Hong Kong should be, in my opinion, a definite destination for anyone who loves to eat. Hong Kong is so densely populated, so there are endless amounts of food options. As a result, restaurants are forced to focus on quality because they know that customers won’t have to walk far to find an alternative. Because I have family in Hong Kong, I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to travel there many times in the past. Studying abroad in Shanghai, though, gave me another excuse to visit again as a weekend trip. Plus, I was required to leave China at least once in order to fulfill visa requirements, so I obviously picked my destination based on food offerings.
With such a short stay, I asked for restaurant suggestions from family and friends. My dad recommended Mak Man Kee to me, and, seeing that he grew up in Hong Kong, I considered him a pretty reliable source. Also, my dad from time to time proclaims that eating (not gourmet eating but just eating in general) is his hobby, but he’s pretty low-key when it comes to food: he prefers a bowl of rice to accompany every meal and likes to eat dai pai dong food over fancier dishes. So knowing my dad’s preferences, I expected a no-fuss restaurant.
Mak Man Kee doesn’t boast any fancy décor; it has wooden stools for chairs and hard booths. But it apparently has the best bowl of won ton noddle soup in all of Hong Kong. Or so my dad claims. One bowl of won ton noodle soup costs 30 HKD at Mak Man Kee, and when it arrived I was a bit disappointed because the bowl looked extremely small. The portion, though, turned out to be just right for me.
The won tons were made with only shrimp, and they were very large. Sometimes, restaurants will mix in pork, usually for cost reasons, but Mak Man Kee stuffs in the shrimp – looked to be to be at least three per dumpling. Also, one bowl has five won tons, so the restaurant doesn’t skimp.
As for the noodles and soup, the shop once again stayed with the traditional style and used thin egg noodles and a broth with only Chinese chives as the garnish. The noodles weren’t gummy, a problem that I’ve seen in many Cantonese noodle restaurants in the United States. In fact, they were a little firmer, which worked well with the won tons. The broth wasn’t overly salty and did have a bit of oil, but I actually felt that the oil was necessary since the firm noodles tended to stick together in a large clump. Also, the noodles were placed on top, a good consideration so that they wouldn’t become overcooked by the hot broth.
I haven’t tried all the noodle shops in Hong Kong, but I can see why Mak Man Kee is popular. The won ton noodle soup, while nothing fancy, is executed extremely well and fits any reasonable budget. Frankly, I just couldn’t find anything wrong with it, though I certainly contemplated the possibilities. I’m sure the employees thought it was strange to see a girl staring intensely at a half-eaten bowl of noodles in silence before resuming five minutes later. Mak Man Kee was a worthy recommendation from my dad. I have a feeling now that my foodie blood comes from him.
Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop (麥文記)
51 Parkes St.
Jordan, Hong Kong
+852 2736 5561