Sungai Bakap is a little town about 40 minutes’ drive from Penang island across the Penang Bridge. The town was founded in the mid-19th century by a Chinese pioneer, Kee Lai Huat, and located near a large sugar plantation which he’d set up called Val d’Or (he’d given his new property the name after buying what was largely an uninhabited swampland from a Singapore-based Frenchman, Donadieu). Today, the whole place looked rather stuck in a time-warp - resembling a movie set out of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.
Sungai Bakap these days is also well-known among foodies for Wah Seng’s roast ducks. Founded by Cantonese sojourner-turned-settler, Tang Ah Lek, 95 years ago, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren today run the popular eatery that is located on Sungai Bakap’s main road: and they still roasted their ducks over charcoal fires, “the old way”.
Wah Seng’s roast ducks are gently-marinated, with subtle, understated flavours.
Besides the roast duck, one can also opt for crackling-skinned roast pork belly, which the server would chop and put on the same communal serving platter:
The roast duck & pork are usually served with either steamed rice (which I prefer), or with rice porridge (which my two dining companions opted for).
Wah Seng operates daily, 9am till it sells out, usually by 2pm.
However, it closes on the 1st and 15th day of each Chinese lunar month. In Malaysia (as in countries with a large Chinese populace), where quite a few traditional Chinese eateries follow the Chinese lunar calendar, we needed to pay attention on their closing days. And as per my dual (Gregorian and Chinese) calendar which I kept hanging on my kitchen wall, Wah Seng will be closed this Sunday, 5 July, which corresponds to the 15th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month.
Jawi Wah Seng Roasted Duck Restaurant
1121 Jalan Pekan, 14200 Sungai Bakap
Tel: +60125793973, +60124612972
Opening hours: 9am to 3pm, unless sold out earlier.
(Closed on 1st & 15th day of each Chinese lunar month).