Header images courtesy of @khkaiami (via OpenRice) and @mman_eats (via Instagram)
What makes the humble dish of fishball noodles (魚蛋麵) so remarkably good? Without a doubt, it’s the springy texture of the fishballs—the undeniable star of the show. Balancing a tried-and-tested combination of clean and light flavours from the soup, savoury toppings, toothsome noodles, and flavourful fishballs, it takes true skill to execute this simple Chinese recipe and do it well. Besides, its affordable price point is a huge draw for many.
In Hong Kong, there are many small eateries that serve up bowls of fishball noodles, but not every bowl is worthy. We scoured the local restaurants of Hong Kong to uncover the best places for fishball noodles.
Local establishments, like Chiu Hing Fishball Rice Noodle (潮興魚蛋粉), have long been overlooked by the non-Cantonese-speaking crowd due to its Chinese-language menus. Fortunately, after gaining traction with the foodies of Hong Kong, the restaurant decided to update its laminates to include English translations.
With multiple successful (and perpetually busy) branches in the Wan Chai and Causeway Bay neighbourhoods, it’s safe to say Chiu Hing’s fishball noodles have proved popular enough to warrant expansion. Chiu Hing is perhaps best-known for its soup noodles with fishballs ($35), where the springy and bouncy mouthfeel of their fishballs is paired with a light soup and your choice of noodles.
Long queues speak for themselves; unlike other cha chaan teng, this Shau Kei Wan restaurant is truly one of a kind. Despite that, Hongkongers from near and far rush over to On Lee Noodles (安利魚蛋粉麵) to indulge in their iconic fishball with noodles in soup ($34). A crowd-favourite, this dish has been gaining popularity because of customers’ mouth-watering posts and positive reviews on social media.
If you are craving a more indulgent dish, their four-item noodle ($54) is sure to please, as it includes five toppings: beef brisket, beef balls, wontons, fishballs, and fish cakes (because fishballs and fish cakes are considered as one). Hungry office workers pile into On Lee Noodles during lunchtime for these very noodles!
On Lee Noodles (安利魚蛋粉麵), 22 Shau Kei Wan Main Street, Shau Kei Wan | (+852) 2513 8398
With the help of its tried-and-true recipes, Tak Cheong Noodles (德昌魚蛋粉) and its signature dish have made its way across territories, from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. A humble establishment, Tak Cheong nails its trademark fishball noodle soup ($38), where the fishballs are bouncy and meaty and the soup broth is deeply aromatic and briny. We like to eat slurp our noodles down with a dab of chilli sauce to elevate the flavour.
Tak Cheong Noodles, locations across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon
Tsui Wah Restaurant (翠華冰廳)—where to begin to describe this late-night legacy? A home-grown restaurant that got its start in Mong Kok, Tsui Wah was originally intended for the use of blue-collar workers. Over the years, its affordability and efficient service garnered the attention of a wider range of customers, and the restaurant mastered its recipes to make the food so memorable to Hong Kong people and tourists alike.
With locations spread across Hong Kong, Tsui Wah specialises in a simple Chinese fare. For its fishball & fish cake flat rice noodles in soup ($48), the fishballs are made fresh in the morning and consist of hand-picked yellow eels and a mixture of fresh fish, a perfect mix that needs no colour additives or preservatives.
You might need help ordering food in this local noodle restaurant if you’re not confident in your Cantonese skills. Wong Lam Kee Chiuchow Fish Ball Noodles (王林記潮州魚蛋粉麵) has perfected its fishball noodles in soup ($35), which is topped with a smattering of fresh scallions and comes with an additional seaweed soup on the side. Once you’ve had it, you will agree with us that it is a (surprising) match made in heaven.
Bring a Cantonese-speaking friend along if you would like to sample the delicious fishball noodles at Kong Chai Kee (江仔記), as this no-frills establishment does not offer an English menu. It has not, however, stopped the queues outside of the restaurant from forming at all hours of the day. While you wait and before you sit down, there is always an attendant asking for your order—they are that efficient!
Kong Chai Kee’s fishball & fish cake noodles ($36) stand out because they make their own fishballs in-house. You can really feel the handmade quality when you bite into them—their shape and form are irregular and uneven and there are visible air pockets in each fishball. For those who enjoy a little heat, their chilli oil sauce is to die for—it makes for an unctuous condiment. Order a side of crispy fish skin for a textural approach!