Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A few good noodles

Today, the free Chinese newspaper am730 ran a double-page spread special on the Japanese noodle culture with 2 articles: one written by a Chinese and one written by a Japanese who is fluent in Chinese. The special has some interesting photos and the 2 articles are both well written. And it provides the perfect opportunity for us to talk about a few noodle places in Hong Kong.

Inaniwa Udon Nabe
Situated at one of the quieter corners in the Elements shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, the deceptively small shop front opened up to a spacious restaurant with high ceiling. Well past lunch time during a Saturday, most of the tables were still occupied. Despite the restaurant being quite full, it didn't feel crowded, perhaps helped by the high ceiling and the way tables were spaced out. The menu was simple: a few hot dish selections, udon accompanied by separate bowls of different sauces or soup (Tsuke udon つけうどん) and Japanese hotpot (nabe 鍋).

If you want to know more about tsuke udon, especially in relation to Inaniwa udon nabe, there is a fairly detailed discourse in with the link as attached here. But as explained in the am730 article today, "tsuke" noodle was first developed for "ramen" in Tokyo in 1955 and it is still mainly a way reserved for serving "ramen". Wikipedia article in Japanese here.

Suffice to say, this shop made a damn good bowl of Japanese udon. But then if you follow the cooking instructions of the udon you get from Japanese stores here, you should get a decent shot of making a good bowl of cold udon as well. Guess the harder part is to get the sauce or the soup right.

The surprise was actually the sausage which came twirling inside a sizzling hot plate. Well worth going just for that. Delicious!!

Shop 2002, 2/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui
尖沙 咀柯士甸道西1號圓方(Elements)2樓2002號舖

HKD150 for a bowl of noodles. This was the most expensive bowl of beef noodles that dad has ever eaten. Situated at the crossing between Star Street and St Francis Street, an open-kitchen style interior with simple wooden tables and benches, this shop offered a very limited menu: noodles with 3 choices of soup (all HKD150) a few snacks and desserts. If it was a blind tasting, dad would never have guessed the price. In Hong Kong, there is enough clientele who would equate a high price to delicious food for this shop to carry on thriving.
G/F, St Francis Street 33, Wanchai.  Tel: 22940426

鼎泰豐 Ding Tai Fung
While super famous for its soup-filled xiao long bao 小籠包, its chicken soup noodle is well worth trying. Somehow the chicken soup tastes the same no matter where in the world you order. The only problem is waiting for a table.

麥兆記 Mak Siu Kee Wonton Noodle
Perhaps the best traditional thin egg noodle in Hong Kong. You can feel the "bounce" on the noodles. But the wonton 雲吞 here are not as good, but the beef tendon and brisket in chu hua sauce is very tasty. Photos to follow, if we get them.
Electric Road 74B, Tin Hau.

If you fancy making your own wonton noodle, you can get fresh wonton skin and fresh egg noodles here. Photos and recipes to follow.
G/F, Tai Wo St 4, Wanchai.

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