“Because it’s there.” These three most famous words in mountaineering was the reply British climber George Mallory gave in 1924 when he was asked why he attempted to climb
I guess this was the reason why I tried out Ya Wang 鸭皇, because this huge loud duck is always there whenever I passed downtown JB.
Furthermore, Ya Wang has a towering reputation. Declaring itself the "Duck King", Ya Wang was the shop that pioneered herbal roast ducks in Johor Bahru. Ya Wang is also the appointed adviser to the popular Dian Xiao Er 店小二 herbal roast duck franchise in Singapore.
Despite its stature, the exterior of Ya Wang restaurant looked worn with its signage bleached white as a sheet by the sun. The ducks and roast meat were hanging haphazardly behind the hazed glass case.
Inside the restaurant, it is air conditioned, meticulously cleaned, and dazzlingly flooded by bright fluorescent lights. The staff was attentive and wore the obvious pride of working in the oldest established 闻名老店 herbal roast duck shop in JB.
The duck meat and skin were soft and had a distinct herbal flavour due to the copious amount of herbal sauce doused over it. Much of the duck meat was literally soaking in the sauce.
Initially, I wasn’t thrilled as I was expecting something with crispy skin and juicy flesh.
It turned out that Ya Wang's tender duck meat was tasty and nice to chew on, though I remained unconverted. Nevertheless, this Ya Wang 鸭皇 style has its own loyal following, judging by the steady stream of customers that kept flowing in.
The tasty soup was typical of Cantonese double boiled soup – loaded with lotus roots, dried cuttlefish, groundnuts and pork.
My plate of duck, lotus soup and a large plate of steamed rice came to RM14.
Give Ya Wang a try, if you have not – you might like this style of herbal roast duck.
Restaurant name: Restoran Ya Wang 鸭皇药材烧腊大王
Address: 28, Jalan Segget, Johor Bahru
17 April 2012