tsim chai kee - central, hong kong
Rating: 7 / 10
The Michelin guide are good for some aspects of culinary life. They can hype humble chicken rice establishments to dizzying new heights, or illuminate the hard work of a dedicated chef....
The only downside to their (over) achievements is the fact that they surely cannot have enough time in each country to truly explore their options. Therefore they extol the virtues of the better known chefs, and forget the small alleyway spots putting out seriously awesome food.
Knowing my unadulterated addiction to anything with broth and noodles in a bowl, I had to take the star ferry over and try Tsim Chai Kee. I'd had plenty of bowls of wonton soup in Hong Kong before, but this promised to be a different beast. Thankfully the second I walked in a table of four paid their bill, so I was shown a side table and sat with the peace of solitude.
I'll cut to the chase. If judged entirely on their noodles this place would be straight down the middle. They were the thin style that I don't prefer, that add no real texture or taste to the proceedings. What really set this place apart was the quality (and size) of the toppings. Alas! The biggest fishcake I have ever seen in a bowl of noodles, and tasty to boot. The beef was tender, the prawn dumplings succulent and fresh. Everything sung in harmony in the bowl, the only downside being the aformentioned noodles, however with the size of the toppings I was full long before I reached the surface of the soup and therefore the noodles were left to be disposed of in garbage bins out of my sight.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
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"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"