[Hong Kong] Huh? Ho Hung Kee’s shop space at Causeway Bay has been replaced by Chee Kei.
It is when we realised Causeway Bay had a mini-facelift forced by the horrible increasing rental – lifestyle brand Goods of Desire G.O.D and 60-year old Lei Yuen Congee and Noodles are both not spared. Sad.
The one-star Michelin restaurant Ho Hung Kee 何洪记 has moved to nearby shopping mall Hysan Place when investors proposed an impossibly good price to buy over the shop.
I need to explain a little about Ho Hung Kee’s history to tell you what the big deal about this humble shop is.
It was founded by Ho Wing Fong and his wife in 1946, and he is the disciple of wanton master Mak Woon Chi. Yes, the same guy whose children and relatives gave rise to all the different Mak’s in Hong Kong. Ho’s son is fairing pretty well by opening up a few branches of Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop 正斗粥麵專家.
Yes, Ho Hung Kee is the first wonton-noodles restaurant to be awarded that one Michelin star, and for 2 years in 2012 and 2013. In fact, in similar fate with Tim Ho Wan who was also ‘forced’ to move.
Gone is the crowded locals and tourists jam-packed shop, but one which is moderately busy, with an entire different décor – clean, contemporary with Tiffany-blue coloured seats and gold accent. So much more atas already.
The prices are also more atas. The House Specialty Wanton Noodles in Soup cost HK$38 for a small bowl, and HK$54 for a large bowl, from the usual HK$33. While their prized smooth congee would be HK$55 a bowl for a selection of two ingredients (sliced fish, sliced beef, meatballs, pork liver, salted lean pork, pork intestines, egg and preserved egg).
Both their noodles and congee are exceptional, in my opinion, easily Top 5 in Hong Kong.
Ho Hung Kee’s Spicy Shredded Pork Noodles (HK$69) are worth a try, though a tad pricey for the size of a small bowl, boasting thin springy noodles, tender pork, and soup that does not scream of too much MSG.
The Stir-Fried Rice Noodles With Beef ($98) is another of their signature dish, evenly cooked with wok-hei, suggesting that something skilled is behind the wok. Though the noodles can be slightly oily for my liking.
The new shop’s environment is definitely more tourist-friendly and comfortable, with wider selection in its menu including dim sum and desserts. Somehow, perhaps psychologically, I feel that food quality may have notched down a little. It remains a question whether they can reclaim their star back.
Ho Hung Kee Congee and Noodle Shop 何洪记
1204-1205 Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay (Causeway Bay MTR, near Times Square, take elevator or lift up to Level 12)
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 11pm