One thing which is interesting about China is how terribly it markets itself. By way of contrast think about Japan. Every sensible hipster I know loves Japan. They are familiar with the food and have likely been on a pilgrimage to Tokyo in an effort to eat and experience the sensory overload that is Japan’s capital city. And as just one demonstration of that marketing, think about about ramen, that humble dish that is the subject of a thousand blogs and media frothings. People worship ramen, they mutter about different regional varieties and bemoan the inability to get a proper bowl of it outside of Japan.
What I don’t understand is why Hong Kong’s equivalent, the glory that is a bowl of wonton noodles is not subject to such adoration? Quite frankly, given the choice between springy noodles coupled with some juicy wonton in heady bowl of fish broth or a bowl of ramen and the ramen loses; everytime. Proper (Hong Kong style) wonton noodles are one of the world’s great foods and they are far harder to get a proper bowl than ramen. Outside of a limited selection of shops in Hong Kong, everything else is a pale imitation. Surely this should make it the perfect fodder for foodie obsession. However, somehow ramen gets all the love.
Well, this, the third of my Hong Kong’s “best”, is about wonton noodles and the most reckoned place to eat it in Hong Kong – Mak An Kee. If you are obsessive enough about food to read Chowhound, the most popular post ever on the Chinese board is about the best wonton noodles in Hong Kong. It has been running since 2007 and is now up to 215 posts (which is something like 2billion posts less than an average ramen post). The common accord is this Mak An Kee is the place for wonton noodles in Hong Kong.
I have to say, I’m not sure I fully agree, I’ve had better bamboo poled noodles at Lau Sum Kee and the wontons at Mak’s are tastier. However, Mak An Kee is probably my favourite because of the very dinginess and location of it. It doesn’t involve traipsing up to Kowloon and is tucked away in a side street off Queen’s Road in Central. A grotty street market hides the front door and the window isn’t plastered with recommendations by Lonely Planet or Anthony Bourdain (like Mak’s) which means it is only semi-popular and relatively undiscovered by tourists. The service is abrupt and begrudging, with no pandering. It is a quintessential Hong Kong experience.
And unfortunately now I’ve got that taste, so once every few years my love of the wonton noodles is going to necessitate an expensive plane ticket. However, if I was still living there I would be continuing my obsession of munching as many wonton noodles as possible as this is just the start. HK has enough wonton joints to fuel a proper obsession and the rest of the world has well… sod all.
- Price – 27hkd
- Wing Kut Street, Central, Hong Kong
PS for other posts on HK’s best click here.
PPS for a tour of Sham Shui Po in Kowloon that takes you to the best noodles you will ever eat (Lau Sum Kee), read e_ting’s blog post here.