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Call me crazy, but there’s something strangely satisfying about knocking elbows with complete strangers and slobbering over a delicious bowl of noodles at a crowded table while disgruntled waiters hurl plates and dishes at you. It’s the same sort of contentment you get pushing your way through a crowded night market and finding the best deals you know you won't get elsewhere.
Causeway Bay is one of the most expensive areas of Hong Kong, where the sky-high rent that restaurants pay translates to high prices that aren’t always justified by the quality. That being said, here are five local eateries in the bay area with delicious food that, without denting your wallet, will convert you into a seasoned regular in no time. The dining atmosphere isn’t always the best, but the delicious food you get at an extremely reasonable cost more than makes up for it.
1. Wing Kee Noodles (榮記粉麵)
Wing Kee Noodles’ popularity is reflected through the fact that there are two outlets in Causeway Bay, each within five to ten minutes’ walking distance from each other. Serving traditional cart noodles, you can choose your own soup base, type of noodles and the toppings that will grace your heavenly and very affordable bowl. For just $32, you can get your noodles with two toppings, costing slightly more if you can’t make up your mind and just won't settle with just two. Toppings range from shiitake mushrooms to wontons to pig intestine. Portions are sensible and the service is quick, though definitely not the most patient or friendly.
Noodles with beef brisket, sliced pork neck and fish dumplings
Photo Credit: That Food Cray
Foodie Recommends: hor fun (flat rice noodles) with white radish and beancurd puffs
Damage done: $32
Address: 27 Sugar Street, Causeway Bay; 43 Jardine Street, Causeway Bay
2. Yan Wo Soy Bean Shop (人和荳品廠)
If you love tofu, this is the place for you (rhyme intended). Located on the same street as one of the branches of Wing Kee Noodles, Yan Wo does the best tofu dessert in town. The tofu is light and silky to the touch – there is truly nothing better than a cold tofu dessert on a hot summer day. The original tofu dessert will set you back only $10, and the ones with a little extra – coconut milk, ginger, black sesame, etc are $15, though personally I always return for the original. If you’re stuffed and absolutely cannot eat, opt for their signature soya bean milk. It comes in a host of different flavours and won’t cost you more than a measly $10.
Right: original tofu dessert, left: tofu dessert with milk (both cold)
Foodie Recommends: original tofu dessert (cold)
Damage done: $10
Address: 55 Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay
3. Kong Chai Kee (江仔記粉麵專家)
Forget Tsui Wah – if you crave fish ball noodles, Jiang Zi Ji is where it’s at. This tiny shop is about a stone’s throw from Times Square, just under the canal flyover where all the buses are. The fish balls are soft but chewy and the soup doesn’t taste like mouthfuls of MSG, a very refreshing change from many fast food eats in Hong Kong. As a traditional noodle shop, they also serve wonton noodles, beef brisket noodles and the like, but it’s the fish balls that they’re famous for. The noodles range between $23 and $31, so prices are extremely reasonable. Waiters aren't the nicest but are extremely quick in getting your food to you.
Flat rice noodles with fish balls and wontons
Photo Credit: TomEatsJenCooks
Foodie Recommends: fish ball noodles
Damage done: $32
Address: 2 Canal Road East, Causeway Bay
4. Yee Shun Milk Company (港澳義順牛奶公司)
Yee Shun is good for all things dairy. As a dessert place, it’s more expensive than Yan Wo, but the shop is bigger and the menu is larger. Their signature is the double-skin steamed milk pudding, which is a delicious blend of milk, egg white and sugar. Like the tofu pudding at Yan Wo, the steamed milk pudding is smooth and silky, but is also extremely creamy with a distinctly milky texture. It can be served hot or cold – it’s delicious either way. The milk pudding also comes in other flavours such as chocolate, ginger and red bean, but as a stickler for the original, I always go for the plain one. Yee Shun is known for its egg sandwiches too – their scrambled eggs are among the fluffiest I’ve ever tried.
Left: Double-skin steamed milk pudding, right: double-skin steamed milk pudding with ginger (both cold)
Foodie Recommends: double-skin steamed milk pudding (cold)
Damage done: $31
Address: 506 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay
5. Se Wong Yee (蛇王二)
Sek Wong Yi (pictured in the header photo) represents the very essence of Cantonese cuisine – a bowl of ‘siu mei’ (barbequed meat with rice) and ‘dun tong’ (double boiled soup) make up a meal here, and a very delicious and filling one at that. The dining environment isn’t the most pleasant as the interior is in desperate need of some sprucing up, but the service is fast and you’ll have your food within seconds of ordering. The soups range between $26 and $82, while the sets, which come with barbequed meat and rice, cost between $64 and $112, all depending on the soup you choose. The soups are very rich and the barbequed meat is always tender with minimal fat. They’re especially crowded in the winter because they serve snake soup and Chinese sausages, both of which are said to improve blood circulation in cold weather, but are popular all year round.
Roasted goose and char siu rice
Photo Credit: Pufflist
Foodie Recommends: steamed pigeon and coconut soup with roasted goose rice
Damage done: $74
Address: 24 Percival Street, Causeway Bay
Five restaurants that are worth a visit the next time you’re in Causeway Bay that are not necessarily a fine dining experience, but the food is stellar, consistent and uniquely Hong Kong. The waiters might be impatient and you must be prepared to share tables, but it’s all in the name of efficiency so you can get your food quickly, eat fast and pass your seat over to the next set of hungry diners. And best of all, there’s no service charge – how often can you say that?