Some people call Yuen Long the foodie paradise of New Territories West. There are restaurants literally everywhere. Streets full of them, shopping centres full of them, markets full of them – there are so many that, as an outsider, you might struggle with finding a place to start.
Compared to the island-side restaurants we're used to frequenting, food in Yuen Long doesn't cost an arm and a leg. As joyous as that sounds, it also creates a massive problem when tasked to whittle this ginormous selection down to a condensed list of cheap places to dine, but we like ourselves a good challenge.
Minced beef congee
發記腸粉粥品 Fat Kee
We visited Fat Kee on a weeknight around 6:30pm and were already bested by a dine-in queue snaking around the corner, with plenty more takeaway patrons hovering on the pavement. Fine, we'll wait, for we have heard tell that this shabby little corner shop serves up the best congee in Yuen Long – and it's dirt cheap too. Fat Kee's congee is velvety smooth and full of flavour; we fell in love with their version of minced beef congee/碎牛粥 ($33). Our cheong fun/豬腸粉 ($12) was freshly made and so soft that it melted on the tongue, and the Chinese crullers/油炸鬼 ($8) were a steal.
If you think that the sweltering weather will deter diners, think again and anticipate a lengthy wait at pretty much any time of the day; we've passed by Fat Kee on multiple separate occasions, and there's always a crowd spilling out the door. But for silky congee such as this, we'll happily join the masses. Don't expect much from the service or the decor – this is as unglamorous and no frills as it gets.
67 Kin Yip Street, Yuen Long, 2474 2201
Creamy avocado hot dog
Beer chilli hot dog
Hot Dog Brothers
And around the corner of an unassuming park and local cinema we have Hot Dog Brothers, which sticks out like a sore thumb in the neighbourhood (in the best possible way). A first glance at their menu induces inner turmoil over what to order, because everything looks so good. We went with the creamy avocado hot dog ($42) and beer chilli hot dog ($42) and are glad to report that the owners are not skimpy with their ingredients; both hot dogs were well portioned and loaded with toppings. Stop by here for a quick afternoon snack whilst adventuring through this side of town.
11 Yuen Long Pau Cheung Square, Yuen Long, 9383 8371
Photo credit: mr_mrs.food
華嫂冰室 Mrs Tang Cafe
Though no longer as hidden as it used to be (good news travels fast), Mrs Tang Cafe in Hang Tau Tsuen is still a gem and a great snack spot for your day trip. Think fuss-free HK-style diner grub – instant noodles in soup with luncheon meat and sunny-side-up egg and the like. We stumbled upon it whilst cycling through the maze of New Territories villages, and the closest MTR station, Tin Shui Wai, is a solid 13 minutes away on foot. But come here you must despite the trek and the long queue, for their signature tomato and egg pineapple bun/招牌波蘿包 ($17) is second to none, and everything's under the $50 mark. Come prepared and come hungry.
Hang Tau Tsuen, Ping Shan, Yuen Long, 2617 2232
Forest ice cream egg waffle
There's been a lot of mixed reviews about this place, so no duh, we had to go and try it for ourselves. Our verdict: what's not to like? No more expensive than your regular egglet and waffle corner shop, this one serves up traditional choices, as well as more unusual flavours such as green tea, coffee and chocolate. There are green tea waffles stuffed with red bean paste and black sugar sauce or regular waffles chock-full of peanut butter and condensed milk for a different take on the classic HK-style French toast. The forest ice cream egg waffle ($38) was overwhelmingly rich and decadent, constructed of a freshly made chocolate egglet, a layer of Oreos, a big scoop of rocky road ice cream, chocolate sauce and chocolate chips on top. We were in chocolate heaven.
Shop 11C, 38 Yau San Street, Yuen Long, 5502 0802
Slow-cooked pork belly ciabatta
好包 Couple & the Bao
Located in a tiny shop (read: very limited outdoor seating) in the midst of Yuen Long's pet shop streets (read: grab your food to go and proceed to sob over people who'd rather shop than adopt), Couple & the Bao don't actually serve bao. Misleading, I know. They serve ciabatta sandwiches with gloriously tasty toppings, as well as salads and rice bowls. The slow-cooked pork belly ciabatta ($42) is savoury, meaty and delicious, making for a perfect street snack.
Shop 1C, Hing Wong Building, 2 Sai Ching Street, Yuen Long, 6856 4772
Photo credit: eunice.s.cc
焰拉麵 Homura Ramen
Ramenheads, I have not forgotten you. Homura may not be a true contender for the cheap eats list, but their selling point is that their long-standing establishment has always consistently pushed out superior food to rave reviews. Their rich, creamy broth is stewed for more than 10 hours every day and served up with five variations of toppings. We recommend the traditional tonkotsu ramen ($78) for an unencumbered taste of the famed broth, though we have heard tell that the truffle deluxe ramen ($78) is also a reliable favourite. When you find yourself in Yuen Long, the district of (probably) 10,000 eats, and you see a long queue out the door, you know it's going to be worth waiting for.
83 Kau Yuk Road, Yuen Long, 2503 0022
Grilled siu mai
元朗燒賣皇后妙舒 The Queen of Siu Mai
How do you feel about food on sticks? Situated on one of the busier food streets in Yuen Long and perpetually popular, we were in doubt when we first arrived at The Queen of Siu Mai, but we followed the queue and were not disappointed. Maybe it's just the population density of the area, but this place is always packed with hungry people hovering about. Then again, The Queen is a 25-year-old institution, famous for the speciality grilled siu mai/燒燒賣 ($10), filled with shiitake mushroom, minced pork and fish and slathered in a rich peanut sauce. Get their signature or spend an unreasonable amount of time drooling over their extensive selection. Long live The Queen!
Shop 11B–C, Wang Fung Building, 14 Fau Tsoi Street, Yuen Long, 3461 9725
What else is out there?
What other Yuen Long bargains do you know about that I don't? The quest for cheap eats never ends!
Peep at all the things I put into my pie hole at @greedygrubs.