The legendary Sun Kee Cheese Noodles closed permanently in 2020. Champagne Court where it used to be has also been auctioned off. This post is about my experience sharing a table while visiting this famous cheese noodle cha chaan teng in Hong Kong.
Table of Contents
- Finding Sun Kee Cheese Noodles
- What We Ate at Sun Kee Cheese Noodles
- The Verdict on Sun Kee Cheese Noodles
- Tap Toi with Singaporeans
Sun Kee Cheese Noodles Address
- Sun Kee Cheese Noodles 新記餐廳, G/F, Shop 13-14, Champagne Court (Opposite The Mira Hotel), Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Finding Sun Kee Cheese Noodles
“There’s an English menu! With pictures!”
I yelped with excitement as I pulled apart the laminated sheets showing off the menu and various specials. This was a sure sign that this place was frequented by more than just the locals.
What is Sun Kee Cheese Noodles
Sun Kee Cheese Noodles (新記餐廳) is a cha chaan teng (茶餐廳). It is clearly a favorite with celebrities as its walls, plastered with photographs, would attest.
Where is Sun Kee Cheese Noodles
The eatery is hidden away in a building named Champagne Court at Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. However, it is not exactly a “hidden gem”. It’s practically famous since 2008. We hazarded an intelligent guess because the most number of celebrity photos on the wall were dated time-stamped 2008. And more recently, it has become very Instagram famous.
It took me a while to locate Sun Kee Cheese Noodles because the eatery wasn’t visible from the complex entrance. It’s way on the inside. But I would rather die trying to find it and wouldn’t give up, even if it had already begun to drizzle.
How is the Crowd at Sun Kee Cheese Noodles
While the location is a little dodgy, this place gets no shortage of diners. When we stepped into the store at around 6.30 pm, we wondered when we were seated in the quiet, near-empty restaurant if this was the correct “Sun Kee Cheese Noodles”.
But in 30 minutes, the scene was transformed as the Friday night dinner crowd descended onto Sun Kee Cheese Noodles. The humble restaurant was bustling and while we had the luxury of a precious very leisurely 30 minutes to dine at our own table (yes, we didn’t have to share or “tap toi”, which by the way, is a way of life in Hong Kong… yet) and could take our time to order from the menu without any snappiness from the servers.
What We Ate at Sun Kee Cheese Noodles
With the help of the English menu, we decided to order the signature Instant Noodles with Pork Collar in Cheesy Sauce (HKD41). We also ordered a Thai-Style Chicken Fillet with Rice (HKD40).
This is pure comfort food. The Thai Style Chicken Fillet with Rice was an interesting combination of fried chicken fillet with black sauce and Thai chili sauce.
What about the raved-about Sun Kee Cheese Noodles? Did it live up to the hype?
It is as tasty as it gets. The cheese sauce wasn’t a lazy nacho sauce but rather a melted-down cheese base with some form of thickener. It was so delicious. The instant noodles or gong zhai mian (公仔面) had this wonderful umami “instant noodle aroma”. It was just the right puffiness allowing just enough of the wondrous cheese sauce to just cling on. The real amazeballs ingredient though was not the cheese, not the noodles, but the succulent and remarkably tender pork neck.
I have read reviews saying that this is hit-or-miss. Sometimes it is too dry and hard, but I had nothing but good grilled pork in my bowl of cheese noodles. More explosions of umami goodness with that well-marinated sweet and savory grilled pork neck. I’m obviously having a moment here recounting my meal.
The Verdict on Sun Kee Cheese Noodles
Is it exceptional? No.
Would I consider this Michelin Star-type food? No.
Is it fancy? No.
But was it good? Oh yes, it was!
And because we were on a roll, we decided to order some Braised Chicken Wings (HKD32) and French Toast (HKD20) as well.
While we were waiting for this second order of wings and toast, a middle-aged couple joined us at our table. The crowd was already packing the eatery and it was time we shared the table. Service started to slow.
Tap Toi with Singaporeans
I noticed the couple speaking in Cantonese and then English. The accent was all too familiar. They were one of our own – Singaporeans! Being in Hong Kong and hearing a familiar voice even if it has only been a day out of town, was quite a comforting experience. I heard them chattering as they spotted the English menu and started pouring over the two-pager laminated sheet wondering what to eat.
Paying Friendliness Forward
After almost five minutes of deliberation, I smiled at them and decided to pay it forward.
On our very first morning in Hong Kong, bleary-eyed after a red-eye flight, we stumbled onto a traditional cha chaan teng where we decided to have our breakfast. After being seated and taking a peep at the menu, we were totally confused. We had no idea what to order.
A woman we shared tables with looked at us kindly and spoke to us in English explaining the menu to us as best as she could. While we still had difficulties understanding, we were so surprised that she took the time to share with us how to order especially since she seemed to be eating her breakfast quite quickly too.
While her kindness did not save us from some communication breakdown later on with the lady boss who snapped at us for not knowing how the order for a breakfast set went (there was a choose three items type of meal which we continuously misunderstood), it was a welcome gesture in an unfamiliar land with our limited knowledge of Cantonese and Hong Kong breakfast culture.
Remembering how warm it felt to be given some advice when I was not quite sure what to do, I looked at the couple and chirped, “You should really try the Instant Noodles with Pork Collar in Cheesy Sauce. It’s really good! We just had it!”
Sharing our Table and Chatting
I saw their faces light up in surprise and the uncle grinned and asked, “Thank you! We were thinking about ordering that too. So it’s good, uh? And… I’m sure… You two are not locals, right?”
It wasn’t long before we started chatting happily while waiting for our food to arrive in the busy restaurant, connecting over our shared experience as Singaporeans in Hong Kong and reliving our adventures in the city so far.
In Singapore, with the luxury of sitting alone, I wouldn’t usually start a conversation with a stranger. I was really for the first time appreciating the culture and practice of table sharing in Hong Kong. Even in hectic and fast-paced cities, just sharing a table can create beautiful opportunities to share moments with other strangers. Perhaps back home, having the choice to always avoid human contact and conversations during meal times has made me hesitant to do so. But the truth is, it actually is much easier than expected. It’s second nature for humans to connect and I think for too long, I have feared rejection and avoided it when I can.
What a meal.