Is Shu Qi's viral Taiwan noodle bar in Hong Kong worth it?

The interior of Kiki Noodle Bar in IFC, Central.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

Three Taiwanese celebrities - Shu Qi, Pauline Lan Xinmei and Matilda Tao Ching-ying - recently opened two new branches of Kiki Noodle Bar in Hong Kong, after the first, in Taiwan, went viral on social media.

The Hong Kong shops have teamed up with three-Michelin-star chef Albert Au Kwok-keung to create special dishes.

Three of us arrived at Kiki in Central at 6pm on a Tuesday when just a few customers were dining.

The shop - decorated in white and pale wood - has large windows so you can look into the open kitchen.

PHOTO: South China Morning Post

The signature dish, abalone and fish maw noodle soup (HK$138 (S$24.30)), was created by Au, who is the youngest Chinese chef of a three-Michelin-star restaurant (The Eight in Macau).

Made from pork bone and chicken simmered for hours, the soup base had a rich taste and was gelatinous and not greasy.

The two abalone in the broth were chewy, elastic and smooth, while the fish maw didn't taste fishy, and absorbed the taste of the soup. Chinese cabbage added a fresh flavour to the broth.

We also had a combo (HK$148) with Sichuan-style beef noodle soup, steamed chicken with sesame and black pepper, and white peach oolong tea.

Compared with the abalone and fish maw noodle soup, this combo is much saltier.

PHOTO: South China Morning Post

The thick pieces of beef were layered with tendon and well cooked, and the broth was spicy, numbing and savoury - and too salty.

The noodles were chewy, and the Chinese cabbage was slightly overcooked.

PHOTO: South China Morning Post

But the steamed chicken was delicious - fresh, tender and juicy.

The sauce, made with sesame and black pepper, enhanced the aroma of the chicken.

PHOTO: South China Morning Post

The white peach juice was cool, refreshing and not too sweet, and it soothed my tongue after the spicy noodles.

Kiki Noodle Bar, Shop 2017, 2/F, IFC, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, tel: 2114 3426. Open: 11am-10pm.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post

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