Chow fun challenge
Like designer clothes and surgical masks, beef chow fun is an inescapable part of Hong Kong. Locals love it. Or despise it.
Stick thin girls won’t be caught dead eating the calorific mess -- one plate is enough to blow their daily grease quotas -- while others practically live on the shiny piles of fried noodles and meat.
In the interest of scientific inquiry -- and because we were really hungry -- the CNNGo staff picked up orders of beef chow fun from three popular Cantonese joints around town and played a round of lunchtime Iron Chef.
Dry Fried Rice Noodles with Beef
Tai Ping Koon: 6 Pak Sha Rd., Causeway Bay, +852 2576 9161, www.taipingkoon.com
Weight: 1.75 lbs
Distinguishing feature: Egg slivers
Overall impressions: The priciest of our picks, Tai Ping's house specialty chow fun got top marks for presentation, but mixed scores for flavor. It ended up as the overall favorite of our Chinese staffers, and was approvingly hailed by compulsive face blotters as 'least oily.'
“This looks beautiful, beautiful.”
“But it tastes like Clag.”
“The sauce makes it easy to digest. More liquid to pull down in my belly.”
“It looks like it’s going to jump out at me, but it’s a little bland.”
“The noodles aren't cooked enough.”
Fried Rice Noodle with Beef & Soy Sauce
Wong Chi Kei: G/F 15B Wellington St., Central, +852 2869 1331, www.wongchikei.com.hk
Weight: 1.35 lbs
Distinguishing feature: Controversial meat
Overall impressions: Deemed moderately oily, the smoky flavor of this beef chow fun inspired much love it/hate it debate. But it was the big, angry chunks of beef that attracted universal attention. And concern.
“It has ‘wok hey.’ (Essence of the wok)
“Smells like teen spirit, or maybe barbeque. The crunchiness of the onions offsets the chewiness of the noodle.”
“It’s an ordeal to eat this. If I had to have a tub of this, I’d get sick”
“This doesn’t make sense. It’s so oily, but everything’s burnt here.”
“The meat tastes like it’s from a dog that died last week.”
Dry-Fried Beef Ho Fun
Sun Loy Fat: 12 Westland Gardens, Westlands Road, Quarry Bay, +852 2885 9991
Weight: 2 lbs
Distinguishing feature: Oily throat clearing
Overall impressions: The oiliest and bestest -- at least according to our gwei lo contingent. But the cheapest price and whopping two pounds of greasy goodness made everybody happy.
“I like the black beans. Very flavorful."
“I’d go for this, especially if I was drunk at the end of the night”
“There’s not much to it. Tastes like it’s been soaking in cabbage for a while.”
“This reminds me of the reason I don’t eat beef chow fun.”
“Please tell me this is sauce and not oil.”