5 Li King House Hong King Street, Yuen Long
Visited 19th May 2010
I think I got the English translation correct, but if not the Chinese is 嘉麗園潮州粉麵餐廳. In many ways this is a very local style restaurant, but it’s one that is got more front than Myers. Simple metal stools and lino topped tables are packed into a room totally drowned in beef bling. Ox horns, mural covered walls, gold trimming and photos all celebrate the simple joys of beef. Ka Lai Yuen Chiu Chow Restaurant also makes its presence felt across Yuen Long by plastering ads on the sides of mini-buses and taxis. This place is basically a celebration of beef; lots and lots of beef, oh and balls. Hong Kongers aren't shy of devouring a whole beast so there's plenty of offal on offer including about a million different types of cow stomach. I ordered a bowl of balls called 'ten treasures'; basically noodles in soup with ten dumplings. The attraction with this dish was the little floating 'treasures'; all different and all hand-made. Most of the balls and dumplings I got were really nice including the beef balls, pork balls and prawn balls and a couple of tofu creations; however the wontons were too soggy and bit disappointing. Set in the middle of these balls was a big clump of hair moss; I'm not a fan of this and have to question either its environmental creditability or authenticity, but perhaps that a personal issue. I also felt a bit let down by the soup; it was light on the beef flavour and needed a bit more oomph. My friends both enjoyed their serves of beef noodles, reporting that the mix of tendon, tripe and skirt all beautifully cooked.
Ka Lai Yuen Chiu Chow Restaurant certainly scores points for sheer creativity. The people behind the venture should get massive credit for one cool looking joint and for adding a bit of interest to Yuen Long's public transport. A visit to a restaurant however isn't about appearances, but taste and I thought my noodles and booty were OK; good, but nothing special. The guys I was with however were more impressed with their meals; maybe I just don't have the sentimental attachment to this type of old school comfort food that my Hong Kong friends do or maybe I just should have ordered the beef. If you're floating past and in the mood for tripe, Ka Lai Yuen Chiu Chow Restaurant is worth a stop, though I wouldn't go out of my way to visit.