The first day of our itinerary in Hong Kong was so jam-packed, but still we found a weeny bit of time to explore Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) and go “panic shopping” even for two hours before calling it a day. From Hong Kong Ocean Park 海洋公园, we asked our tour bus driver to drop us at TST and he gladly did. In TST, we saw high-end brands of clothing, shoes, bags and accessories. Ahead of shopping time, dinner came as priority. It was a must to eat, or else our energy level would be down to zero. The least I aspired for was to be knocked unconscious because of hunger. 😛 So, this brings us to the question: Where to eat in Tsim Sha Tsui?

Finding a decent local Chinese restaurant where we could taste local Hong Kong food ate up much of our time. Apparently, we were down at Kimberley Road, which is like the little Korea town in Tsim Sha Tsui. Lots of Korean restaurants and shops stood, and they even expand to the neighboring roads: Nathan Road, Chatham Road South and Cameron Road. Eating other cuisines than Chinese didn’t sound appealing. We walked and walked and walked (too tiring leh) until we found Yuen Kee Restaurant 源記燒味粉麵茶餐廳. Oh finally, God must have answered our prayers!

Review of Yuen Kee Restaurant 源記餐廳 (Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong)

Ambiance: ★★

Upon first glance, Yuen Kee Restaurant was as unassuming as it gets. Nothing fancy. No bells and whistles. As we went in further, we appreciated the interior design more as it was simple, much like those fair Chinese restaurants we have back home in Chinatown, Binondo, Manila. Some recipes of their menu were displayed via back-lit LED pictures on the wall. Overall, the place was well lit and spacious. Bright, busy and packed with dining customers, Yuen Kee was glamorous as a Hong Kong-style fast food establishment.

Service: ★★

The staff understood little English; it was better to speak with them in Cantonese for efficient communication. They acted fast and accommodated our requests from entrance to exit. However, they lacked warmth and cordiality with regard to serving and treating guests. How exactly?

I asked for iced cold water. The server gave hot water. We ordered an additional bowl of steamed rice, and it never came. Not wanting to waste and throw away leftover food, we asked for it to be packed. We were given an empty Styrofoam and plastic bag. The waiter told us to wrap the food ourselves and left us hanging. No guidance or help was provided when we asked how to separate the sauce and food in the Styrofoam to prevent spill-over. Thus, they would certainly not realize that mom already had just taken away one of their sauce containers with the sauce.

I guess that was an instance of culture shock for us. We have grown too familiar with Filipino customer service, which I describe as generally polite, full of cheer, and knowledgeable. And I was terribly missing those all the time when we were in Hong Kong.

Food: ★★

Food presentation impressed the camera, but the food tastes fell short on my expectations. We ordered Two Poultry Legs with Rice 雙脾飯 (HKD 68). The chicken meat was hard to chew and didn’t seem fresh. The flavors were not intense enough to polish our plate. This is a dish you would not dare to order on your second trip back. Unfortunately, the portion was hearty. I don’t know if it’s meant for sharing, but good luck in advance if you plan to finish it alone.

We also tried their Noodles in Oyster Sauce with Shrimp Wontons 雲吞撈麵 (HKD 33), which as well didn’t deserve to merit high marks. The egg noodles were springy in texture (that’s okay); the wonton balls, fully stuffed with shrimp popping out in every bite; and the broth of the soup, too light and almost tasteless. It’s not the version of shrimp wonton noodle soup that I crave.

Price for Value: ★★

Considering the quality and taste of food and the customer service we have experienced, the price for value is really not that good and not worth for a regular dinner. It wasn’t as good as I wished. So if only I was not too hungry that night, I would have rated Yuen Kee Restaurant’s food lower. 😐 See Yuen Kee Restaurant’s menu here.

Yuen Kee Restaurant
27-33 Kimberley Road, Shop 6-10, G/F Wing Lee Building, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
For inquiries, call +852 21919339
Date Published: 08/16/2014
9 / 20 stars

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73 Responses

  1. Erin

    It’s hard being hungry and ending up somewhere that is below what you are expecting. We had that happen several times in Asia. I think that’s just the norm there. Especially the water thing. It’s hard to get cold water in Asia, they always want to give it to you warm or hot. Oh well. At least you got some great pictures out of it.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha true. For the water thing, I think Singapore and Malaysia are also the same. Most staff in hawker centers give warm water IF you don’t explicitly ask for and buy the bottled water from a fridge. Ice will amount to added cost, for some areas.

