Boat noodles are a staple of Thai street food. While each restaurant has its own secret recipe – passed down from generation to generation – the essence of any boat noodles dish is its broth, made from soy-braising sauce and pig’s blood, as well as tons of spices. It’s the perfect antidote for when you crave a taste of Thailand. We slurp our way around the city to pick out the five best boat noodles in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s best boat noodles
Step into this 70s style eatery for a taste of its boat noodles. There are seven variations to tuck into, all as authentic as any from Thailand. While portions aren’t huge, it’s seriously cheap – each bowl starts from $25. The soup base is brewed using fresh pork bone to give it its rich flavour (and it’s not overly salty). The restaurant's not stingy with other ingredients either. The signature pork boat noodles come with pig’s liver, pork belly and loads of other herbs. The curry brisket noodles and Hainanese chicken rice aren’t shabby either.
There’s no beating around the bush here. Take one guess what this Mong Kok noodle joint serves. The restaurant wouldn’t look out of place in Thailand with its retro designs and wooden furnishings. But the highlight is its signature dish, which comes in almost 10 variations. We recommend going for the Angus beef with pad thai noodles ($68), where the soup comes with a gorgeous beef flavour with a hint of spiciness. The beef itself is seriously tender and tasty to boot, accompanied by chewy beef balls and brisket.
Calling Kowloon City its home for the past 20 years, Cheong Fat went from a Thai grocery store to a popular local noodle spot. The menu here is impressive, from crowd favourite snacks and skewers to curries and all kinds of carb-tastic dishes. The range of noodle types alone is vast – take your pick of rice noodles, glass noodles, egg noodles and so much more. Their signature boat noodles contain all the good stuff including pork and meatballs while the soup is made from pig’s blood and spices to create a super rich broth.
Tucked among the numerous restaurants on TST’s Hau Fook Street is a fantastic and authentic Thai joint that serves up boat noodles from a family recipe. This is one of the few places in Hong Kong to delve into Rayong Province-style noodles and rice dishes, as well as brilliant Thai milk tea. Boat noodles wise, the soup base is an exquisite soy-braised sauce that features more than 15 ingredients, with 15kg of pork bones cooked for three days. No extra seasoning is needed.
Situated near Wan Chai’s iconic Blue House, Samsen is easily one of the most popular Thai places on Hong Kong Island (the Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand recommendation also helps). This rustic eatery specialises in Thai street food, including generous bowls of wagyu or pork boat noodles. The broth is made with liberal amounts of coriander, cinnamon and lemongrass, as well as pork bones and blood, to conjure up an appetising, dark and aromatic soup. The wagyu beef boat noodles ($128) is a must-try. Even though it’s not exactly wallet-friendly, it’s so good that you’ll think about it all day.