November 25, 2014

Week of not collecting Michelin stars: my favorite roast goose

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I'm back in Hong Kong today and looking for a quick dinner near the office before heading home with my luggage.  So I decided to walk to my favorite place for Cantonese roast goose - Yat Lok (一樂燒鵝).

I've been coming to Yat Lok for my roast goose since 2006 when a former colleague introduced me to the place.  I've long thought that they offered one of the best Cantonese roast goose in town, and a few years ago I even did a face-off between Yat Lok and the much lauded goose from Yung Kee (鏞記酒家).  Needless to say Yat Lok won that round.

They've been included in the Rubberman's guide for the last few years and chosen as part of their Bib Gourmand section, which is basically good eats and reasonable prices - something I wholeheartedly agree with.  For the 2015 guide, though, some idiot (maybe the same idiot who decided to give a star to Din Tai Feng (鼎泰豐) and Tim Ho Wan (添好運) starting from the 2010 edition) decided to give these guys a star.  Now, I'm one of the biggest fans of this place, but a freakin' Michelin star?!  Dude, this is a place where just about everyone spits their goose and chicken bones onto the table, and there's about maybe 10 cm between me and my neighbor.  WTF are these Michelin people thinking?!

OK, enough ranting... or e_ting will remind me again of my promise a few years ago to stop saying WTF when the annual list comes out...

I walked through the door and found myself a seat.  I asked for my usual favorite item - the goose drumstick - and the typical reply from one of the waitresses is that it's sold out.  Well, they're not really sold out, but given that it's a popular item and they have only a limited supply, they ration it throughout the day.  I'm lucky that as a regular, both the Boss Man and the Boss Lady know me by sight, and would usually give it to me when I ask.  Someone immediately overruled my waitress, and within a couple of minutes my dish of choice arrived before me.

While some may disagree, the rice flour noodles in soup with roast goose drumstick (馳名脆皮燒鵝脾瀨粉) is my favorite meal here.  The skin of the goose is crispy, with nice, smoky flavors.  The layer of fat underneath the skin is just soooo tasty... and the oil oozes out once some pressure is applied.  The meat itself is very tender, with a depth of flavor that is head and shoulders above many others.  But why have it over these noodles?  Well, these aren't soft and flabby noodles... there's a certain amount of hardness and "crunch" to them - making them a pleasure to bite into.  You also need that MSG-laden stock garnished with chopped spring onions.  This is one of the few occasions when I would actively look for some MSG in my food.  Oh and of course the oil from the goose just drips into the soup...  Slurp!

I also got some blanched choy sum (菜心) to fulfill my veg quota.

The "cheapest Michelin star in the world" this is not, but that kind of nonsense doesn't matter to me.  This was one satisfying meal, and if I want to, it would be easy for me to come here multiple times a week and "collect" a hundred Michelin stars or more a year without so much as thinking about it...

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