Pick all toppings if you can't decide, or simply choose what catch your eyes.
Sham Shui Po is a pure gem if you like to explore. On weekends, the area absolutely comes alive with people from all walks of life and interests rummaging through the jumble of computer stores, clothing accessory shops and second hand stalls filled with everything and anything. The colourful fabric of this old neighbourhood is very charming but also requires an adventurous spirit.
If you do choose to spend some time meandering the streets of Sham Shui Po, it is hard to miss Fuk Wing Street, which probably has the highest concentration of acclaimed yet inexpensive eateries in Hong Kong. On any given day (and especially on weekends), there are long queues in front of nearly all of these restaurants. My most recent eating venture was to Wei Kee Noodle Cafe, a local eatery famous for its pig liver noodles and french toast. But this time, I decided to try another recommended noodle shop a few doors down. Before the meal was even over, my friend and I had decided we would return again - and soon.
Man Kee Cart Noodles, which has two outlets within the same block on Fuk Wing Street, is a local institution. The concept of cart noodles is to choose your toppings, noodles, soup, and just about anything that can fit into the biggest bowl you can find. Mixing and matching seemingly random ingredients is all part of the fun.
The shear number of options can put amateurs like us into a head spin. There was quite a bit of information to navigate through before we settled into ordering two bowls with different toppings to share - our idea of making the most of the experience. But before we could focus enough to place our order, we were distracted by the large range of sauces and condiments available.
Ground pepper, hot sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, more hot sauce, so many to choose from. But what stood out, were the gigantic jars of pickled parsnips, which look homemade and spicy. And yes, they were hot!
We finally nailed down our selection into one bowl of glass noodles made of yam 蕃薯粉 (which has a slightly chewing consistency), topped with braised parsnip 蘿蔔, spinach 菠菜 and fish wonton 魚皮餃（skin made of fish). The other bowl was simply chicken wings 瑞士雞翅, braised beef shank 牛腱 and deep fried fish skin 炸魚皮. I did warn you that you need a bit of an adventurous spirit. (And for the numerically inclined, it will be #68/10/52/25 for the noodle bowl, and #1/14/29 for the second one.)
When each topping is delicious in its own right, the combination is pure magic. The chicken wings are cooked to the perfect juiciness. The meat is smooth and you can taste the freshness of the soy sauce on the skin and within the meat. We also loved soaking the crispy fish skin in the soup just to hear the crackling sound - think rice krispies busting in your bowl of milk. The parsnip pieces were tender and full of flavour, and the beef shanks were done to just the right tenderness. We really could not find fault in our two dishes.
And the best part of the whole experience, all that deliciousness for a beautiful price. The bill for two people came to only $64.
The restaurant also serves a range of beverages, which include soda, salty lemon with 7-Up, homemade soy bean milk and sugar cane juice, to name a few. If you order drinks as part of the meal, it is only half the regular price ($8 - 10). It's the noodle shop that keeps on giving.
For any good and unpretentious eateries, you can always expect queues. Both the flagship and branch shops are busy consistently throughout the day. But, if you go before noon, the wait is quite manageable. There is a minimum spend of $20 per person, but given the bounty of delicious options, and that it is extremely difficult to stop adding toppings to pile in your bowl, we do not see this as an issue.
Man Kee Cart Noodles 文記車仔麵
109 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po (MTR Exit B2)