Duck lovers, rejoice! Kai Garden’s spin-off eatery is all about ducks. Aptly named, Kai Duck, the casual restaurant serves an array of unique duck dishes including cult favorite, Peking Roast Duck. Dig into classic dim sums for lunch, or one of their many noodle bowls to satiate any post-shopping hunger pangs; Kai Duck impresses with both her duck and non duck dishes.
The signature Peking Roast Duck, made with Irish bird, promises crispy skin and tender meat. Our friendly chef carved the duck table side with expert strokes, removing excess fats while he’s at it. A first portion of crisp duck skins is served with white sugar crystals, reminding me of the way we ate it in Beijing. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this style of eating it. If you haven’t Just dab a bit of sugar onto the skin to enjoy crunch over crunch, sweet over salty. A second serving included both duck skin and slices of duck meat. This, you eat it the traditional way, rolled up in a flour crepe together with cucumber, spring onion strips and sweet sauce. If you’re not familiar with adding duck meat to your Peking duck wraps, try it. It gives extra texture and bite and is more satisfying than just skin and crepe. Oh and don’t forget Kai’s signature corn crisps! They’re simply amazing!
I made sure to try all the duck dishes at Kai Duck, so here they are! And you’re welcomed 😉!
Chilled Duck Meat Roll with Minced Garlic– I was a little startled by the amount of garlic. But once I (bravely) popped the chilled roll in my mouth, it exploded with the most wonderful flavors! The cold cucumber, the tender duck and the savory sauce complimented one another in the most refreshing way and is further heighten by the unexpected zing from the garlic. I was pleasantly surprised by how this turned out; and I think it couldn’t have reached its peak without the garlic.
Peking Duck Salad Hand Roll– Duck skin, meat and cucumber sit snugly within a super crispy spring roll wrap and chewy umami seaweed. It’s one delightful crunchy bite after another, every mouthful filled with smokey duck skin and cool cucumber.
Sliced Peking Duck with Crackers– Bite into layers of contrasting flavors. This tower consisting corn fritter for crunch, refreshing cucumber, juicy tomato, savory Peking duck skin amidst a nutty sauce.
Crispy Bun with Sliced Peking Duck– Never thought I’d catch these two together! Creamy cheese and Peking duck skin on an open-face crispy sandwich.
Duck Web in Abalone Sauce– I am a big fan of a similar chicken version at Kai Garden. The Duck web adaptation didn’t disappoint. They were deeply flavored and fall apart tender, just as delicious as their chicken feet counterpart at Kai Garden. I only wished they were bigger and meatier!
Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup with Shredded Duck Meat– It looked like any other Szechuan soup, almost too ordinary, and at first taste, even felt slightly lacking in both hot and sour. Before you reach out for that pepper and vinegar, have another spoonful and allow the flavor set in. It isn’t one of those sour spicy soup that hits you like a truck your face. It comes gently and gradually as you roll the thick broth in your mouth. Don’t be expecting something hardcore that gets your nose runny and sniffy. This was perfectly balanced, the hot and the sour, so you could enjoy, not suffer! All bowls were dry and everyone glad they didn’t try to ‘improve’ it.
Braised Shredded Duck Meat Soup with Tofu– While my dinner companions devoured the va-va-voom Szechuan Soup, I picked the clear version filled generously with shredded duck meat and soft silky tofu. Finished with luscious egg drop slivers and thickened to a smooth consistency. The soup isn’t overly seasoned, allowing the meaty flavor from the duck to shine in every spoonful while the soft tofu cubes melt alongside. I had half as it is, then finished with a drizzle of black vinegar, and both were good.
Possibly the only dish that fell short, at least for me. I personally thought the Roast Duck was a little too fatty, (therefore oily) and just a tad lacking in flavor. The meat though, was reasonably tender. It was served with the usual plum sauce which helped cut the greasiness (a little). Between the two, definitely the Peking duck for me.
Down to the non-duck dishes.. Crisp Fried Fish, Prawn and Crab with Truffle Sauce is basically a reconstructed crab claw molded with fish, prawn and crab paste. The patty is then covered in some breakfast cereal-like coating and fried to a crunchy juicy golden finish. The oceanic seafood taste and bouncy texture were on point. That touch of truffle cream sauce? Just brilliant!
Stir Fried Green Bean with Minced Pork– Oh I could eat this over plain rice and go home very happy. Rare to find a non spicy version of this classic Szechuan dish. Most restaurants would throw in a dash of chili oil or some birds eye chili for that kick. Kai Duck’s version may not carry that spicy kick but it certainly ain’t second fiddle either. The beans retained a good level of its natural crunch while the beautifully seasoned lean mince flavored the dish. The smokiness from the heat of the fiery wok emitted in every mouthful. Wok Hei, literally, the breath of the pan… That’s what we Cantonese call this skill; achievable only in a professional Chinese kitchen! And that’s what makes this seemingly low-key humble dish stand out.
Signature Fried Rice with Black Truffle Mushroom and Beetroot– It’s not often you find the staple fried rice tinted red. Well, here at Kai Duck, it is. The rosy rice blushes with hints of truffle, woody mushrooms and crispy rice puffs in every bite. Something even stubborn carnivores would enjoy.
Braised sliced Kurobuta Pork with Vermicelli in Claypot– If rice is not your cuppa tea, brace yourself for THIS baby! Super tender pork slices stir fried with glass vermicelli. Sounds basic enough but.. Whatever marinade they’ve put in there, it’s completely infused in both the meat and the noodles. The unassuming dish was bursting with flavor and yes, wok hei, too! The traditional Claypot did the perfect job in retaining a consistent heat in the food. I’m gonna call it- MUST ORDER!!
I tried just a couple of other side dishes and dim sums. The Siu Mai dumpling is pretty similar to her sister dumplings over at Kai Garden, only minus the fancy plating. If you don’t need fancy plating, these are therefore, absolutely Marvelous!! Big, plump, meaty and handsomely seasoned. Plus that signature brush of sweet teriyaki glaze and sprinkle of juicy ebiko. Different but same!
Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg– I wouldn’t usually order this, having had it hundred times. But if you’re a die hard for fish skin and salted egg, Kai Duck’s is definitely well worth a little room in your tummy. It is light and airy without any oily aftertaste. The salted egg coating… you could barely tell it’s there.. but it is! I like that they didn’t overdo it so that every piece of fish skin carries a subtle concentration of salted egg yolk. So subtle you only see it when you taste it! I must say this is one of the best version I’ve had in a long time.
Black Fungus– Always a good choice to begin your meal. The vinegary dressing really wakes up your appetite and those thick crunchy wood fungus are a great nibble with a glass of wine!
Pan Seared Yellow Croaker Fish– Certainly not the looker, this Croaker! But it was seared nicely and had soft sweet meat. For those of you who can’t deal with bones, this is the one to order and truth be told, it tastes better than it looks.
Crispy Ball– A very unusual dessert. I could only describe it a crossbreed of sesame ball, dragon beard candy and a breath of fresh air! Starts off a little chewy, then it mysteriously melts away on your tongue in a bewilderingly pleasant manner! You pick up another ball to investigate, and before you know it, you’re on to the next ball. And the next. And the next!
It’s hard not to like Kai Duck. Every dish is familiar yet unique. If you’re into duck (like me), this is D’ place to get a full fix! Those duck tapas were truly delicious! Chef Fung has nailed it, once again!
Kai Duck @ #05-10/11 Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road. Singapore 238873
Phone +65 6235-5419
Disclaimer- This is not a sponsored post.