Thursday, December 30, 2021

Episode 4

I can count with one hand the number of times I dined in Yung Kee over the years - to the extent I couldn't quite recognize what improvement they have made to the dining area during their latest renovation project (which only completed months ago).

We were in the "4th episode" of the "Mo Duck Shue" dinner series, when we took turn organizing meals at places we thought it's "unbeatable", and Yung Kee was the one proposed by our friend P with a customized menu drawn up beforehand. (Here's where we went previously: 1, 2, 3) This 80-year-old restaurant may be best known for its Cantonese Roast Goose dish, but their secret dishes not listed in their regular menu were also intriguing, according to those in the loop. And good we got to try some of those this time. 

We began the night with pickled ginger and century egg, signature dish of the place with the right balance of acidity and sweetness. The classic goose feet rolls (燒鵝掌扎) were well-presented and served in tasting portions, with this crafty dish made by scores of ingredients (pork, goose liver and meat) rolled in the whole roasted goose feet deboned before cutting into thick slices. I love the tender texture and the complex tastes in every bite.  

Two more appetizers were served - bones of frog's legs were carefully removed and deep-fried with batter and a generous sprinkle of salt, which were perfect with wines. Pig aorta was the other dish, blanched and served with julienned ginger and scallions with the dipping soy sauce served on the side. It has quite a bouncy bite and rich taste. (薑蔥心蒂)

We didn't order the roast goose this time but instead we had the Pipa Goose (南粵炭燒琵琶鵝) - the variation of the classic Cantonese "Pipa Duck" for which the bird was "flattened" belly side down before slow-roasted - hence more skin was exposed to the fire hence crispier. Other than the excellent flavor (that's a given), I admired how the whole goose was carefully carved and served like a piece of jigsaw art. 

"Pan-fried Lobster Tail" (金黃鍋貼龍蝦尾) was another twist to the conventional version of a similar dish, with the lobster meat minced, stuffed in the lobster tail shell and fried with a crispy batter seasoned with fried garlic and shallots. I could live with a bigger portion but the seasoning and texture were both perfect. Everyone was like "Wow" when the dish of braised beef brisket and goose neck arrived. For many goose aficionados, neck is the most prized part to eat with significant portion of fatty skin and tasty muscles underneath. And each of us had one long neck to ourselves to go with the beef brisket, the cut also with good balance of fat and muscles. To me that's the winning dish of the night. 

They must have gotten wind of our big appetite so we ended up with a longer menu than usual. There were 3 more savory dishes afterwards, including the sauteed pea shoots with goose fat and garlic (鵝脂蒜片炒豆苗), deep-fried sea grouper chunks (椒鹽海中斑頭腩) and fried rice vermicelli with mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐新竹米). The last one was the most interesting, with the bowl of classic mapo tofu carefully mixed with fried rice vermicelli in a casserole, with the thin threads of noodles soaking up all the tasty (and slightly spicy) sauce. 

We went with exclusively French wine flight this time, predominantly Burg, and finished with a few dessert "dim sum" items plus the black sesame cream sweet soup.

When? October 28 2021
Where? Yung Kee Restaurant, 32 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Braised Goose Necks with Beef Brisket 原條鵝頸炆牛腩
2014 Bouchard Pere et Fils Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru "Les Folatieres"
2018 Domaine Dugat-Py Bourgogne Cuvee Halinard
2014 Domaine Benjamin Leroux Nuit-St-Georges Premier Cru "Aux Thorey"
2010 Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg, Alsace Grand Cru (Half-bottle)

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