[Hong Kong] After multiple stops on my Hong Kong food trip, the guide asked if I had any more “last wishes”. Trust me, we tried A LOT of food, but without much hesitation, I went ”that Tomato Noodle Soup at Central”.
(Click PLAY for food highlights of Sing Heung Yuen勝香園.)
Somehow, I just didn’t get to try it despite multiple trips. The queue was too long, the weather not ‘right’, or friends were just distracted by Kau Kee 九記牛腩 opposite.
It turned out that the guide knows Irene, the current owner of Sing Heung Yuen 勝香園, and we both of had the same thought.
Here’s what so special about Sing Heung Yuen 勝香園: It is a “Dai pai dong”, an open-air venue stall which dates back to 1957, specialising in (Nissin) instant noodles in tomato broth.
”Dai pai dong” are iconic features of Hong Kong, though they are fast disappearing. It literally means “restaurant with a big license plate”, referring to the large size of the licenses that were issued in the past.
If you are a tourist, eating at a very local ”Dai Pai Dong” can be stressful, especially when it comes to ordering, sharing tables with strangers, and braving the heat during hot summer times.
Some of the most popular ones are found near Central’s Mid Levels, of which Sing Heung Yuen 勝香園 is a front-runner during the various media exposure it has been getting.
Irene Li Oi-lin, who is the second-generation owner of this place, has started working here when she was just 15 years old.
(All right, she did look kind of fierce initially but if you talked to her politely, she is actually quite a jovial and frank person. She shared that she did get irritated when bloggers and instagrammers would shoot her cooking without asking for permission. Oh no. But get into her good books, and you will show you all her steps and strike up a conversation.)
Irene shared that the family used to serve only classic cha chaan teng foods, but their Tomato Macaroni Soup got so frequently requested through word of mouth, that it became the signature dish.
Sing Heung Yuen’s signature tomato noodle soup is a simple dish, basically a mixture of instant noodles, canned tomatoes, freshly cooked tomatoes, topped with various ingredients.
The noodles are cooked in broths with different flavours, and tomato puree and soup is added in the end.
You can choose the type of noodles such as instant noodles, rice noodles or macaroni, added with sides of ham, luncheon meat, sausage, bacon, eggs, pork chop, chicken wings or sliced beef.
Each bowl ranges from HKD27 (SGD4.75, USD3.45) to HKD36 (SGD6.30, USD4.60), making it an inexpensive meal in the heart of the city.
To be really honest, I would say this was a fairly simple bowl of noodles.
But there were some things that would appeal to you, the broth was rich and thick with that tangy-sweetness that would whet your appetite.
It would also depend on the ingredients you get, and I found the sliced beef helped to make the bowl more substantial and flavourful, and runny egg added that touch of thickness.
Between the noodles and macaroni, I preferred the former due to its QQ-springy texture. But I would imagine some people finding this ordinary and well, over-rated.
The easiest way to reach Sing Heung Yuen is by taking the A2 exit from MTR Sheung Wan. Continue waking to Gough Street and in 6 minutes you will reach your destination.
Keep in mind that there is usually a long line in front during lunch hours.
Expect to find a classic ”dai pai dong” setting, basically a hawker stall which is shaded by canopies and has wooden tables and chairs where hungry patrons come to dine al-fresco style. The aunties serving may talk loudly and appear hurried.
Sing Heung Yuen 勝香園
2 Mee Lun Street, Central, Hong Kong (Sheung Wan MTR)
Tel: +852 2544 8368
Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Google Maps – Sing Heung Yuen
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