“Salted duck?” I thought to myself. My curiosity was piqued as I’m only familiar with dishes like salt-baked chicken and my grandmother’s salted vegetable duck soup. I was excited along the way when I made my journey to a coffeeshop at Yishun Ring Road, where Home Treasure Salted Duck is located— they have been around since August 2021.
The owner, Mdm Chew helms the stall with the help of her son. I found out that this venture was something new to her, as she was previously a homemaker. Friendly and chirpy, she shared with me that the ducks are marinated with salt and some “secret spice recipe” for three days in the fridge, before taking them out to poach them.
What I tried at Home Treasure Salted Duck
I scanned through Home Treasure Salted Duck’s menu brightly lit in cheerful shades of yellow, choosing between rice, porridge and bee hoon soup that was offered together with their specialty duck.
While waiting for Mdm Chew to expertly portion my duck up, I noticed that there were metal condiment tubs in front of me. One of them was a chilli mixture which contained chopped garlic, chilli padi, soya sauce and lime juice, and the other tub had crispy garlic bits soaked in oil. Mdm Chew said, “the garlic is for the meat.” Nodding in response, I shamelessly took a saucer and piled up generous amounts of the garlic bits— don’t worry, I’m not preparing to battle a vampire.
I started the ball rolling with their Signature Salted Duck Rice (S$4.60). The chunks of salted duck were topped with tiny golden nuggets of crispy garlic, with a bed of white rice resting below, served with half a braised egg and a couple of cucumber slices.
I commenced with the star of the dish— the salted duck. Surprisingly, the salt wasn’t as overwhelming as I would’ve expected it to be, giving the skin a subtle saltish but flavoursome infusion. The meat was tasty and tender without the gaminess that I will normally get with roasted duck.
The crispy garlic on top was the perfect condiment to go along with the salted duck as it was slightly smoky, fragrant and gave a satisfying crunch— adding another layer of deliciousness! Whoever came up with this combination sure knows how to harmonise flavours.
The chilli padi lime mixture was slightly underwhelming to me and I wished there was slightly more impact coming from the dip— it just wasn’t enough to excite my taste buds. However, my dining partner disagreed and felt that it was too acidic for her— different opinions coming from different people, perhaps.
I moved on to the Salted Duck Porridge (S$4.10), which came with a generous portion of salted duck, crispy garlic bits and braised peanuts in a thick-looking bowl of porridge— if only I had a piece of youtiao, now that would be perfect!
The porridge on its own was pretty bland and had not much flavour to it. It was extremely viscous and it reminded me of the kind of porridge that you’ll normally get when you’re at a dim sum restaurant.
The saltiness of the duck was mellowed even further when I paired it with the porridge. After trying the porridge with the other combined ingredients, I realised why Mdm Chew made the porridge bland— it was to let the duck shine.
I can see myself having several bowls of this on a cold, rainy day. Of course, it’s wishful thinking on my part. My forehead had beads of sweat due to the sweltering heat outside— thankfully I had an ice-cold glass of Coke with me.
The Braised Pork Rice (S$4.80) was similar in presentation to the Signature Salted Duck Rice except for the difference in meat. To be honest, I wasn’t placing high hopes on The Braised Pork Rice, but boy was I wrong. With pronounced notes of star anise, the pork belly was flavourful and tender. It was equally on par with the salted duck in terms of quality, and deserves more recognition.
With only a couple of cucumbers in each dish, I decided to order their Qinglong Vegetables With Beansprouts (S$3.50) to increase my vegetable intake. I first got to know about qinglong vegetables at a popular dining spot at Geylang. They are locally grown in Cameron Highlands, and possess a crunchy texture.
The vegetables were served with a dark-looking sauce and topped with their signature crispy garlic bits. Upon taking the first mouthful of it, the qinglong vegetables and beansprouts were not soggy and maintained a slightly crunchy mouthfeel to them.
Unfortunately, the sauce that came with it was a little too salty. I was 99% sure it had Maggi seasoning in it as I have it pretty often with porridge at home. It would be a pretty good dish if the saltiness was toned down a little.
After visiting Home Treasure Salted Duck, I can now proudly tell my friends that I’ve eaten salted duck before. To most people, it’s not a particularly common dish, but I found the flavours good enough to make a return trip back to Yishun Ring Road just to enjoy Mdm. Chew’s cooking again.
What are you waiting for? Head down here and give it a go! Trust me, it’s worth it.
Expected damage: S$5 – S$8.50 per pax
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