Duck is one of our favourite meats and the most memorable meal we’ve had that features the bird was in Yilan, Taiwan at Red Lantern. Closer to home, there are several restaurants that specialise in duck and although we’ve yet to find any that come close to Red Lantern, they’re still quite good. One of them is Duckland by the TungLok Group.
Being a TungLok member, I received a $50 birthday voucher in the email and was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn’t require any minimum spend. The only material restriction was that it could only be used for ala carte orders, and not for any set meals or promotions.
That was pretty generous, and so we made a lunch reservation at the Duckland branch at Paya Lebar Quarter. It’s a small outlet that probably seats around 30-40 people and the decorations are predictably and predominantly duck-related.
We were here for duck, and even though it was just the two of us, we ordered the whole roasted Irish duck, fully prepared to doggy bag any leftovers. We had tried their Singapore Slaw in a previous visit to their United Square branch and wanted to place a repeat order.
I recalled that it was a refreshing mix of greens topped with crunchy bits of fried soba and is a close cousin of yu sheng sold during Chinese New Year, minus the raw fish. Unfortunately, it was not available that day and so we went for the salted veg duck soup instead.
The soup was alright I suppose, but it was nowhere close to the one by Earth Jar Treasure. But the main reason for the trip was for the duck, which arrived nicely cut up on a nice cutting board with accompanying sauces.
The main sauce was what I assumed was the roasting jus, which was savoury with a hint of caramel and coffee. On the other side were three small ramekins containing sriracha, a dijon-ish mustard and raspberry sauce. The sriracha was store-bought from Huy Fong Foods i.e. the rooster brand, but the mustard and raspberry were house-blended.
I get that most Singaporeans (myself included) like some form of chilli sauce on their roast duck, but the sriracha didn’t really pair well. The jus, mustard and raspberry, on the other hand, offered good contrast and helped cut through the oiliness. We particularly liked the mustard and asked for a refill.
We thought that we wouldn’t be able to finish the entire duck, and were indeed struggling around the three-quarter mark. But we decided to press on and managed to wipe out the whole bird, leaving only its lonely head.
The duck was flavourful and surprisingly not as jelak as we’d expected. The meat could have been juicier and the skin could have been more crisp, but overall, it was a good meal. I found the skin quite interesting because it had a honeycomb-like structure underneath, which made it slightly spongy, but in a good way.
It’s not the best roast duck out there, but it was quite good. If it wasn’t for the birthday voucher, I’d probably not order the entire bird given the cost-performance ratio. But they do seem to have some decent lunch sets that might be worth a return visit.
The next time I have a craving for duck, my first choice would probably still be the Anjelica herb roast duck (当归鸭) at Dian Xiao Er, which they serve in their value-for-money lunch sets.
But if a duck has to sacrifice its life for us, nothing so far compares to Red Lantern, especially their incomparable duck soup. And for that, I’m thankful that humans are on top of the food chain.