Located conveniently along Beach Road, Chuan Kee Duck Rice & Roasted stall can be found in LIM SI MI Café, which took over the corner coffee shop that was home to the famous Blanco Fish Soup.
The owner of the stall, Mr Tay, has been braising duck for over 40 years. Prior to moving to Beach Road, he had a stall in the Thomson area for 8 years. He learnt the art of braising duck back when he and his younger brother used to work for the owners of Cheok Kee Braised Duck.
“My family and the owner of Cheok Kee Braised Duck came from the same Kampong. My younger brother and I learnt how to braise duck while working for him,” said the 70 year-old.
This humble stall serves a hearty serving of braised duck rice. For just $4.00, we had a plate of fragrant yam rice studded with large chunks of yam, braised duck, a whole braised egg and a side of achar.
The braised duck was tender and flavourful, with hints of star anise and cloves infused in the meat. Mr Tay said that on top of the usual galangal, garlic, and onion used in his braising liquid, a special herb mixture that he concocted through the years, is added as well.
If you are wondering if Chuan Kee’s braised duck is of Teochew origins, think again. “I wouldn’t consider the braised duck that I make as a Teochew dish. The Teochews do a wetter braising liquid, but mine is thicker because I include starch in it,” said Mr Tay, who is of Hokkien-Teochew descent.
It isn’t common to find achar being served together with any braised meats. On why he serves his braised duck with achar, Mr Tay shared that he felt the need to stand out from other braised duck stalls, and that he only incorporated achar in his braised duck rice when business started to pick up. Some customers told him that it whets their appetite, hence he has continued the practice.
His brother also sells Popiah, $1.20, in the same stall as him. He claims that he prepares popiahs for the ex-President, Mr Tony Tan. The popiah recipe was passed down from his older brother, who started selling popiah back when street food peddling was still legal in Singapore. The main outlet for the popiah, ABC Popiah, is located in Toa Payoh Lorong 4 Hawker Centre.
I thoroughly enjoyed how the popiah was perfumed with aromas of deep fried dried shrimp. Hei-bi isn’t a common ingredient found in popiah, and it went in tandem with the sweet sauce and tender braised jicama, also known locally as mangkuang, in every bite.
The secret to making his popiah lies in the frying of the dry ingredients. “The dried ingredients in our popiahs are fried till they are really aromatic so they give the popiah another flavour,” Mr Tay shared.
Chuan Kee Braised Duck & Roast
Address: LIM SI MI Café, 341 Beach Road, Singapore 199567
Opening Hours: 7am to 2.30pm daily, closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
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