I’m a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain, chef and culinary adventurer. He’s a true advocate of trying everything locally sourced and produced, especially the less desirable cuts of meat. Drawing inspiration from him, I bring you this blog post.
On a trip to Mong Kok to pick up a few travel books, my Dad and I stopped by a local congee shop for lunch. Good Hope Noodle, an already unassuming and odd name for an eatery, has had a storied history. It’s been in the neighbourhod for decades and is a popular lunch joint for local office dwellers and retail workers alike. Don’t let the 1960′s decore put you off, as the food is well worth the drab-looking interior. My dad and I showed up early and was able to observe a steady stream of suits and Giordano associates who skillfully took their seats in the room to consume what is often considered one of the best noodle and congee joints in town.
The eatery’s setup is as efficient as its menu. The Good Hope Noodle serves only two types of items: congee and different types of Cantonese noodles. There are two distinct kitchens on each side of the eatery handling those distinct foods: one side steaming with industrial boilers full of flavourful broth that handles the cooking of noodles and noodle implements (i.e. wontons and dumplings), and the other side with huge pots of congee that’s been cooking for what could be hours since the chef got in the morning. Everything ordered is cooked on-demand. The noodles and wontons don’t touch the pots of water and broth until the order is sent in.
I ordered a plate of dry noodles with brisket and tendon and my dad went for the requisite wonton noodles. This is the part of the blog where I apologize for the lack of photos. You can choose to take my word for it when I say it was hauntingly delicious, but you’re under no obligation to.
Following our amuse bouche of noodles, meat, and shrimp, we ordered a bowl of congee. Channeling Mr. Bourdain, we ordered a congee filled with pork innards.
The congee was a thick concoction of rice boiled in more water than usually necessary to make… well… rice. The result is a rich rice porridge that is made unique and personalized by the addition of meats and vegetables. In our case, we asked our congee to be filled with pork liver, kidney, and other unidentifiable pork bits.
These people know how to make a good bowl of congee. It’s my belief that good congee resists separation between rice and liquid, and this bowl remained homogeneous throughout the meal. The pork bits, especially the kidney, were perfectly cooked: smooth and flavourful without the unpleasant pungentness that usually comes with pork innards. All in all, I was very impressed with the quality of this bowl of congee, though I would expect nothing less from this area of highly competitive eateries.
No blog entry involving pork bits should go without a closeup of said bits.
I have a feeling that this might not be the only time where I get inspired by Anthony Bourdain….
Good Hope Noodle
46 Sai Yeung Choi Street South,
Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong,