Hong Kong – Kau Kee (Best Beef Brisket Noodle & Soup)

Restaurant: Kau Kee Restaurant
Cuisine: Chinese/Noodle
Last visited: April 30, 2010
Location: Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Address:
MTR: Sheung Wan Station
21 Gough Street, Hong Kong
中環歌賦街21號地下
+(852) 28150123/2850 5967
Price Range: $30HKD/bowl about $4CAD/bowl

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 6
Service: 3
Ambiance: 1.5 (but it is what it is!)
Overall: 5 (food outweighs ambiance)
Additional comments:

  • 90+ years
  • Best beef brisket noodles in Hong Kong
  • Serves only beef brisket noodle soup bowls
  • Famous for beef brisket and broth
  • Very popular to locals & celebrities
  • Busy/crowded/cramped
  • Line ups
  • Quick, very casual
  • Home made stock/broth
  • No English menu
  • Shared table seating
  • Budget-friendly/Cheap eats
  • Must try in Hong Kong
  • Not exactly the cleanest, but no one cares
  • Minimum charge $27HKD/person – about $3.60CAD/person
  • Cash only
  • Dinner only

**Recommendations: Original beef brisket with noodles and curry beef brisket with noodles

Kau Kee Restaurant is one of Hong Kong’s oldest and most famous restaurants serving beef brisket noodles and soup. It is very local and always busy with line ups during peak hours. It’s authentic home cooked Chinese comfort food and a must try in Hong Kong.

The menu is very simple (although I can’t read any of it) and it’s all in Chinese which made ordering very difficult. I know you can order some simple side vegetable dishes and milk teas.

They specialize and focus on beef brisket and broth and they’re the best at it. Basically the must try items are the original beef brisket and the curry beef brisket. You have 3-4 choices of noodles and they sometimes sell out of the “ho fun” or flat rice noodles by the end of the day, so come early – it’s dinner only too!

I haven’t had anything close to this level in taste and quality in Vancouver, BC. For me it’s almost the Chinese equivalent to Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.

Kau Kee Restaurant is a very typical Hong Kong style restaurant. Don’t expect service or ambiance, but it doesn’t matter because the food is that good. The service is quick and casual and you’re pretty much sitting elbow to elbow with random strangers. Get in and get out… 15 minutes. We did… and headed for dinner #2 at Wang Fu afterward. (I had 3 dinners and dessert at Tong Pak Fu this night)

On the table:

**Beef Brisket Noodle Soup – 5.5/6

  • Beef brisket, tendon, and flank steak with your choice of vermicelli, egg noodle, or ho fun (flat rice noodle) in beef broth $27HKD – about $3.60CAD
  • It’s just enough for one person and the bowls aren’t that big, so it’s actually not that cheap for Hong Kong standards. I still think it’s cheap and the value is there.
  • The beef broth is the highlight. This is one of the best beef broth’s I’ve ever had next to home cooked.
  • I ordered it with egg noodles because they had sold out of “ho fun” or flat rice noodles.

  • It’s a clear colour (as real beef broth should be) and it’s made with sweet spices, tangerine peels, and some other Chinese herbs. The orange peel is very subtle, but you can tell it’s in there. It has a very strong and saturated beef flavour. It’s salty, a little sweet, and aromatic.
  • I just wanted to drink 8 bowls of it.  Why 8? Cause I’m in Asia!

  • They use super fatty beef brisket, flank and tendon to create the broth. That’s the traditional Chinese way of doing things. It’s quite oily, and that’s the only thing I ding them for… it’s greasy.
  • The brisket is so tender but extremely fatty although the fat just melts in your mouth. It’s slow cooked and braised so it just falls apart. Each piece of beef has completely absorbed all the flavours of the broth so it was very juicy.

**Curry Beef Brisket Noodles6/6

  • Beef brisket, tendon and flank steak in curry stock with your choice of vermicelli, egg noodle, or ho fun (flat rice noodle) $27HKD – about $3.60CAD
  • DROOL! I honestly still crave this and that’s how I know it’s a 6/6. It’s freaking delicious and my mouth is watering as I type.
  • Just look at that greasy bowl of saucy noodles! It’s actually soup, not sauce, but it was so thick it’s almost like gravy. Personally, I liked this better than the original.
  • Since ho fun was sold out I picked the vermicelli for this one. Very suitable.

