Friday, February 29, 2008

Wonton noodles Mak Man Kee, Nathans congee - mom and pop eateries in Hong Kong

I do not mind sharing table or being squashed in a mom and pop eatery like this - if it means I can eat the famous wonton noodles here!

Mak Man Kee - an old-fashioned board menu on the wall. A traditional noodle shop in Jordan district, Hong Kong.

See the numbers below those vertical string of Mandarin characters - those are the prices of the food items.

One of the best wonton noodles I've had in my life, I swear. It's in the noodles, the soup broth, and the wonton - 云吞, shui kow -水饺 . All that makes this...THE noodles I came back for, more than once, in my 2-day trip to Hong Kong. The portions come small. With a full appetite, I don't think there is any problem swooping down two bowls. What comes into the making of the soup/broth ? Are there any true-blue Hong Kongers or Cantonese cuisine pro who can tell me? Without fail, bits of Chinese chives (the white, non-chlorophyll version of its green family**) can always be seen floating in the soup.

"The egg noodles are springy and has that biting and chewing satisfication;
each dumpling - wonton or shui kow - filled generously with ingredients;
oozing out with the "juice" sensation;
when greedily savoured "

"The beef brisket noodles in a plate, comes dry or in soup;
Beef briskets braised to perfection - also good;
But we still prefer the noodles in soup "

You know how delicious is the food when you can even make your sentences rhyme...

Nathan Congee - yet another traditional mom and pop eatery at Jordan. You get to watch just that one-and-only chef cook. He is situated right at the store entrance, at his tiny cornered kitchen. A stove where he cooks the porridge/congee and then that same tiny space where the porridge/congee is poured into individual bowls. I wonder how he does that without that claustrophobic feel. Most of the ingredients must have been prepared in advanced - pre-washed, pre-cleaned, pre-cut or chop. He just needs to portion the right amount of ingredients into the pots of simmering cooking porridge/congee.

This non-flashy and non-flamboyant chef's corner is found exactly at the store entrance (on your right). There is even a lack of space that a table has to be used to place the plates of dough sticks (油条 )

Here, a good ol' bowl of mixed pork porridge 及第粥, made from all parts of the pig - typically lean pork slices, minced pork balls, pork liver and pork intestines. Full of pork flavor sans any pungent smell of innards.

Not enough Hong Kong eating? You can indulge in more desserts, get yourself stressed-up in a tea cafe or watch time pass by in a traditional teahouse.

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**Do you know the existence of white chives ? If you do, do you know why they are white and not green ? This "albino" version is created when the usual (green) chives is buried under the soil, and not exposed to sunlight in the process of growing. Without exposure to the sun, no chorophyll is produced, thus the resultant chive is white/pale yellow.