I felt like a smuggler bringing in contraband into Singapore. Because of Avian flu, Singapore banned all birds, cooked or raw, from coming in from China and Hong Kong. Hence the traditional of the flying goose from Hong Kong was lost for a while
The Airplane Goose
My usual routine of coming home from Hong Kong when I was working there was to go to Yung Kee and took away boxes of roast goose to Singapore. A roast goose normally sits and cools for 15 minutes after coming out of the oven. Then it is wrapped in butter paper and sealed in a plastic bag, before being tucked into a paper pack to be carried on-board.
These days, you can get the “airplane goose”, as they are lovingly nicknamed, right from the airport. And the Michelin-starred Duddell’s have it right from their store in HKIA.
Why goose was banned in Singapore?
Singapore has very strict standards when it comes to the importing of food items and many restrictions. The AVA oversees such standards and does very frequent checks to ensure they are met… failing which the business that failed it usually won’t survive sanctions that follows.
The AVA, if I recall correctly, imports food via a whitelist style of control, ie. One has to prove to them that the food being imported in meets the strict standards before even 1 gram of the stuff makes it here. The process isn’t fast, with a last heard of turnaround time of at least a few weeks (quarantine, lab testing, the works).
HK gets a majority of its geese supply from China, in farms that mostly aren’t really that bad at all, but will give AVA inspectors a fit if they saw it. Also, with the bird flu scare a few years back still fresh in everyone’s minds, no one is really in a rush to import China’s birds en masse.
Roast goose thigh with rice
Before I decided to buy the goose, I decided to try it first. The last time I ate here, I was really impressed with their roast suckling pig. The goose was succulent but the skin was a bit lacklustre. The seasoning was however perfect with right. Given the short trip and convenience, it passed the test and I packed an “airplane goose” for home.
The dim sums
The hargao (shrimp dumplings) and siumai (pork dumplings) were quite standard, and could be mistaken to be made in a factory given the even size. Because Duddell’s got the star for dim sum, I had higher expectations.
Again, the rice rolls were standard, lacking the wow factor except for the fact they used entire shrimps instead of halved equivalents in other shops.
And to finish the meal with something sweet, cute little egg tarts that only the Hong Kongers know how to make them so custard with a flaky crust.
The location is perfect and convenient – right after immigration, you turn right and they are just behind the Disney Store. Definitely worth one last stop before heading home.
Unit No. 7E161, Level 7, Departure East Hall, Terminal 1, Hong Kong International Airport, Chek Lap Kok (Restricted Area)
Tel : 26152028
Date Visited : Feb 2020