Yuen Long Street Nibbles Stroll
Our desire to expand our horizons with simpler, street nibbles to counter our “fine dining” experiences found us departing late morning to Yuen Long, which is a fairly large “new” town in the Western part of the New Territories in Hong Kong. Equally, it is a bustling, very popular, fast growing and local food oriented destination for both young and old. Of significant importance, Yuen Long is only a ten minute drive from our house!
We departed late morning along the highway to the YOHO Mall, which is 1.1 million square feet of shopping, dining and everything ritzy that can be exported from the rest of the world to the countryside of Hong Kong. Fortunately, we immediately found a space in the carpark, alighted and walked across the bridge to central Yuen Long.
Sour and Spicy Noodle 傷心酸辣粉
Cheung Fat Building, 14 Yu King Square, Yuen Long
Having skipped breakfast, we quickly strolled to 傷心酸辣粉, which is a sour and spicy noodle shop. We confess, at the outset, a sincere fondness for all victuals spicy. With that disclosure, we had to say this was an exceptional example of how good sour and spicy can be together! Hey, we just found a clean, well-organized, multiple-shop spicy noodle joint to rival Tam Tsai 譚仔三哥米線 – still our favourite! Happy we were!!! We munched on the following:
Chili Cucumber with Minced Garlic (extra spicy) (紅油蒜容小黄瓜). Exceptional!!! The garlic blended perfectly with the chilli. Wow!!! We know it may sound silly to wax lyrical about cucumbers, but when this dish is excellent, it is exceptional! If we could munch everyday, we would!!!
Sichuan Style Savoury Chicken Set with Tingling Sour and Spicy Soup and Spicy Noodle (extra spicy) (口水雞 + 傷心酸辣粉). The noodles excellent and soaked up the spicy and sour flavours. Sadly, many restaurants fail on this point with noodles that taste good, but do not become infused with the sauce. This place got it right! The chicken was perfectly cooked, well-seasoned and excellent.
Shanghai Noodle House 上海麵家
26 Yu King Square, Yuen Long
A great start led us to a quick street snack at 上海麵家, which is a Beijing Pie (北京餡餅)/Spring Onion Pancake specialist. No doubt oily, definitely far from “healthy”, but OMYG so good. We had the thicker version pie, stuffed with some green leafy veggies and pork. When standing on the street listening to the symphony of morning cackling, we think this little yummy just makes us smile.
A big yippee as we enjoyed a scrumptious two for two as we finished our first hour of our Yuen Long Street Nibbles Stroll!
Big Belly 大肚腩點心腸粉專門店
68 Kau Yuk Rd, Yuen Long
No street nibbles event, Cantonese style, would be complete without enjoying a few dim sum dishes. Our research directed us to Big Belly Dim Sum Shop (大肚腩點心腸粉專門店). Shiver Me Timbers, Long John Silver, we just found our new favourite dim sum joint in the New Territories! Patience!!! We tried the following:
Har Gau (大肚腩蝦餃皇) (steamed shrimp dumplings). Exceptional flavours, perfect dumpling, simply salacious. The only criticism was we could not eat in one bite, which is the traditional, non-super-sized Yank portion. We commend the offering of only two pieces, as opposed to the usual four, which is useful for one or two people seeking to enjoy this flavourful morsel while tasting many others!
Chun Guen (芝心蝦春卷) (spring roll with cheese and shrimp). We rarely find ourselves enamoured with twists on traditional dishes. However, the addition of a touch of cheese coupled with the excellent shrimp and beautiful, crispy wrap resulted in an exceptional dish. Wow!!!
Cheung Fun with “ma la” beef (麻辣肥牛腸) (rice noodle roll). Sadly, just an “eh”. The rice noodle roll was very good. The beef was stringy. The “ma la”, which is supposed to be spicy, was boring.
Lo Bak Gou special (避風塘炒蘿蔔榚) (stir-fried turnip cake). Equally, just an “eh”. We looked forward to this dish, as it is the only time we really love turnips, but it fell flat on its face and was everything other than “special”.
