Sampling Michelin-star takeout food in Hong Kong

Michelin-starred takeout food

“Imagine living inside a giant pinball machine where the object isn’t to win but to eat.” — Anthony Bourdain on Hong Kong’s cuisine

We’ve embarked on some memorable culinary adventures in Hong Kong this week, where it’s been said that great food is a birthright. And as for the pinball machine metaphor,  we’ve eaten delicious food in all sorts of places: from food stalls to cafes to the most upscale restaurants (a lavish dinner buffet at the Verandah restaurant at The Peninsula was mind-boggling).

Some of the memorable dishes on our trip: tea-smoked duck, sashimi, dim sum, Indian curry, and The Pen’s mango soufflé and housemade chocolates (more on that in a later post).

Another standout was the crispy roast goose and roast pork at Kam’s Roast Goose (甘牌燒鵝)  on Hennessy Road on Hong Kong Island — a Star Ferry ride from our home base in Kowloon. Hongkongers enjoy goose for its crispy skin and tender, juicy flesh — and Kam’s is a standout.

Kam’s is a modest, “no-frills” 30-seat restaurant on a bustling street, much like the eateries that are ubiquitous in San Francisco’s Chinatown — except that Kam’s is the winner of a coveted Michelin star. (For comparison’s sake, Michael Mina in San Francisco — where “the caviar parfait never goes out of style” — also is a Michelin one-star restaurant).

“The Kam family name is synonymous with their famous roast goose restaurant,” according to the Michelin Guide. “This little place is owned by the third generation of the family and he wisely hired his father’s former chef to ensure the goose is as crisp and succulent as ever. With only 30 seats, don’t be surprised to see a queue.”

Added the South China Morning Post: “One of the grandsons of Yung Kee founder, Hardy Kam Shun-yuen opened the restaurant to serve quality roast goose in a casual setting with rice or rice noodles, either thick (lai fun) or thin (mai fun).

“The birds are sourced near Dongguan, as Kam believes the weather and climate is better there. The geese are roasted in a gas oven as opposed to traditional charcoal, but the classic flavour for the most part is retained.”

The geese are freshly delivered every morning and roasted in a gas oven instead of the traditional charcoal way. The day’s roasted meats are displayed in the window.

“A Symphony of Skin”

Anthony Boudain at Kam’s. We recognized the woman to his left; she took our order

Anthony Bourdain (who is now deceased) ate at Kam’s. His conclusion was: “A symphony of skin.”

We were prepared for a “queue” when we arrived, but not for one that was over an hour wait. So we ordered takeout and brought it back to our hotel room. Kam’s takeout is a popular with locals. We served ours with a split of The Peninsula’s “house” champagne. (The house champagne is an amazing Deutz Brut Classic).

Our takeout, served on The Pen’s china

The goose and pork is crispy on the outside with juicy meat on the inside. It comes with a house-made special sauce (which includes secret spices and bean paste) as well as a fruity plum sauce for dipping.

This video offers a view of Kam’s Roast Goose, the cooking process, and an interview with Hardy Kam Shun-yuen:

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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