      Reply
  2. R U S S

    The Two Poultry Legs w- Rice looked good though. Thank you for your honest review. I’d know where to go when I’m in HK.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      If you have friends or family members residing in Hong Kong, I suggest asking them for some really good recommendations on where to eat. Compare their suggestions with what people online are saying. The locals might already attain a different set of taste buds from visiting ones, so it will be ideal if you combine the two and get the mutually agreed great restaurants. 😉

      Reply
  3. Mrs. Mashed Up

    Thanks for the review. Too bad the food didn’t hold up to the way it looked when I glanced through at the pictures. I’m big on bold flavors too–so I might have been disappointed.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      While they had some really good Chinese flavors going on, I didn’t thoroughly enjoy dinner because Chinese food served to us back in the Philippines are much better. These in Yuen Kee didn’t do much for us. You’re welcome.

      Reply
  4. Catheriine S

    Thanks for the review. The food looked good in the pictures. Sorry it wasn’t as good as it looked.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah. Even pictures on the menu were good. The same dishes can be tagged as awesome by other customers, but not me. They should—or Yuen Kee’s business would not have lasted long.

      Reply
  5. Ronda Ogilvie

    awww man! after all that walking and looking for the perfect place to find bad customer service and bland food, what a bummer! better luck next time 🙂

    Reply
  6. Christine Topley

    The food looks amazing (just by looking at the pictures) but you are right, looks can be deceiving. It’s always a shame when you have a preconceived notion of what something will taste like and then you are let down. Thank you for your honest review.

    Reply
  7. Vanessa

    Thank you for this great review! I would love to visit Hong Kong one day. I noticed you are from Manila I understand? I was there back in 2009 and loved my experience. I look forward to reading more posts!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, I’m from Manila. I’m glad to hear that you loved your experience. Feel free to explore my other posts (food, travel, etc.) and discover more fun in the Philippines. 😛

      Reply
  8. Aldous Calubad (@team_aldous)

    I can’t believe the service was that bad. It’s funny how the waiter would make the customers wrap their own leftovers haha

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha it’s just that we’re not used to it. According to many commenters here, wrapping your own leftovers is customary and quite normal in some restaurants.

      Reply
  9. Pal Raine

    Great bonding with your family and at the same time enjoying your meal at YUEN KEE RESTAURANT. But I think they only served ordinary meal,parang usual na nating nakikita sa restaurant ng Pinas.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Right. Prices are a bit more expensive. Well, that’s a given already when in Hong Kong. If you’re hungry and only getting one dish here and nothing else, it’s entirely possible that you could split one between two people and polish off the whole thing. Servings are large.

      Reply
  10. Gil Camporazo

    You find it too tiresome to provide what your tummy is craving, that Chinese foods. Well, in Yue Kee Resto, you’re not quite satisfied of their service due to the language barrier, so as with the foods, except for the ambiance. Well, I don’t know if I do like their foods for my taste buds are not the same as others or as like you.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      With growling stomachs and when in a foreign and unfamiliar place, deciding where to eat poses to be a serious problem. It’s not because of the language barrier actually because we can communicate both in Mandarin and Cantonese well. 😀 Yeah, we can differ in tastes and you may like these food more than I do.

      Reply
  11. Fernando Lachica

    Sad to know that this is the only restaurant that you rated very low. When I traveled there in HongKong in the 90’s, that’s the thing I observed too. But I liked Cantonese food so much.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, for the record, I think this is the top 3 or top 2 restaurant that hit the bottom mark. I like Cantonese food but not ones we had in Yuen Kee, or probably we just happened to have ordered the “wrong dishes.”

      Reply
  12. Dawn

    Blah food is bad enough at a restaurant, but poor customer service is the worst! I’ve been to restaurants with great food and poor customer service. I never went back. Nothing is yummy enough to put up with rudeness.

    Reply
  13. Fernando Lachica

    Usually when I entered into an unknown eating place, my customary habit’s to check the comfort room, and at the same time looking through the counter and kitchen. Sad to say, that you dislike the service and food.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      We also checked out the comfort room. It’s the traditional Chinese style where you have to squat down. My friend didn’t prefer that so she turned back and just held her pee. 😆 The kitchen can’t be seen here transparently.

      Reply
  14. papaleng

    A hungry stomach will in one way or another will find a perfect restaurant. Nice review. Who knows kapag napunta ako sa Hong Kong , eh mapakain ako rito.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      The food tastes might serve you right. But expect also that this is an incredibly hospitable place—not. Haha. If you’re accustomed to their way of service, it’s nothing to be mad at. 😉

      Reply
  15. Kath Rivera

    I didn’t see this resto when I was in Hong Kong. I feel bad for the service and the food. I think hawker food tastes much better than this.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      They have many branches all over HK. In TST alone, walking in about an hour, we already saw two of them both in prime locations. 🙂 Oh yeah, I think so. Next time we go to Hong Kong, we should ask around first, research and plan ahead on where to eat to avoid being disappointed.

