Hong Kee Wan Thun Mee “Kung Fu Style Bamboo” Noodles
This Kung Fu Style Bamboo Wan Thun Mee noodle is the secret to bouncy or springy QQ textured noodles made with flours and eggs without alkaline water.
I love Cantonese style wonton noodles in Hong Kong. Finding a stall in George Town that makes traditional duck egg bamboo noodle is a treat. Freshly made noodles are a treat and a nice bowl of hot noodles here may be costlier than those sold at local hawker stalls.
Hong Kee Wan Thun Mee is a traditional Chinese restaurant along the hipster belt of cafes of Campbell Street in George Town.
What is Bamboo Noodles?
I remember watching a TV clip of an old-timer making a traditional duck egg noodle.
It was an intriguing sight to see the noodle dough folded into a square and a man riding on a long bamboo to compress the noodle dough to achieve the al dente or as locals call it, the QQ texture.
These noodles are best enjoyed by slurping it immediately before it gets soggy. Most people will eat the “Liao” ingredients after they finish the noodles.
They make these noodles without alkaline water and taste fresh with the bite of an al dente texture.
It is hard to replicate the original taste of a made in Hong Kong Cantonese style Wan Thun Mee noodles topped with that delicious roast goose drumstick.
I had a penchant for that and the lovely congee when I visited Hong Kong. But then that’s time for another eating spree and another story.
How Bamboo Noodle is made…
Hong Kee Wan Thun Mee’s secret lies in their Jook-Sing type of noodles. Jook-sing noodles are a rare type of Chinese noodle found in some parts of Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangzhou in Guangdong province, China.
The noodle is traditionally made with duck egg and without alkaline.
Historically, the sifu rides a bamboo log to press the dough ingredient together instead of hand or machine kneading.
Even in Hong Kong, by 2008, only a few restaurants would make the noodles in the traditional way, which is a time-consuming and tiring method to yield distinctive noodles.
Hong Kee Wan Thun Mee makes their noodles fresh twice a day at 11 am and 3 pm.
If you’re interested to watch how it’s done, do drop by during the sessions for photography or video.
There is a large glass partitioned room where diners could look in. Instead of using the noodle machine to process the noodle; the traditional bamboo press method produces a springier and smooth noodle. You can watch the young men “ride” the long bamboo pole as he presses the dough into flat sheets.
Why is Hong Kee Wan Thun Mee so special?
The larger-sized plump Wan Thun more than makes up for the price.
The first time I patronize the shop, I couldn’t resist ordering a huge bowl of the steaming hot Wan Thun.
As I walked in, I watch the cook flick the fat Wan Thun into a pot with the water at a rolling boil. Quite a sight to behold as each Wan Thun floats to the surface when its cook.
The Wan Thun is fat and plump.
Tasty without a strong porky odor, there is a bit of prawn in the minced pork filling which you can taste when biting it.
The larger-sized Wan Thun with the nugget of pork filling and a piece of prawn is juicy and meaty enough for two bites.
My favorite Wan Thun Mee
There are two ways to have your noodles. The dry version Wan Thun Mee is called ‘Kwan lo’ where the noodle is mixed in the light and dark soy sauce for taste.
The soupy version uses a nice porky soup made from pork bone and has a naturally sweet ikan bilis flavor.
My preference is for the ‘Kwan lo’ version as I dislike soggy noodles.
You could order plain noodles for everyone and get the a la carte side dishes for sharing for a change. Some of us like a lot of “Liao” as the standard char siu topping is just a few thin slices.
Flavorful “Wok Hey” Char Hor Fun & Ee Foo Mee
I love the “wok hey” or breath of the wok when the plain flat rice noodles are fried in a super-hot wok until it has charred caramelized bits. This gives the dish that distinct smoky flavor. Again, its taste is hard to replicate.
The Char Hor Fun is light and hardly any excess oil oozes out when the “lor” or gravy is poured over it. Mabel and I remember the few old-time stalls in Pulau Tikus and Cintra Street for comparison of the “Korcha bi” taste test.
All fall short.
Years ago, the gravy for Char Hor Fun is made by frying the raw ingredients like prawns, pork slices, pig stomach slices, liver slices, cabbage, white lettuce and chye sim with garlic until fragrant before the “tua chu hoon” is added to thicken the gravy.
The flat noodle and vermicelli are fried separately.
To serve, a mix of flat noodles and vermicelli is placed on a plate and they ladle the delicious hot gravy over.
Sometimes, “Yee Fu Mee” is used upon request.
The addition of an egg knocked in was uncommon in the 60s and 70s. They add fish slices and fish balls or cakes in the early 80s.
Popular restaurants for a delicious Char Hor Fun are “Seng Kee”, “Foo Heong” and “Tai Tung”.
“Foo Heong” used banana leaves in their wrappers and for serving.
Remember to order the Penang Hokkien Char
For those who love Hokkien Char, this wet fried mee and vermicelli mix makes a great meal with a dollop of sambal belacan. Although it is not to my standard of the best lard infused Hokkien Char but this will do nicely if you’re short of places to order this dish.
Go before or after the usual meal times
This restaurant is packed daily. Breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner, especially weekends and public holidays are choc a block full of diners.
For a leisure unhurried meal, try to go during weekdays or even off breakfast and lunch hour.
It is rather hard to find a car park along busy Campbell Street. The authorities will clamp or even tow errant vehicles away. It is advisable to park a little distance away and walk.
What I like to order
The most popular choice here would be their basic small Wan Thun Mee (RM 5.50). Topped with shredded char siew (pork slices) with plump wan than beneath the noodles.
A favorite of mine is the Wan Thun Soup with 6 plump wanton which makes a nice meal (RM 5.50).
Hong Kee Wan Thun Mee restaurant does serve a range of mouth-watering snacks or side orders.
For a change sometimes I would order a serve of the fried Wan Thun (RM 6.00 / 8 pieces).
These have a tiny amount of pork filling in comparison to the Wan Thun Soup.
The crispy skin Wan Thun skin has a delicious crunch when you bite into it. It is addictive.
Sui Kow for soup or fried is (RM 1.50) each.
Hong Kee Wan Thun Mee Review
This is a favorite dining place that I make several visits a month as the food is fresh, with no MSG and NOT oily. Overall this place is great for a good decent meal. Top points for family and budget-friendly.
Hong Kee（鸿记） Wan Thun Mee | 37 Campbell Street, George Town, Penang
Contact: +604-2619875 Mobile: +6012-2319875 / +6016-5209875