drWikipedia defines the New Territories as comprising “the mainland area north of the Boundary Street of Kowloon Peninsula and south of the Sham Chun River which is the border between Hong Kong and Mainland China, as well as over 200 outlying Islands including Lantau Island, Lamma Island, Cheung Chau, and Peng Chau in the territory of Hong Kong.”
Occasionally my job took me out of the city to more far flung areas such as the market town of Tai Po, forty five minutes due north of Mongkok on the MTR. Although its roots are much older, Tai Po was developed as a ‘new town’ in the 70s and now has a sizable population of 320,000.
After work I went to the market, which is about twenty minutes-walk from Tai Po Market station. Bourdain had eaten noodles here at Ping Kee (stall CFS12/11) but sadly I was too late to catch them open.
I carried on walking for another five minutes and eventually came to Tai Ming Lane Square which I presume is the town’s central square. Bourdain visited a famous (since 1957) roast goose restaurant here.
Yat Lok Barbeque Restaurant (Intermediate B+), Tai Ming Lane, Tai Po
It’s very hard to miss due to the neon signs and the roasted meats in the window. They also do Char Xiu (barbecued pork) and Xiu Yoke (roast pork) but it’s the Fung Kon (air-dried roast goose) that’s the most famous (they rear their own). You can also get combination plates of all three meats, but I was here for the goose.
In autumn 2017 a whole goose cost HK$460 whereas a half, which I went for, was HK$230, approximately £23. You can also get a quarter for HK$130 or HK$110 depending on the cut.
It was great, some of the best I’ve ever eaten (A). I also had some Choi Sum, a bowl of rice and a beer, all of which pressed the right buttons (B+).
My only regret was not asking for the greens to be cooked in the local oyster sauce which I have since learned is very good. Lee Kum Kee, whose founder invented the sauce, has its headquarters here.
The service was fine, but only the cashier (owner/manager?) could speak English, so I did a lot of pointing and showing of photos to get what I wanted. They also have a branch in Central which I’d like to visit next time.
Back in 2006 one of my best foodie experiences here was on the island of Cheung Chau which I understand to be the last actual working fishing village in HK (most seafood is imported). You can get there on a fast ferry in 35 minutes from Pier 5 in Central, or a slower one which takes 55 minutes.
After I finished work the British expat school owner (married to a local, so he knew his stuff) directed me to one of a row of seafood restaurants on Cheung Chau Family Walk (I think it was Hang Lok at 13 Pak She Praya Road) where I had two amazing fish dishes, the steamed fish with black beans, spring onion and ginger sticking in my mind most of all (A+). Fantastic food in a blissful setting by the waterside looking out to sea.
Also, in 2006 my friend Ethel and I took a ferry to Sok Kwu Wan village on Lamma Island (30/40 minutes to Sok Kwu Wan village from Central Pier 4) and did the nature walk over to the other side of the island to Yung Shue Wan and took the ferry back to Central from there (27 minutes).
The walk was very pleasant as it was a nice sunny day (take sunscreen and water). It took a couple of hours and we saw lots of butterflies and took in a few nice views along the way (photos lost sorry). We had a bite to eat in Yung Shue Wan while we were waiting for the ferry back. I don’t recall the name of the restaurant but I’m guessing it was Sampam Seafood. We had a nice view of the sea and the food was okay (B).
So, contrary to popular perception, HK is not just a city, there are heaps of natural escapes just waiting to be explored.