[Hong Kong] One swift look at “Hongkong Top Roast Goose”, and you will have Yat Lok 一樂燒鵝appearing in almost every publication.
The restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star consecutively from 2015 – 2018, it is also featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Hongkong episode.
Does it live up to expectation?
Located on a hilly street in Central, the exterior looks like a typical no frill Hongkong eatery – which would have you walking past had you not heard of it.
It is a family-owned operation and has been going since 1957. The original location was in Tai Po but the eatery has recently relocated to Central.
I arrived a little before 6pm, there was no queue and I quickly got a table. The queue began to form when I left the restaurant, thus your safe bet would be to come at off-peak hours.
Despite the prestigious Michelin star, the interior was nothing extravagant.
You cannot get more local than this, tables and chairs being set up next to each other to maximize turnover.
The place was packed to the brim, thus it is advised not to bring your shopping bags here because you would have difficulty navigating your way around.
The clientele comprises locals and tourists who flock here, especially after Anthony Bourdain sang praises for the roast goose.
An English menu is available – it is concise and easy to understand.
One can choose their choice of meat and their choice of carb, for instant BBQ Pork & Goose with rice comes at HK$58 (SGD10.04), with noodles will be HK$56 (SGD9.69).
A plate of two of the following: Roast Goose, Roast Pork, BBQ Pork or Soya Sauce Chicken will cost you HK$165 (SGD28.56). You can order a whole Roast Goose, half or a quarter.
Half a roast goose will be HK$290 (SGD50.20) while the lower quarter – the quarter containing drumstick comes at HK$175 (SGD30.29).
The star of the show here was in the paper thin crisp skin, underneath which you would find a layer of fat and the tender goose meat.
A plate of plum sauce was served to accompany the roast goose; the slight sweetness and acidity of the sauce balanced out nicely against the richness of the meat.
It was a solid plate of goose.
Though the goose had a unique flavor, it was not life-changing enough for me.
There were less dimensions in taste as compared with the one at Kam’s Roast Goose, another popular joint that was also awarded Michelin 1 star.
I have a weakness for all things Roast and BBQ, thus aside I also ordered a plate of Char Siu (BBQ Pork).
The flavor was there, the exterior sufficiently charred but the meat was tough to chew on and too dry for my liking.
Perhaps I must have had a bad plate as it seems that every review I had read thus far couldn’t have enough positive things to complement the Char Siu.
For the carb quota, I ordered the noodles in soup and a plate of rice. The noodles were al dente but they didn’t cling to the soup.
I will stick with the rice next time as it provides a plain base and absorbs the drippings better, in turn enhancing the overall taste of the combination.
Thankfully, I did not experience the horrendous service that Yat Lok has been notorious for, except for a few grumpy murmuring words when I knocked over my iced tea trying to take photos of their food.
The service was definitely curt, minimal and Chinese speaking even though there is an English menu.
Verdict: You hear Michelin star AND Anthony Bourdain and the expectation goes through the roof.
Perhaps that was my case; or perhaps the kitchen was not at their best on the day. Try for yourself and make your own judgment as taste is always subjective.
For me I will give Yat Lok another go if I am in the vicinity, otherwise I believe it is worthwhile to check out the competition as roast goose joints are literally scattered everywhere on the island.
Tips: bring your own tissues or you will have to pay 3-4HKD for a packet of tissues here.
Yat Lok 一樂燒鵝
G/F, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2524 3882
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (Mon-Sat), 10am – 5.30pm (Sun). Day Off every last Wednesday of the month
Google Maps – Yat Lok
Other Related Entries
Kam’s Roast Goose (Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
Lung King Heen 龍景軒 (Central, Hong Kong)
The Chairman Restaurant 大班樓 (Hong Kong)
Ho Hung Kee 何洪记 (Hong Kong)
Fook Lam Moon 福臨門 (Wanchai, Hong Kong)
* Written by DFD’s Correspondent Hoang Anh Dang @youreatingbuddy. Anh loves sharing her eating journey from hole-in-the-wall shops to world’s best restaurants. Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.