Sunday, 1 September 2013

Eating Around Sham Shui Po

Lining up outside Lau Sum Kee and the resident cat has disappeared...
My friend YTSL loves going to Sham Shui Po to check out the local atmosphere -- and get good shopping deals -- but mostly for the food.

She'd asked me to go with her before, but I declined. Sham Shui Po? All the way in Kowloon? Some Hong Kong Island residents refuse to cross the harbour, likening it to crossing the border and joke about having to bring your passport. But for me it was hard to understand why it had to be a destination.

But if you want cheap, cheerful and good, a few local eateries there are worth checking out.

Shrimp roe noodles with a side of braised beef tendon
We first went to Lau Sum Kee (48 Kweilin Street). The resident cat with half a tail was sitting in a cardboard box outside and seemed annoyed by customers wanting to stroke it and jumped off.

We didn't need to wait too long to get a table -- well share a table. Lau Sum Kee is best known for its noodles that are made by kneading the dough with a bamboo pole. We didn't get to see this in the tiny shop, but saw everyone ordering dried shrimp roe noodles and so we copied them, mine added with beef tendon. We also saw another customer have a plate of cow stomach (牛柏葉) and beef cooked with spring onions and ginger on a bed of choi sum.
Crunchy cow stomach and tender beef on a bed of choi sum
The noodles were OK, though YTSL reported the thick egg noodles were much nicer in texture and had more surface area for the shrimp roe. I prefer soup noodles, but I was warned the wonton aren't good here, so I was kind of stuck with the dry noodles. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the cubed marinated turnip in vinegar and chillis that went well with the dish.

The beef tendon was excellent, full of flavour, while the cow stomach was a winner, because it was crunchy, contrasting with tender beef slices. Dipped in a slightly spicy soy sauce was a fantastic combination.

Our meal here came to HK$104.
The heart attack-inducing French toast with kaya spread
Almost full, we headed over to Wai Kee Noodle Cafe (66 Fuk Wing Street). The shop has actually expanded to three shops in a row, though we lined up to go into the original premises. Here the specialty is pig liver soup noodles.

However, the other thing to eat here is the French toast -- the Hong Kong style one which is deep-fried in an egg batter. YTSL had one with kaya spread in the middle, while I opted instead for kaya toast which came on a thick piece of toasted bread.
Thankfully the kaya spread here isn't as sweet at the Singaporean one I've tried before. It went down well with iced lemon tea, though it would probably be better with milk tea or yin yeung (a mix of tea and coffee). This came to HK$54.
More customers lined up outside Wai Kee for a bite to eat
Then we headed to Pei Ho Restaurant on 54 Pei Ho Street. It's run by Ming Gor, who is best known for doing his bit for the elderly poor in the district.
He has been working at the restaurant business since 1983, first as an employee and now as the owner. In 2008 he started working with the Society for Community Organization (SoCo) and they started giving out HK$22 meal tickets with sponsorships from large companies and donations.
The program ended, but he continues to give out rice boxes to the elderly thanks to individual donations. Then the last Saturday of the month is the busiest time for Ming Gor, as they know people may have run out of money by now and are hungry. This is when he and other NGOs give a bit more food to tie people over -- and they must wait in line for hours.
Celebrities have come to Pei Ho Restaurant to see Ming Gor
It is because of initiatives like Ming Gor's that not only demonstrate there are caring people in Hong Kong, but also shows how blind or ineffective the government is in dealing with the poverty issue.
We didn't see Ming Gor today, but we plan to be in Sham Shui Po a few more times to check out the neighbourhood.


  1. in general i prefer the big fat noodle than the thin one because it is more filling besides catching more dry shrimp roes which makes it more tasty.

    1. Hi gg -- any other recommendations of places or dishes to eat?!