Baked Rice with Chicken Feet and Pork Spare Ribs (鳳爪排骨缽仔飯). Wow, excellent!!! The rice was juicy and crispy with outstanding flavours. The pork was succulent. The chicken feet were, properly, jelly-like. Exceptional dish!
Tenno Ramen 拉麵天王
Yick Fai Building, 20 Sai Ching St, Yuen Long
Filled to the gills, we wandered a little further and longer until we happened upon Tenno Ramen (拉麵天王). A authentic-looking Japanese noodle shop, we entered after lunch hour without any wait for a stool around the bar. We enjoyed the venue and the people were friendly, but the noodles were just OkeyDokey. Having said that and in spite of the ordinary flavours and textures, we were intrigued by the use of cheese. Note to ourselves: let’s try at home when we boil a pot of our noodles!
Noodle with black pepper and cheese and pork broth (胡椒天王). The noodles were good, but far from anything that would inspire us to return, and the black pepper was reasonably tasty. The addition of cheese, albeit unable to overcome the ordinary aspect of the dish, was intriguing.
Noodle with seafood broth (爆彈天王). Eh, very definitely uninteresting.
Victory Beef Ball 勝利牛丸
G/F, 1 Hong King Street, Yuen Long
We continued our stroll through the fairly typical, but incredibly energetic Yuen Long market, until we reached the ultimate stop – The Wo Family Beef Ball Noodle Shop 勝利牛丸. We are “family” friends of clan Wo, who have operated this and one other famous shop in Yuen Long for 30 years. We are spoiled because our young friend, the only son of the family, visits a few times per month with bags of beef balls for our munching pleasure…and we are not ashamed to admit we get the best of the bunch! Nevertheless, we wanted to experience the real thing in the original venue and we sat down to the following:
Beef Balls and Beef Tendons in Soup (牛丸牛筋牛河粉). Excellent choice of flat, rice noodles, combined with slightly salty yet yummy broth and, of course, the star of the dish – beef balls. Nothing fancy, no change in 30 years, this bowl of happiness simply works!
Lai Cha (奶茶). The famous, Cantonese milk-tea requires Hong Kong dirty water to be strained with tea leaves through an old stocking and then doused with condensed milk. If you think too much about this local favourite, then you might not be willing to allow it pass your lips and side down your throat. That would be a shame because, even if you do not like this concoction, you should try it. Clan Wo got it right…we definitely will not ask for the recipe!
Victory French Toast (勝利西多士). We like to call this “Croque Monsieur Wo”. Although not exactly the same as the famed French delicacy, the Wos stuff ham, cheese and peanut butter between two pieces of bread and then fry in batter like French Toast. OMYG. Ham, cheese and peanut butter!? Genius!!! Your doctor may object to this delicious dish, but you will not. We do not suggest seconds, and we hope you can finish your first. Either way, douse it with honey and, well, you will simply love it! Eat, do not think…you will be happy!!!
Cheung Hing Kee 祥興記上海生煎包
13 Kuk Ting St, Yuen Long
Despite being stuffed and in anticipation of a “light” dinner, we purchased four Shanghainese pan-fried pork buns from the Michelin recommended Cheung Hing Kee (祥興記上海生煎包). We truly wanted to munch on these babies in situ, but we were finding it difficult to walk, let alone eat, after our earlier snacking efforts. No worries lah, we lightly and slightly fried them later in the evening and enjoyed these juicy, tasty, somewhat thick skinned morsels dipped in chili-soy sauce.
Et voila, the day ended with a glass of 2003 Chateau Talbot. Parfait!
If you want to roll up your sleeves and “go native” in the New Territories, then Yuen Long is THE place. Variety, abundance, friendliness, price and quality all within a few kilometres of a slow stroll. If variety is the spice of life, Yuen Long is mucho spicy!!!