Huntun Hou

2 Mar

Despite the restaurant sign outside telling me I was at Huntun Hou (Hou Won Ton), the two menus plonked in front of me by the brisk waitress had me worried about what I’d be eating for dinner. That’s right, two menus, and not one of them featuring any wonton soups! A little exchange between us, with her asking me if I’d come here to eat (chi) or drink (he). From my Chinese lessons, I know that you don’t “eat” soup in China, you drink it. But me saying I’d come to drink only caused more confusion, with the waitress pointing out the beers. Finally, my Chinese prevailed, and she produced a little scrap of paper with only Chinese characters and prices, explaining that this was the wonton soup menu. As I couldn’t read any of the types, I went simple for my first try, and ordered pork wontons in soup (Xian Rou Huntun). They must be the “default” ones, as they are at the top of the small scrap of paper. You pay as soon as you order at this no-frills place, and within five minutes my steaming hot bowl of wontons and soup was in front of me. Not sure if my pictures capture the steam rising off the top of the soup, but they were piping hot.

Ever since our Christmas trip to Shanghai, where we ate huge bowls of hot wonton soup for breakfast, I’ve been craving more wontons. Hun Tun (wonton) Hou is known for their wonton soups, and luckily for me, there’s one around the corner from my house, in Longfusi Street. As I mentioned, it’s no frills, but it was full of happy diners enjoying wonton soups and dumplings, that I didn’t mind that the decor and ambience wasn’t anything flash.

Anyway, back to my dinner. As I write this, I can feel my sore, burnt tongue. It’s a result of digging in too quickly to the soup. I’ve learnt my lesson now, but then I just couldn’t help it. It smelt delicious and I was hungry, but I learnt my lesson. The soup was light and flavoursome, and didn’t have the coating of oil that so many soups leave your lips feeling oily after eating them. Fresh chopped coriander, seaweed, pickled ginger and dried shrimps were floating among the 10 wontons (the menu tells you you’ll get 10 in your bowl) and soup. And for 8rmb per bowl, I was pretty satisfied. I hadn’t tried the dried shrimp like this before, but they added a nice salty taste to the soup, the coriander was fresh and chewy, with the pickled ginger adding some zing. Most other tables were ordering the wonton soups, and while I’m not sure what type of wontons they were eating, I reckon all the wontons here would be good. I’ve also heard that there’s fabulous wontons stuffed with crab meat (Xie Rou Huntun). Sure, the bowl may not have been as big as the one in Shanghai, nor the wontons as huge (they were hard to eat and so slippery!), but it really was so delicious and tasty, and something I’ll definitely be going back for again.

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