rice cake confessional

adventures in eating

yun kee, central, hong kong

with 2 comments

Yun Kee is a Hong Kong institution, not only was it recommended by friends it was also in every guidebook we could find. Its claim to fame? It was noted as one of the Top 15 restaurants in the world by Fortune Magazine… in 1968. Less impressed by the 4 decades ago thing, huh?

We didn’t do enough homework on what to order at Yun Kee and it was one of the more disappointing meals of our trip. The place is quite nice with plenty of tourists filling the 3 (or maybe 4) floors of tables.

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First up was sliced beef and peppers in XO sauce. This dish tasted overwhelmingly of bagoong (aka itty bitty dried fermented shrimps). It even had that texture clinging to the beef. Not necessarily bad but not really pleasing for a beef dish.

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Sweet and sour scallops. I thought the scallops would be tossed in the sauce but they came as a dipping sauce instead. The scallops were very good without a trace of sand in sight. You can’t really go wrong with fried foods but the sweet and sour sauce was pretty unremarkable. Good but kinda boring.

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This was probably the most disappointing of the dishes. Seafood with crispy rice noodles. More gailan with fish, scallops, and shrimp in a light gravy. The fish looked tender but wasn’t. As Julia mentioned, Yuet Lee does it better (gasp!). Sad but true.

To be fair, the table next to us had much better looking food so maybe we just ordered the bad stuff. If you do go, get the goose (you might need to order the day before depending on the preparation), look for the garlic veggies, and stay away from the dishes we ordered. You have to admit though, if you’re really a top notch restaurant, everything is good and your servers would lead your patrons to the real good stuff. Our meal cost us HKD730.

I can’t tell our Yun Kee story without mentioning what we now call the gourd of life.

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Yah, what the hell is that. It’s Shaoxing Chiew, a Chinese rice wine that the restaurant serves in a souvenir ceramic gourd. You know, the kind that you saw period drama characters swigging as they cry about lost loves and stuff. Comments from the peanut gallery:

“Tastes like scotch. No, like whiskey. No, brandy. No, more like port.”

“It’s a little caramel-y at the end.”

“Are you sure it didn’t go bad? It kind of tastes like vinegar. Like the stuff my aunts and uncles used to make in their backyard.”

“How does it taste?” “Tastes…. blah.”

“This is really great rice wine… vinegar.”

This stuff is potent. After 2 mini teacups each we were giggling, placing bets (last one to finish is buying mango sago), and openly people watching. Especially this one very debonair older Chinese man who had the nicest greying flyaway blowout a la Farrah Fawcett we had ever seen. He was using the room as his personal catwalk and working the ‘do. Okay we weren’t making fun of him. We were in awe of his glory. You can’t hate on that. It’s too awesome.

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Written by joann

January 24, 2008 at 9:37 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Yung Kee’s most famous for its roast goose! Don’t tell me you didn’t have it! :O

    Charmaine

    February 13, 2008 at 12:03 am

  2. We totally did not do our homework before going and looked longingly at the table next to us who was smart enough to order the roast goose. Next time though, I’m all over it!

    ricecakeconfessional

    February 13, 2008 at 10:11 pm


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