With over 30 years of history serving traditional braised duck rice, I knew I was in for a treat when I dropped by Sims Vista Market & Food Centre to try out Tai Dong Teochew Duck Rice.
I had no problems finding the stall. Not only was it situated along the front stretch of hawker stalls facing the main road (Sims Place), it was also right behind the main bus stop in front of the hawker centre.
In fact, the stall was absolutely unavoidable. When I dropped by on a weekday afternoon, I was shocked at the queue, which had close to 15 people!
Surely, judging by the queue alone, Tai Dong Teochew Duck Rice seemed promising enough.
For its massive queue length, service was impressively fast. It took me 10 minutes till I reached the front of the queue.
That was when I started spotting multiple stickers on its storefront, boasting at the amount of awards it’s received. For example, I saw a certificate of contribution to the Singapore UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as well as awards for its fine culinary skills by Singapore Food Masters.
Okay, okay. I get it. This stall is pretty impressive. But how good can Teochew braised duck rice get?
What I tried at Tai Dong Teochew Duck Rice
Tai Dong Teochew Duck Rice’s menu is straightforward, sporting only two single-pax meals: Duck Rice (per plate) (S$4) and Duck Rice (per serving) (S$5). The difference between these two options was its portion and plating style, with the former consisting of duck slices on rice, while the latter had the duck slices served separately.
I decided to order the Duck Rice (per serving) (S$5) and ordered some side dishes as well, mainly the Cabbage (S$1), Peanuts (S$1) and Beancurd (S$0.70).
For those dining in a large group, you can consider ordering a Whole Duck (S$42 for medium, S$44 for large).
Each piece of duck meat was braised so well that every single slice had taken on a dark brown colour. Flavour wise, this was completely spot on. I loved the rich soy sauce-based braised sauce, which was full-bodied, aromatic and savoury, and I could taste hints of five spice and some herbs. What I thoroughly appreciated was how well-balanced the sauce was, as it wasn’t overly salty and didn’t make me thirsty after the entire meal— major plus points!
My only gripe would be that there wasn’t enough braised liquid, and I found myself desperately scooping up the remaining bits of glorious braised gravy towards the end of the meal.
The duck slices themselves weren’t very tender, and it depended on which part of the duck you had gotten. As for my S$5 plate of Duck Rice, I had received a variety of parts— some with the bone intact, some with more fat than meat, and some which were pure meat.
I thoroughly enjoyed those which had the skin and fat on, as it added a juicy softness to each bite. There were some pieces of duck meat which were tougher and drier than others, but I attributed it to the nature of their cut, which was primarily breast meat.
I do wish, however, that I had been given more pieces of duck meat, as it was gone in a flash!
The Cabbage reminded me of chap chye, as it had been braised till it was delightfully soft. Though it looked simple, it was amazingly sweet and flavourful, and I came across pieces of thin beancurd skins, dried shrimp, fish maw and even what seemed like old cucumber! I detected no trace of MSG and easily polished off the entire plate (sauce included) without feeling thirsty.
For just S$1, I’ve got to say that this is a definite must-try. Those looking to get larger portions will be pleased to know that Tai Dong Teochew Duck Rice sells them at S$2 or S$3.
Tai Dong Teochew Duck Rice’s Peanuts weren’t as tender as I’d like, and I had fully expected them to be as soft as those served as appetisers in Chinese restaurants. I also wish they were served in a bowl accompanied with sauce, as they were on the drier end. Yet, they were sufficient in whetting my appetite, and served as adequate snacks in-between bites of succulent duck.
The Beancurd had been served together with the duck, allowing it to soak up all the delicious gravy. However, the savoury notes from the braised gravy wasn’t as prominent as I’d liked, but despite that, I enjoyed the soft and silky pieces of Beancurd, as it made for a nice contrast against the rest of the elements of my meal.
Don’t forget to grab a saucer or two of chilli, as Tai Dong Teochew Duck Rice’s homemade chilli sauces hit the spot. There are two types of chilli available— sambal belacan and a more watery, tangy chilli sauce, with the latter located right next to the utensils. The sambal belacan is tucked away, so you’ll have to request for it.
The orange-red chilli sauce was tart, sour and appetising, and helped to provide that well-needed brightness and acidity to the braised duck and gravy. Meanwhile, the sambal belacan was my personal favourite, as it was smoky, spicy and rich in flavour.
This was a classic plate of braised duck rice, and I was left feeling satiated and full after a visit to Tai Dong Teochew Duck Rice. In fact, my only gripe would be not having enough duck meat or gravy, but I suppose those might’ve been so precious that the stall wouldn’t consider doling out more.
My meal cost close to S$8, but I’d say that for its quality, I’d gladly come back again for another plate of delicious braised Teochew duck rice. Perhaps the next time round, I’d consider asking the stall for more gravy (on everything, please!) for that extra indulgent note.
Expected damage: S$4 – S$10 per pax
The post Tai Dong Teochew Duck Rice: Traditional braised duck rice with over 30 years of history appeared first on SETHLUI.com.