The one thing I love about Hong Kong, and Hong Kong cuisine, is the large variety of choices and options available. Sadly there are only very few restaurants which serve authentic Hong Kong Cuisine in Brisbane. Other than Coffee Square, the other restaurant which I frequent is Ho Lin Wah, situated in Centro Pinelands, near Nandos.
Ho lin wah is a Hong Kong Style Bing Sutt (冰室) literally tea restaurant, which flourished in Hong Kong, being infused with British and Local cultures, offering a range of foods within one restaurant, ranging from rice, noodles, steak, buns, sandwiches, congee, spaghetti and even baked casseroles.
Ho Lin Wah's set up gives off a 70's Hong Kong feel. Upon entering, I could immediately see the amount of effort and attention to detail that has been put into setting up the restaurant. It features 70s style windows from HK, bird cages which were also very popular in restaurants and artwork by the "King of Kowloon"
Even the tiles on the ground are the same as in my home.
Today's post will feature foods from several visits rather than a singular occurrence due to the large variety of food tried.
Starting off, one prominent feature of Hong Kong style tea restaurants is their set meals which change on a daily basis. Set meals usually contain a soup, a main and a drink. Soups which I have had include the following:
Creamy Mushroom Soup
My personal favourite, dried vegetables soup, as I'm not usually keen on creamy milky types of soup, preferring the clear watery based ones more. I particularly like it for its homey taste.
My second favourite, tomato vegetable soup (sometimes called Russian Soup) has a strong tangy tomato taste with the added spice of black peppers.
On to the large variety of mains offered.
The one thing which I use to judge a Hong Kong style restaurant is the calibre of its Wanton Noodles Soup, which I critique based on its Wantons, Noodles as well as soup.
The wantons in Ho Lin Wah's dish were very authentic, having a very decent sized whole prawn wrapped inside. The dumpling skin was the proper thin yellow wanton style skin (as opposed to the thick white jiaozi skin that some restaurants pass off as wanton)
The noodles were egg noodles and they had an authentic springy texture to them, but they were slightly thicker than I expected. The typical wanton noodle soup base is usually made of shrimp and fish. I found the soup a bit lacking in fishiness.
Overall though, this is one of the best wanton noodle soups available in Brisbane. I would consider it on par with Coffee Square, with superior wanton, noodles of equal standing, but losing on the soup.
This is combination ho fan, being flat rice noodles, its usually served stir fried either dried or with a sauce. I prefer with sauce rather than dried.
The roast duck noodles soup is served with the same soup, noodles and vegetables but with Roast Duck instead. I found the duck portion relatively generous, but the meat rather bland.
Their Yang Chow Fried rice was also relatively large in portion, with significantly larger prawns than other restaurants serving the same dish.
This is HK style curry beef. I'm not a fan of curry, but I hear its good.
In terms of their Singapore Noodles, Ho Lin Wah has a solid version, it contains a good noodle to prawn/pork/vegetable ratio, with a nice curry flavour.
The combination fried noodles were particularly nice, with a base of fried crispy noodles.
I liked how the Portuguese chicken (perhaps not truly from Portugal) had a very generous serving of chicken and sauce.
Sizzling steak is also an offering in HK style tea restaurants. Whilst it's not as professional as places like Morrison, or Breakfast Creek, it was done quite nicely, with a large serving of chips and pepper sauce.
The Yin Yang fried rice gives a good alternative for someone who cannot choose between tomato base or cream based sauce by offering the best of both choices. It also tastes pretty good mixed together.
Tomato Pork Chop Baked Rice is a really famous dish in Hong Kong. The offering in Ho Lin Wah is pretty decent, but it could probably be better with a bit more sauce.
Other forms of pasta offered includes Spaghetti with seafood in a cream sauce. I didnt personally get to try this dish, but apparently it was well enjoyed.
In terms of drinks, complimentary tea is provided on a self serve basis. But what really makes me reminisce Hong Kong is the Coffees and Milk Teas
A lot of friends really enjoy the lemon tea, but my favorite is the Hong Kong Style Milk Tea.
It's usually available in hot and cold versions. The thing that sets the milk tea apart from other types is purely its strength. They use super super strong tea, and condensed milk to make this cup of happiness.
Likewise the coffee is also extremely strong, and utilities condensed milk rather than fresh milk or milk powders (like the bubble tea shops)
I really enjoy going to Ho Lin Wah, and have been a regular for quite some time. It offers one of the largest varieties of foods that one can find within the same restaurant, and for that alone, it is good for big groups where everyone wants something different.
Price Range: $7-$15