New Hong Kong eatery Duckee gives diners food for thought, discovers Crystal Leung.
Whether it’s for health reasons or environmental ethics, we’ve seen more people than ever jumping on the plant-based bandwagon, minimising their meat consumption, and even calling themselves flexitarians, punters who are primarily vegetarian but occasionally cheat (enjoy meat). Inspired by this neoteric flexible vegetarian concept, Duckee – the newest addition to the foodscape at Hong Kong’s Lee Gardens – gives Chinese cuisine a contemporary twist and features a “yin-yang” menu marrying carnivorous favourites with plant-based substitutes.
Located in the basement of Lee Gardens Three, Duckee is decked out in timber and dark shades of green and blue, with muted lighting exuding a secluded, laidback vibe. The spacious Chinese restaurant-cum-gastrobar boasts four private rooms and a bar where you can sample themed cocktails laced with Chinese wines and teas.
Served in a traditional Chinese porcelain mug, my Misty Bohea is injected with a waft of applewood smoke, which beautifully escapes when I lift the lid. Light on the taste of alcohol, the imaginative concoction of Chinese yellow wine, Bohea tea, strawberry, honey, and soda is refreshing and with just the right amount of sweetness. If you’re not a fan of Chinese booze, an extensive list of international wines and spirits is also available to pair with your meal.
Our feast kicks off with bean curd and vegetable rolls with vegetable abalone, which is accompanied by wasabi and soy sauce to spice up the dish. We are then introduced to three highlights from the “yin yang” menu, and my favorite is the squid and coconut meat with typhoon shelter salt and pepper, which is a true conversation piece. Deep-fried and covered in generous lashings of typhoon shelter salt and chilies, the coconut meat resembles the squid to the extent that I can hardly distinguish the two. You’d also be forgiven for not being able to identify the coconut with your first bite, as it takes a while until the sweetness of the fruit gives itself away.
The yin-yang Peking duck that followed is presented in two ways. With crispy duck skin, crunchy cucumber, and sweet bean sauce all wrapped in a steaming hot, paper-thin pancake, the authentic dish is a symphony of textures and flavours on the taste buds; while the vegetarian style replaces the roasted duck with a slice of deep-fried bean curd and seasoned pineapple.
Those who love dim sum shouldn’t miss the dual Xiao Long Bao, of which the vegetarian option offers a fun twist on the classic. Enveloping savory OmniPork filling and umami soup, the delicate dumpling skin is dyed a striking red hue with beetroot juice.
Apart from the “yin-yang” courses, other top choices on the menu include Sichuan simmered fish slices; braised crab with turnip cake and chili sauce; and sautéed diced chicken with mushroom, celery, and pine nuts. Make sure you leave room for desserts as the baked pudding with ice cream, served in a coconut shell on top of a large bowl of crushed ice, is as appealing to the eye as it is to the palate. Other firm favourites on offer include red bean paste pancake and soufflé egg white stuffed with red bean and banana.
With a stylish, laidback ambience, imaginative cocktails, and an inspiring culinary concept, Duckee is sure to encourage more diners to appreciate plant-based recipes as well as modern Chinese cuisine.
For more Wining & Dining inspiration click here.
New Gastrobar Showcases Yin-Yang Philosophy
With its innovative Ying Yang menu, new Hong Kong eatery Duckee gives diners looking for vege alternatives food for thought, discovers Crystal Leung.