Old-School Hong Kong BBQ & Wok-Fired Dishes - Sam Woo BBQ [Thoughts + Pics]


I really wanna try bamboo pole noodles. And there is not many makers around I hear.



Why, I’m glad you asked! These bowls of heaven are from Wing Wah Noodle Shop in Wan Chai (HK). There’s an old man (I think Bourdain visited him in HK) whose backbreaking effort daily produces these superb duck egg bamboo noodles…

Beef tendon & brisket…

Tza jiang mian…

Shrimp wonton…

Just putting these memories back up, I want to get on an airplane now…


That is the most beautiful and most cruel post ever.


restaurateurs prefer to retain their manhood and eunuchs are extinct…


@Chowseeker1999 Noodle boy used to go by “Wonton Time” before they relocated from Alhambra to Rosemead. It’s a one trick pony (in a good way) offering only thin egg noodles with a handful of toppings. Easy to slot in for a SGV bang-bang next time you’re in the area.


@JeetKuneBao Noodle Boy > Harlam IMO. Have not tried New Dragon. Counting on your report post bang-bang.

@beefnoguy unfortunately no wide noodles. 100% Cantonese joint with requisite brusque & efficient service - won’t compare to the storied joints in HK, but I think they do a decent job here in the US. It was more consistent when they operated out of the smaller place in Alhambra. they owner was the sole guy slinging each bowl back then. Highly recommend picking up a bottle of chili sauce from Noodle boy if you stop by.
Unfortunately they don’t offer brisket etc. the balls are quite good though. Have you tried Hon’s Wun Tun House in SF? Was my regular lunch spot when I was working up north - loved all the nasty bits they offer.


Hi @J_L,

That looks so good! :slight_smile:


My last address in Hong Kong in year 1963 was an eight minutes walk from Wing Wah. I don’t recall an “old man” bouncing on a pole there. :slight_smile:


The poor guy makes them in his flat, and then delivers them to the shops.

Maybe this Bourdain snippet will explain…


Shit, as a 6 year old street urchin, bamboo pounded noodles wooda been way beyond my horizon.


RIP Bamboodles



How was it? Obviously not as good as HK


@ns1 I believe the bottles have expiration date, but you could keep them refrigerated for a while and even if not kept in cold storage it should still be good (quite miraculous for a sweet potato based chili sauce with no preservatives). This chili sauce used to be a bit more widespread at some HK won ton noodle shops but they’ve replaced it with other brands due to the higher costs. You might still find YKY at Lau Sam Kee in Sham Shui Po, and there is an equivalent brand that some locals prefer (forgot the name) that may be a bit spicier but lacks the complexity of YKY. Supposedly Canto ja jeung meen tastes the bombest if YKY chili sauce is used.

@J_L excellent choice of a won ton noodle restaurant. Too bad that won ton noodle expert guy on the other board dislikes Wing Wah but when you rate a restaurant based on one dish only and don’t seek out and explore other things on the menu that are equally if not more delicious, you lose out. Wing Wah’s brisket and tendon noodles are awesome, and I love how they add shitake to their ja jeung meen for additional texture (though I’m more a of a wide egg noodles fan) Here was my plate from 4+ years back

Strangely they can sometimes serve the topping room temperature/lightly chilled, so not sure what’s up with that. But luckily it was fairly hot for my plate. My kind of Cantonese pasta al dente…

Their pickled daikon (self help in jars) are excellent to snack on, and help provide some acidity balance to the alkalinity in the noodles (and aiding in digestion according to elder wisdom).

For me I’m more of a fan of their shui gow than the won tons (though Lau Sam Kee’s shui gow are better overall).

As far as the bamboo pole goes, maybe 10 years ago it was written the original noodle maker came out of retirement to do noodles again. Locals in the know tell me they’ve never seen the guy, but at the time you can still see the pole leaning towards the window on the 2nd floor from the outside.

@Sgee Yes been to Hon’s in SF. At least the portions were authentic. The wontons when fresh are very good (mostly the texture of the skins). Not a fan of the broth and the noodles are not that good (the color reminds me of bandages). Plain cheung fun made be made in house but it’s dry and they reheat using microwave… I tend to get brisket lo mein more over there, and once in a while the spicy beef tendons. Nothing else like that around town now…where the chef cooks the noodles and assembles the bowl in front of you. The sentiment here is more important than ultimate deliciousness, and it kind of balances out in an oddball way.


It was good but certainly not transcendental. The fact that it only lasted a couple of years probably says something.


Bamboodles had its moments and supporters, most notably for those green tea pork noodles.


Thanks for the kind words. And agree on all counts. By the way, is George still active on Chowhound?


Traditional Hong Kong food and culture is going to die a slow eventual death at this rate. Millenials don’t really want to slave in a restaurant. Those that do, don’t want to learn Cantonese (let alone Chinese) cooking and prefer to do Western or Japanese (because it’s popular…). Piling on top are lots of social political and economic woes, skyrocketing retail estate. Who else except the older generation still have the passion to hand craft delicious food that doesn’t sell for much of a profit (while knowing they don’t have anyone to train or take their place)? Sad times indeed.


Thanks @beefnoguy. Yah it’s sad. During our visits to Sam Woo BBQ at Focus Plaza / Valley, there were zero younger people in the restaurant outside of our group. Everyone there looked older / grandparents, etc. Then 20 feet away at some random Boba Tea shop in the same plaza, there was a massive throng of young Chinese kids checking their phones and snapping photos and talking.


By estimation how many dai pai dongs are still left?

If I go sometime in the next few years will they still be around?


There are fewer home cooking Cantonese joints like Sam Woo now, but it is food that most young Chinese can still get at home, while the older folks find it easier to go to Sam Woo and HoKee than to make the food for themselves. That said, most of the large Cantonese restaurants like Elite, Seafood Harbour, King Hua, and Lunasia are still there, even as many other different types of Chinese food have moved into the SGV.