The Hong Kong wonton noodle is a simple dish: dumplings are made with several shrimp held together by a delicate flour wrapper and served with chewy egg noodles in a savory broth.
Simplicity doesn’t mean they’re all the same though. Each restaurant tries to outdo the next with just the slightest touch of variation in flavor and texture. Whether its plumper shrimps, more al dente noodles or an extra fragrant broth.
Be prepared to have to wait for a table at most popular places, especially during lunchtime. But with the Hong Kong-style lunch culture of sit-down-eat-pay-leave-immediately, that steaming bowl of shrimp and noodle satisfaction is never too long a wait away.
Here are five of the best and the most talked about wonton noodle specialists in Hong Kong:
Wing Wah Noodle Shop 永華麵家
Right off the bat, the discerning foodie will be able to tell that there’s something slightly special about the broth at Wing Wah, now in its 61st year of business.
Shark bones are used to create a delicious broth that supposedly helps joints stay supple. Just one more reason to slurp down the soup at the end of the meal.
Newspaper clippings yellowed with age are found on every wall in the cramped space of Wing Wah. The articles compliment the chef on hand-making his noodles in the traditional method – by kneading with a long unwieldy bamboo.
Overall, an excellent bowl of wonton noodles made with meticulous attention to detail and decades of experience.
The 5 a.m. closing time also makes Wing Wah a great late-night eatery.
Add: 89 Hennessy Road, Wanchai
Phone: 00852 2527 7476
Opening hours: Mon -Sat noon – 5:00; Sun noon – 1:00
Mak’s Noodles 麥奀記
Mak’s Noodles is the kind of foodie institution that has its own Wikipedia page.
The no-frills restaurant looks like every other mom-and-pop noodle shop in Hong Kong. Except for the endless stream of customers going in and out throughout the day.
You either love Mak’s or hate them. Their controversial serving size divides wonton fanatics. The wontons are tiny – in the most traditional manner, wontons should fit on a teaspoon – and are crammed with a bundle of noodles into a rice bowl.
In a clipping pinned to one of the tables at Mak’s, the reviewer and his dining partner shared 14 bowls of wonton noodles before feeling full.
Mak’s insists that the small serving size prevents the noodles from sitting in the broth too long and turning soggy. But they charge the market price (HK$30) for their petite bowls.
Aside from the main location on Wellington Street in Central, Mak’s has four other branches around Hong Kong.
Add: Wellington St., Central
Phone: 00852 2854 3810
Opening hours: Mon – Sun 11:00 – 20:00
Lau Sum Kee Noodles 劉森記
Located in Sham Shui Po, this noodle joint benefits from lower rent. That translates to bigger plates of noodles for a lower price.
Apart from the value for money factor at Lau Sum Kee, the place is famous for its dry noodles with shrimp roe and a side of wontons in soup.
The wonton in broth is acceptable although nothing too spectacular to write home about. But the dry noodles are a whole different ball game.
A thick sprinkling of shrimp roe adds a savory dimension to the chewy noodles. A bowl of rich broth of sole accompanies the dry noodles and we wanted more of that.
Add: 48 Kweilin St., Sham Shui Po
Phone: 00852 2386 3533
Opening hours: Mon -Sun noon – 1:00
Mak An Kee (Chung Kee) 麥奀記 (忠記)
Like a plotline straight out of a Hong Kong soap opera, the father and the eldest son of the Mak’s Noodles family business quarreled, so the son decided to step out on his own to open Mak An Kee (Chung Kee).
Anyway, to focus on the noodles, Mak An Kee (Chung Kee) serves up the perfect bowl of noodles and wontons in a rice bowl.
The noodles are al dente and the bite-sized portions of wontons are plentiful, at a price lower than other noodle hot spots.
Add: 37 Wing Kut St., Sheung Wan
Phone: 00852 2541 6388
Opening hours: Mon – Sun 8:00 – 19:00
Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop 麥文記
At lunchtime on any given day, this corner of Parkes Street sees hordes of hungry people waiting outside for nothing more than a steaming bowl of noodles.
The wontons at Mak Man Kee are slightly larger than the traditional shrimp-only wontons served at the other places on this list. The delicate wrapper holds together a shrimp and some pork to make for a meatier and more filling morsel.
Paired with al dente noodles and flavorful stock with just a dash of vinegar and chili oil, Mak Man Kee is more than worth the jostling between tourists with big shopping bags and servers juggling multiple bowls.
Add: 51 Parkes St., Jordan
Phone: 00852 2736 5561
Opening hours: Mon -Sun noon – 12:30