Monday, October 1, 2007

Authentic Cantonese at Yung Kee

To celebrate National Day of the PRC (or, more importantly, the fact that we get a bank holiday because of it), the BF and I decided to head to Yung Kee. This restaurant prides itself in being the only Chinese restaurant to make the Fortune Best 15 in the World (in 1968!) and is famous for its roast goose.

The restaurant is easy to find and, although it is just a stone's throw away from the ex-pat debauchery of Lan Kwai Fong, this place is mainly filled with large Chinese family groups. It's wise to book ahead, which you can do online, as it gets pretty busy.

We decided to try the somewhat pricey $780 "Deluxe" set menu for two, as we weren't sure what to try. To kick off, we were served up a 1,000 year old duck egg and some pickled ginger. The ginger was tasty but we weren't quite so sure about the duck egg - it certainly didn't look appetising with a greyish, translucent white and a putrid, slimy looking greenish grey yolk. The BF found it completely nauseating and I could just tolerate about tolerate the intense boiled egg flavour, although I wouldn't want to eat a whole one! We both agreed that we preferred Kylie Kwong's less extreme version that I had previously cooked as part of a Weekend Cookbook Challenge.

We were relieved to be served up with some delicious Deep Fried Shrimp with Mini Crab Roe next. These were washed down nicely with some Tsing Tao beer.

Our Roasted Goose with Preserved Pig Trotter in Soy Sauce was unfortunately sans pig trotter, as these had already sold out by 8pm. However, it didn't detract in any way from the gloriousness of the dish. The meat was succulently fatty with a crisp, crackly skin and definitely worthy of the 2002 Gold award at the Best of the Best Culinary Awards.

The Abalone with Mushroom in Superior Soup was a tasty clear broth with a subtle seafood flavour. The Steamed Garoupa with Chinese Ham was pleasant enough, but nothing in particular to write home about, as were the Wonton Noodles.

Finally, the Mango Pudding seemed to have genuine chunks of mango in, which made a pleasant surprise and a bit of a change from the usual Angel Delight-style puddings most Chinese restaurants serve up.

Overall, the meal was slightly disappointing for the price, but there were the occasional flashes of brilliance which made it worthwhile. It was interesting to note on re-visiting the menu that the two dishes we loved (the shrimp and the goose) were the two award winning elements of the menu.

My advice would be, don't bother with the set menu - go a la carte and pick some of the award winners. The goose is out of this world and worth a visit by itself, but just don't expect the same superlative standards of every dish on the menu.

Yung Kee
38-40 Wellington St, Central
Hong Kong
+852 2522 1624


Anonymous said...

Randomly stumbled on your blog as I was looking for reviews of Hutong - I am planning a trip to HK some time next week and I found the review very helpful. I've already reserved a table there.

I'm glad you covered Yung Kee as one of the foodie destination in HK. I never fail to visit this place with every trip to HK (which is pratically every year). As you mentioned, the goose is amazing and the restaurant even do special requests for customers to have it packed up to be taken on the plane. (damn you British Customs) While I do get where you are coming from, being Chinese, those century eggs are to die for. :) Their mango pudding falls far off the mark - you can get better in those dessert stalls if you know where to look.