The One With Ngau Kee – A Hong Kong Institution

Everyone seems to have slept through the thunderstorm that ravaged Hong Kong yesterday. Me, I stagger-slept for less than three hours. So by the time I hit the gym the following evening, I was hungry and sleep deprived. That can only mean one thing to compensate oneself after such a long day.

Food. Preferably something so tasty I can’t stop myself from having a second helping. Probably third. My answer: Ngau Kee Food Cafe.

Oh yeah, to hell to my diet (at least for today).

Ngau Kee Food Cafe (牛記茶室)

This rather nondescript Cantonese restaurant is located near my gym, and on occasion when I do walk past, there is always a queue of people outside. I was very tempted to try, but since I can’t read a word of Chinese (word on the street is that the entire menu, unfortunately, is in Chinese), I was way too intimidated to step in.

Tonight, I ventured in with confidence… because I have a Chinese-literate friend with me. Heh!

Ngau Kee Food Cafe (牛記茶室)

I was lucky; the menu was two pages long, and not a single alphabet was on it, save for the name of the place. Moments like this will reduce me to order things off the top of my head, or things which are served next table and look somewhat edible. So my friend took charge and ordered for me. I read that this place was famous for its beef brisket with noodle, but alas they are only served up to 5.30 p.m.

So for those office dwellers like me, your best bet will be to try your luck on a weekend afternoon.

Ngau Kee Food Cafe (牛記茶室)

We kick started our dinner with “lei tong”, translated as house soup. On the menu tonight was winter melon soup (HK$8), which is a standard fare in Cantonese cuisine. Sipping this bowl of goodness made me think of the time when soup is a daily affair back in my family house. Everyone will complain, but the truth is, the soup was healthy, and nothing start off a family dinner on a ceremonious note better than homemade soup.

Anyway, I digressed… the winter melon soup was delicious, though we were rather undecided if it was so tasty because of healthy dosage of MSG (that won’t all that surprising), or because of the loads of ingredients in the soup. We reckoned it is the latter, else I won’t be blogging about this right now but nursing the inevitable headache to which I am very prone to nowadays.

Ngau Kee Food Cafe (牛記茶室)

The simpler the dish, the harder it is to get it right. Fried rice is, again, a standard fare in a Cantonese restaurant, but not many can do it right. Too much rice, too salty, too much green, too little greens, too little meat. I had my fair share of bad fried rice, and so when this humongous plate of rice was placed in front of us, we looked at each other and wondered how in the hell were we going to finish that plate of monstrosity?

But at Ngau Kee Food Cafe, the fried rice with minced beef (HK$38) was done rather well. I would prefer there were more minced meat in the dish, but I would live with that than to have a plate of over-salty fried rice. It was good enough for me to have four bowls of it. So much for my diet.

Ngau Kee Food Cafe (牛記茶室)

The second dish we tried was stir fried garoupa fillet with rice (HK$38). To me the dish was not spectacular, but good enough for second helping. The fish fillet was fresh and not soggy with gravy, which is always a plus point. Though not a dish I would order again at my second visit.

Of course I didn’t touch the white rice. I had four bowls of the fried variety, already!

Ngau Kee Food Cafe)

To round of the meal for tonight, my friend opted for the sweet potato soup (complimentary) for dessert. I have a phobia for sweet potato soup (oh, it’s too embarrassing to be told… sufficient to say that it involved a hurling projectile when I was a kid), but according to my friend it was good. I will take his word for it.

The total of the meal for tonight came up to slightly less than HK$100 for two, which I think is rather reasonable. Recommended for those of you who want standard, fuss-free and above average Cantonese cuisine in a central location such as… well, Central. Heh.

Reviewed Elsewhere: TomEatsJenCooks, MayaKirana.

Ngau Kee Food Cafe
G/F, No. 3 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong, Central
2546 2584 / 2545 5557


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Comments

  1. Mayakirana says:

    Hi there: Thanks for linking to my blog post on Ngau Kee Cafe. The next time I am in HK, I will try out the dishes you tried. You are right about fried rice! There’s an art about making kick-ass fried rice. I don’t read much Chinese either but I guess as long as I can speak Cantonese, I will not go hungry in HK. The soup looks absolutely delicious!

  2. Razlan says:

    Hey, thanks for visiting! Like you, I can speak Cantonese so that helped in some way to assimilate with the food culture here. So much food, so little time!

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