  • How can you deny that deliciousness?!? Just look at the picture!
  • The vermicelli noodles are actually round thin noodles so they’re a bit different.
  • The beef was completely soaked in curry stock. It was actually quite spicy and it was almost like a curry beef stew.
  • We asked for leaner beef and more brisket instead of tendon because me and my sister can’t handle too fatty and the broth was oily enough. The chefs gave the biggest sigh when they heard this lol.
  • To be honest, I’m not a fan of tendon, but the one here is AMAZING. Oh my gosh, it was super soft, tender and just melted in my mouth. No joke. I barely had to chew it. It was more tender than the brisket. It was almost creamy.
  • It’s quite messy and was almost like pulled pork but with curry sauce. Some of it splashed in my eye and it burned for like 5 minutes! I don’t hold anything against this curry beef brisket though… I’d still highly recommend it!

[geotag]

16 Comments

  • Bow W. Liu says:

    Mijune,
    Beef brisket and noodles, a signature Cantonese dish; superb if it’s done right or ordinary…the best is at the Wonton House on Hastings, in a little mall, northside , just before the A& W. Their lunch special includes some of the largest and best tasting won-ton(buy 1 or 2 dozen to take home), with beef brisket and noodles at $4. The beef is fatty, meaty and incredible tender but not tasteless(brisket is made with lottsa chicken broth, 8 cups per lb), and the portion is generous. The soup is very good(not oily) and the noodles are fresh and delicious. At Tang’s Noodle House on Broadway & MacDonald, they make the same thing but without fatty beef, ergo bland and tasteless. Sorry ’bout yer eye(you must of really scarfed down the food ‘cos it tasted so good. I eat fast,also, if the food is good).

  • KimHo says:

    The chefs gave the biggest sigh when they heard this

    Well, at least he didn’t say “no (beef brisket noodle) soup for you!”

    This so reminds me of the soup my mom use to make… OK, I am getting hungry now! 😀

  • Jenn says:

    This sounds and looks so good. I bet that the fatty beef makes the flavor amazing- sometimes I think that in the US (where I’m from), the scale off the fat in so many instances, it drains the taste completely. Bring on the brisket (or ribeye, etc)- I’ll take the fatty cut any day 🙂

  • simon says:

    Glad to see you made a trip to this place during your visit; it is a very well known for the brisket. It is always busy and it is one of those “must” try places (like the original place where Peking Duck began in Beijing).

    This place is frequented by celebrities on a regular basis; most ppl don’t care who he/she is as it is all about the food.

    Ho fun is always the first to go; I think ho fun is the perfect compliment to beef (tendon, tripe, brisket, etc). The only thing missing is daikon but you can get it on the side; it goes great with brisket.

    Sadly, on my trips out to YVR, I have yet to find a place that comes close to this but I’m hopeful that one of these days, I’ll find that diamond in the rough.

  • Mijune says:

    Simon – I’m so glad to hear you’ve tried this place as well! Well thanks to Bow (first commenter on this post) he has some great suggestions for beef brisket noodle bowls 🙂 Thanks Bow for the recommendations, I can’t wait to try them myself.

    Jenn – Welcome! Yes, I agree – almost everywhere in North American scales down the fat… I guess for health reasons… we get all the flavour from the gravy and not the meat itself in a lot of cases. However I think in South America it’s probably all about the fat as well… right KimHo? (second commenter for the post)

  • Lynn says:

    Yes they do offer an English menu, just ask the waiter.

  • Mijune says:

    @lynn – didn’t know that! Thanks for the tip!

  • mike says:

    also, you can ask for lean, 50/50 or fatty… the lean barely has any fatty brisket

  • Neil says:

    Mijune – Appreciate the write-up on this place. I had walked pasted this place several times, and without fail, a long queue was present. I finally had a chance to eat beef brisket noodle soup, and would agree that the broth is delicious. Even though its cramped, it’s sometimes a good way to meet some interesting people who are forced to sit at the same table.

  • Mijune says:

    @Neil – awesome!! So happy you stopped to give it a try! It’s indulgent and greasy, but so good! Try the curry version!

  • Mijune says:

    @mike – thanks for the tip mike!

  • Richard Chen says:

    I found out about this place decades ago when I visited Hong Kong once and asked a friendly cabdriver one late night where the best place in Hong Kong for beef brisket was and he told me about Kau Kee. Ever since, I would always make SURE that I stopped in there at least twice whenever I visited Hong Kong, no matter how short the trip was. And the cabdrivers who took me there were always surprised that I knew about this tiny little hole in the wall restaurant in Hong Kong. But indeed I echo those who rate its food a 6. It should be a 7 if there was such a rating on your scale of 1 to 6. It is absolutely the best of its kind in the world. I defy anyone to find me a better place than Kau Kee for beef brisket anywhere! EVeeryone I introduced this place to also have loved it from the first experience and thanked me forever for that introduction!! Long live Kau Kee!! What a legendary restaurant!

  • Mijune says:

    @richard Chen – lol love your passion for this! I loved it too, but I know some locals who don’t like it as much say it’s too greasy and oily…. I expect that so I don’t mind. I’m a fan 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *