Originally published by Sarah Moran. Last updated by Annette Chan.
Header image courtesy of MZZ001 (via Shutterstock)
If you’ve lived in this fair city of ours long enough, you’ll know that we Hongkongers are obsessed with our noodles. From wonton noodles and cart noodles to ramen, phở, boat noodles, and beef noodles, Hong Kong has no shortage of endlessly slurpable, mouth-watering noodle dishes. For those who love the heat of Sichuan dandan noodles but crave something a little tangier and more acidic, sour and spicy noodles are a great option. Whether you like bouncy Chongqing-style glass noodles in a thin chilli oil-laced broth, or Yunnan-style rice noodles in a deep, rich soup, here are some of our favourite sour and spicy noodles in Hong Kong.
There is a surprisingly high concentration of excellent sour and spicy noodle shops around Tsuen Wan, but the one most frequently touted as the best is Yunnan Guizhou & Sichuan Noodle. This humble eatery in Sze Pei Square offers a number of different broths, bases, and toppings, from classic Yunnan “small pot” soup to fried soybean paste noodles (炸酱面; ja3 jeung3 min6) and a lighter wonton noodle soup.
One of the most popular configurations is the sour and spicy noodles with beef brisket and pickled mustard greens ($54), the tender meat from which provides a pleasant counterpoint to the acid and heat from the soup, but we’re partial to the beef brisket, fish ball, and pork meatball noodles ($54) too.
Yunnan Guizhou & Sichuan Noodle (唯一雲貴川風味), 14 Sze Pei Square, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 2611 9769
If you prefer your soup richer and thicker-bodied, then this Tsim Sha Tsui staple is a must-visit. Sing Lum Khui’s flavourful homemade soup base has won rave reviews since its doors opened in 2008, netting the restaurant’s chef-founder a number of prestigious local culinary awards, including the real-life God of Cookery medal (just like in the 1996 Stephen Chow classic, sans martial arts and “pissing beef balls”).
There are a few main dishes to pick from on the cart noodle-esque ordering sheet, but the traditional “small pot” rice noodles with homemade sour and spicy soup ($30), which comes with pickled mustard greens, chives, and beansprouts, is the pièce de résistance. Extra toppings are available from $6 to $12 each, with popular additions including the spicy minced pork, fried fish cakes, and cuttlefish balls, but with 39 to pick from, you’re spoiled for choice.
You would be forgiven for mistaking this Tai Hang hole-in-the-wall as a live music venue or neighbourhood bar, but it’s actually a hip noodle joint with an entire section on its menu dedicated to sour and spicy noodles. Pick your starch—sweet potato noodles, belt noodles, or rice noodles—before completing your order with toppings like fresh shiitake mushrooms, cucumber, crab balls, spring rolls, and red-braised beef. If you’re the kind of person who likes to customise everything—spice, acid, seasonings—then you’ll appreciate Chin Jor Fan Tong’s convenient online ordering system, which you can access via QR code.
Chin Jor Fan Tong (前座飯堂), 39 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang | (+852) 5118 1869
Another Tsuen Wan favourite is Proprietress Yunnan Noodles (老闆娘雲南米線), a casual cooked food market stall that attracts hour-long queues among the weekday lunch crowd. Like at Sing Lum Khui, the sour and spicy soup here is full-bodied and flavourful, with the option of dialling the heat levels up to “numbingly spicy.” Besides the soup, a major draw at this restaurant is the unique selection of toppings, including signatures like deep-fried chicken balls and crispy fish puffs, the latter of which is best enjoyed after a quick swish in the soup to soak up all that delightfully tangy broth.
Proprietress Yunnan Noodles (老闆娘雲南米線), Shop 28–29, 3/F, Heung Che Street Market, 8 Tso Kung Street, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 9842 1971
Step into this Hong Kong-born chain noodle restaurant for a taste of their mouth-watering sour and spicy noodles. Select between four different variations, or tuck into a bowl of your own customised sour and spicy rice noodles, with ten different toppings to choose from. The delicious, chewy pork “spring rolls” are a must-try here. These generous bowls come with liberal amounts of spring onion, pickles, bean sprouts, and other seasonings, and the broth is spicy but bearable. Aside from their famous noodles, there’s also a great deal of history to soak up at this 39-year-old restaurant—now run by two cousins—whose parents started Nam Kee in 1980 as a side business selling traditional cart noodles.
For those who love all things pork-based, this Tuen Mun chain is a must-try. The pork bone broth base is a creamy, collagen-rich soup that brings to mind a long-simmered tonkotsu ramen, while the fresh fish soup is perfect for those who enjoy clear, light broths—but the real star of the show here is the sour and spicy soup ($41), which you can pair with either Yunnan-style rice noodles or al dente sweet potato jelly noodles. As with the classic “small pot” Yunnan noodles, the bowls here are dressed with spring onions, bean sprouts, chives, pickled mustard greens, and spicy minced pork—but we’re of the opinion that no bowl at Wan Chuen is complete without their famous pork neck ($12).
“So sour, it makes you salivate; so spicy, it makes you cry” is the tagline of this popular noodle joint. Offering the kind of fare seen on the streets of Sichuan, Sad, Spicy, Sour Noodles serves up some of Hong Kong’s most authentic sour and spicy noodles, with an impressive spice level to match. It even uses the traditional sweet potato noodles paired with a sour and spicy soup base and authentic Sichuan noodle toppings like peanuts and minced pork.
TamJai is the Kowloon side’s equivalent to Nam Kee, and rice noodle lovers are often divided between being on #TeamNamKee or #TeamTamJai. Diners can choose from a large variety of toppings, like pickled vegetables, beansprouts, and tofu skins, and even choose from either normal rice noodles or sweet potato noodles. The spiciness level here is listed from one to 10 and is significantly stronger than what is offered at Nam Kee—perfect for those who can take a little bit of heat.
This popular neighbourhood eatery means business when it comes to their spice, offering some serious kick even at the mildest spice level. A-One Pork Chop Spicy Rice Noodle (try saying that three times fast) offers mouthwatering and flavourful sour spicy noodles Hong Kong-style by offering the unlikely combination of pork chop with rice noodles.
As you can guess by the shop’s name alone, much of the menu here is built around one of the lesser familiar meat options found in Chinese dishes. The lamb at Yunnan Old Friend is tender and juicy, sliced thinly for the barest amount of oily heaviness. This delicious meat flavour seeps into the well-balanced sour and spicy broth without overpowering it, and at less than $40 per bowl, this noodle dish is a steal, too.