Restaurant REVIEW – Juicy Roast Goose at Chan Kee, a Hong Kong Original
Sometimes, you have to go the extra mile for a true classic. We’ve been hearing about a mystical roast goose shop in the distant land of the New Territories for years. Friends have made expeditions to this hinterland and regaled us with tales of succulent roast birdies upon their return. So, on a recent road trip from Shenzhen for a good friend’s birthday (yes, that’s how we roll), we decided to ask the driver for a detour and stop by in the rugged frontiers of Sham Tseng for a taste of authentic Canto classic goose.
There’s several restaurants next to each other peddling the roast birdie delicacy, but only one of which reigns supreme. The old-school joint of Chan Kee is a semi open-air space that wraps around a street corner. Diners balance precariously on rickety plastic chairs that have seen their share of all-weather exposure in the tropical humidity, while the kitchen dishes out honest down-to-earth cooking. The service is brisk and to the point, and strictly limited to either Cantonese or Mandarin, so be prepared!
There were four of us and we arrived hungry. Without saying, the roast goose is a must order, and we went for half a goose.
Since it’s lunch, we thought we’d misbehave a little and order some fatty comfort favourites. The fried calamari with peppery salt was light and crispy, and arrived piping hot, while the lusciously fatty pork belly with preserved vegetables (梅菜扣肉) was tender and oh-so-buttery. As a futile act of redemption, we ordered the morning glory stir-fried in shrimp paste, which was a bit on the ripe side (thanks to the fermented shrimp) but briny and addictive.
The main event of half a roasted goose arrived in a massive platter adorned with a golden pool of plummy apricot sauce, the perfect compliment to the rich, fatty bird. How do I begin to describe this goose? Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! The skin was crispy with a deep layer of translucent fat that gushes flavourful juices with each chew, and the meat was tender and rosy with the type of robust flavour only game birds can possess. This was one juicy bird! At one point, I got so excited I dropped the new iPhone in the buttery juice, but thankfully, it was roast goose proof!
Verdict: This is a Hong Kong original. Walk down any Hong Kong street, and chances are you’ll pass a BBQ restaurant selling roast goose. But few places do it well. Chan Kee is one of those old-school joints that still maintains the dignity and pride of turning out a good roast goose. It’s not pretty, or fancy, but it beats tourist-trap Yung Kee by a million folds! So far, the only two places in Hong Kong I’ve had decent goose at are Yat Lok (in Stanley Street, click here for review) and Chan Kee. Depending on where you live in Hong Kong, it might be a bit of a trek, but well worth the adventure!
G/F, 63 Castle Peak Road
Sham Tseng, New Territories