      Reply
  16. Vanessa Ally

    Wow, judging by your great photos I thought these meals are really delicious and I did not expect that you will be disappointed. The Noodles in Oyster Sauce with Shrimp Wontons looked so juicy and mouth watering. But this must be due to your great talent as a photographer, lol! Anyways, I enjoyed reading a lot!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha I’m just an amateur photographer taking pictures for the blog’s sake-to share to people where we’ve been and what we ate. Thanks for your comment, Vanessa. The noodle dish was better than the chicken.

      Reply
  17. Leslie

    It’s disappointing to end at restaurants that have mediocre food when there are so many great restaurants to go to. It is unfortunate that they couldn’t even have good service.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, we would rather have gone to a small restaurant with hawker-style ambiance and be pleased with great food (and even self-service) rather than be fed with food that’s a joke.

      Reply
  18. mindy

    I totally get the same culture shock when it comes to services in HK! Indonesian hospitality is very popular (honestly even Malaysian services shocked me because they’re very bad compared to Indonesian’s *mostly* warm services. I find shop attendants didn’t really say thank you when you purchase stuffs from their stores except in upscale malls) so… It’s just so shocking whenever i go to countries that aren’t as warm. But i think the “pack your own leftover” there is the norm because we did it too a few times in HK resturants, even the very expensive and with great services one in Ocean Park

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I’m now more interested to visit Indonesia, hearing you say that. 🙂 I hope it’s okay if I ask you for suggested itinerary next time (and also, where the best restaurants are located)!

      Reply
  19. Bonnie @ wemake7

    Great review! That sucks that they weren’t very friendly. That really can ruin an experience.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Bonnie. If I remember correctly, Yuen Kee is one of the restaurants I’ve rated with low points. Never mind mediocre ambiance, but when food and service are bad, everything else falls to negative like domino.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You’re welcome! If you ever have the chance to visit TST and land at Kimberley Road, it’s still okay to try dining at Yuen Kee. The menu has varied dishes (with all prices steep) so you might find something you’d like anyhow. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, but don’t get me wrong. The last thing I would wish to do is discourage anyone from visiting this Hong Kong-style fast food restaurant. Maybe you’ll enjoy the food here. You’ll never know for yourself until you try. 🙂

      Reply
  20. Ann Bacciaglia

    I appreciate your honest review. Customer service is so important. It drives me nuts when I ask for water or a beverage refill and I never get it. It is a small thing but I will remember it.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, customer service breaks or makes a restaurant. Maybe it’s also part of their culture as other locals dining that night were not too appalled. 😆

      Reply
  21. Karen of MrsLookingGood

    Sorry to hear that you were not happy with the service and food at Yuen Kee! Sometimes when you’re too hungry you could be very forgiving but I guess the food really was not at par that night.

    In the US you also bag your own leftovers. It takes some getting used to. But the customer service in restaurants here is also top notch like in other countries.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I see. We just did not expect that they will offer cold treatment. Anyway, thanks for sharing that. We all learn from different experiences when we’re in a place far from home. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Actually this chain is insanely popular in Hong Kong. I’ve heard that Yuen Kee has been established for over 30 years now. Their long-standing existence must prove that locals really like their food, and my taste differ. Thanks, Angele!

      Reply
  22. Maria Oller

    I am a fan of the chinese food and asian food in general, but it’s really hard in the US to find good restaurants with somewhat affordable prices. Most places here will also let you pack the left overs yourself.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I think Yelp and other review sites can help you locating which ones are good to try and those that should be put in the never-to-go list. When all else fail, a trip to your local Chinatown may be a good idea. 😀

      Reply
  23. Amanda Love

    I like reading honest reviews like these. If I’m ever in Hong Kong I’ll probably steer clear of this restaurant because I love my food with lots of flavor.

    Reply
  24. Lai Gamboa

    I was really enticed by the photos of the foods, haha. Who would have thought that the food is below average when it comes to taste. Its just very disappointing to end up in this kind of service and foods after a very tiring day.

    Reply
  25. Rebecca Swenor

    Looks like you had an awesome time. The food look amazing. I have never see chicken cut that way before. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  26. Carolyn

    The food did not look very appealing. In fact the wontons looked quite slimey. Is it normal custom to give the water hot?

    Reply
  27. Jason Panuelos

    Wow that’s really saddening! But then I agree that it is just their culture there. Nevertheless, your post made me miss Hong Kong so much! Haha 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, I have to experience more of Hong Kong so I can get used to their culture. 🙂 Sometimes it’s interesting to deal with different folks (different strokes)!

      Reply
  28. Chel

    I’m curious with this place now. Will try here when Im back in Hongkong. Thanks for giving us an idea.

    Reply

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