REVIEW

Ser Wong Fun

The stench when you open the door of Ser Wong Fun, located just under the base of the Mid-Level Escalators in Central, is liable to knock you backwards. That is the smell of a blend of snakes double-boiling. Ser Wong Fun means, roughly, "Snake King Fragrance" and it is perhaps the most iconic of Hong Kong's remaining snake soup shops. With a 125 year history, it is one of the oldest, and the last, practitioners of this dying art. Snake soup has been considered a Chinese delicacy for nearly 2,000 years, but preparing it is difficult, unglamorous work, and there are increasingly few apprentices to whom snake kings can pass on their skills. It is consumed copiously by local Hong Kongers in winter months on account of a belief in its medicinal properties (among other things, that it is a warming food which heats the body in winter).

Surprisingly given the odor, the taste of the soup is very mild and frankly more akin to chicken than anything else (the similarity is likely amplified by the use of aged chickens to make the base and the addition of chicken while boiling). Several types of snakes, most commonly water snakes and pythons, are shredded into thin strips and added to a broth that is slightly sweet owing to the addition of chrysanthemum leaves and spices. Crunchy fried wontons on top provide some textural contrast. Ser Wong Fun is a relatively tame place to have your first snake soup experience: it is clean and there is none of the (possibly unappetizing) drama of pulling live venomous snakes out of wooden drawers in the shop that is common at many venues in town, such as the famous Shia Wong Hip. Somewhat hilariously, Ser Wong Fun's owner Ng Gwai Fun is afraid of snakes and can't stand the idea of eating them, so you won't be alone if you choose to turn around after smacking into the olfactory wall at the entrance.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Read users' comments about this venue or post your own...

INFORMATION

Central
30 Cochrane Street
+852 2543-1032
    Ng Gwai Fun, Owner

    TAGS

    • Hong Kong
    • Cantonese
    • Chinese
    • Taiwanese
    • Best Value

    OTHER REVIEWS