Monday, September 30, 2013

That best Chinese roast duck in the world

Walk along Queensway in London and you will not miss a sliver of a restaurant with a big group of hungry tourists waiting outside.  It's a jostle to get in just to put one's name down and even more frightfully embarrassing as I might run into a familiar face from my country of birth.  "Alamak!  How come you in London also?"  
"Of course to eat the roast duck lah," would probably have been my answer.

Yes, the myth makers claim that some Singaporeans detour to London just for roast duck at Four Seasons, not the hotel but the restaurant that bears no relation to the luxury chain.  (I wonder if anyone has visited that hotel by Hyde Park and demanded for the famous roast duck, or for that matter chosen to stay there for that reason.) I am indeed not shy to say that that was part of the appeal of going to London this past weekend.

With patience and fortitude like good old British bulldogs, my daughter and I waited inconspicuously at the tiny front section of the narrow room for a full hour.  Later, we started with the creamy corn and chicken soup and then savored the boneless duck complemented with white rice. 

What is so special about the duck?  My Singaporean friends discuss this topic during almost each of my dinner parties back in New York.  We speculate and hypothesize with almost scientific reasoning.  For me, the duck has moist, succulent and most characteristically, flavorful flesh that's basted once more with a thin dark sauce before it is served.  The skin does not go all soggy as most roast ducks tend to and it comes with an even trim layer of fat that keeps the meat moist in the first place.  I once tried, on the way to the loo past the kitchen, to peek at the packaging that the ducks came in.  Who's the supplier?

Third time's a charm and this treat - once again - was indeed well worth waiting for. 

Four Seasons
84 Queensway
(There are two other locations located in London's Chinatown.  But hard core aficionados say they're not as good.)

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