Loading

Adept at Duck
By KF Seetoh | Friday, Nov 23, 2018
 
You either love or hate it. Duck is a foul fowl, the pong is unbearable or stinky to some, yet it’s gamely aromatic to others. I belong to the latter. The world at large has some versions of how they love to cook and eat this webbed wonder. The Europeans adore the confit method (cook it in its own fat and juices) and smoking the breast meat. The Balinese prefer it done smashed and fried (made popular by the Bebek Bengil restaurant there), the Chinese has a few popular styles- braised Teochew method, poached in salty stock the Hokkien way, and the famous Peking Duck rendition (roasted then cooked in a few ways in one serving). The Thais have their Red Curry Duck and it pairs so well with steamed rice. 

But there’s also another Cantonese method of roasting which is very popular in Singapore but it not quite the Peking style. For starters, the kind of duck used differs from what the Beijing-nites use. It has less fat and it is not roasted particularly for the skin. You find them hanging in Cantonese roast meat stalls amidst slabs of cha siew and roast pork. Yet within this version, there are a few styles found in Singapore. I note two popular rendition here.

Chao Ji Roast Meats, 02-165 Chinatown Hawker Centre, Blk 335 Smith Street, 11am-3pm, close Mondays

Charence Leong, at 63, is one the last generation of roast meat hawkers,  after about 30 years in the business he says “no one in my family wants to take over and I am getting tired and old”. And when he calls it a day, it will be one less roast master we have.  His stall sits across from the, by now, famed queues of the Michelin awarded chicken noodle stall but they hold their own with their line of regulars. His ducks come softer and with a very roasty skin, yet it retains some bite. It comes juicy and of course his art of chopping and plating is what makes his well made roast duck ($38 for whole duck) even more appealing. The sauce they use is classic vintage Cantonese style- dark caramelised soy sauce with duck drippings and hoi sin sauce. The other magic is his cha siew. I ask how and he replied that the soft meat was not about the use of a tenderiser but instead the low fire roast method. It yields a roasty and burnt ends outside, with soft juicy meat inside. This one is a winner too.

Yaloh Roast Duck,  Golden Mile Food Centre, 505 Beach Road, #01-109, 11am to 8pm, Tel: 92267888.

These folks look to run a few outlets and perhaps have franchise models in mind. Jovison Lim has a central kitchen operation but they roast their ducks ($45 for whole duck) well as you can see from the firmness in the fowl they hang out front in the stall. The hire a former roast duck chef and he chops it with clean cuts and presents it well. The edge or difference, if you like it, is the sauce they introduce. It comes with sweet herbal overtones over a lightly salty umami taste. Bits of dang kui, chuan xiong and wolfberries peep at you in the sauce. This version tames the gamey or “duckiness” slightly because of the sauce and this new stall, barely three month old here, already have their own following.

 

 
 
Recent Seetoh Says
Chilli Crab Yong Tau Foo
 
Today’s version has come so far yet we still call them Yong Tau Foo. And now, enter chilli crab... MORE
Adept at Duck
 
...there’s also another Cantonese method of roasting which is very popular in Singapore but it not quite the Peking style. MORE
Colour Mee Purple
 
This Hakka ban mian dish, has some twist and colourful turns in the hands of Joy, who is a Nonya... MORE
Stop Building Hawker Centres.. :Till we get it right.
 
We know they are looking to build even more hawker centres in the near future but I have to respectfully... MORE
 

Most Popular
Recipe: Char Siew
A simple recipe for the “world’s most delicious food”. MORE

Monday 14 October 2013
DURIAN LOVERS UNITE: 5 REPUTABLE DEALERS
5 trusted and recommended durian dealer for this durian season MORE

Tuesday 07 July 2015
A Singapore Food Truck Star is born
For someone with no prior food experiences, coming in from star awards to food awards, Cheryl is a role model... MORE

Monday 10 November 2014
Shashlik Restaurant to re-open soon
It is now in the hands of the most appropriate new owners who are of the same culinary DNA MORE

Wednesday 17 February 2016


© 2013 Makansutra (S) Pte Ltd | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Disclaimer