Hong Kong Wonton Noodles (Mak’s vs. Tsim Chai Kee)

Hong Kong’s cuisine is synonymous with wonton noodles and dim sum. One can’t go to Hong Kong and not try one or the other.

Even before I made my trip here, I have heard about Mak’s. Even Anthony Bourdain made his way here for a taste of this world famous noodles. I wasn’t actively seeking it out yet stumbled upon it while searching for Lin Heung so it must have been fate. LOL.

Now, Mak’s is well-known for its small portions. The noodles are served in a bowl as big as a standard rice bowl and is justified by their own theory that this is to keep the noodles from absorbing all the bouillon and going soggy.

While we were waiting, I kept myself busy by watching how the workers went about wrapping the wontons and sui jiao dumplings (水饺). I liked the fact that they used almost a whole prawn for one wonton. I say almost because I notice him slicing one end off, yet putting in another small chunk. The way their deft fingers fold in the wonton skin is quite admirable and boasts of their many years of experience.

True enough, portions were small (one bowl is def. not enough if you’re hungry) but the noodles were wiry and springy. I don’t buy much of their theory as there’s not much of noodles in the bowl to begin with. Hehe. Apparently, duck eggs are used instead of the usual chicken eggs which is the “secret” to their family recipe for that different taste and texture. But the shrimp wontons were truly sublime, with the fresh and well-marinated prawn. And the broth. Wow. Clear but brimming with taste. Apparently it’s simmered continuously and made with dried shrimp roe, powdered dried flounder and pork bones. Just the sound of that makes me salivate. Each bowl costs HKD28.

We also ordered a portion of the sui jiao dumplings (水饺) and these are not as tightly packed as the shrimp wonton but has a liberal amount of diced shrimp,minced pork, bamboo shoots and wood ear fungus. The broth tastes lighter than the one for the noodles and I wondered if the extra oomph in flavour came imparted from the noodles? But nevertheless this little bowl of goodness was yummy and costs us HKD30.

Even though the prices are a bit steep for the portions, I found the delectable soup stock, wontons and dumplings to be worth it.

Mak’s Noodles 麥奀雲吞麵世家
77 Wellington St.
Central, Hong Kong.
中環威靈頓街77號地下

other reviews;
ho chiak
precious pea
greg & nee on the go

***

Just across the road is Tsim Chai Kee, also another noodles shop that was highly recommended. We came back on another evening to try it and by then Mak’s was already closed. Apparently they are very punctual in closing shop by 8pm. Heh.

The eatery is not like your typical old HK noodle houses and has undergone a modern facelift. Dark and sleek interiors with a touch of oriental charm. It was quieter when we were eating there but I understand that sharing tables are the norm here during peak hours too. With only 3 toppings to their noodles, we opted for the shrimp wontons, and fish balls and chose to forgo the sliced beef.

Our shrimp wonton noodles. Portion size is more substantial than Mak’s for sure. Even the shrimp wontons look bigger. But despite that I wasn’t as thrilled with the taste. I expected the same freshness and crunchiness to bite but prawn chunks were used here instead. And it wasn’t as tightly packed as I hoped for. The noodles were great though, al dente to bite. The bouillon too was tasty but had a light lye water (碱水) taste to it… probably seeped in from the noodles.

We asked for the fish balls ( 鲮鱼球) to be served with no noodles and certainly wasn’t expecting such huge ones. They are bigger than a ping pong ball, I reckon! The fish used is of the Chinese Mud Carp (or Dace) variety and the flesh is normally minced finely before being mixed with starchy flour, minced pork, garlic and dried tangerine peels before being cooked. I noticed that a lot of places in HK/Macau served them deep-fried and with good reason to, as the cooked meat ends up being bouncy to bite. These however, have a more chewy and coarse texture to it, similar to our lekor from Terengganu. Even though it tasted pretty alright, I didn’t take to it much. I am still a sui jiao girl. Hehe. And I also preferred the fish balls to be coated with rice vermicelli and deep fried as the ones I had in Macau.

