Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Most Famous Ngau Lam: Kau Kee

The name Kau Kee in Hong Kong evokes many images amongst those in the know of good food places. The reputation of this dingy shop, along Gough Street in Sheung Wan is immense. The shop even has its own wiki page. And numerous blogs extol their virtues.

The last trip to Hong Kong, I ate at the equally famous Mak's Noodles, but did not have time to sample Kau Kee. This time I did. When I arrived, about 12:30pm, there was already a long queue.

But the queue moved briskly...this was not a place to enjoy your food slowly. One sits down, makes one's order (no menu...but the items being offered are few enough...ngau lam...type of noodle...curry? veg?...that's it. Though you can order soft drinks, and I suspect other drinks, the waiter does not even bother to ask.)

I ordered the ngau lam mee. The broth was fragrant, power-packed with beef flavour. I found it a bit salty, but the beefiness was very strong and pleasant. My cut of brisket was not as tender and soft as the reports I have read would have led me to believe. In fact, it was rather tough. I have had better ngau lam elsewhere. Indeed a small shop in Wancai, I forget the name served me much more delicious fare. And Mak's version, being braised was in my view, superior.

They have a curry noodle, which I did not try.

So much for a legend. Service was brisk, but not by any means polite...let's just say, they were efficient. The food was a let down for me. It was still good tasting, but very average. The brisket was too tough.

Kau Kee Restaurant
21 Gough Street
Sheung Wan
Hong Kong

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