This is one of many posts that are part of the series Jen's Guide - Best Places to Eat in Hong Kong for Visitors
Known for its crazy cheap prices, "ping pong" oversized wontons, and fast, non-nonsense service, Tsim Chai Kee has been an institution in Hong Kong's Central neighborhood with lines out the door for close to twenty years.
The restaurant does just one thing - wonton noodle soup - and it does it extremely well. The very limited menu fits on a single card and is displayed right on the table (in English too!). Diners simply need to choose (1) what kind of wontons and (2) what kind of noodles they want.
For wontons, there are three toppings choices: king prawn, their freshly made fish balls, or slices of beef. You can choose one, two, or all three. For noodles, choose between yellow (the typical alkaline noodles associated with wonton noodles), flat white, or vermicelli.
We decided to try the king prawn and also the three toppings combination with the traditional yellow noodles.
The broth (which is the same for all the soups) was hearty and delicious. It felt really warm and satisfying.
I personally much preferred the king prawn wontons because I did not care for the freshly made fish balls, which are made from mud carp. I've never really been a fan of river fish. I could taste the muddyness, and I didn't like it that much. For this reason the fishball can be more of an acquired taste.
I did love the king prawn noodle soup. The noodles had excellent texture, and we all fell in love with the house made chili sauce. They sell it by the jar (it's THAT good!).
General Tips - Tsim Chai Kee Wonton Noodle
Locals love this place because it serves such huge portions at such a reasonable price. The bowls of wonton noodle soup vary in price between $29 HKD to $39 HKD (roughly $3.75 USD to $5 USD), and they are BIG! The wontons are huge too. In general, the portion size is very generous.
A bowl of wonton noodle soup at Tsim Chai Kee will fill you up, unlike those from its rival, the popular Michelin-starred Mak's Noodle right across the street. Mak's charges $40 HKD to $56 HKD (roughly $5 USD to $7 USD) for its small, appetizer-sized wonton noodle soups.
For this reason and many more, the lines at Tsim Chai Kee can get very long. To get around this, show up early if you can. We came at 6PM and there was no line. Hong Kongers tend to eat late, and 6PM is crazy early for them.
Be willing to share a bench and/or table with someone else, and also remember to bring cash!
Tsim Chai Kee Wonton Noodle
Shop B, G/F Jade Centre
98 Wellington Street
Central, HONG KONG
Hours: 9AM - 10PM, daily
about a 7-min walk from exit D2 of the Central MTR station