Thursday 24 March 2016

Tsim Chai Kee (沾仔记) Hong Kong Wantan Noodles ~ Wellington Street, Central HK

A must-try in Hong Kong is their local wantan noodles which bear resemblances to the Malaysian version but vastly differs in taste.

Click for a closer look.
Along Wellington Street are 2 favourites of the Hong Kongers, Mak's Noodle, which recently opened an outlet in Malaysia and Tsim Chai Kee, competitors located just opposite of each other. 

According to our Malaysian hosts, Tsim Chai Kee has been around longer than Mak's Noodle so they're more partial to the former. In terms of Michelin Guide ratings, both Mak's Noodle and Tsim Chai Kee have been awarded a Bib Gourmand status.

Tsim Chai Kee
98 Wellington St, Central
Monday to Sunday: 9 am to 10 pm

Click to zoom in on the menu
With just a pageful of items, Tsim Chai Kee focuses only on the essentials - wantan noodles with 3 choices of toppings, a simple vegetable dish and drinks.

We had a bowl of wantan noodles each and the first thing that impressed us was the size of the wantan.

Each wantan required at least 2 bites to polish off an entire piece unlike the tiny one-bite ones we get back in Malaysia.

Also, the wantan filling is made entirely of whole prawns. You get generously stuffed wantans filled with bouncy, crunchy prawns. Prawns with such a unique texture may scare you at first but when you sink your teeth into these plump morsels, it quickly becomes an addiction.

The noodles on the other hand were really thin and cooked al dente to give it a bite. A very different experience from our slightly thicker Malaysian wantan noodles. One thing I don't like about the Hong Kong version is that it tends to have a strong alkali odor in the noodles which ultimately affects the taste of the soup.

Also popular on  the menu is the minced fish balls made in-store.

Slightly larger than the wantan, the fish balls were springy and light with a touch of coriander to remove  traces of any overwhelming fish smell. It went well with Tsim Chai Kee's spicy XO sauce.

Like most shops in Hong Kong, Tsim Chai Kee has limited seating, only about 25-30 seats in total. I can imagine the potential wait if it were standard meal times but we were here at the off-peak 4 pm tea time. We're greedy, anything can be consumed at anytime.

Tsim Chai Kee is definitely a must-try when visiting Hong Kong for those fresh and bouncy prawn wantans and slurpylicious thin egg noodles. Just don't make the mistake of drinking the noodles' soup as it's has a strong taste of alkali water and to avoid the non-local noobie mistake. (Psst locals don't drink the soup)

Reviews can be found at Daniel Food Diary, No Recipes and That Food Cray.