Geese fly south in winter but Hong Kong Kam’s Roast Goose loses its way in the migration to Singapore. Rumors of the goose settling its nest in Singapore have abounded for a year, but kiasi AVA has embargoed the import of geese from China due to fears of bird flu. Kam’s tried 30 other suppliers and eventually substituted geese for ducks. According to the founder Hardy Kam, they tasted both goose and duck in a blind test, and people couldn’t tell the difference. In any case, they are trying to get a farm in Malaysia to raise the geese.
But before talking about the food, the history behind Kam’s Roast Goose is worth telling, like the TVB show 溏心风暴. Hardy’s grandfather, Kam Shui Fai, started Yung Kee Restaurant in 1942, famous for their roast goose. When he passed away in 2004, he left Yung Kee to his children and widow; Kinsen the eldest son and Ronald the second son each received 35% of the shares, while Kwan-ki the youngest son, Kelly the daughter, and the widow each got 10%.
In 2007, the youngest son Kwan-ki passed away, and bequeathed his 10% to Ronald the second son. Their mother quickly gave her 10% to Kinsen the eldest to restore the balance. But the uneasy balance toppled when the daughter Kelly sold her 10% to Ronald. So now, Kinsen the eldest had 45% and Ronald the second 55%. [Source]
Kinsen the elder son complained that despite having 45% shares, he had no say in the company, and brought on a lawsuit against his younger brother, Ronald: either let him buy Ronald out or let Ronald buy him out.
In court, Kinsen testified that Ronald and Ronald’s son called him a “dog,” while Ronald and Kelly said that Kinsen was too domineering and lacked business acumen.
Just before the court ruling, Kinsen passed away, and the family accused that Ronald was behind the death. [source.] Eventually, because both sides refused to sell their shares, the court ruled to liquidate Yung Kee of about US$370 million, Kinsen’s family will receive the 45% of its portion.
In the meanwhile, Kinsen’s son, Hardy Kam, opened Kam’s Roast Goose in Hong Kong, which receives a michelin star 3 years in a row. Some chefs who worked for Yung Kee are now at Kam’s. Except for the lack of goose, Singapore’s outlet is almost identical to the Hong Kong’s.
How is the food? As exciting as their family drama. The duck ($11.80 mixed portion, $55 whole) is a good substitution for goose. Although it is greasy, it is very smooth and the gravy goes fantastic with rice. I still like London Fat Duck (LFD) a little better because LFD is more flavorful, aromatic with spices, fat but not greasy.
As for the soya sauce chicken ($11.80 mixed portion, $14.80 whole), it is average on its own, but when you dip it in the garlic-and-green-onion sauce, WOAH, magic happens. Still, I prefer the Singapore Michelin-starred Hong Kong Soya Chicken.
Talking about sauces, Kam’s does them so amazingly; the best things here are the sauces which enhance the complexity of the dish. The suckling pig ($34.80 portion, $148 half, $248 whole) by itself is ok, but the sauce transforms and elevates it. The sweet hoisin sauce has a fruity, almost strawberry fragrance—although no fruit is added—that invigorates the pig.
The char siew is also very good. There are two kinds: the normal char siew ($14.80) or the “toro” fatty char siew ($22.80). Mr Fitness preferred the toro one because the textures range from melt-in-your-mouth to a bite. But I think the normal char siew is far superior, because you can taste the amazing glaze/sauce, which has the aroma of coffee beans and a fruity sweetness; the fat from the toro char siew overwhelms this subtle flavor.
On the whole, the food at Kam’s Roast is outstanding when we don’t compare it to elsewhere; for every dish, I keep thinking “This is excellent but this other eatery has a better version.” Right now, they don’t have a focus; I thought that they should have waited for geese to roost in Singapore, and then, they could have a dish that truly, uniquely theirs, and then I can say, “This is the best goose in Singapore.”
Kam’s Roast opens at 1pm on 19 Nov.
Kam’s Roast Goose
9 Scotts Road, Pacific Plaza #01-04/05/06/07, Singapoe 228210
T: +65 6836 7788
M-F 11am-10pm, Weekends and PH 10am-10pm
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.