An Anthony Bourdain Food day

Part of the reason I was so ready to get to Hong Kong was that I was watching old episodes of No Reservations – especially repeating the one for Hong Kong when I realized that I hadn’t been out to Tai Po Market . . . well in at least 12 years. Why not make a day of walking in Bourdain’s footsteps? Plus, roasted meats!

First – here’s a list of (most) of the places Tony went when he was in Hong Kong – I decided I’d go out to Tai Po Market for Ping Kee and Yat Lok (although I saw the next day there was a Yat Lok in Central). Then I made plans to meet my former co-workers Monica and Jenny at Tung Po at the Java Road Cooked Food Center.

First, Tai Po Market is out in the New Territories, where I probably spent only 2% of my time in Hong Kong when I was living there. So after 40 minutes on the subway and train (I’m so dated I still think of it as the MTR and the KCR) I arrived at Tai Po Market.

Exiting out MTR exit A1, I walked straight for about 10 minutes, made a right turn and a little past the Cooked Food Center on the main town square was roast meat specialist Yat Lok. Famous for their roast goose and roast pork, I ordered a plate of each. Oh my goodness, do they do a really good roast pork. Seriously, I think its better than the stuff at West Vila and definitely better than the very expensive Yung Kee – both of which are excellent, but really Yat Lok was even better.

And the goose. I could only make stupid noises after eating the goose.

Yat Lok

Roast Pork
Yat Lok

Roast Goose
Yat Lok

Yat Lok

One of the best ways to distinguish a great Cantonese place – hanging meats in the front window.

Yat Lok

If you saw the No Reservations episode, there’s probably one of the most beautiful sequences dealing with food ever filmed, where the noodle maker is rolling out the noodles by bamboo pole. While Josh wasn’t really accurate with saying there were only about 3 places left that made handmade noodles, the truth is they really aren’t that common.

Ping Kee was where Josh and Tony ate at (and where the handmade noodles were sold). Since I just had the big meal at Yat Lok, I only opted for the lo mien – dry noodles with lard. They were excellent, and really, the denseness of the noodles really came through. You don’t get noodles of this quality in Shanghai and only at a few places in Hong Kong.

Ping Kee

Ping Kee

The old guy from the No Reservations episode
Ping Kee

Tai Po Market Cooked Food Center
Tai Po Market Cooked Food Center

After digesting and walking around for a while, I met up with my former colleagues Monica and Jenny for dinner at Tung Po. I had actually been to Tung Po many years ago with my cousin/roommate Patryk. Tung Po is basically a ‘dai pai dong’ – a big sign restaurant, or what traditionally were outdoor eateries – moved indoors. There’s still a few surviving dai pai dongs in Central/Sheung Wan, as well as Jordan/Yaumatei/Mongkok. I do think sometimes food tastes better when served by guys wearing Wellington boots.

Java Road Cooked Food Center

Started with the daily soup. Here’s a good tip, when you’re at a Cantonese restaurant, order the daily soup. We do like our soups, and we make good ones. This is pork with carrots and winter melon.

Tung Po Restaurant

Sometimes in crowded restaurants, especially if you have no reservations and a small party, you’ll be asked to share tables – dap toi. We shared with 2 other parties, but we were group A.

Tung Po Restaurant

Spinach with conpoy/dried scallops
Tung Po Restaurant

Pork Knuckles. Crispy on the outside, succulent and juicy in the middle. I’m sure these aren’t good for you.

Tung Po Restaurant

Mantis Pods with garlic. Wow. These were amazing. Not cheap, but wow, I would eat another one right now. (In Cantonese these are called ‘pissing shrimp’)

Tung Po Restaurant

Squid ink noodles. Garlicky. And really satisfying.

Tung Po Restaurant

The surroundings at Tung Po.

Tung Po Restaurant

Chef Robby

Tung Po Restaurant

Final Damage for 3

Tung Po Restaurant

Information on all three restaurants is readily available. I really love Tung Po, and the food at Ping Kee and Yat Lok is excellent. I probably wouldn’t travel all the way out to Tai Po Market again (especially since you can get handmade noodles at Wing Wah – upcoming post alert! and there’s a Yat Lok in Central) but if you’re ever out there. Mmmm.

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9 Responses to An Anthony Bourdain Food day

  1. uzbekcelia says:

    OMG. About ten years ago, you and Pat took us to Tung Po at the start of the 6-month trip, and we had the lai liu ha and the squid ink you just had. We also had the sweet and sour pork (so much better than the Chinese American version) and salted egg/thousand year old egg with spinach. It’s one of the few meals where I can still remember so much detail. It rocked.

  2. Terence says:

    Maybe you need to come back then . . .

  3. uzbekcelia says:

    I did! It’s just that the cast of characters I was hanging out hover in a different sphere of HK . . . Maybe YOU need to come back for a Dungeness crab feed. #2 of probably 3 coming this weekend

  4. Terence says:

    I found Dungeness here in Shanghai . . . it’s just 250 RMB/crab.

  5. Tom says:

    Recently repatriated back to the US and see that AB has a new show on the Travel Channel. Here is a link to his visit to HK.

    http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/the-layover/episodes/hongkong

  6. terence says:

    @Tom – thanks for reading and thanks for the link! I saw the previews of the layover on itunes – I think (and hope I’m wrong) that its going to be less interesting than No Reservations – just like a snarky version of the Samantha Brown weekend shows. Oddly enough – he has said something about the stuff in the Layover being “more doable” – but I’ve actually only had a layovers about 3 times in my life – at least long enough to leave the airport and do something. But when they come out on pirated DVD here in China, I’ll probably buy them.

  7. Pingback: Snapshots from Hong Kong: Roast Goose Leg and Roast Pork from Yat Lok | Dessert Recipe Wall

  8. Pingback: Snapshots from Hong Kong: Roast Goose Leg and Roast Pork from Yat Lok | Recipes Pinboard

  9. Pingback: Snapshots from Hong Kong: Roast Goose Leg and Roast Pork from Yat Lok - lookfi

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