From internationally-famous names to old local favourites, these roasted duck establishments have their own following
By Samantha Francis
With one roasted meat establishment being sold for $4 million and another claiming to offer the ‘Wagyu’ of duck, it appears that Singaporeans are spoilt for choice when searching for good, authentic roasted duck.
Recently more duck-centric restaurants have been opening new restaurants or branches here, and drawing snaking queues, but we at Weekender can’t help but wonder how well they all measure up.
We size up the competitors, new and old favourites, and tell you which duck is worth your buck.
1. Min Jiang at One-North
If you’re looking for an authentic Peking Duck experience, you can find it at Min Jiang at One-North. The whole duck ($98) — cooked in a wood-fired oven, no less — is carved table-side, tempting you with each waiting moment. You’ll barely be able to wait to dig into its crispy skin with fine granulated sugar. The combination melted easily and tasted beautiful.
5 Rochester Park
2. London Fat Duck
The word is that this Hong Kong style restaurant serves the ‘Wagyu’ of duck. But don’t be mistaken — this isn’t an outlet of the acclaimed Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, England.
Nonetheless, London Fat Duck claims to dish up the best Irish duck, inspired by the roast styles of Four Seasons and Gold Mine at Bayswater, London.
We recommend the Signature Roast Duck ($48.80), a succulent rendition with the crispiest skin we’ve had. The Hong Kong chef’s secret duck roasting technique works wonders — each bite tasted well-marinated and tender, though we’d prefer more sauce drizzled over the meat.
Apart from duck, sink your teeth into some black pepper duck buns ($4.80), reminiscent of Tim Ho Wan’s baked char siew buns.
6 Scotts Rd, #B1-16/17 Scotts Square, Scotts Square, 228209
3. House of Roasted Duck
The homely restaurant under the Gao Ji Food umbrella brings you the familiar tastes of Hong Kong. The kitchen is headed by Chef Lau Wai Keung from Hong Kong, who has more than 40 years of culinary experience.
We were especially impressed by the Peking Duck, which had delectably crispy skin that paired well with the handmade flour crepe. Dipped into the chef’s special homemade sauce, it tasted even better.
At $52 for a whole duck, House of Roasted Duck offers one of the most affordable Peking ducks around.
233 Victoria Street, Bugis Village
4. Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant
Originating from London, Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant is famous for Cantonese-style roast duck. We warn you, queues at its Capitol Piazza outlet are known to be long every day.
Many reviewers say that The Special Four Seasons Roasted Duck ($68) is more wet than crisp, though the herbal soy sauce marinade comes through fairly well. The char siew, caramelised to perfection, seems to be more popular than its signature dish.
13 Stamford Road, Capitol Piazza, #02-27/28/29, Singapore 178905
5. Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint
Having been sold for a whopping $4 million, one can’t help but wonder if the famous Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint has sold out to commercialism while compromising on its heritage and quality.
Kay Lee’s roast duck ($50 for whole) is done in the Cantonese style (versus the Peking Duck style). While the skin was slightly crispy, I found the meat a tad dry. Nonetheless, the braised duck gravy and the plum sauce were great and complemented the dish well.
Whether you’re a long-time fan of Kay Lee or someone who’s heard much about it and eager to try what it has to offer, Kay Lee’s char siew is still as fantastic as ever. With its slightly-charred exterior and a sweet, caramelised taste, it’s sure to send you to seventh heaven. This is apparently a result of the lady boss’ top secret recipe and technique that made the business worth so much.
125 Upper Paya Lebar Road & other outlets