This is one of many posts that are part of the series Jen’s Guide – Best Places to Eat in Hong Kong for Visitors
Roast goose is one of those quintessential Hong Kong foods that definitely falls on the “must-try” lists for any visitor to Hong Kong. Goose is generally hard to find in a lot of countries. In the US, I hardly ever see it in the super market or on restaurant menus. My Singaporean friends who used to live in Hong Kong lament that roast goose is one of the things they make sure to eat when they visit Hong Kong, because it’s hard to get elsewhere.
Right now, Kam’s Roast Goose, which earned a Michelin star almost immediately after it opened in 2014, is most certainly one of the most popular and one of the best.
Kam’s Roast Goose was started by Hardy Kam, grandson of the late Mr. Kam Shui Fai who founded the acclaimed roast goose restaurant Yung Kee Restaurant in 1942. The iconic Yung Kee Restaurant has served all sorts of people for generations and is synonymous with roast goose in Hong Kong. The historic building has one of Hong Kong’s only charcoal fired ovens (grandfathered in before new regulations) and its roast geese have that unique flavor.
It sort of a sad story how Kam’s started in the first place.
After the founder of Yung Kee passed away, a power dispute between the two sons led to various lawsuits. Due to the family’s inability to come to an agreement, the court finally ordered a liquidation of the family business after buyout talks failed.
Yvonne Kam Kiu-yan, the daughter of the younger brother, had stated back in 2015, “[m]y father promised to my late grandfather that we would try our very best to take care of Yung Kee. We are still trying very hard to keep the business.”
Sadly, the liquidation order is now in effect. It will find buyers for the restaurant and the building. They weren’t able to save and keep “Grandpa’s restaurant” within the family. Yung Kee lost its Michelin star in 2011 amidst all the dispute and has failed to regain it.
The heirs of the younger brother still run Yung Kee Restaurant. The sons of the elder brother went on to apply their know-how to open Kam’s Roast Goose, which has immediately become wildly, wildly successful.
Expect to line up if you come during meal times. Supposedly between 2PM and 5PM is good. We arrived just a bit too late (close to 6PM), and we ended up waiting close to an hour. The restaurant is small, and thus turnover happens but it’s a bit slower.
Kam’s imports its geese from a very specific region in China. It uses the same techniques, marinades, recipes, and cooking techniques as the ones used at Yung Kee, passed down from Kam’s grandfather. The one difference is that Kam’s uses a gas oven, whereas Yung Kee is still able to use its “grandfathered-in” charcoal oven.
By the time we arrived, the simple roast meat over rice dishes were sold out, so we had to order larger portion sizes.
Typically, you can order a particular type of roast meat over rice from the Roast on Rice section of the menu. They cost anywhere between $43 HKD ($5.50 USD) for roast pork over rice to $93 HKD ($12 USD) for a roast goose leg over rice (note – dark meat is much more popular and desired in Asia, and therefore it costs more than the breastmeat).
We ordered from the Roasts section and ordered the “Upper” part of the Roast Goose ($150 HKD ($19 USD). The “Lower” part (which includes the legs = $190 HKD / $24 USD) was already sold out by that time.
In short, I guess when you show up near the end of the day at Kam’s, you have a lot less options!
The meat was delicious and the sauce was super flavorful. Kam’s acknowledges that its skin is not as crispy because its focus is on the tender meat flavor.
We also ordered half and half roast pork: half crispy roast pork and half roasted charsiu pork belly. The crispy skin was excellent, an the roast pork overall was juicy and flavorful.
We ordered some simple noodles to accompany our meal.
Along with some marinated cucumbers.
The place is always packed and the seating arrangement may not necessarily be comfortable. Bryan and I squeezed onto a round table with two other couples, each trying to enjoy its own roast meats without bothering the other people at the table. The less-than-relaxing environment makes people eat quickly, which helps with the line moving.
In general, the roast meat here is very good. I have not sampled enough places around the city to comment on whether it’s worth waiting an hour + for a meal here. I would be inclined just to order take-out or try to come at a less popular time.
I’m glad that the sons are continuing the legacy of their grandfather by learning the business and opening this new restaurant that still honors the methods and techniques that he had learned over the years.
Kam’s Roast Goose Hong Kong
G/F Po Wah Commercial Center
226 Hennessy Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
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Jennifer Che is the creator of the multiple award winning food and travel blog Tiny Urban Kitchen. Originally from Boston, Jen has recently relocated to Hong Kong and is continually eating and traveling her way around Asia and beyond.