Restoran Ya Wang is located right smack in the city center, it is a 10 minute leisure walk from City Square (see map below), there is very limited parking lot, so drivers, either you prepare for a long wait or park some distance away. When we were there at 3 pm on Tuesday the restaurant was at 80% capacity, guess this speak volumes of its popularity.
Food Consultant for Dian Xiao Er
Their specialty is roasted herbal duck and If you find the taste familiar, it's because they are consultant for Dian Xiao Er restaurant in Singapore. I have tried both and I vouch that they are very similar. The main difference is that Restoran Ya Wang is cheaper but Dian Xiao Er has a more enticing ambience. Just like Dian Xiao Er, Ya Wang 's signature dishes is the Angelica Herbs (Dang Gui) Duck, Wild Ginseng Duck and 10 Wonder Herbs Duck.
How do they prepare the duck?
The uncooked duck is marinated and stuffed with herbs and spices. After a few hours, the duck is roasted at a optimum temperature to keep the meat from drying out and to let the duck fat liquefy and drip out .The herb and spice stuffing is then removed before serving . A duck roasted in this manner is crispy and golden brown its flesh is both tender and juicy together with a strong herbs fragrance. Herbal duck is an acquired taste, love by some loathe by others, if you are into Chinese herbs, I urge you to give this place a go. The Char Siew is also lined with very little fat. Though is better that the normal kopi tiam/hawker centre fare, I would not come here to eat the char siew if it was not for the duck.
The roast duck is really good
I have eaten at this restaurant and its sister branch at Taman Sentosa a total of seven times. I must add that the quality of food has always been consistent. We ordered roast duck and roast pork combo (RM $26) and stir friend cai xin with oyster sauce (RM $11). The roast duck skin is thin, crispy and brown with very little fat under the skin. Some people refrain from eating duck as among poultry, duck is exceptionally fatty, and a lot of its fat is directly underneath the skin. I believe Ya Wang roast the duck at a relatively low temperature over a long duration to allow the fat time to melt and drip away while turning the skin crispy brown, either that or they put their duck through a tough exercise regime.
Its so good, it must be kept secret
Bite into the meat and you can feel its density and juiciness, dip it into the sweet and salty plum sauce gravy and it is FANTASTIC. Be warned though, the gravy is very sweet and salty, its meant to be dip or drizzled onto your rice, not to be drunk as soup like what someone did at the next table. Don't bother asking the staff about the ingredients , just like KFC, it is a secret recipe.
If you want an additional bowl of gravy is costs Rm $5 for a small bowl and if you ask for a few pieces of cucumber to go along with the duck like what I did on my previous visit, it is RM $1 for a small bowl. Nothing is free but the air in the shop. But then again, it is a steal if you compare the price against Dian Xiao Er in Singapore.
The total bill for me and my better half
Duck and Roast Pork Combo + Cai Xin + 2 Bowls of Rice + Two drinks was RM 42.(sg13.60) (rm3.10 = sg 1).
Address: 28, Jalan Sengget, Johor Bahru.
Tel: 07 2248624
Opening Hours: 8 am to 6 pm (Monday to Sunday)