Mention Yuen Long to most urban Hongkongers and either a groan escapes their lips or a quizzical expression passes across their face. 'Where's that again? Oh, yeah, way up there in the New Territories. Wah! So far away, wor!' Despite large-scale development, Yuen Long remains a bustling market town with some little-explored rural relics, including clan halls, temples and the remains of wai tsuen (walled village) gates. A venerable Tin Hau temple, now marooned between railway viaducts and expressways, was once close to the Deep Bay shoreline and the Ping Shan heritage trail is just up the road, towards Tuen Mun. Most of the Heung Yee Kuk's (rural committee) leading louts - sorry, leading lights - hail from the Yuen Long district. Deeply conservative when it comes to their own interests, the district's heung ha lo (rustics) are some of Hong Kong's most vociferous exponents of 'traditional rights', especially when those rights might be questioned. The most contentious - the small house policy - however, has only been a traditional New Territories right since the early 1970s. Excellent dai pai dong which serve tasty, unpretentious Cantonese, Hakka and Chiu Chow food can be found all over Yuen Long. Less readily available is the once-humble poon choy, which has become confirmed in urban minds as a Yuen Long staple. Literally 'basin meal', poon choy was originally served at wedding feasts, clan gatherings and at periodic dah jiu (protective rituals). Everyone contributed to this village equivalent of a pot-luck supper - and the meal was served, as the name implies, in very large bowls. These were usually domestic washing basins pressed into service for the occasion. Modern poon choy often contains laap yuk (dried meats), hoi mei (dried seafood) and other high-priced exotica. And at thousands of dollars a table, these are anything but a humble village feast. Another Yuen Long speciality - though it is widely available elsewhere in Hong Kong - is lo por beng. Literally 'old hag's biscuit', lo por beng is more usually rendered as 'wife cake'. Like many Cantonese expressions, the fruity, multilayered impact gets completely lost in translation. Lo por beng is made from flaky, lard-based pastry and filled with sweet tong kwa paste made from candied strips of winter melon. A long established cake shop, Hang Heung, on Castle Peak Road reputedly makes the best lo por beng in Hong Kong. Try them for yourself; West Rail makes access to Yuen Long swift and inexpensive - less than 45 minutes from Hong Kong Station. 'Wah! - Yuen Long - ah! So far away, wor ...'