Mak’s Noodles: “Song”

Mak’s Noodle
7 Wellington Street Hong Kong
(On north side of the street, 2 minutes east of Cochrane St)

Another famous noodle place for dumplings, noodles and beef brisket, but since we already had tender brisket at Kau Kee, we went with dumplings and wontons. “Song, Song, Song!” So, in Cantonese, the adjective “song” to describe the food consistency that is bouncy/chewy and possibly almost crunchy depending on the item (i.e. noodles, shrimp, dumplings, etc.), and the items at Mak’s were just that. The noodles here were cooked just right – not soggy. The dumplings and wontons were tasty.

Mak's Noodles

Sui Jiao (Dumplings) Egg Noodles and Oyster Sauce Wonton Noodles

Menu

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps, around 50 HKD.
Yummy Factor: 4.75/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 4.92 Beeps

Conclusion: Good noodles. Good dumplings.

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way.]

Bleh: “Yut Pet”

Luk Yu Tea House
24 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
(South side of Stanley St between Cochrane St and Theater Ln)

Sign

Entrance Check Trays

Okay, so I got this tip from CNN Travel. Let’s not listen to CNN Travel for this one. It’s a famous old tea house, where the dim sum ladies wear trays instead of carting the food around. While it is famous, it is not tasty and rather with it old and stale decor, the food seems old and tired as well. The beef meatball was mushy and bland. Siu Mai and Ha Gow (Shrimp dumplings) were both bland and not “song”/springy/bouncy in texture. The cha siu bao filling was way too sweet, and bun itself was actually too soft. The egg tart filling was not silky smooth like it was cooked too fast or too much egg, and what’s with the 1:1 crust to filling ratio?

Meatball Cha Siu Bao Har Gow Siu Mai Egg Tart

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps, around 130-200 HKD.
Yummy Factor: 1/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 2/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 2.66 Beeps

Conclusion: Overall, my feeling is everything was just “yut pet.” In Cantonese, if food is soggy or looks bad, sometimes you say looks like “yut pet yeh” – looks like a pile of mush. Sorely disappointed. How you going to make me look bad in front of my dim sum loving husband?

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]

Famous Roast Goose

Yung Kee Restaurant
32 Wellington Street, Central, Kong Kong

Chopsticks

The reason why I chose Yung Kee Restaurant for dinner is for two reasons. 1. It is “famous” for its roast goose 2. I wanted to give hubbie a break from sharing tables with strangers. This place is definitely a fancier restaurant. You can make reservations, which I highly recommend because it is popular. With this meal was in a more fancy environment, meaning cloth napkins, well trained staff with a smile (what…? a smile? That’s a rarity in Asian countries), and definitely more pricey, you would expect perhaps even tastier food than our 60-200 HKD meals? Read on my friends.

1. The abalone soup was good. The soup was delicately flavored with the essence of abalone. The abalone itself was tender to the bite and had a sweet seafood essence.

Abalone Soup

2. XO Stir fried beef – xo sauce with anything usually makes it tasty. The spiciness from the sauce kicks it up a few notches and the good wok hei flavor gives it depth.
3. The chicken and roast goose were good, but I would say that our lunch at Yat Lok Restaurant, with way cheaper prices was better. The skin of the goose was on the soggy side. The chicken was pretty tasty and the green onion/ginger sauce enhanced the chicken essence. The only complaint with the chicken was that it did not seem organic, so the chicken did not have a “zou di ji”/running-on-ground/organic chicken taste and texture. Perhaps, that’s an upgrade request?

XO Sauce Beef Chicken and Roast Goose Onion & Ginger Sauce

4. Stir fried fresh veggies in broth (pea shoots) – fantastically flavorful! Kids should be fed this and they would be eating loads of veggies without needing the coaxing from their parents.
Dou Miao

Dessert!
Chinese style sesame pudding – it was smooth, creamy and not too sweet. Very good! I ate mine and hubbie’s.

Black Sesame Pudding

$ to Value Ratio: 2/5 Beeps, around 1200 HKD.
Yummy Factor: 3.75/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 3.75/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 3.16 Beeps

Conclusion: Good to try once as a tourist. Otherwise, go off the beaten path for better and cheaper food.

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]

Lunch Time Hustle in Hong Kong

Yat Lok Restaurant
G/F, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
(Between Cochrane St and Theater Lane, South side of Stanley, GROUND FLOOR)

Exterior Sign Menu

We decided to go to Yat Lok Restaurant not because of any reviews, but simply because we passed by it on the way to Luk Yu Tea House, I was famished from window shopping in Kowloon side (btw, Ladies Market just STARTS to set up at noon, so don’t hit it up until later) and was craving some rice and meat! This was another location where the office crowd was swarming in, so it was busy! Only had to share the table for half the time, but then, we were probably only sitting for ten minutes.

Hubbie chose the roast duck, cha siu (chinese bbq pork) and lai fun (type of tapioca/rice noodle, thinner than it’s Vietnamese counterpart) and I got cha siu, roast duck and rice combo. The roast duck was amazing. Thin & crispy skin, juicy and fatty meat. The cha siu was nice and carmelized on the outside and tender on the inside. The lai fun was slippery, bouncy and chewy – my inner texture whore was happy. The rice was the perfect pairing to sop up the hearty residual sauces. For the greasy haters, this won’t be your digs.

Cha Siu, Roast Goose, Rice Noodle Cha Siu, Roast Goose, Rice

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps, around 130 HKD. CHEAP.
Yummy Factor: 5/5 Beeps (Salty Protein Deliciousness)
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 5 Beeps

Conclusion: We hustled in, shoveled, and left fully satisfied.

