I know this might freak people out but I first read about this famous restaurant from a Reader’s Digest article (circa 1991) which is a biography on the famous Chinese author, Lin Yu-Tang written by his daughter, the late Lin Tai-Yi. There was this particular section in the article which narrates the father visiting Hong Kong with his daughter and ate at this famous restaurant. After consuming its most famous dish, roast goose, the elderly gentleman reportedly vomited blood at night.
That was in 1991 when I was an earnest 10 year old but strangely, I didn’t remember Yung Kee in a negative light – conversely speaking, I was actually more curious as to what this amazing roast goose could do to the health and whether this delicacy is indeed as delicious as what most people readily assert. That biography also mentioned other dishes like ‘Eight Precious Duck’ and roast lamb which the subject matter apparently enjoys a lot. Remember that these were the days before the internet invaded our daily lives, so I could only dream as to what roast goose or that particular duck would taste like.
Ok – enough reminiscing already. Moving back to the present, Yung Kee is the glittering jewel in Wellington Street, Central. You could see the aura emanating from the busy intersection and as you approach, you’d not miss the dazzling golden-coloured building. It’s located opposite Tsui Wah Restaurant (where we had dinner the day before).
Consisting of two dining floors, Yung Kee offers seating arrangements on both the ground floor and the (upper) first floor. Still, it’s best to place a reservation early for a table as walk-in patrons often found themselves on the waiting list for a pretty long time. We saw a long line of people still waiting to be seated when we finished dinner. Two weeks prior reservation is no exaggeration.
Because we had placed a reservation more than a month before, we were quickly ushered to our seats. The anticipation was already growing inside…
Since this place is an august establishment, the waiters are naturally more courteous than the usual ‘cha chaan tengs’. We had a thorough look at the menu items and decided that the prices aren’t overpriced as what one would be led to believe. But we definitely knew what we came here for – roast goose!
Now – if I have to make a choice between roast goose and roasted duck, I’d prefer the former.
I’m no food connoisseur, but I thought that the texture of the goose meat and its flavour is more appealing than roasted duck meat which could taste gamey on occasion. The sudden dopamine release when sinking my teeth into the glistening roasted skin is indescribable – it was succulent and well-done. Goose is slightly fatty, though, and looked more oily than regular duck. For me, the chance to savour roast goose doesn’t come everyday so it didn’t matter a bit.
We also had these delectable treats – century eggs!
The sulphur aroma is very distinct, all right – and the egg yolk was surprisingly creamy. Let’s not compare these to the country where I come from ok – I’ve already given up.
The century egg had some patterns in it but my Iphone 5 camera couldn’t accurately capture the designs. See if you could spot it near the middle left side.
This is crab meat served on a bed of broccoli. Wonderful combo. Goes well with white rice.
Any fan of roasted meat shouldn’t miss these – it’s char siew + soy sauce chicken + roasted pork.
Spreading the meat aside – you could see yellow beans concealed underneath.
I thought the roast pork was too fatty but the char siew was one of the best we’ve eaten in HK. The chicken was, in my view, so-so only.
This is another smashing dish – tofu with sea cucumber and mince pork. The humble sea cucumber looked deceptively like carrots in the above picture, but I assure you that the combo of all three ingredients is something quite special. Have it with some white rice.
No, we weren’t done yet.
As Dad was dutifully polishing off the last slivers of soy sauce chicken, we were poring over the menu again and settled on something we had not enjoyed for a very long time (10 years to be precise) – roasted pigeon.
Whereas the roast goose was unabashedly bathed in oil, the roasted pigeon was served with almost no visible oil streak on the serving dish.
The question as to the taste of pigeon is also difficult to answer accurately – it tasted more like duck than chicken and has a rather pungent and gamey aftertaste. There isn’t much meat in the entire bird, but we just wanted to get reacquainted with the taste – and we weren’t disappointed. Every single piece of the pigeon was polished up – skin and all. There was some sour plum powder / sauce to enjoy it with too.
The total bill came up to RM640 (approximately HKD1,580) which is affordable in my view. We don’t pamper ourselves very often, so this is definitely money well spent.
We did a bit of shopping at HMV (located at the Entertainment Building) which is not far from the restaurant. I bought ‘The Simpsons: First Season’ on DVD, Leslie Cheung’s ‘Final Encounter’ album and lots of button badges for friends as souvenirs.
Overall, it was a lovely evening. Great food and shopping – only in Hong Kong!