永華麵家 Wing Wah Noodle Shop, really needs no introduction. It is one of the last surviving old school Cantonese bamboo pole egg noodle shops in town. For Wanchai, I suppose this is as good as it gets. It certainly does not hurt that it has the endorsement of many media personality types (including Chua Lam, Craig Auyeung and many more lesser known folks), from the professional bloggers to the amateur foodies, to international visitors alike. Heck, this place is even Michelin recommended.
But certain segments of Hong Kong people are weird. Some latch on to tradition because they want to be rebelious (while some really do appreciate the committment to quality), and others forsake tradition in favor of quantity and value (while pursuing lesser quality inadvertenly). Or some just do not understand or appreciate the craft altogether.
Then there are these so called "won ton noodle soup" enthusiasts, who keep chasing the perfect won ton, only to be utterly disappointed.
I will say this....I'm pretty sure Wing Wah's won ton noodle soup is not going to be my style. And I probably would not recommend going here for that (and if you do end up enjoying it, more power to you).
But in reality there are many other noodle dishes you can truly enjoy here.
I think many have said it already, but if you really want to have a true taste and apprecation of the texture of the bamboo pole noodles here, lo mein (broth on the side) is really the way to go. Whether it is beef brisket, or the sweet/spicy/mildly sour pork strip noodles, or shui gow, or prawn roe.
During my Dec 2013/Jan 2014 visit to Hong Kong, I have had the pleasure of visiting 4 noodle shops...Ho To Tai (Yuen Long), Mak An Kee (Wing Kut Street), Lau Sam Kee (Sham Shui Po) and Wing Wah. The conclusion is that each has their own strengths and weaknesses, so if some won ton expert were to do a tasting, he or she will be disappointed. I will say that even at their worst, any one of these shops are far far far superior to anything in North America. It's amazing how people complain, yet don't appreciate the fact that those living overseas just simply do not have anything close.
You arrive and tell the cashier how many people. As always with prime real estate, sharing tables with strangers is going to be the norm, unless you have enough in your party to occupy all the chairs. If you are holding seats for a friend, they usually will leave you alone but it may be better to place an order anyway.
The noodle soup bowls are definitely on the smaller portion side, and with Wanchai real estate skyrocketing, the prices are not coming down anytime soon. In fact the prices are considered very high, almost catching up to Mak An Kee (Wing Kut Street) Central, and I thought HK$56 for a bowl of won ton noodles in California was ridiculous. With the cost of living increasing and people's salaries not keeping up with the rate of inflation, I totally sympathize. But if you choose to splurge, at least the lo mein portions are a lot bigger by default (they give you additional noodles, more than a noodle soup bowl's worth). And if you are super hungry, I believe choosing wide egg noodles will not incur a surcharge (but check before you do so).
On every table is a pickled daikon jar. You don't see this in many noodle shops anymore (and definitely not overseas). Cubed crunchy vinegar (maybe a little sugar?) marinated turnip/daikon cubes with a little jalapeno/chili (very faint presence). The crunch factor, texture, and sour/sweet balance is out of this world. For me this stuff is gold and addicting. It is said that these pickles were put in, not just to whet the appetite, but because of the alkali water in the noodles...and thus a little acid helps neutralize or counteract. Remember you acids and bases lessons from high school chemistry? :-)
Shui gow - the ones here seem to lack some bamboo shoot flavor, perhaps not quite as much pork fat. They are fairly decent but I much prefer the ones from Lau Sam Kee, which are by far more superior and tasty (perhaps even more umami from LSK's soup base). The broth here lacks dried tilefish flavor, and seems more like an animal carcass/bone/protein based stock? Could be wrong on that
Beef brisket - perhaps there is some inconsistency with this, but the one time I had a beef brisket noodle soup, was really really good. Nothing like rich braised/stewed brisket juices merging with the broth
Ja Jeung noodles - Selected the wide egg noodle option for lo mein, and I must say this was probably the best ja jeung meen in town (then again I only had Good Hope noodle's version which I did not enjoy as much). The addition of mushrooms was very interesting. Luckily the temperature of the meat sauce was just right. A very pleasurable bite down to cleaning up the entire plate. Definitely Cantonese pasta bolognese al dente!
Yes it was a little bit painful after paying the bill, but I really wonder...will Wing Wah still be around once the noodle master goes on permanent retirement? Doesn't really matter what the others say....this place is a historic culinary treasure. Quality may be inconsistent with different visits, but it is always an enjoyable stop and snack for me whenever I visit HK.
永華麵家 Wing Wah Noodle Shop, really needs no introduction. It is one of the last surviving old school Cantonese bamboo pole egg noodle shops in town. For Wanchai, I suppose this is as good as it gets. It certainly does not hurt that it has the endorsement of many media personality types (including Chua Lam, Craig Auyeung and many more lesser known folks), from the professional bloggers to the amateur foodies, to international visitors alike. Heck, this place is even Miche...
I gotta say I was a bit disapointed. From the outside, the old school 招牌 that looks like it's been there since 1950 was what attracted me in. Prices of course have to go up, but I was still kinda shocked at the 73 HKD paid for the combo wonton+pigs feet 撈麵. At least the pickles are free right? They write down the amount on the ticket right away, so that's what I saw before I got the food. Onto the food. The noodles are, like many other reviewers said, beyond chewy. And I'm one that likes my noodles al dente. I couldn't decide if it was because the noodles were fresh made, or that they undercooked it. I kinda got used to it by the end, but honestly there wasn't very much noodle for the money. The wonton was OK. Classic style shrimp and pork. Pork wasn't very fatty so it was a little tough although it was ground. The pig's feet was pretty good though. Well cooked and all. It's not bad, but I would not say it's the best. For the money, I think I would be well served going to 麥文記 and getting a small teeny bowl of wonton noodles with a huge plate of pigs feet for a little bit more. And the noodles don't have a hint of 鹼水味. I might go back and try the other things, since considering the exhorbitant rent prices around there, the prices should be higher. The lady was very annoying though, when she kept on asking me what I wanted to get when I told her I'm looking. Then pretty much throughout my meal she was complaining loudly about one of her lazy coworkers.
I gotta say I was a bit disapointed. From the outside, the old school 招牌 that looks like it's been there since 1950 was what attracted me in. Prices of course have to go up, but I was still kinda shocked at the 73 HKD paid for the combo wonton+pigs feet 撈麵. At least the pickles are free right? They write down the amount on the ticket right away, so that's what I saw before I got the food. Onto the food. The noodles are, like many other reviewers said, beyond che...