There are millions of Hong Kong Stories. This is one of them….
Hong Kong is a well known foodies paradise. It has 61 restaurants with one Michelin star or more and most certainly the greatest concentration in the world, given the size of the city. Looking past the flashy accolades, there are the restaurants that reflect the wide regional and ethnic cuisines of China, the district wet markets and cooked food centres and a surprisingly small amount of street food.
There are also the ‘Chiu Chow’ restaurants that serve the food of Chaozhou in Guandong (Canton) province, of which Hong Kong is a part. They feature food of this coastal town including fish, oysters (oyster omelets are world renown), duck and crab. Chiu Chow (or Teochow) food is often poached, steamed or braised as well as traditional stir frying. Australians would be very familiar with this style of cuisine and menu and indeed, when you visit a Chiu Chow restaurant, you could be in any laminex table venue in any China Town across the country.
Tiny Venue, Big Accolades
Another feature of Chiu Chow cuisine is goose. This is a menu item we don’t see a lot of in Australia so we were keen to seek it out. It appears the Michelin inspectors felt the same way which is how we found ourselves in a tiny one Michelin starred roast goose joint in the back streets of Central at 11am on a Tuesday morning. Despite its fame, Yat Lok Roast Goose is a no nonsense establishment. Walls are decorated with menu items written on bright paper, old Christmas decorations and out of date calendars. Chopsticks, sauces and condiments are sitting on the table so you can help yourself. Yat Lok Roast Goose is well practiced in dealing with wide-eyed Gweilo, offering point and choose picture menus so you have some idea of what you’re ordering. So, just like so many restaurants in any China Town and beyond.
We opted for a small serve of goose and rice ($50 HKD), a Beijing dumpling soup ($50 HKD) and a serve of Chinese vegetables ($28 HKD). The famously fatty goose had been roasted to render out most of the fat, resulting in a paper thin crisp skin. I’ve never eaten goose but have had roast duck many times and have to say I could discern little difference in taste. I’m guessing that from the number of geese this place gets through, they’re bred in industrial proportions and may not taste as gamey as a farm raised bird. Plenty of bones in it too, but that’s all part of the charm of ‘eating like a local’. The dumpling soup was a revelation, with one of the most flavoursome broths I’ve ever enjoyed in this style of soup. The Chinese greens were essentially braised lettuce but we’re not complaining for the price.
4 Top Tips – Be Prepared for the Yat Lok Experience
- Make sure you note the street address – the entry is narrow and non descript and the geese are not in the window at the front. There is no English signage so you need to be eagle eyed.
- Visit early – by visiting mid morning, we avoided the large queues that form from lunch time on and were able to get a table straight away. There is no lull from lunch until closing.
- Be VERY CAREFUL when you enter – the floors are covered in a thin sheen of goose fat that nearly saw me go for a six. Whilst we were eating, I saw fellow patron take a heavy fall.
- Bring your own tissues – they supply everything but serviettes and make some handy extra cash by selling small packets of tissues to customers whose hands are covered in goose grease
Now you can visit a Michelin starred restaurant and savour a genuine local eating experience less that $25 AUD!
Yat Lok Roast Goose
24-28 Stanley St
Central District Hong Kong
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