Yi’s Goose House is the sort of hole in the wall that may not look very promising to the average western diner. To me, even at first sight, it looks like the promised land of everything yummy that China’s got to offer.
I’ve been saying how much I adore Chinese local food in several interviews and Instagram posts, nevertheless I rarely write long form reviews of my favorite holes in the wall. This time though, inspired by the good folks at SmartShanghai who reviewed this place and interviewed its owner first, I chose to immortalize my nuanced impressions of Yi’s Goose House for posterity and my own future reference.
Yi’s Goose House was opened by noodle legend Wei Yi, nicknamed Cursing Noodle King from his not-so-PC lingo, owner of several shops in the Xintiandi area. The place is more than a hole in the wall. It’s TWO holes in the wall, since the street-front kitchen is separated from the tiny dining room accessible through a secondary entrance hidden away in a grimy alleyway.
When visiting Yi’s Goose House you can expect exactly that: goose. The minimalistic menu features congyou banmian (scallion oil noodles, a typical Shanghainese dish), wontons filled with greens and goose meat and, obviously, poached goose (quarter, half or whole).
The noodles, enriched with goose fat, come with a generous, hearty portion of offal soup on the side. The latter is a crowded conglomerate of everything that’s inside a goose, from its blood, to its liver to its tongue. The peppery broth is topped with a handful of bok choy. The noodles themselves have the perfect “al dente” consistency (hope that reference won’t piss off the Association of Italian Food Fanatics Abroad).
The wontons were my favorite among the three dishes. The thicker Shanghai-style wrapper skin packs up a generous amount of perfectly seasoned veggie and goose filling. The broth is flavorful, with a great deal of healthy greens thrown in, as well as silky tofu-like goose blood.
The poached goose didn’t impress as much. Goose meat tends to be leaner than duck, and the poaching process seems to toughen the meat more than tenderizing it. The thick goose skin is hard to chew on. Knowing how locals like to chew on meat and bones, this may be a more suitable dish for their palate.
All in all, I’m already craving for more, and will not only be back to Yi’s Goose House, but I will also be visiting all of The Cursing Noodle King’s other shops!
Address: 逸记鹅馆 – 106 Zhaozhou Lu, near Ji’an Lu – 肇周路106号, 近吉安路