Duck Rice Dynasty

THE NEXT TIME YOU ARE AT KALLANG WAVE MALL, be sure to walk by the new Yu Kee outlet, if only to take a whiff — the inviting notes of herbs, soy and ginger are hard to miss, and will in all likelihood entice you to drop in for a meal. The assumption is that these aromas come from the ducks braised there. But that’s not the case. According to the chain’s marketing manager, Ms Seah Kun Miao, the fragrance synonymous with a plate of Yu Kee duck rice is actually from the rice — and not the duck. It’s a fragrance Singaporeans are familiar with, having experienced it since 1961, when the first Yu Kee store opened. Yu Kee is now one of Singapore’s largest braised duck chains, with over 30 outlets nationwide. The one at Kallang Wave Mall, which opened in July 2019, expands the brand’s footprint in the central-east region of Singapore, explains Ms Seah.

For athletes who use the Sports Hub facilities, having a Yu Kee nearby means another source of affordable and lean protein — a must-have nutrient post-training. “It’s great to have Yu Kee a stone’s throw away from the court, since duck meat actually has more protein than pork, and it’s a nice alternative to chicken,” explained Mr Low Jun An, an avid badminton player.


But for many, the main draw of Yu Kee remains its braised duck, perfected over 50 years. The chain was started by Mr Seah Boon Lock, a hawker who peddled duck rice in the Sembawang kampung area, who learnt the recipe from his father, Mr Seah Teck Yew. The prized recipe has been passed down through generations, but has been slightly adapted to modern tastebuds. For instance, flavours have become more pronounced and robust. These flavours are present in all the dishes sold at Yu Kee, from its duck rice and noodles to its duck kway teow and porridge.


For added flavour and variety, opt for the tau pok (braised beancurd), which mops up the braised duck sauce nicely. And most diners know that the key to a good meal at Yu Kee lies in the chilli. Researched, and concocted by Mr Seah himself, the Yu Kee chilli is available in two forms. One is the original, made with ikan billis pieces, which creates a unique, grainy texture, and the other the vinegar chilli. It is said that for the perfect combination, mix the two to create an explosion of flavour that not only complements the duck rice and elevates it to another level.

The Yu Kee soup is also something not to be missed. The herbal soup has also been specially created to accompany the duck rice. It is made with a mix of 10 herbs and spices, although the exact recipe remains a cherished secret. With its signature traditional braised sauce recipe, tender duck meat and delicious chilli sauce, Yu Kee Duck Rice has won the hearts of customers from all over Singapore. And now, you can experience the magic at Kallang Wave Mall.

The brand name “Yu Kee” was coined by combining the patriarch’s Chinese name “You” and “Ji” which was seen as a word that is typically used to indicate a food business by the Chinese. Yu Kee is the Teochew transliteration of the name.

Yu Kee might still be keeping with tradition but they truly are a modern company. Every Chinese New Year season, look out for the online pre-ordering system on their website for the whole braised duck to skip the long queues and to book pre-order self-collection times.


Yu Kee Duck Rice Specialities
Kallang Wave Mall #02-12, 1 Stadium Pl, Singapore 397628