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Branded, roasted, served Hong Kong-style

Village Roast Duck takes its name from the Hong Kong-inspired specialty.
Village Roast Duck takes its name from the Hong Kong-inspired specialty. Athena Zelandonii

Branded, roasted, served Hong Kong-style

A Malaysian-owned, Hong Kong-style full-service restaurant has opened on the ground floor of a “boutique” office development on Street 110.

Village Roast Duck – named after the traditional dish that occupies prime real estate on its menu – offers a sleek, branded take on regional cuisine. It’s a chain in Malaysia, is on its way to Singapore and sits next door to a Brown café in its new Phnom Penh locale.

But its managers are determined to give each customer special treatment. When Post Weekend stopped by at lunchtime this week, the restaurant was packed. Behind the Chinese-style wooden doors stood a gaggle of greeters.

The menu is divided in two, between roasted meats (duck, chicken and pig) and traditional soups and hot pots. The focus, of course, is on the duck. It’s served with ginger and plum sauce, chili and herbs three ways: Peking duck, Cantonese-style duck and the Hong Kong-style “aromatic” duck (available in a single portion). All are about $14 for a half portion, and $27 for a whole bird. All meat is sourced locally, and all chefs are Malaysian-trained.

Village Roast Duck’s chefs arrive two hours early to start roasting. A Hong Kong-style duck is first filled with seasonings and then hung up inside a charcoal grill to cook at high temperature. The outer edges of the meat are burned to get a smoky smell – the “aroma”. In China, the manager says, roasting is considered to be one of the most primitive cooking methods – enhanced, of course, for fine dining.

Roasted duck.
Roasted duck. Athena Zelandonii

The “perfect” roast duck, says general manager Suon Sokha, is crispy, juicy and gleaming, without a hint of charred flavour.

At Village Roast Duck, it’s served alongside rice and soup.

Village Roast Duck’s owners, who are based in Kuala Lumpur, worked in a traditional Hong Kong restaurant in the United Kingdom for a decade before they opened their Malaysian chain. “The restaurant is actually a combination style between British and Malaysian,” Sokha explains, part of the exchange of culture – and people – that followed Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty in 1997.

As a result, the rest of the menu is varied. Other popular items include the deep-fried fish skin with salted egg yolk ($4.80), which uses salmon brought over from Malaysia; salt-and-pepper soft-shell crab ($5.80); and the drunken cockle ($2.80), which is cooked, soaked in alcohol and refrigerated. (“It’s like a pickle,” Sokha says. “Every table orders it.”)

For now, Sokha says, the chain is targeting families and office workers, especially those from the floors above, with its mid-range prices. Since it opened, most customers have been from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. And Village Roast Duck does not plan to adjust its taste for Cambodia.

“We bring original flavour,” Sokha says. “We hope to serve and satisfy people in Cambodia with our flavour and service,” he says. “We are quite famous in Malaysia.”

Village Roast Duck is located in the ground floor of the Raintree development, #299 Street Preah Ang Duong (110). It is open every day from 7am to 9pm. Tel: 077 565 568 / 015 565 568.

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