When the news published word that Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice was due to close in another few months, it sparked a social media frenzy on my Facebook newsfeed. A dinner outing was soon organized, with everyone tempted to tuck in to some fabulous and well hyped up duck. The dinner was finally planned on the last day of the school before the exams began, and it will probably be the only time before another break is in sight again. Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice is located off South Buona Vista Road, and is walking distance from Haw Par Villa MRT Station. A trip well worth it, if you do love braised duck at a price. Especially when its going to disappear after 45 years.
I guess the best part of the night was how the entire group managed ordering the dishes without requesting for the dish prices at first. Everyone was almost confident that it would be reasonably priced, with decent tasty portions. The uncle recommended for the table of 11 persons, 2 plates of duck, kang kong, tofu and a round of rice or porridge. I have to agree that the boneless braised duck was excellent for its soft, tender meat accompanied with a slightly sweet savoury braising sauce that goes very well with a serving of light porridge. The taste of the duck was definitely good, but the portion sizes, dismal. The entire table ended up ordering another two servings of duck to go around. Still, do remember to pair the duck with the savoury rich chilli dip, one that reminded me of a good use of dried prawns. It sets the duck slightly apart with strong meaty flavours at two different levels to enjoy.
The side of tofu was nicely done. Savoury with a thick, clear sauce that stands with crisp umami flavours in a single serving, the tofu is an excellent accompaniment with the steamed rice.
The Kang Kong was well done, and not too overcooked. Each bite revealed crunchy yet tender stalks with a rich flavourful sauce that is easily enjoyed. I am rather indifferent to this as I would order my Kang Kong, sambal stir fried within.
Amusingly, the duck innards were referred to as ‘spare parts’ by the Uncle. We didn’t want to order this at first. However, as everyone enjoyed the boneless braised duck, two servings were quickly called to the table to complete the entire dining experience. I would say that the liver is rather tasty, almost odourless and with a creamy yet firm texture. The braising sauce that is glazed over the serving of liver complemented the flavours very nicely to a T.
The time for the bill was probably the biggest surprise that tweaked the dining experience for most of the group. We were momentarily astounded when we discovered each plate of duck cost $30, bringing the total bill for the 11 of us over a $170 (with drinks included). Sentiments was that while the duck was definitely good, the portion sizes were too small to justify a wholesome dinner. Maybe if we knew the prices at the beginning, we might have ordered and settled with less for the night. But I do think that would have changed the entire dining experience from start to end.
Nevertheless, the dinner was still good for what it was. The boneless braised duck is definitely tasty, a signature and a highlight of the store. I recommend ordering the duck with servings of porridge (something the taxi driver uncle recommended as I made my way there). The smooth, slightly buttery texture of porridge in all its crisp and clear setting complements the savoury braising sauce and tender duck meat excellently. It is a place worth visiting, even if its slightly out of the way. Just remember to bring a large enough wallet for a satisfying meal.
|Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice Eating House
38 South Buona Vista Road