Makansutra: Duck! There is a price war
Three stalls are offering roast ducks from $13.80 - which comes up tops?
There is a war of roast ducks going on.
I first heard of a roast duck take-out stall in Chinatown, where whole ducks are going at $15 each. Then a fellow foodie told me about two other places offering similar roast ducks - although smaller fowls at below 2kg - at just $13.80.
Today, I will set the record straight and tell you which roast duck comes up tops.
1, Park Road, People's Park Complex, #01-K99, 10am to 10pm (weekdays), 9am to 10pm (weekends)
The appeal here is the tempered glass oven showing two rows of ducks on a roasting spit spinning slowly inside. It is a visual treat.
You have to be patient though, as the waiting time can be up to two hours - occasionally more.
The duck ($15) came hot and crispy. While it did not have the "roastiness" I like, it was better than most.
The stall claims to use chilled ducks from Malaysia. The meat is tender, and the marinade is basic and light with tinges of salt and some spices.
The stall does not chop up the duck - you take it home whole, head and all. There is no seating or cutlery provided.
GOLDEN DUCK EATING HOUSE
369, Balestier Road, 24 hours daily
Prices have gone down from the original $18.80. The duck here looks a little bigger (about 1.6kg to 1.8kg) and is meatier.
The marinate is milder than the other two stalls in this review, but that is because they rely on an umami, sweet and savoury hoisin-like sauce that is slathered over the duck.
You can have the duck with noodles, rice or dumpling soup. Eat in air-conditioned comfort.
The whole duck costs $13.80 for takeaway. It is a dollar more if you want it chopped. It is $16.80 if you want it chopped for dining-in.
JIU XIANG XIANG CHARCOAL ROAST MEAT
588F, Balestier Road, 24 hours daily
This is my favourite of the trio.
The ducks are prepared like in many restaurants - in a bright orange marinaded, hung to dry and roasted in an Apollo oven.
The duck has a roasty aroma even when it is not fresh from the oven. The skin is dark orange, shiny and crispy.
I love eating a flavourful duck without any sauce, but I adore the sambal - it comes with bits of ikan bilis (white bait is used).
It is best to enjoy the duck and the five-foot-way kopitiam atmosphere at the shop itself and wash it down with some cold beer or Chinese tea.