I’ve had my fair share of duck rice in Singapore, but salted duck rice? Not so much. Benson Salted Duck Rice is hidden in a coffee shop in Toa Payoh Lorong 1, and it is serving up yummy duck dishes for as little as $3.
Stall owner Benson salts the ducks himself, and kindly explained the process to me. The ducks are first poached sous-vide style for an hour, in a mixture of lemongrass, garlic, ginger and pandan leaves.
The aromatic ducks are then soaked in salt water for about another hour, giving them their white appearance as compared to the darker ones we’re familiar with.
The meat ends up looking almost like chicken, and I couldn’t wait to try some.
Bearing an uncanny resemblance to a plate of chicken rice, the Salted Duck Rice ($3) is served with soup, pickled vegetables and a side of chilli. I squeezed the lime over the duck and loved the combination of the sour and salty flavours.
The duck itself was very tender and wasn’t actually too salty. It looks plain, but was packed full of flavour from being poached in the fragrant herbs.
I highly recommend dipping the meat into the chilli to add a bit of sweetness to the overall dish.
If the portion size just isn’t doing it for you for lunch, ask for an extra Salted Duck Drumstick ($4). I enjoyed this cut more because it was easier to eat with less bones.
If having to pick the meat off bones is generally not your thing, try the Smoked Duck Rice ($3) instead. Unfortunately, Benson doesn’t smoke the ducks and gets them instead from a reliable supplier.
Still, I’m a fan of smoked duck and thought that this was a very satisfying lunch option. The smoked duck was as tender as the salted duck, with a thin layer of delicious fat that I know I’ll probably regret at some point.
The highlight for me was the homemade peppery sauce that Benson serves with the smoked duck – it was quite mild and complemented the smokiness of the meat.
The menu states that Benson also sells Pig’s Organ Soup ($3.50), but if you ask, you could be treated to Fish Maw Pig’s Organ Soup ($5) instead. The soup was definitely worth it for that price, filled with loads of ingredients like pig liver, pig stomach, sliced pork, pork balls and tofu.
Not forgetting the generous amount of fish maw, which was a nice textural addition to the soup. The broth was slightly peppery and at first tasted salty-sour because of a few pieces of salted vegetables inside.
Overall, a very hearty dish that was satisfying to eat on its own.
Benson Salted Duck Rice is getting more and more popular these days, so even though it says that the stall stays open till 7pm, I’d recommend heading there early before they sell out.
An early lunch is probably your best bet, so get your colleagues together and seek out this humble stall!
Expected damage: $3 – $7 per person