Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fantasy world at Sheng Kee Noodles Store

As I previously wrote I went to Sheng Kee Noodles Store last month but could not eat there as it was closed during the Chinese New Year holiday. I finally went again last week to show the place to a friend of mine and got the chance to taste its beef tendon noodles.  

My friend M. had never been there and was as surprised as I was on my 1st visit. What an eccentric place in the middle of Lek Yuen estate! It is like you are entering an imaginary world.
Photo: Courtesy of M.

The dining room, which is quite large by Hong Kong standards, a covered and open patio, is facing the estate buildings. On that day I went with M. the weather was perfect for al-fresco dining so we sat on a table bathed by natural sunlight overlooking a small plaza where some elderly men were playing cards.
The waiter told us that the store had a 50-year history, of which 30 years at its current address and before that, 20 years on the other side of Lek Yuen.
Plants are suspended from the railings

We enjoyed our food while looking around and amazed by the quantity of unusual memorabilia on display. The exhibits are varied: books, wood and clay sculptures, magazines, old black & white photos, etc.  A Christmas tree made with empty toilet rolls is standing at the entrance. 
The free spirit and amalgam of material reminds me of the “loony French postman” who spent 33 years of his life building a castle with pebbles. Mr Cheval’s palace, which combined naive and primitive arts, has become the major tourist attraction in the village of Hauterives.
Photo: courtesy of M.

As for Sheng Kee’s food I would say that the quality is all right and the price reasonable. A bowl of beef tendon noodles cost HK$31 and fish ball noodles HK$25; and you get a hot drink free. Although I would not especially ask you to go to SK to eat I would encourage everyone to go there for 2 reasons. The 1st one, as I mentioned in a previous post, is to support the owner who is giving away noodles to needy elderly. The 2nd reason is to see with your own eyes this very special, inimitable and artistic place.
Don't wait too long as I feel this noodles store is not going to be there forever… I read that its rent had recently been doubled; when we asked for a cup of hot milk tea the waiter told us that they only made iced milk tea as the chef had just left; and when M. went again to show her husband this “artsy’ place later on the same day they were about to close as they had no more noodles left. It was only 5pm! Bizarre, bizarre…
Though I don't know if I have convinced you to go I am sure that I will return to Sheng Kee. Hopefully my suspicions will not materialize.


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