合益泰小食 @ Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong
While walking through Sham Shui Po during our recent trip to HK, we’d decided to stop for a quick bite at 合益泰小食 which we’d read about. This is a small eatery located very near to Ap Liu Street Market and is well known for the local street food it provides. Food is kept very simple and unpretentious here and it is precisely this that attracts hoards to this place, especially the lunch and dinner peak crowds. Lucky for us, it was just after the lunchtime rush hour, so no queues. But as with most local Hong Kong eating places, sharing tables is something which one should almost expect. When in Rome do what the Romans do…
It is not terribly difficult to locate but having a map at hand would surely come in handy. So anyone who wishes to make a visit, I would strongly encourage getting a google maps printout.
And the menu-cum-order chit. Prices are indicated on a separate piece as well as signage on the walls. They are most famous for their local delights, particularly their 滑溜肠粉 chee cheong fun and array of congee combinations. So we’d ordered one “set” to share, a plate of cheong fun with a bowl of porridge since it was just a teatime snack. We’d also had 冻豆浆 cold soya bean milk to combat the heat and thirst outside. Being aromatic and thick, the soyabean milk was a lifesaver.
This is a medium portion of their 滑溜肠粉 cheong fun (steamed rice rolls) served in a pool of 豉油 light soya sauce and 麻醬 sesame sauce. And what makes them so special is the use of 猪油 pork lard with its unmistakable aroma, as part of the drizzle when served. An array of condiments like 酱油 dark soya sauce, 甜面酱 sweet bean paste sauce, 辣醬 chilli sauce and 白芝麻 toasted white sesame seeds is also available on the table for one to add at will. The embellished look would be like what is seen in the first photo. This is the default way of which chee cheong fun is served in Hong Kong in breakfast porridge stalls, unlike what we see in dimsum restaurants which serve cheong fun with filling dressed only with light soya sauce.
A small portion of 4 steamed rice rolls costs only HKD 6 bucks making it a very very affordable snack. Despite being so cheap, the cheong fun were incredibly silky and smooth when they are freshly served and tasted very good actually!
For porridge, we ordered my favorite combination which manifest as 艇仔粥 teng zai zok which literally means “bumboat congee” to the locals. The story goes back to how this porridge was made by fishing folk who lived on bumboats. They’d used a mish-mash of ingredients available to them to create this delicious and much-loved congee to the Hong Kongers. And I love it!
Also very cheap compared to porridge we’d had elsewhere, and some of the other places we’d tried don’t even taste half as good! 艇仔粥 comes in two versions, pork or beef. We ordered the pork version which comes with thick strips of lean loin as well as other ingredients like strips 炸猪皮 deep fried pig skin, 鱿鱼 cured cuttlefish, and slices of 魭鱼 grass carp. The condiments were very very generous given how little this bowl costs. No wonder the 阿姐 who took our orders gave us a bewildering look when we said that we wouid be sharing! A peek at other diners who were sharing the same table made us realise why. Even an old 阿婆 (granny) well into her 70s was having one plate of cheong fun and one large bowl of porridge all by herself. Truth be told, it was indeed a little embarrassing. But given how good the quality of the food is here, we would definitely visit again and the next time, order individual portions for ourselves! And I most certainly look forward to replicating these dishes at home, using what we’d enjoyed here as a benchmark.
桂林街121號地下, 深水埗, 香港
G/F 121 Kweilin Street, Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong