James had no time to put on his make up so brunching in trendy Orchard Road was out of the question
We ended up eating at Whampoa which is about 10 minutes’ drive from my house.
When we arrived at the food centre, James asked, “What is good here?” I breathed the words “卤鸭饭” in Hokkien as my eyes glued in the direction of the long queue. It should be good right? I was quite sure no one would waste precious time lining up for something mediocre. This is also not a new stall, it has been around for decades and had a reputation for snaking queues.
To me, braised duck is quintessentially a Teochew dish. I am not sure what constitutes a delectable Teochew “Lor” (卤 – braising liquid) – is it supposed to be thick and syrupy sweet or is it supposed to be more watery and savoury with spicy (as in spices and not heat) undertones? At Liang Zhao Ji, the subtlety of 5-spice aromatics failed to permeate through the rice. The viscosity of the “lor” that was ladled onto the rice and duck meat was gooey thick but the taste, weak. It would be unfair to pronounce the duck as insipid and its texture did not require laborious mastication. Overall, this plate of duck rice had failed to wow me with their rice and gravy but I would buy the duck as a standalone dish. Oh yes, pack in those zesty chilli sauce, too!
Whenever I cook Lor Bak (卤肉 – the stewing liquid employs similar spices), Valerie will always remind me to go easy on the star anise, one of the 5 spices used. Likewise, if you prefer mild tasting less spicy “Lor”, this stall may prove ideal.
Liang Zhao Ji Duck Rice 梁照记卤鸭粥鸭饭
Address: (Whampoa Makan Place)
Block 90, #01-07,
P.S. I found a very interesting stall (#01-54 Ah Hock Fried Oyster Hougang) in the middle row of Whampoa Makan Place selling Oyster Omelet – a local delight that most foreigners also found favourable. The tapioca solution is kept in an urn and the packaging for takeaways are Opeh leaves (which are the inner sheaths of the betel tree bark) that invariably invokes nostalgia tastes. I must return for it.