Monday, October 13, 2014

Yat Lok Roast Meats in Central, Hong Kong

One of the best things to eat when in Hong Kong is roast goose...and none better than Yat Lok.

Indeed...roast meats. Wonderfully prepared, and roasted to perfection. Nowhere in Singapore can we even begin to approach this level of finese in roasting. First, the availability of fresh ingredients like the pork and goose is impossible in Singapore, whereas abundant in Hong Kong. And the traditional recipes and knowhow, handed down generations is also well developed there.

I have eaten at Yung Kee, the famous Michelin Starred roast restaurant in Hong Kong. But since then, I think success has perhaps gone to their heads, and the standards has gone downhill since the Michelin award. Today it is mostly a tourist location, and indeed has a great ambience for visitors and for taking out clients. 

In contrast, Yat Lok is a typicaly Hong Kong restaurant, with the roasts hanging in the window, the cook preparing the dishes visible from the street. Inside, it is cramped, not particularly clean and frequently one is expected to share tables. Lingering over a meal is certainly not encouraged. Service is swift, but not particularly polite, and the waiters expect you to know what you want, and are not in a mood to explain what each dish is about.

Having said that, I let the cat out of the bag by saying this is the best roast goose restaurant I have ever eaten. Bar none.

We started with a platter of roast pork and char siew.

Meats in Hong Kong are usually rather fat...but fat equals flavour, so I guess taste is of utmost importance. Indeed, the flavour is very good. The roast pork is full flavoured, the rind crispy. The char siew very tender and very flavourful too. But this is not what Yat Lok is famous for. The level it is achieved, though very good, is not the best one can find in Hong Kong. 

But the roast goose is another story,

My lunch mate had the roast goose leg in noodle soup. It looked marvellous, but I had tried this once before, and though very nice, the soup softens the crisp skin of the goose, and for me, it kind of loses its main attraction.

For me the right way to serve roast goose is with rice

The skin is superbly crisp, under that a very thin layer of super flavourful fat, and under that the tender, delicious meat. The roast goes superbly, no its heavenly, with the lightly soy sauced rice. Marvellous. Out of this world. Definitely the best roast goose I have ever eaten.

Very highly recommended, and a must eat every time in Hong Kong.

Yat Lok Restaurant
G/F, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong

Monday, October 6, 2014

Australia Dairy Company: Jordan, Hong Kong

One of the most famous and interesting cha chaan teng in Hong Kong, regardless of the name, has nothing to do with Australia and totally and absolutely Chinese...they don't even have an English menu.

The queue at about 9:30am on a Friday morning. The queue snakes all the way round the block. But clearing about 50 pax in front of me in the queue took all of 15minutes.

The interest in this cha chaan teng springs not only from the simple but exquisite cuisine served within, but also in the ruthless efficiency in which the crowd and queues (and boy what a long queue) are managed, how the food delivery is managed and how the high quality is maintained throughout. The restaurant is a study of efficiency on how to feed thousands in as short a time as possible, without compromising quality. Amazing.

As one enters, the waiter "orders" one to sit where he directs...he did not seem to leave an option...and I guess everybody obeys. Sharing of tables is not a courtesy, but mandatory. Nobody asks you if you mind sharing, the waiter directs you to share, you just sit. He is back to take your order in all of 15 seconds. Most guide books/blogs recommend ordering the sets. Most of these guides also say that the waiters do not speak English...I had an English speaking waiter...though I had practiced the art of just pointing to the third item on the set menu...he understood me, and repeated Scrambled Eggs. It is important to get that right, because the eggs can also be served sunny side up, but scrambled was what they are famous for.

If you had ordered Set 1: the macaroni and ham in a soup would be unceremoniously plonked on your table within 20 seconds from ordering. But I ordered Set 3, which was eggs with toast, tea. I also added a dessert - their famous steamed milk custard.

The iced milk tea was unexeptional. Though fresh milk was used instead of condensed milk, it was unremarkable. There are many better milk teas in Hong Kong. But having said that, it is rather better than almost all we get here in Singapore. So be thankful.

Almost immediately, the scrambled eggs and the buttered toast was served

Some claim this is the best scrambled eggs on the planet. I am not so sure, but it was rather impressive. The eggs were just a tad from being runny, and yet a tad from being solid. The texture was smooth, creamy as it caresses the mouth and tongue. The unique texture and taste is attributed by some to the use of fresh Hokkaido milk and yet others to canned soup. Indeed as one gaze into the kitchen, which is open by the way, one can see cans of Campbell soup tucked on a shelf behind the cooks. 

The buttered toast was also just right. Crisp outside, still moist within, and the butter melted just so, lingering on the inside. 

While I find the taste to be excellent, even more intriguing was their ability to delivery this level consistency. This is almost an art form. Nay, the entire restaurant is like an organism. Efficient, consistent, high quality. 

I come to the steamed milk custard...this was unlike any I have eaten anywhere else

The custard was superbly smooth, and the more than tinge of taste and wonderful aroma of fresh milk was apparent. Sweetened, this is served as a dessert. The taste is rather mild...subtle, perhaps sublime. The smoothness was superb. Our tau huey (soy bean custard) is no where in the same universe in terms of smoothness and texture. 

Highly recommended, not only for the superb food, but also as an observation of the efficiency of a top end cha chaan teng in Hong Kong. 

Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司 (Hongkong)
47-49 Parkes Street Jordan (near Jordan MTR)
Tel: (852) 2730 1356
Opening Hours: Daily 730am to 11pm'
Facebook (not official fb)
How to get there: Exit C2 Jordon's MTR Station and walk towards Parkes Street