It could be the unique aroma. Or maybe it’s that distinctive, lush flavour. Whatever the reason, duck is a preferred protein among chefs. This fowl is featured in various dishes on many restaurant menus.
We’re taking a peek at the duck dishes you can delight in from five chefs at MICHELIN-Starred restaurants across Thailand.
PRU (One MICHELIN Star and MICHELIN Green Star, MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2022)
One of chef Jimmy Ophorst’s signature dishes that you can find at PRU is Aged duck with Tamarillo and Grapefruit. He ages a free-range Muscovy duck hen from Khlong Phai Farm in Khao Yai for three days, then soaks it in a spiced brine for 24 hours. Then the duck is off to a bath in wild honey from Phetchabun for added sweetness. He stuffs it with lemongrass (instead of straw as they would in Europe) to absorb moisture and enhance the flavours. It is then dried for five days for even richer flavours. Finally, the Dutch chef roasts the duck over eucalyptus and longan wood for two hours before coating it with caramelised mushrooms and onions. The duck is then served with duck rillettes, tamarillo, braised grapefruit, and smoked beetroot, all to be enjoyed with a rich duck sauce.
Saawaan (One MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2022)
Chef Saritwat “Earth” Wanvichitkun adds a French flair to Thai green curry. He dry-ages a famous Madame Burgaud Challans duck for seven days for his Green Curry with Duck. A deceptively simple name for a rich green curry featuring ten types of Thai chillies, which the chef researched at Kasetsart University. He tops off the dish with crumbled, crispy duck skin to complement the herbs and vegetables for a complete, robust dish.
Côte by Mauro Colagreco (One MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2022)
Chef Davide Garavaglia takes chef Mauro Colagreco’s Mediterranean cooking philosophy and synthesises it into a dish for the Chao Phraya waterfront. We get Wild Duck with Red Onion Compote, Endive, Mulberry, and Duck Jus. Wild duck will make an appearance on autumn menus that often feature wild game. These meats remind the chef of happy childhood memories in the Italian countryside, where his uncle would go hunting and bring home the game meat for his family to cook. For this dish, the 33-year-old chef dry-ages the duck for three or four days with butter and smoked straw. Then he slow-cooks it and serves it rare with red onions and white chicory. It all comes together to bring out the sweetness in the duck and the chicory. Diners can savour bites with a duck sauce or an onion compote.
80/20 (One MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide 2022)
At 80/20, head chef Andrew Martin, from Canada, draws inspiration from dining around Bangkok for his culinary creations. So, it’s no surprise that his Ped Yim Yim (Smile Smile Duck) came from his friend’s experience at the Yim Yim restaurant in Chinatown. After enjoying a meal there, his friend told the chef how he found out his grandfather used to prepare stuffed duck dishes at that same restaurant. From that coincidence, Chef Martin concocted this dish for his friend. Focusing on the flavours that permeate Thai-Chinese culture, he ages a duck for seven to ten days, depending on its size, and then smokes it in Chinese spices. Slow roasting it for 30 minutes brings out a rich meat for him to serve with fried rice that features the stuffing: chestnuts, pork belly, and pork collar. This dish is best enjoyed with a tart ajad.
Chef’s Table (Two MICHELIN Stars, MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2022)
Chef Vincent Thierry, from France’s Loire Valley, focuses on the classics when cooking, just like his signature Roasted Challans Duck Breast, featured on the latest menu. Using, of course, a famously aromatic Challans duck, it is served with duck sauce and caramelised sweet onions, grapes, and walnut mustard.
Hero image: © Côte by Mauro Colagreco