I came on a busy Friday night at about 6.30. As it was just me, I got a seat straight away and was given a glass of tea.
I was served quickly and ordered hot chili sauce with slice pork noodle. After a few minutes my dish was plopped unceremoniously in front me, along with a bowl of soup. To be honest, I don't really dig the shrimpy soup, so after a sip, I steered clear. This is a personal preference, I know.
Well, the noodles were good. Chewy thin bamboo noodles have taken a little getting used to on my part, but now I like them a lot. The first problem for me was the heap of mushrooms I extracted from the dish. I hate them and there was no mention of them on the menu. Anyway, they were abut 50% of the topping, so I instantly lost a big chunk of my meal - lesson learned. The pork was cold as ice. It had obviousll come from the fridge and hadn't even been brought to room temperature. It tasted fine, but the lack of heat was not great. Also, the spice level was low It was not 'hot' in either sense of the word, so they failed in two ways on this one.
Anyway. it was edible and actually tasted fine, just not as good as it could have been. The real kicker is the price. The dish costs $65 - a little steep for what it was. Considering all of the factors, I would not return to Wing Wah. It may be famous and it may be popular, but they are charging a little too much for mediocrity.
I came on a busy Friday night at about 6.30. As it was just me, I got a seat straight away and was given a glass of tea. I was served quickly and ordered hot chili sauce with slice pork noodle. After a few minutes my dish was plopped unceremoniously in front me, along with a bowl of soup. To be honest, I don't really dig the shrimpy soup, so after a sip, I steered clear. This is a personal preference, I know. Well, the noodles were good. Chewy thin bamboo noodles hav...
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...