I recently visited Hong Kong and had the chance to dine in Hong Kong Island's famous Yung Kee Restaurant. For all you food enthusiast out there, I am sure this restaurant is no stranger to your food dictionary. But for the benefit of those who have not heard of this restaurant, let me share a little about my amazing discovery.
Last year while attending a little wine and dine session in Ms. Jazz and Crazieapple's mansion (hahaha), I was treated to the best century egg I've ever tasted. I was told that it originated from a restaurant called Yung Kee in Central Hong Kong and that the line was incredibly long just to get the opportunity to buy these eggs. I was sure that I wasn't going to miss visiting this restaurant this time around.
Yung Kee used to be a 'dai pai dong' (hawker stall) selling siu mei before it was converted into a restaurant by Kam Shui-fai in 1942. After moving several times due to the war, Yung Kee finally settled down in its current premises on Wellington Street in 1964. Shortly after that, in 1968, Yung Kee was chosen by Fortune magazine as one of the Top 15 Restaurants in the World, the only Chinese restaurant on the list.
Getting a table on the upper floors of the restaurant is almost impossible without prior booking. Thanks to my girlfriend's mum, we managed to get a table during the busy lunch time. Once you're seated down and opened the menu, you'll soon realise why this is one of the best restaurant in the world. More than 6 pages of awards which includes:
Michelin Guide 1 Star Rating for 2009 and 2010
Miele Guide - Top 20 Asia's restaurant for 08/09 and 09/10
You can view http://www.yungkee.com.hk/award/award-e.html for a list of their awards which spans 4 webpages.
We decided to have a light and simple lunch, tasting only some of their finest trademark dishes which includes:
The famous century eggs with pickled ginger.The eggs are simply just marvelous on its own. This one-of-a-kind egg has a creamy yolk that gives you an unrivaled melting sensation in your mouth,
The Roast Goose. I have to be honest, I'm not really a fan of roast goose but one bite of Yung Kee's roast goose with sweet sauce changes everything. The meat is so tender and the skin is a crispy complement to the succulent meat. The sweet sauce provides a sweet interplay of taste tingling your taste buds.
Unfortunately, I didn't manage to pay so I wouldn't be able to tell you how much our meal cost. I wouldn't be surprise that it cost a fair bit more premium when I saw this article on the newspaper the very next day:
Apparently there have been continuing disputes among the sibblings who inherited this restaurant from their father. The eldest brother of the sibblings has applied to the Hong Kong High Court for liquidation of the holding company if the younger brother refused to buy out his stake. This has led to some airing of the company's finances. Sit tight when you hear this. Yung Kee restaurant is worth an estimated $2 billion HKD comprising of $880 million HKD in cold hard cash, $1 billion HKD in property and $127 million HKD in other assets. Yung Kee restaurant makes an average profit of $50 million HKD a year. Not too shabby eh, for a restaurant that started off as a 'dai pai dong'.
As touristy as it may sound, I would definately recommend this restaurant if you are in Hong Kong. Any restaurant that has been in business for almost 70 years, survived 1 world war, countless virus outbreaks and relentless bashing of food critics to end up with a legacy worth $2 billion HKD, is definately worth a try.
(I don't normally give an 8. So when I do, you know it's something special worth trying)
Yung Kee Restaurant
32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2522 1624
Fax: (852) 2840 0888