Kau Kee Restaurant
21 Gough Street
Tel: 2850 5967
Grub: Guangdong-style noodles
Vibe: Kau Kee is a small, cramped shop that is very much like any other traditional Hong Kong business - ceiling fans, bright white lights, tiled walls, and lots of loud yelling between the customers and the only waitress in the busy shop.
Who to bring: Someone who eats fast. Hong Kong in general is a fast-paced city that has no down time and no time to wait for anyone; eating fast would make both your own and everyone else's life easier - including the staff working there. It'd also be good if at least one person could speak fluent Putonghua or Cantonese because there's no ordering system in this restaurant - you're expected to simply yell your order out until they hear you.
What's hot: The restaurant specialises in beef brisket noodles, with a lot of different broths available, including a curry broth. There are also four types of noodles available for each broth: rice noodles, e-fu noodles, flat noodles, and vermicelli.
I opted for the beef brisket with flat noodle in the standard broth. The broth was both fragrant and flavourful, while the brisket was tender and well-seasoned. The noodles were not too hard or too soft, and were quite bouncy, making them quite a good light lunch or afternoon snack.
What's not: In a busy local restaurant like Kau Kee, the service is, more often than not, poor. It's not that the waitresses or chefs have anything against you; they're just too busy taking orders and dishing out noodles to be nice.
In the same way, however, you don't need to raise your hand to order, you just yell - in fact, I got yelled at for trying to raise my hand.
Kau Kee never set out to rival the Shangri-La in terms of decor; it's very cramped and humid, and you may catch the occasional fly trying to steal a bite of your food. But don't let that distract you from your delicious noodles!
Cost: A regular bowl of beef brisket noodles is HK$30-HK$40. Noodles with flavoured broth (like curry or oyster sauce) are HK$40-HK$60. Beef brisket on its own usually costs upwards of HK$100.