Unlike, say, chicken, duck obviously isn’t the edible fowl of choice on many Filipino dinner tables. Unless you live in places like Pateros, Malabon, or Valenzuela where balut (those nefarious duck eggs with fertilized embryos that constitute the worst gastronomic nightmares of many Western tourists) is the local cottage industry, it is highly doubtful that duck cooked in any manner will make it to your dinner table. Unless, of course, you go to a Chinese restaurant that specializes in duck dishes.
Today, however, with the appearance of frozen whole ducks and ducklings in supermarket freezers for the Holidays, the possibility of serving duck to one’s family is no longer as remote as it used to be. What really changes the game, however, is the arrival of The Classic Roast.
A fixture on the local Holiday bazaar circuit, The Classic Roast is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Denise Owyong and Polly Quizon. Its primary stock in trade is Chinese-style roast duck (AKA Peking-style duck or siu ngap) served with plum and hoisin sauces either whole or in a few rather unconventional ways.
One can buy a whole duck for P 1,200.00 (US$ 27.61) and it will come with packets of plum sauce and hoisin. It’s great for feeding a family of six or so; all you have to throw in are Chinese pancakes or flour tortillas or plain steamed rice plus some slivered cucumber and spring onions. Half-ducks and quartered ducks are also available for smaller groups and they also serve bowls of carved duck meat over rice or noodles.
But what really grabbed my attention were the portable duck buns the stall had on display!
Cuapao, a sandwich made with a steamed mantou (white flour bun) split and filled with roast meat, pickled mustard greens, chopped roasted peanuts, and a sweetish sauce, has long been one of my favorite Chinoy snacks. The Classic Roast puts a rich, deliciously swank twist on it by replacing the customary char siu (roast pork) with smoky, almost ham-like dark duck meat and a bit of the crisp skin. Paired with fresh veg to add crunch and to lighten it up a bit, the duck cuapao (P 90.00) is a filling little sandwich that needs little embellishment and would best be paired with either a frosty-cold ginger ale or (for a more grown-up nosh) a chilled brown ale with a nutty taste.
The duck siopao (P 45.00), on the other hand, makes for a smaller treat. The rich duck meat is doused with classic Chinese asado sauce and mixed with a few carrots. Salty, smoky, and sweet, it goes very well with the relative lightness of the white bun in which it is encased.
Incidentally, for those of you who want a different main course for your Christmas or New Year banquets at home, The Classic Roast is also open for orders which you can pick up at their outlets at Rustan’s Makati, Rockwell, and Katipunan.
For inquiries, call 0917 – 8226400 / 0917 – 5285838 or visit the website.