELIN inspectors? Read on to find out:
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Article written by MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau, translated by Iris Wong. Read original article here.