Do you know about the all famous Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice at 38 South Buona Vista Road? If you don’t, now you do and you should probably know that they’re due to close this coming June! It’s a real pity that one of the sources, albeit many, of good food here will soon cease to exist. This brings me to mention the issue of Singapore slowly losing bites of hawker food heaven as the older generation journeys into retirement without passing on the baton. Here’s a good read by Poached Mag on this – What Will Happen To Our Hawkers?
In a white shirt (of course), the founder Mr Lim Ah Too worked like a machine to serve the full house of customers. Standing and preparing the famous boneless braised duck for the entire day to earn a living has also earned him a bad back — it’s no wonder he has chosen to retire after 45 years.
We arrived at approximately 1.45 pm on Saturday and were surprised to see a long queue on top of such a big crowd even towards the end of lunch hour. Suffice to say, everyone’s bent on getting a hold of one of the last plates of glorious braised duck that they will ever serve. What is commendable for a shop like this is their ability to ‘remain’ so authentic inside and out. By out, I mean its appearance. Tiled walls, old fans turning black with dust, old school chairs suffering from what seems to be a rusty disease and floors with tiles that likens stepping into/onto the 1960’s.
There were 2 queues. One for takeout, the other for seats. We were all in patient apprehension for our food as understandable human beings — the only movement coming from a busy Mr Lim chop chop chopping away and his family of elves scurrying about taking orders and serving food. As for payment, there was only one man for the job. Spot him in the 3rd picture if you can. He’s known for his amusing method of calculating of bill, though it really does sound as if he was just working the art of estimation. “$20, $21 … $22!” (In chinese.) T’was as if everyone was there watching a great play. The sort that you keep silent for. As if giving the shop a moment of silence as we soaked in its atmosphere, giving the owners a giant round of applause — mentally.
You wouldn’t be able to find a menu here. Everyone comes with a purpose — the duck. However besides the boneless braised duck, there’s tofu, braised egg and kangkong — lovely complements to the meal.
Rice or porridge, your choice. If you’re a guy, get both. You can also ask for a bowl of their amazing gravy! Please do. As you can tell from my previous post, I enjoy drowning my rice in lots of flavourful gravy.
Prior to this, I haven’t had kangkong without the sambal chilli before and it was really good! Worth a try. We always need a healthy serving of greens anyway.
Despite located in a slightly secluded area away, Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice is known for their lunch crowds even on weekdays as it is within distance of many nearby offices and is just a bus ride away from NUS. (Bus 200, by the way.)
To some extent, it’s a pity that many people would’ve only just found out about the best braised duck in Singapore as it prepares to close. This is one bandwagon to jump on to so please, follow the crowd and make a trip down fast! Or sometime before June 20th, at the very least.
Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice Eating House
38 South Buona Vista Road
Monday – Saturday: 10.30am to 8.30pm
Closed on Sundays