Tag Archives: mak’s noodles

Best wantan mee in Hong Kong: Tsim Chai Kee

15 Nov

wantan meeGiven the name of this blog it has struck me that I don’t actually write very much about noodles. Or death for that matter. Maybe I should have called it something else.

Well, never one to take the difficult option if an easier, lazier alternative presents itself, I think I’ll write about a noodle shop this week, rather than redesign the whole site. Not just one in fact but three. So, ladies and gents I give you my noodle triptych.

PART ONE: BEST WANTAN MEE

Wantan noodles are one of life’s great joys. In fact, I would say the dish is to Hong Kong what the world-renowned ramen is to Japan – a cultural icon-cum-culinary superstar. The best have few ingredients: stock, springy egg noodles, wantans bursting with juicy prawns and maybe a few bits of chopped up spring onion. Simple, fresh, delicious – and nowhere to hide if it all goes wrong. Even the artistry and effort that goes into making the egg noodles is a thing of beauty, dedication and perspiration that would shame most of us 9-5 jobbers.

Now everyone raves about Mak’s Noodles on Wellington St. Media food whore Anthony Bourdain has eaten there on one of his numerous trips to Hong Kong – camera crew in tow, obviously – and there is a rumour that founder Mak Woon-chi even served noodles to Chiang-Kai Shek, which is pretty cool. That said, I find the servings tiny – they say it’s cos it keeps the noods from going soft but I think that’s bullshit – the staff rude, and on two separate occasions they have assured my allergy-prone co-diner of no peanuts and she’s had a reaction to the food.

Tsim Chai kee menuNo thanks. The best place I’ve eaten this timeless dish is across the road at Tsim Chai Kee. The portions are slightly bigger, the service a tad less gruff and it’s a bit smarter inside – if these things appeal to you, they certainly do to Mr Michelin who’s stuck the place in his guide for the past few years. But most importantly the soup base has a greater depth of fishy flavour in Tsim’s and the wantan’s are the biggest, juiciest fuckers you’ll find this side of the South China Sea. They are hotter than the sun inside, but I happily chomped through them in seconds as the roof of my mouth slowly melted off.

Being something of a chilli sauce officianado, I can also recommend Tsim’s for its Chiu Chow style sauce – the chilli, garlic and oil combo which has a much bigger flavour punch than the blended commercial shit that Mak’s serves. They even sell it at the till. If wantans aren’t your thing Tsim’s also serves beef slices or fish balls as toppings – you can have all three if you’re a greedy bugger and still get away for around £3.

The bill for two bowls of wantan mee and a portion of poached greens was around HK$50 – actually too embarrassingly small to even ask for money from my co-diner. Now that’s what I call Noodles bitches!

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