If you love the umami flavours and unctuous textures of a rice dumpling, but wish it could be more meaty than starchy, you’ll love home cook Sylvia Tan’s Eight Treasure Duck. For $118, you get a 2.4kg deboned duck wrapped in a lotus leaf parcel, stuffed to precarious voluptuousness like an overblown balloon threatening to burst, with glutinous rice, lup cheong and other goodies. The laborious dish that feeds six hungry adults takes over two days to source, prep and cook — but will probably disappear in a flash at your dining table.
The 43-year-old freelance writer, who had a year-long stint as producer at CNA 20 years ago, found herself with less work than usual while being cooped up at home during the Circuit Breaker. Not one to keep idle, the enthusiastic home cook who used to cook for friends every other week decided to introduce her cooking to a larger audience. The Eight Treasure Duck — a Chinese classic that features a whole bird, oftentimes deboned and stuffed with a variety of fillings — is a dish that has been her signature party dish since 2013. The ducks sold at restaurants are usually cooked naked, but Sylvia’s rendition is wrapped in a lotus leaf, inspired by bak changs eaten during Dragon Boat Festival.