It’s no secret that Hongkongers love their beef brisket noodles, and this unassuming noodle shop in Tin Hau has a loyal following unlike any other. On the menu, you’ll find an informative page dedicated to the types of briskets from different parts of the cow, of which the “point end” brisket is deemed the most popular.
The bone broth is simmered with eight herbs (hence the name), including female ginseng, yam and longan, for over 10 hours, which gives it an aromatic sweetness that differentiates it from the usual clear broth served in other beef brisket noodle shops.
Since its opening in Wan Chai back in 2017, Samsen has been a crowd favourite with a reputation for serving one of the best Thai boat noodles in town.
The second outpost in Sheung Wan, which opened in early 2020, has made a name for itself without the wagyu beef boat noodles on the menu. Instead, the focus here is Khao Soi, a Northern Thai curry noodle soup originated from Chiang Mai.
With 11 spices in the curry and eight hours of cooking time, the Northern Thai curry is creamy, sweet, and best paired with egg noodles or roti bread.
Meaning “good soup good noodles”, Hao Tang Hao Mian is a 20-seater tucked away in a small street in Tai Wai, where only 12 types of soup noodles are served. Combining the chef-owner’s over 20 years of experience in French cooking with local inspiration, the soup base and ingredients are varied to reflect creative flavours such as char siu with abalone, steamed chicken with shiitake mushroom, and dried oysters with pork belly.
Highlights include the signature flat noodles in beef soup with Sichuan beef cheek and braised oxtail, and the flavourful seafood potage with blue crab meat, prawns and Hokkaido scallops, which goes well with Chinese flat and thin noodles.
One of the last jook-sing noodle shops standing, Good Hope Noodles has been around for five decades. The jook-sing noodles, freshly made daily with duck egg and pressed with a bamboo pole for extra bouncy texture, is an attraction on its own with the cooking process showcased through the kitchen window by the entrance.
The noodles are best enjoyed with wontons, zhajiang sauce or braised pork trotter. While you’re at it, don’t forget to order the fresh fish skin and congee as well.
5. Yuan Is Here
Not exactly a noodle shop, Yuan Is Here serves up authentic Taiwanese fare that will transport you to the night markets of Taiwan. With the chef and owner hailed from Taiwan, everything from the braised minced pork rice to oyster fritter evidently stays true to the traditional recipes.
But that doesn’t mean their noodle dishes should be overlooked—the oyster and pig intestine rice noodles and Tainan Danzai rice noodles are just as popular.
6. 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.
7. Kau Kee
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 siu, 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.
12. 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.
15. Ho To Tai (Yuen Long)
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.
This article was updated by Pearl Yan on June 24, 2021.
The original article was written by Joe Chan and translated by Kenneth Goh. Click here to read the original version of this story.