This popular Hong Kong restaurant started life as a street stall selling bbq meat near the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal in 1942. Yung Kee is a story of ultra success, after a series of expansions and moves, it now occupies four storeys and seats more than 650 guests in the Yung Kee building, jointly owned by the children of founder, Kam Shui-Fai. The fourth floor is both alluring and mysterious, it’s an invite only VIP section that is accessible by a separate entrance.
Unless you book, be prepared for a long, long wait, noodlies Sydney food blog and friend made that mistake and queued for over an hour on new year’s day. Yung Kee’s specialty is roast goose. Goose meat is dark, it has more fat and is more gamy than duck. But before we get to the goose, there were several other delicious distractions…
Century egg, also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg is basically duck or chicken egg preserved in a mixture that includes clay ash salt and lime for several months. The egg whites turns a grey translucent colour with little taste, while the yolk goes dark green in colour with runny jelly consistency and is pungent in taste. When eaten on their own, century eggs could be a tad overwhelming, which was why I suspected they came with pickled ginger.
Cantonese food is all about bringing out the flavours of the main ingredient, without the distraction of heavy-handed sauces and spices. The abalone was huge, meaty, tasty… wonderfully rewarding, very ably supported by the subtle but flavoursome clear soup. A must!
Tofu polarises; you either like or hate it. You can see why it would feature in Cantonese cuisine. I’m very much in the like camp. Here it’s fried and presented on a bed of lightly pickled giant bean sprouts, which brings extra flavour and texture. A great starter.
Bitter melon was possibly not the most appropriate dish to order on new year’s day (even though it’s not lunar new year’s day), after all, who really craves bitterness in the coming year? Regardless, it was delicious, the bitterness toned down with the dark garlic sauce. An ideal balance and contrast to our other starters.
There was only two of us so instead of the whole roast goose, we had a mixed plate which also included char siu (Chinese bbq pork). Today was a day of many firsts, snake at Ser Wong Fun and now goose at Yung Kee. It is a lot fattier than even duck, but for me, had even more flavour, the texture firm and significant. I liked the skin in particular (heart attack territory).
Yung Kee’s business suffered during the 2001 SARS crisis, but has now fully recovered as evidenced by the long queues day and night. It was a one michelin star restaurant, but lost it in 2012, some say due to the variable quality of its goose.
It’d be a shame to visit Hong Kong without visiting this institution, just make sure you pre-book.
Yung Kee Restaurant
32-40 Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong
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They were taken with a Sony NEX-5N, a supporter of noodlies.