Just look around and you’ll find countless versions of the Hong Kong favourite, stir-fried beef noodles, all across the city. But here are the best of the best.
When it comes to a city-wide popular dish like stir-fried beef noodles (乾炒牛河), everyone has a sworn favourite of their own. It might be a local stall they grew up visiting, or a family-run shop in their neighbourhood they’ve become friendly with. The humble dish of few ingredients — flat rice noodles, or ho fun (河粉), beef, bean sprouts and spring onion — is a difficult one to get wrong. Unless, you were to talk technicality, and that’s how they differ.
Originating from Guangdong, the noodles has become a standard order upon menus of cha chaan tengs, congee and noodle shops, and sometimes dai pai dongs. It all comes down to whoever can toss the noodles the driest — without being oily — to master a crisp, slightly-charred edge, yet still maintain a silky soft bite. Then, the balance of flavour between light and dark soy sauce. And finally, the true test of “wok hei”, or “breath of a wok”, that demonstrates a chef’s skill in drawing out the distinct aromatic smokiness achieved only from intense high heat and the quick manoeuvring of the wok. Simple, but not quite. We’ve singled out some venues in Hong Kong that have perfected the holy trinity of the dish. Here are the best stir-fried noodles in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s best stir-fried beef noodles
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There are only two reasons you’d endure endless queues at Sun King Yuen. First, and famously, the curry pork chop; and second, an if-you-know-you-know favourite, the stir-fried beef noodles. The humble cha chaan teng is a widely known Wan Chai institution that’s been around for three decades and the noodles here are always a deliciously decadent serve of generous portioned noodles, tossed in the wok just long enough for the distinct “wok” aroma.
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You can expect Mott 32’s take to be a little more indulgent than the usual cha chaan teng order. Following the exquisite dining room’s contemporary Chinese brief, the stir-fried beef noodles here toss together familiar ingredients like bean sprouts and flat noodles with AAA Canadian beef for fully satisfying bite. Photographed here is an alternate, plant-based version by the restaurant, but rest assured, the classic savoury, unctuous flavours are all same.
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At JIA Group’s beautifully decorated, fine-dining Cantonese venue, Duddell’s, the humble dish of stir-fried beef noodles takes on a similarly elegant character that befits the luscious terrace outdoor ambience it’s meant to be enjoyed with. Thick ribbons of flat rice noodles are generously coated in the deep-brown soy and wok-tossed over a roaring fire for the smokey, “wok hei” aromatics. Woven inbetween are thick strips of angus beef, lightly coated with a drizzle of X.O. sauce for an appropriate, flavoursome heat.
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Ho Hung Kee is better known for a steaming bowl of wonton noodles — that’s what put them on the Michelin Star map anyway. But many stop by for their stir-fried beef noodles, too, touted by local food critics as one of the city’s best. The Cantonese staple here is prepared classic as can be, with a balanced mix of beef rump, bean sprouts and spring onions vigorously tossed in a wok. The flat rice noodles are then finished off in a searing hot oil for extra dry and glistening — never oily — strands.
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The stir-fried beef noodles at Luen Wah Cafe live up to the humble dish’s easily affordable, gloriously indulgent name. Served with generous chunks of tender beef, the noodles — priced at an easy 50-something — are prepared with the usual helping of fresh leeks, spring onions, along with crunchy bean sprouts, all sautéed in the wok for a satisfying smokiness. It’s saucier than usual, but no complaints at all — just makes slurping down a full plate that much more enjoyable.
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Mong Kok’s busy network of local-run restaurants makes Fu Kee Congee somewhat hard to find. But once you do make your way through the nostalgic, old-school threshold, you’ll be treated to the aromatic wafts of properly prepared stir-fried beef noodles. Silky smooth strands of flat rice noodles are thrown together with the usual suspects of beef, bean sprouts and spring onion, poured over with soy sauce and seared in high heat. The final dish — slapped into a cha chaan teng classic neon orange plate — works the perfect beef-to-noodle ratio that’s crispy on the edges, chewy at the centre and comforting all throughout.