Famous for its wonton noodle, Tsim Chai Kee Noodle was one place I was dying to try and, somehow, craving for days before my short weekend trip to Hong Kong. The moment my mum and I touched down and checked in to our hotel, she pulled me straight to Tsim Chai Kee Noodle. No time was wasted. We were hungry and on a mission for good wonton noodles.
Months before, my sister had brought her to this noodle shop and since then, my mum had been raving about it almost on daily basis. From the entrance of the restaurant, one could see part of the kitchen and hot noodles were being scooped into bowls accompanied by fat wontons or thick slices of beef or both. When we arrived at Tsim Chai Kee Noodle at around 1pm, it was packed. Although thankfully, no queue. However, we were sent right to the back of the restaurant and had to share a table with 3 other locals. The table we sat at was next to boxes of wonton skin and noodles. You get it, we were just stuffed, or to be put it cruelly dumped to the back. However it wasn’t that bad and the three locals sitting at our table were hilarious. But more on that later.
The menu, I saw to my delight was small and only a couple of dishes listed. Although I could not read traditional chinese, I could still identify several words and immediately knew what I wanted. A bowl of noodles with a trio of meat (HK$28). Wonton, beef slices and their homemade fishball. When my bowl of noodles arrived…
Excuse the blurry picture, I was shaking with excitement. I could not even see the noodles below and was for a moment lost as to where to begin. In the bowl, there were two wontons, around 3 slices of beef and one big greyish fishball with specks of green onions. This place is smart, using a relatively small bowl, they crowded everything into it and made it seem so full. Having said that, for the price, it was pretty substantial.
The noodles were divine. This is probably one big reason to visit. It was thick, full of texture and cooked to perfection. Neither soft nor hard demonstrating undercooked-ness. The trio of meat were pretty surreal. Fat wontons with at least three prawns in each. Beef slices were tender, chewy and moist. I almost screamed with joy whilst eating it. The fishball was quite unlike nothing. Again chewy and when you bite into it, it bounces off into your mouth and dances around. The soup was brothy, so full of flavour and salty. It is hard to find a place that does each and every component of a dish right at that price but Tsim Chai Kee achieved it.
Now back to the other patrons. The three locals at our table were hilarious. They were young, two girls and one boy. Throughout the meal the girl sitting in the middle exercised two variations to her voice chords. One a tender, flirtatious little girl’s voice whenever she talked to the boy, who was more interested in his phone, and to the other girl, a deeper more serious voice. My mum and I were silent throughout the meal, not only because we were thirlled for our noodles, but also to interrupt the girl would be rude. We definitely had a good laugh over it after lunch.
I will be back at Tsim Chai Kee and thoughts of their noodles make me hungry now. Thank goodness Hong Kong is only three hours flight away from Singapore.
Tsim Chai Kee 沾仔记
98, Wellington St. Central, Hong Kong.