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Kids are delicious. Though some like eating them curried or stewed, you like them barbecued, as they do in Matamoros, Mexico. Held up vertically by metal rods along raised beds of mesquite charcoal luridly aglow, they look like runway models for Hell’s Spring Kids Collection. Their flesh is tender, luscious, smoky, charred, a cross between milk-fed veal and lamb. It’s ideal tucked into fresh tortillas smack off the grill, squeezed with lime.
As baby goat is to Mexico, baby pig is to China. It’s commonly called suckling pig. A lawyer and an English teacher (both word mavens) begat you, and you must insist the word is “sucking”, not “suckling”. The mother suckles, the baby sucks. No less a source than The Oxford Companion to Food confirms this. A sucking pig is only nourished on mother’s milk up until its earthly departure (ingesting one blade of grass would sully its perfection). Thankfully, a few old-school HK barbecue nooks get this right, listing “sucking pig” on their menus.
You’ve barbecued large pigs before, the size of Mini Coopers, and liked the meat (particularly the skin) very much. But you’ve held off on a wee tyke until now, when you can order him entire, which involves rounding up a group of carnivorous pals – no easy thing with so many living off chia seed these days. So you find yourself at Go Go Goose in Repulse Bay to eat sucking pig (it must be special-ordered, just ask) with five fellow fans of Piglet. Do you feel guilty you’re about to eat him? Not one bit. After all, he eats Heffalump. Heffalump eats Owl. It’s the food chain.
The restaurant is shipshape, brightly lit, a television plays. They’re rightly house-proud. Within is a glass wheelhouse where the chefs toil like surgeons. Notice how, unlike other BBQ cockpits that are greasy, this one is scrupulously clean. Off-hour heart-valve replacements could well be done here.
The service is warm and attentive, sweet even, which frankly you didn’t expect given the impersonal service you’ve experienced at many tonier chow halls. You get to meet the chefs, distinguished men, one with 55 years sucking pig experience, the other 15. You relax knowing they have the wheel.
The size of a pug, he arrives, skin crisped brown with a sheen of molten fat. He stares at you reprovingly just as you would him, tables turned.
Inoculated against PETA think, you’re charmed. They retrieve him in order to cut him into pieces, then return him, sectioned handsomely for consumption.
They bring hot, blistered pancakes in which to wrap him along with batons of cuke, scallion and hoisin.
You drink good IPA and Tsingtao from the 7-Eleven next door, unsurpassably perfect.
The sucking pig is supernova scrumptious, nothing less. A few errant bones aside, the meat is boneless, moist, mild, slightly salty, piggy. The skin is as crisp as an artisanal potato chip (with an audible crunch when you bite down that makes you shudder with pleasure), lightly saline, intensely porcine. The pancake is hot, the veg cold, the hoisin sweet, each bite a grand, complex chord of all these flavours and textures at once. It’s quite similar to Peking buck, but strapped with extra booster rockets. There is much grunting and jostling as you and your companions jockey for your share. You all adore it!
Along with this you order excellent char siu. You would have liked more char, but that’s what you always say. It’s devoid of cellulite, common elsewhere. The fried rice is good, just shy of excellent.
The white rice is a bit overcooked. You wish more scallion for the pig had been provided, though, surely, if you’d asked, they’d have brought it. Choi sum sautéed with garlic is cooked just right.
The meal, including the beers and a few Cokes, for six trenchermen and a six-year-old with the appetite of a Tyrannosaurus cost about HK$1,500 – cheap. The sucking pig by itself was HK$888.
This is a place to come with family, pals and foodie dates – more folks, more fun. As you clash chopsticks, you’ll connect and bond, citizens of the Sucking Pig Society at Go Go Goose.
Rating (on a scale of 0 to 5)
Ambience: 3 (this is on a different continuum from a luxe resto, but you like it here)
Service: 3.5 (ditto for the service)
Overall greatness: 4.5
33 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2871 3388
Unless otherwise noted, David Greenberg anonymously reviews restaurants.
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