The two bowls costs us HKD16 each which is a steal in comparison to Mak’s in terms of pricing and portion size. And p.s, Wang Fu is just next to them, and is well-known for their dumplings. Definitely going there next trip. :)

Tsim Chai Kee 沾仔记
98, Wellington St.
Central, Hong Kong.
中環威靈頓街98號地下

Open : 8am – 10 pm

other reviews;
food4thot
greg & nee on the go
motormouth from ipoh

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15 Comments »

  1. i must say… those magic words give me goose bumps la.. wiry, springy .. family secret ! hehe.. wa.. what more can a bowl of noodle aspire to be when it grows up if not that!

    epicuriousgirl says: you got that right. :P

  2. J2Kfm said

    strange enough, Mak’s was my choice for dinner that night, not knowing that it’s closed for dinner.

    hence TCK’s the viable choice, which kinda impressed no less.
    though I agree that the lye water’s kinda overwhelming.

    the greens with fu yee sauce was good though.

    epicuriousgirl says: yeah it’s good nevertheless. just that the shrimp wontons from mak’s won me over.

  3. gina said

    Christ… I have to make sure I don’t read your blog when I am hungry.. and especially now, I am extra hungry now just looking at the wonton! So i know what I want for breakfast tomorrow!

    epicuriousgirl says: haha, i successfully made a colleague crave for wonton noodles by showing her the photo. and she doesn’t even like them to begin with. lol.

  4. Wow! HKD28 for a small bowl of noodles…and HKD30 for sui kow. o_0 Quite ex…but looks real yummy! Somemore with flavourful broth…ahhhhhhh!!

    epicuriousgirl says: yeah it’s pricey but generally food in HK is more expensive than back home.

  5. Duck egg noodles?? I can just imagine the difference in taste! Oh those sui kows look absolutely delicious…. I can bet there’s no MSG in these babies!

    epicuriousgirl says: i hope not! i didn’t have a thirst test coz there’s a juice stall nearby and we got quite cheap fresh juices after the meal.

  6. mimi said

    I wonder how many bowls I have to order to fill me up coz I’ll have 1 1/2 portion of wonton mee here at M’sia =.=”

    epicuriousgirl says: 3 to 4?

  7. i was planning to try both too! thx to ur review, i’ll stick to mak’s :)

    epicuriousgirl says: it was the shrimp wontons that won the battle, imo.

  8. jencooks said

    Yes Mak’s wonton is definitely an edge over others. The dried flounder added therein certainly adds to the flavour. Just too little for HKG28.

    epicuriousgirl says: yup, too little a portion. but that shrimp wonton definitely kicks ass. hehe.

  9. [...] that the cooking process of wantan noodles must be strictly adhered to. Other than the oh-so-famous Tsim Tsai Kee and Mak Kee at Central, Mak Man Kee, situated next to Australia Dairy Co., seems like a good choice too. After [...]

  10. Hanfu lee said

    We have only 2 days left in Hong Kong. We have not been able to find the noodle place that my friend told me about. They make the noodles with fish INSIDE of the noodle or incorporated in the noodle..ie. they mix the fish with the flour to make the noodle. Then they put barbeque pork on top to eat it.

  11. HappyTourist said

    Traveling from Tokyo, I went to this restaurant just last week. Tsim Chai Kee 沾仔记 98, Wellington St. Central, Hong Kong. BE CAREFUL!! Terrible food poisoning from eating the not-tasty shrimp wonton noodles. Later I discovered a friend of mine also got food poisoning, just a few weeks ago, from the same restaurant.
    Someone should sue the Michelin food guide for giving them a star! What a mistake… Please warn others.

  12. monkey said

    hey, what time did you went to Mak’s? Why look like nobody there one?

  13. [...] Mak’s Noodles has been serving up tasty wonton egg noodles that is highly praised by both locals and international foodies, most notably Anthony Bourdain.  You might be shocked when your [...]

  14. Bali Tour said

    It’s really amazing

    Thanks for the recipe, i would like to try it :)

  15. Kelvin Ho said

    Tsim Chai Kee opens at 9am, not 8am. We went there yesterday.

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