Tag Archives: Tai Wong Street East

The fat Japanese ramen chef is back on Tai Wong East Street

The ramen shop that we used to frequent on Amoy Street changed hands about a year and a half ago. The fat japanese chef with the cheerful smile was replaced by three not so fat local chefs who barely acknowledged any of the customers behind those thick vapour clouds of steaming broth. We went back once after a long while, the food was decent but the service unremarkable.

On my walk along Tai Wong East Street last week, I was noting all the new coffee shops that have sprouted up.. the hipster lifestyle choices are now increasing after the launch of BakeHouse (fantastic breads but the pretzel is best in HK). I suddenly see a new lantern hanging and saw that it was a ramen shop. Curious, I stopped to check out the menu.

Hello, long time no see” (said in Cantonese), it was the waitress I knew in the previous ramen shop. She still wore her glasses but not as heavily rimmed.

She said that their previous shop had been sold and now they opened this one on their own. I told her I’d come back to try it and that’s exactly what we did last Sunday.

We ordered two of the kamitora ramen and one black garlic oil ramen. SW commented that the black garlic oil ramen used to come with black coloured noodles as well… I suppose some things have changed.

Now, there’s no longer the order chit where you get to customise your noodle thickness or toppings. But you still help yourself to iced lemon water and the condiments like chilli powder at the table. The chilli beansprouts are now a side serving that you’ll have to order.

The bowls are tall and narrow based, I thought that the portions were a bit smaller than before but this didn’t really bother us. The slice of pork was decent sized and tender. Two pork meatballs replace the other slice of pork. I wasn’t a huge fan of the meatballs… a little small and gristly for me. Just help yourself to ice lemon water in jugs on the table (how very japanese) or order a soda from the fridge.

The wordings on the wet wipes are the most hilarious… see what I mean.

There’s ample space in the restaurant (open kitchen), but it’s mostly 2 person or bar seating. There’s only one area where they can 6 people as a group so this isn’t really a big group out sorta place. We brought our stroller and it was fine. Plenty of space for it during non-rush hour.

Overall it’s not bad and as I quite dislike having to queue for anything, this place is worth checking out. Look out for the red lantern as you cruise down Tai Wong East Street.

This blackboard with opening hours was placed indoors (yes, facing IN) when I went to eat there. I suggested to the chef that he place it outside so that clients could see when they are open or shut.

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Cong Sao Star Chinese Dessert (Wan Chai branch)

I really thought I’d blogged about this dessert place before… so when HP told me he had a cold and was looking for something ginger-soupy, I wanted to refer him to my blog. But, no I hadn’t! That was an article I wrote for another blog in reference to the Cong Sao Dessert branch in Sharp Street, Causeway Bay.

How could I have missed this important little gem?!

Chinese dessert shops are commonly found in Causeway Bay. They are littered all over (also in Times Square, CitySuper food court) with a particular concentration near the bus stops on Canal Street East and on Sharp Street. The desserts usually consist of either shaved ice (cold) with all possible combinations of fruit, jelly, beans, nuts or soya. Hot desserts tend to be creamy or gingery soup bases with a variety of ingredients like ginkgo nuts or snow fungus. 

I have a soft spot for chinese hot desserts, my mother used to make them at home. We would have Cheng tng (light soup) which was hot, sweet and constituted of dried longans, sago pearls, white fungus and fresh ginkgo nuts. This is hard to find here but at least Cong Sao Desserts has some soupy stuff that I’ll resort to when the craving hits. 

Ok back to the mission. Wan Chai.

Cong Sao Desserts is on Tai Wong Street East, just a few steps away form the Pawn. 

Cong Sao Dessert Wan Chai
It takes up the ground floor shoplot of the Wen Ding restaurant, a standalone building that has benefitted from a gazetted public seating space on one side and an easement for loading to J residences.

Situated on ground floor of Wen Ding restaurant

It’s surprisingly spacious… well I suppose the tables are quite small and they’ve maximised the space with stools, but the point is that it’s designed for the maximum number of people to do a quick dessert “in and out”.


On the pavement, a standee advertises their happy hour promotion. Essentially you get 10% off if you come off peak hours between Monday to Friday between 1-6pm. Good to know.

Here’s their menu, you can plan what you’d like to have in advance.

Hot dessert items
Cold dessert items
More cold dessert items

HP, for a fluesy friendly dessert, I would recommend the ones below ticked in green.

An unsatisfactory ramen experience on Tai Wong East Street

On a rainy Sunday, we decided to have a late lunch at the ramen joint on Tai Wong East Street

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The ramen menu
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Gyoza, rice bowls all considered house specials

We ordered the gyoza for the small person and a dry ramen with a side of wagyu beef teriyaki. 

The gyoza was unfortunately quite unremarkable, it tasted like it was undercooked despite the juices running clear. 

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The noodles were equally unremarkable and the accompaniments were mediocre. The chilli improved the taste a lot. 

The wagyu beef teriyaki turned out to be a bad choice, it was over condimented and the texture unworthy of its price and description. 

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The only thing I enjoyed was chili bean sprouts which was supplied in a clay pot with the sauces on the table. I ate it all.

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Overall an experience not to be repeated.

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Functional Map of Tai Wong Street East 

There are all sorts of maps out there, (Google maps being the best hands down for directions) but what I love the most are functional maps. 

 

Google maps, great directions
 
Functional maps tell you not only where a particular shop is relative to everything else, but what they sell or their specialty. The best maps of this kind were produced by the late Nancy Chandler, whose maps I greatly admire for its detail, imaginative illustration and clarity. It gave me a feel of whether I wanted to visit a particular section of a wet market and a way to plan my route and purchases in advance. 

Nancy must have spent hours painstakingly documenting, sizing, drawing. A single mistake puts you back on the drawing board, literally. 

I am no illustrator and my scientific drawing days are well over but I’ve decided to draw a few of these maps for fun, as a guide for friends new to Hong Kong.

And a tribute to Nancy Chandler, for the inspiration.

Here’s my very first functional map of Tai Wong Street East in Old Wan Chai. 

  

Map of Tai Wong East Street, Wan Chai
 
I realise the font is quite small. The map is high-ish resolution so you can expand it or print it out. 

The thing about these types of maps is that there’s always more to say, so check back for updates.