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]

Tender Brisket

Kau Kee Restaurant
G/F, 21 Gough Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
(aka 3 min walk from Aberdeen, north/right side of Gough, GROUND FLOOR)

Sign Menu

I was adamant about hitting hot spots for food this visit, and Kau Kee Restaurant is known for their Beef Brisket noodles (ngau nam min or fun). Plopped down with some strangers luckily with another couple who was from the US, so somehow didn’t seem as awkward. (However, they seemed to be following rule #2: don’t talk with the people sharing your table even though we were gui lo’s from the same country. So no small talk during this meal either.)

So we had the beef brisket with yi min and also had it stir fried with yi min (sorry no picture for the yi min, had to adhere to rule #3 of not idling.) The beef was tender. The soup was clear and full flavored. The yi min and brisket was tasty, too. We added a splash of red vinegar on both and it enhanced the wonderful beefy flavors even more.

Beef Brisket and Yi Mian

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps, again around 50-60 HKD. CHEAP!!
Yummy Factor: 5/5 Beeps (Salty Deliciousness)
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 5 Beeps

Conclusion: Hearty and beefy. Try it.

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]

Breakfast: Hong Kong Style

North Garden Restaurant
1-3/F Hung Kei Mansion 5-8 Queen Victoria street, Central, Hong Kong
(Remember to look up and carefully at signs that are grouped together to find what you’re looking for, “1-3/F” meant that we had to walk upstairs to the restaurant)

Menu North Garden Restaurant Exterior Sign

Everyone seems to be in a rush in Hong Kong. Just looking around, swarms of people are going in every direction with an end location(s) in mind. Where are you people hurrying to at all times of the day? Is this how Hong Kong breakfast had to evolve to keep up with the frantic pace of Hong Kong citizens? So, breakfast items have to be quick and full of flavor (not necessarily in the healthiest way) for these busy individuals to get in and get out? For example, common items paired together are white toast, spam, ham, and sausage with a highly caffeinated Hong Kong style milk tea or a mix of coffee and milk tea, called Yin Yeung.

On our first morning in Hong Kong, I took hubby to have breakfast at North Garden Restaurant. We went to the chain location in Central, HK around 10:30 am to be in between breakfast rush and lunch time rush because you definitely do NOT (I repeat do NOT) want to be stuck in lunch time rush with all the business staff. It is pretty much impossible to find a seat let alone a table to eat at.

When in Hong Kong, you must have the milk tea. It’s different than your usual boba milk tea. That boba milk tea from the US is weak sauce. This milk tea will put some hair on your chest because it is incredibly caffeinated. It jazzes me up so much I go zipping around and then you’ll find me moping and emo’ in the corner and crashing from my caffeine high. (…but that’s just lightweight me where I get affected by everything even in small amounts.) You can choose to have it hot or cold or as mentioned previously add some more zip and have it with coffee – yin yeung style.

Iced Hong Kong Milk Tea Hot and cold Hong Kong milk tea

White bread with a pat of butter, fry an egg over easy, add a slice of ham, spam and ramen, and satay sauce with ramen

Buttered white bread, fried egg, ham Spam and instant noodles Satay sauce and instant noodle base

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps, holy moly it was cheap! I wish I saved the receipt, but I don’t think it was more than 50 HKD, which is about $6.60 US!!!!! for two people!!!!!
Yummy Factor: 4.5/5 Beeps (Salty Deliciousness)
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps (I like fake meat and processed noodles)
Average beeps: 4.83 Beeps

Conclusion: Good for a quick refuel and some zip for Hong Kong style milk tea.

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]

Bo Innovation

Bo Innnovation: X-treme Chinese Cuisine
Shop 13, 2/f, J Residence
60 Johnston Road,
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
(Private lift entrance on 18 Ship Street)
TEL: (852) 2850-8371
dine@boinnovation.com
www.boinnovation.com

Adventures of foreign addressess….. Addresses in foreign countries obviously aren’t written like the ones in the US. So, Bo Innovation is actually off of Johnston St, on a small street called Ship (They didn’t list this “small” detail on their website, but it’s on the business card!), on the 2nd floor.

On hindsight, perhaps it was a bad idea to get the chef’s tasting menu because of our limited stomach space, but I had high hopes of trying a lot because we had traveled so far. We left quite stuffed at the end. So deceiving because everything was so small. Lol. That’s what 15 small plates of food will to ya!

ON WITH THE FOOD!!
Mau-Tai Sour Caviar, smoked quail egg, crispy taro Oyster, spring onion, lime, ginger snow Chrysanthemum Shrimp, wood fungus, "har mi" oil, chili, sweet soy Iberico 36, morel, vermicelli, onion foam Molecular "xiao long bao" Shangri-La Yak's Milk, cheese, "cheung fun", Black truffle Hairy Crab, roe souffle, marinated star fruit, pimm's and pomelo jelly, aged chinkiang vinegar Dan Dan Mian with Red Pepper Sauce Cod Balls, morel, extra virgin olive oil Sweet Bread, enriched oyster sauce, compressed watermelon, dragon beard, artichocke puree Iberico Secreto, crispy sweet and sour, lychee jelly, dehydrated pineapple almond icecream + infused with sandalwind 1 almond icecream + infused with sandalwind 2 Shui Jing Fang, poached caramelized banana, dark chocolate ganache Chinese Petit Four Jeen Dui with Dark Chocolate Filling

Without boring you with the specifics of each dish, you can see the description by scanning through my flickr titles). The only amazing bite was the molecular xiao long bao. It is a membrane filled with the perfect essence of all the flavors of the xiao long bao in juice form. Pop! and wow…. that is a xiao long bao.

CONCLUSION: This was a bit of an underwhelming experience. Everything else was good tasting, but I will not be craving seconds. Also, it was really expensive for the level of un-wow-ness, even expensive for US standards. Maybe, we’ll go back for lunch next time… maybe…