Cart noodles originated in the 1950’s and still continue to survive in Hong Kong, albeit in a slightly different business model. Previously, cart noodles were sold in rickety wooden carts by street food vendors, but now cart noodles can be found in small and usual “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants.
Everything is great about this place, except for the service. So, don’t expect much. It has a great location and an even better afternoon special for noodles, which gets you three toppings in your cart noodles for $33, plus an extra $3 for a cold drink. Yes please!
This cart noodle place is actually Macanese, and all of its published accolades are plastered across the walls. It’s a tight squeeze in here, but it’s worth the lack of elbow room for a quick and tasty bite to eat. Instead of noodles in soup here, try the dry noodles with satay sauce, as that’s what it’s known for (and it’s delicious!). Some toppings we love are the spicy curry fish balls, soy sauce chicken wings, and marinated squid. The photo shown is a noodle in soup with a curry base, with sugar peas, spicy curry fish balls, and marinated squid.
Insider tip: If you want noodles in soup, make sure you try the spicy curry soup base – it’s delicious if you can take the heat!
Find it at Shop A1, Khuan Ying Commercial Building, 85-89 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Hidden in this tucked-away and local food street in Central is an unassuming “Chinese fast food” place that actually has amazing cart noodles. Pay first at the cashier and choose how many toppings you want in your noodles, and then take your ticket to the window where you can just point to all the food toppings you want. You can sit down here, but most office workers choose to do takeaway.
Insider Tip: We love our curry soup base so we always get the mixian noodle in a curry soup base here. Other toppings that we recommend here are the marinated tofu, daikon radish, chicken wings and pig’s blood (if you dare). The cart noodles here are a little bit saltier and oilier than the average, so have that water on standby.
Find it on the G/F, 21-23 Chiu Lung Street, Central, Hong Kong
This one was highly raved about and recommended to us by a taxi driver. He even said that he loves this place so much, he would come and eat with us, but couldn’t as he wouldn’t be able to find parking around the area!
The store doesn’t have a seating area, but has five to six standing spots on the inside. It also has a couple of plastic chairs out by the side of the alley, so it’s a pretty common sight to see corporate workers in their suits slurping up some noodles outside. During lunchtime, you’ll often see a queue stretch out the door and around into the alley, but, fear not, because it’s a very fast-moving line. You order and pay, and if you want to eat in the standing area, you can place your noodles on the bar table and just wait behind the person whose spot you want to take over. When you’re finished, just put your bowl on the lower tier of the bar table so the next person will have space to eat.
Insider Tip: This place is particularly known for its spicy satay soup base, curry squid, and sour wheat gluten puffs (we’re still on the fence about the gluten puffs).
Find it at Shop A, 1 Anton Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
The next two cart noodle shops have a great and long rivalry with one another, with both shops being located in Causeway Bay within a short, 10-minute walk from one another. Both shops have loyal fan bases and are especially popular with students. We tend to like this one more because we love spice and the spicy sauce here is da bomb!
Insider Tip: Get the rice vermicelli so it can soak up more of the spicy soup broth. The soy sauce marinade is very tasty, and a must-try here would be the five-spice beef brisket, beef tripe and beef stomach. Ask for extra spicy if you can handle it!
Find it at Shop B, No. 49 Tung Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
If it was a choice between the cart noodle store mentioned above and this one, the locals would probably favour the latter a tad more. Though, this store is beloved for a couple of very local toppings. More likely than not, everyone who frequents this place will order a standalone order of pig’s blood because it is that good. It’s also known for its marinated soy sauce chicken wing tips. Yes, you’ve read that right; locals here also love just the tips of the chicken wings.
Insider Tip: As tasty as everything is here, we think that quite a bit of MSG is probably added, so make sure you order a drink with your noodles. If you want to just try more cart noodle toppings, you can forgo the noodles, or ask for a veggie bottom in lieu of noodles.
Find it at G/F, 27A Sugar Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
So, you know you want to try cart noodles, but are not quite ready to step into a very local restaurant without an English menu? Then why not go to this modern, but retro-style restaurant instead? The dinner here is mainly hot pot, but they do serve cart noodles at lunch and for afternoon tea. It has an English menu, is fully air-conditioned, and has a clean washroom, along with a hipster “old Hong Kong” vibe. It also has some more modern soup bases such as “Sichuan spicy.” The noodles are not out of this world, but it’s a decent bowl of noodles with an atmosphere that is definitely more inviting and less daunting if you’ve never gone down the cart noodle route before.
Find it at 2/F, Circle Tower, 28 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/SUPPAHK