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60 Second Review: Qinghai Tibetan Noodles

By Contributed content 8 April 2015
Fine Food Dude is a restaurant and food writer focusing on dining in Hong Kong and gastronomic capitals around the world. For independent, informed, and honest reviews, Michelin-starred chef interviews, travel features, and more visit his site for more posts. There are more than 40,000 places to eat in Hong Kong, so you really don’t have to check out the Qinghai Tibetan noodle joint lost in the backstreets in the backside of North Point. If you don’t, however, you risk missing out on some damn fine food at crazily good value. Just don’t all go at once.

But first, props to the peerless and fearless FuckYeahNoms for shining a light on this little diamond in the first place. If you haven’t checked out her brilliant site yet, you need to. Cupcakes and exclamation marks it ain’t. The url should give you some indication of what to expect.

So to a cold February evening, wandering around behind exit B4 of North Point MTR like Bono, looking for a street with no name. Instead, look out for the orange tarpaulin towards the end of an alley full of restaurants.

It’s a bright and welcoming space, tables outside and a long, comfortable dining room with the steamed-up kitchen at one end.

They also have a clear English menu where you tick off your order. Hallelujah.

Everything the four of us order is good, some of it brilliant. The noodles with beef and home made garlic sauce is way better and more exciting than it looks. Almost up there with the cold Sichuan noodles at Si Jie. But not quite. It comes with some broth action but I went dry style.

What is needed alongside is a cold, cleansing ale, preferably a random brew you’ve never heard of. Et voilà.

I know nada about cuisine from the Tibet Autonomous Region/Tibet (delete as appropriate depending on your thinking), nor indeed from Qinghai next door, but here in North Point beautiful things are done on grills:

While garlic eggplant is more the former than the latter:

A deep-fried vege beancurd roll for the vegetarian hits all the right notes:

But most of all, back on the grill, is a stupendously good dish at a price which defies logic. I have a long and happy history with great meat, be it Ho Lee Fook’s wagyu short rib,  pork belly at Petrus or Kentish Saltmarsh Lamb at London’s Social Eating House. At Qinghai, it’s cumin lamb chops. Now lamb with cumin is a famous staple of Xinjiang, Tibet’s northern neighbour, but the southerners have clearly stolen a page or two out of their cookbook.

They take time, as they should. Maybe 30 minutes to slowly and carefully kiss them on the grill. It’s absolutely worth the wait.

The cost of these comically-good, smoky, and aromatic beauties with perfectly rendered fat, carefully wrapped in tin foil like a lamb rack from a 1970’s dinner party? HK$62 – for two pieces. This was by far the most expensive item on our bill which came in at $407 for four people. We even threw in a baked banana with Nutella and marshmallows, which is probably as Tibetan as I am, but who cares? At these prices, with friendly service, it’s more than worth the journey to the street with no name.

60 Second Review Qinghai Tibetan Noodles - Receipt

Random nameless alleyway full of restaurants off Shu Kuk Street, exit B4 of North Point MTR, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2151 0506

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