Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck and Kway Chap: A good place for Teochew braised duck at Chinatown Complex!

By HungryGoWhere July 11, 2021
Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck and Kway Chap: A good place for Teochew braised duck at Chinatown Complex!
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Walk in front of this braised duck stall and you’ll see plenty of newspaper articles plastered everywhere, and in this particular instance, the quality of the braised duck here matches the hype but with a few caveats.

Now in the hands of the second generation, 39-year-old Melvin Chew left his took over his parent’s braised duck stall when his father died four years ago. He now runs the stall with his 62-year-old mother, Lim Bee Hong.

The stall, which used to sell fruits at the now-defunct Majestic Theatre in Eu Tong Sen Street, started business at Kreta Ayer Complex (now Chinatown Complex) in 1983. They switched over to selling braised duck as not many hawkers were selling them at the time.

Melvin has introduced some modern thinking to his parent’s traditional braised duck stall, some of which work and some of which don’t.

Besides renovating the stall for a more modern look, the stall substitutes braised boiled eggs for  Japanese-style ajitsuke tamago, which has gooey yolks instead.

Some other hawker stalls like Teo Heng Porridge, which sells lu wei (stewed options) dishes has also opted for tamago eggs and there have been very well received by customers.

The change which doesn’t quite work is the introduction of a Japanese-style bento set using braised duck ingredients.

Called the Bento Braised Duck Set ($6/8), the dish has worked as a marketing gimmick as it has attracted a lot of media attention to the stall and to be fair the ingredients are nicely done.

However, the use of a Japanese bento tray is quite impractical as there isn’t enough room to properly tuck into the dish, plus the sauce keeps spilling over. At the same time, there is never enough sauce for the ingredients given.

In short, avoid the dish. Order the braised duck the normal way and you’ll be rewarded as the actual braised duck, plus associated ingredients are very good indeed.

The pork belly is nicely stewed with soft fat and skin, plus it is chunkily cut and the meat nicely moist. The duck liver has a nicely soft texture and the gizzard, a soft springiness.

The tau Kwa (hard tofu) is fresh and has a soft but firm texture. The soup also has a nicely present savouriness and herbal notes.

The dark-coloured rice is cooked with the gravy. It has a soft rice texture but it still has bite. Instead of small yam cubes, they use mashed up yam bits.

The gravy veers a little away from the traditional. Instead of an intensely salty thin gravy, the gravy at Jin Ji has less salty accents, more rounded, slightly sweeter notes and the gravy consistency thicker than usual.

True Teochew braised duck fans might frown at this rendition but for everyone else, it’s a good braised duck.

Be warned as well, that the stall is not that consistent. We’ve encountered occasions where the ingredients have been overcooked.



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