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冷面中華 午市之選 It's My Way or the Highway (no.8)
May 25, 2012
價錢公道的泡菜中華冷麵〔キムチ冷やし中華〕Highway no.8: After visiting a bookshop in Wan Chai, I wanted to try "Nha Thrang" at Hopewell Center. It was pretty crowded so I was desperate to find an alternative. I saw "Hachiban" right across the street. While I was fully aware of the "OK" & "Bad comments" about Hachiban, I note from a photograph of the tea cups in Hachiban that their signature ramen was in fact vegetables with thick ramen
, and not pork bone broth ramen. So I felt a bit adventurous:
Hachiban was located just at the end of the footbridge across Hopewell center. As I walked nearer, I noticed they were selling a "Kimchi Cold Chuka Ramen". This should be a rather safe option. In fact, judging from the photos provided by other food commentators, the tonkachu soup base doesn't seem to "hold water" anyway (seemed a bit watery). So I won't be in a hurry to order that. On the other hand,they seemed to be quite confident about their vegetables, so I thought "キムチ冷やし中華” (Kimchi Hiyashi Chuka) seemed like a safe bet and good for the hot weather.
It's the first time I saw this ramen on Hong Kong Island. I usually have my Hiyashi Chuka at "New Kotobuki" in Jordan after a tired day of work, when I feel like something light and refreshing instead of anything heavy.
I approached and indicated to the polite waiter, dressed in a chef's uniform, that I'd like a seat for one. I was immediately given a menu. I had a quick look. I recall that they had a few lunch sets to choose from, including the infamous pork bone broth ramen
and the famous vegetable ramen (can't remember whether you could choose the broth though )
. Those were all reasonably priced. If I remember properly, most of those were between HK$50 - HK$70.
Interestingly, as I reach the front of the queue, I could place my order there and then. Even more interestingly, I was asked to pay immediately at the cashier.
[cash only] This saves a lot of time. As the previous customers were preparing to leave, you're order is being made at the same time. So ideally, the moment you sit down, you're meal should be ready. No time is wasted. Excellent idea especially for the precious lunch time! Efficient!
This streamlined approach felt a bit like a "drive thru diner". Incidentally, according to Hachiban's Japanese website, the first Hachiban (meaning No.8), was situated in a simple shack next to Highway no. 8 (or Route No.8). Their signature ramen was a simple stir fried vegetable ramen "Yasai Ramen". This remains their signature ramen.
According to the website, the original shop, which only had 25 seats, could sell up to 1,500 bowls of vegetable ramen per day!
:chopstickAfter a short wait, my Hiyashi Chuka arrived:
魷魚天婦羅 ＆ 泡菜中華冷麵 $58
Essentially, the only difference between this Kimchi Hiyashi Chuka and a normal Hiyashi Chuka is, unsurprisingly, the addition of Kimchi. A Hiyashi Chuka is basically a cold "chuka soba" noodle cake, cooked, iced/chilled and then served with cucumber, seaweed, sesame, ham, other special ingredients (depends on the shop) and with some vinegar/soy sauce or ponzu. Because conceptually it is a very easy dish to make, the demand on the freshness of each component is very high. I'm happy to say that though not the best, it's pretty good considering the price. It's definitely a good option for a quick and light lunch.
The cucumbers were good. Nice and fresh. A bit more than most ramen shops which provide Hiyashi Chuka.
The ham should be a Japanese type of ham. Those were good too. Not as tasteless as some local brands which used a lot of water and processed meat. The taste was not salty. It's just about right.
Egg: Absolutely nothing special. Just a normal hard boiled egg cut in half.
Kimchi: This was quite good. It's a good balance between spiciness and vinegar sourness. It's about half/half. It seemed quite crisp and not heavily marinated. So as a result it's not that spicy. Because they used some salt to marinate the kimchi, it's very crisp.
The noodles were quite nice: It's apparently made by Hachiban themselves. Not the best Chuka I've had in Hong Kong (I think those at New Kotobuki were chewier) but overall its not bad and fairly chewy. I'd like it more if it's even more chilled. But definitely nothing to complaint about. The size was average so fine for lunch but not perhaps not for those used to heavy dinners.
The nori, i.e. seaweeds were very nice: Definitely not the standard seaweed you buy at supermarkets. I suspect it's been grilled before being cut (which is the proper way to bring out the aroma). The taste of the seaweed was mild with very aromatic aftertaste.
The fried squid with spring onions and fried onions was quite delicious too!
It's basically a tempura made with some chopped squid, spring onions, shredded fried onions as well as some chopped green beans. The squid was quite fresh. the spring onions didn't taste like much. The shredded friend onions were fine. It's a little bit oily but I'm quite happy with the overall effect, especially when it's only HK$6! Can't complaint.
- This shop is famous for their vegetable ramen. However, their Kimchi chuka ramen was pretty good too.
- The price was reasonable considering the locality (HK$58) and the size and quality was decent.
- If you'd like to try Hiyashi Chuka or not in the mood for a heavy lunch, this is a decent option in Wan Chai.
Worth a trip to the Highway!
Relax on the Ventura Highway
Table Wait Time:
Date of Visit:
May 22, 2012
Spending per head:
Value for Money
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[爆]菜拉麵 It's the Highway or My Way (no.2)
May 30, 2012
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