So one Taiwanese author once wrote that when she goes overseas, and returns to Taiwan, the first thing she craves as soon as she gets off the plane, is beef noodle soup 台灣牛肉麵. Craig Auyeung in one of his 2007 books mentioned that for him (and perhaps other Hong Kong expats), his equivalent craving after returning to Hong Kong would be won ton noodles 雲吞麵. As wonderful as a writer Craig is, I believe he has it wrong.
Because one of the things I was craving this whole trip, was plain cheung fun with sauces 豬腸粉!!
Plain cheung fun 豬腸粉 with lots and lots of sauces is a childhood snack food engraved into the memory of many homesick Hong Kong expats (local and overseas), at least those who grew up in the 60s/70s/80s. If you asked me when I was 11 or so if I preferred HK style spaghetti (stir fried with ketchup, sausage/ham/onions) or HK style with meatsauce, or 豬腸粉....the answer would be blatantly obvious!
And what is there not to like? A multitude of textures and flavors....so much more exciting than eating al dente pasta or big ass stupid name American sushi rolls!
So some years back when this place was put on the social media blogging map as the temple of 豬腸粉, it was time to pay them a visit. Easy to locate and get to, since it was right outside the MTR station in Sham Shui Po, with a very easy walk. Can't find it? Walk inside and follow the crowds until you see the crazy lines.
You can of course order other things inside Hop Yik Tai, and even dine in. But if you want a taste of the streets, old school style....just stand up like a true Hong Konger, and eat. Standing noodle bar? Well perhaps. The line moves fairly fast, as it is a pretty much one woman operation when you eat standing up.
Very simple. Tell the lady with the scissors how many rolls of 豬腸粉 you want (there is a price sign around the corner somewhere...with constant inflation who knows how much this is now). Lady takes a plate, cuts the rolled rice noodles into mini bite sized pieces, then asks you what you want on it.
See those squirt bottles? It's a medley of sauces of varying flavors. For the full experience, just say you want everything. And do not forget the sesame seeds, a critical component.
See how fast homeboy in the cap quickly dives down and starts slurping that shit after purchasing? Like he is snorting cocaine and had withdrawl issues? :-)
Now before you come flocking here, be aware that these 豬腸粉 rice noodle rolls are outsourced to some factory, so Hop Yik Tai does not make them in house. But you are guaranteed freshness, since the turnover is so high.
If you are facing the cart and look to your left, this is the alley. Not exactly the best of all environments, but there's something primal about enjoying this right there.
Ahh the challenges of food photography. So much better to hold a cel phone camera in one hand, and hold the plate of goodness in the other. Not fun trying to do this with a big digital SLR camera.
So what are you waiting for? Wolf down that stuff like a lion in a bacon shop!
Slippery, smooth, wetty, a wee bit greasy feeling, spicy, savory, a tinge of sweetness, and fairly hot.
And it goes down so well.
HOP YIK TAI 合益泰小食
G/F 121 Guailam Street, Sham Shui Po