I was visiting Hong Kong for the first time, after being in Asia for over 20 years. Many of us who get relocated to other parts of the world keep putting off the nearby places of interest as we always think that because they are so close we can do it at any time. I have known many expatriates who have been staying in a country for a few years and all of a sudden their contract finishes and then they realize that they have so many places close by that they never got around to visiting.
I am not much of a shopper and as I had heard Hong Kong is a shopper’s paradise, perhaps that is why it took me so long to get there. However, for a non-shopper I was literally amazed by the range and price of goods in Kowloon where we were staying. Everything from clothes, electronics, shoes, chocolates and food, the range seemed endless and I have to admit that I did get a little bitten by the shopping bug.
We went down to the ferry terminal and caught the ferry to Hong Kong and then took a taxi to Wellington Street. My friends from Malaysia were taking us to the famous Yung Kee Restaurant, world-renown for its roasted goose. Even though we got there early the huge restaurant was fully booked, however, Liew managed to persuade the management that as we were visitors and would be leaving the next day (not quite true but two of my friends were going home the following day). We sat down and I was advised by Kim to have the roast goose with plum sauce. I was the only one to have goose, two of the others were vegetarians and I know Farida is not a fan of any poultry stronger than chicken.
The moment I had my first taste of the goose and plum sauce I immediately realised what all the kerfuffle was about. It is literally, “To die for!” Criticise me for the cliché, I don’t care, but I would never go to Hong Kong and not have the roast goose and plum sauce.
In 2002, Yung Kee celebrated 60 years of serving their specialty roast goose and in 1968; Yung Kee was named by the Fortune Magazine to be one of the Top Fifteen Restaurants in the World, the only Chinese restaurant on the list.
Kim, one of my friends, told me that as a young man without means, Mr. Kam Shui Fai, the founder of Yung Kee, started selling his roast goose from a handcart and in 1942, he used his savings of HK$4,000 to rent a unit at 32 Wing Lok Street, and officially started the first stage of the history of Yung Kee Restaurant. During that period Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese and the Wing Lok Street building was destroyed by Japanese air raids. In 1944, the Restaurant was moved to, again the same street number, 32 Pottinger Street, to accommodate an increasing business. In 1964, Mr. Kam Shui Fai purchased 32 Wellington Street, coincidentally also number 32! Eventually four more adjacent buildings were acquired. In 1978, the five commercial units were torn down and rebuilt to become the site of the present day Yung Kee Building. Many foreigners, who after tasting the roast goose, will buy more and take it home, obviously to countries where customs permit, or perhaps they smuggle the geese in.
That is how the famous roast goose got its nickname the “Flying Roast Goose”.
Photograph taken with Nikon D100 & 12-24mm at 15mm on 21st October 2005