Famous fresh beef brisket worth queuing for
There’s always a queue at Shui Kee during lunchtime. Locals come here for the fresh beef brisket and entrails, a rare find in Hong Kong where most stores use frozen meat. Not at Shui Kee. Mr Lam brews soup that is full of flavour and texture from tripe, intestines, bladder or even the rare abomasum. They only have 2 abomasum servings a day, but it’s worth the wait!
Mr Lam is a proud man, and he should be. Shui Kee has been around since World War II, standing at the same location for over 60 years. Started by Mr Lam’s grandfather, this little stall has raised two generations, including Mr Lam’s eight siblings. “I think we are the oldest daipaidong (大排檔) in the area, I started helping out when I was only 7 years old.” he shares. Most chefs have no patience or skills to process the fresh meat and organs, but Mr Lam still works over 12 hours every day to serve the best bowl of noodles. His only worry is the declining number of slaughtered cows in Hong Kong, it’s getting harder to secure supply of fresh beef.
Mr Lam is also a proud ambassador of the city’s street food culture. “Daipaidong is Hongkongers’ history, it should be preserved. It is like the Shaolin Temple of the food industry, most of the famous chefs started their careers in these humble places.” He still remembers the days when there were six stalls here at Gutzlaff Street and ten more on Wellington Street, all churning out rice, noodles, Shanghainese, coffee and milk tea. “It was 1970s, everyone knew about Central’s Food Street - Wellington Street, and Gutzlaff Street the ‘Hung Mo Kew Street’. It was so famous.”
Memories to stay
Mr Lam loves his job and has many fond memories. “In the 70s our $2 noodles were a hit among school kids. Once a kid finished 20 bowls in one go in a challenge! We helped him cheat a little by reducing the serving size,” recalls Mr Lam joyfully. “Many years later he suddenly showed up here for lunch. He never forgot. He’s now a senior at the Hang Seng Bank."