Hong Kong’s Best Noodle Chains: TamJai SamGor Mixian

TamJai SamGor Mixian is one of Hong Kong’s most popular restaurant chains. Despite the  awkward English translation of its name, it serves yummy Yunnan-style rice noodles with a choice of five kinds of broth and several mouth-watering “condiments”.

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One of two TamJai SamGor Mixian outlets in Sheung Shui, New Territories. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Food + Beverage

TamJai SamGor Mixian (譚仔三哥米線) is one of Hong Kong’s most popular fast-food restaurant chains focusing on noodles.

Founded in the 1900s, the family run business was originally called TamJai Mixian (譚仔米線).

Owing to a conflict between shareholders, the company was split in two in 2008, with two very similar names: In addition to TamJai SamGor Mixian is TamJai Yunnan Mixian (譚仔雲南米線).

The menu at both restaurant chains is similar, and many people do, in fact, get the two chains mixed up.

The signature dish at the outlets of both chains is Yunnanese style rice noodles, a.k.a. “mixian”, which is difficult to pronounce if you don’t speak Mandarin, a.k.a. Putonghua.

Asian Noodles

Noodles are popular across Asia, and there are various types. Most commonly, they are made of wheat, buckwheat, mung beans, potato starch, or rice.

Noodles are often dried to prolong their shelf life. They can be fried, baked, or served in soup or broth.

What sets mixian apart from most other types of types of Chinese noodles is that they glutinous, which means they are never dried.

Not only that, Yunnanese rice noodles are usually served in a bowl together with a clear broth. They are not usually fried.

How to Order Yunnan Style Rice Noodles

TamJai SanGor serves Yunnanese rice noodles with a choice of five bases, which range from a mild broth to a broth called “crossing the bridge”, which features the numbing spices of China’s Sichuan province.

When ordering a bowl of Yunnanese noodles, the first step is to choose your base. The second step is to pick your condiments. The final step is to choose your level of spiciness; there are 10 grades, from “small” to “big”.

With five bases, more than 20 condiments, and 10 levels of spiciness, the number of possible combinations at TamJai SamGor Mixian is practically endless!

My Recommended Combination …

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Yunnan-style rice noodles with hot and sour broth topped with pickled vegetables, bean sprouts, and tofu skins, and with spicy minced pork on the side. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

TamJai SanGor Mixian is one of my favourite restaurant chains in Hong Kong. I eat at one of their outlets once or twice a month.

Over the years, I have experimented with various combinations of bases, condiments, and spiciness levels. Slowly, but surely, I’ve settled on one combination, which I now rarely vary from.

For my base, my personal favourite is hot and sour. I absolutely love the taste.

For condiments, I favour pickled vegetables, bean sprouts, minced spicy pork, and tofu skins.

Tofu skins absorb the other flavours in the broth, but the real attraction is their texture, which is difficult to describe.

All I can say is, “Try it! You’ll like it!”

Most of the condiments are put in the bowl by the chef at the last minute. An exception is the minced spicy pork, which is served in a small bowl on the side.

As for spiciness, the hot and sour base has a fixed combination of flavours, coming with a fixed amount of heat.

If it’s not hot enough as served (it does vary from visit to visit), there is hot sauce on the table that you can top it up with.

There are also containers of vinegar and soy sauce on the table, and I sometimes add a bit more vinegar, as well.

OMG! What a satisfying meal this makes!

The Side Dishes …

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Side dishes at TamJai SamGor Mixian are perfect for sharing. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

In addition to noodles, TamJai Mixian serves several side dishes, which are perfect to share. The chicken wings are especially popular as is the fatty pork.

The Location …

There are dozens of TamJai SamGor outlets spread across Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories, and the outlying islands!

There are two TamJai SamGor outlets in Sheung Shui, the nearest town to the village I live in. As far as I know, there is a TamJai Yunnan Mixian outlet, as well.

There is even an outlet at Hong Kong International Airport! Talk about a first and last chance!

What I Love …

I love practically everything about this place: the food, the ambiance, and the price. I can have a very satisfying meal for about HK$50, including beverage.

What I Hate …

The side dishes don’t always live up to the same standard as the Yunnanese noodles.

The pickled cucumbers are especially disappointing. In my opinion, they simply aren’t allowed to steep long enough, but I’ve had this complaint at other Chinese restaurants – both in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

The biggest disappointment is that TamJai SamGor Mixian doesn’t serve beer! So I have to settle for iced lemon tea, which, I admit, does go very well with the mouthwatering noodles.

Word to the Wise …

TamJai Mixian SamGor is extraordinarily popular in Hong Kong. Expect to share tables at meal time.

Where

TamJai Mixian – Shop 2049-50, Sheung Shui Centre, 3 Chi Cheong Road, Sheung Shui, NT, Hong Kong. Tel: 2777-3031.

 

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