Mak's Noodles and Magnificent Egg Tarts

Compared with other business districts around the world, Hong Kong's Central is one of the few that offer food as good as what you would find in more chowhoundish neighborhoods. (To think of all those lunches breaks in New York when I had to rely on the same halal vendor...) On this past trip I spent a good portion of my time there, trying new spots and revisiting favorites (okay, and shopping too.)

Mak's Noodles (Mak Kee) on Wellington Street is an old HK standby. As with most popular  establishments, it's impossible to ignore the write-ups they taped to their windows and under the glass table tops, including one about a visit from Anthony Bourdain. You can get a bowl of just wontons, all containing one tightly packed shrimp with no pork filler, or have wontons with very fresh and springy egg noodles, the type I crave intensely after a long absence from Hong Kong.

Their shui gaow are looser, with shrimp, bamboo, and wood ear. The broth is also quite nice, flavored with dried fish and shrimp and garnished with yellow chives. The only caveat is the small portion size, about half of what you normally get from wonton noodle shops, and the relatively expensive price of $26 to $28 a bowl. On my next trip I need to try Tsim Chai Kee just across the street, supposedly another good spot, with much bigger bowls of wontons at just $16.

Not far from Mak's Noodles is Tai Cheong, a bakery that sells egg tarts made with a short crust pastry. Unlike the typical flaky shells of most Cantonese egg tarts, this crust is a tad firmer and oilier, the type of perfect pie crust I hope for but don't normally find in the US. The filling also seems a bit sweeter than traditional egg tarts, almost as delectable as Macanese egg tarts but without the caramelized top.

Mak's Noodles 麥奀雲吞麵世家 77 Wellington Street, Central Hong Kong 中環威靈頓街77號地下

Tai Cheong Bakery 泰昌餅家 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central Hong Kong

中環擺花街 35 號地下