Spanning more than 70 years of history and having witnessed three generations, Kam’s Roast Goose began in Hong Kong in 1942. Its 36-seater restaurant at Wan Chai has since earned a Michelin Star.
Outside of Hong Kong, however, Singapore is the only place where you can find Kam’s Roasts. Thankfully, their very first overseas outlets are here on local shores, at Pacific Plaza and Jewel Changi Airport respectively.
We meet Executive Chef Wong Kwan Sang, who moved from Hong Kong’s Kam’s Roast Goose to its Singapore branch a couple of years ago. Here, his chief role is to uphold the standard and quality of the roast meats.
From Hong Kong to Singapore
Chef Wong recalls how, at the age of 16, he wanted to pick up a craft and was introduced to the art of roasting meat. Since that day, he has walked the painstaking path of pursuing culinary perfection. His journey of roasting meats has lasted for 40 years. A lot of time has passed, but has never wavered.
The signature of Kam’s Roast, the Golden Roast Duck ($34.27 for half, $63.25 for whole), uses only carefully selected, top-quality fresh duck meat. The ducks are imported chilled—never frozen—to ensure that the meat remains tender. This way, even after roasting, the succulence of the duck meat is palpable in every bite, and its texture remains uncompromised.
Controlling the fire is important, says Chef Wong. It’s the very reason that the roast duck’s skin has a mouth-watering crispiness to its outer layer. Indeed, he takes pride in ensuring that the taste of his dishes are as similar to those at the original, Michelin-starred restaurant. Every element in the kitchen must be perfect, down to the details of the sauce.
Dip the slices of the roast duck into the golden gravy, made from a secret mix of seasoning ingredients by Kam’s Roast’s Founder, Mr Kam Shui Fai. Over the generations, the recipe has been further perfected, such as by Chef Wong himself.
The best of Kam’s Roast & a labour of love
I’d say that Kam’s Roast’s rendition was the best roast duck I have ever tasted in Singapore. Juxtaposed with the duck’s glossy and golden crisp skin, the meat is unbelievably tender, succulent, and almost melt-in-your-mouth.
Rome isn’t built in a day, they say. And Chef Wong’s impeccable roast duck was definitely a labour of love, borne out of his 40 years of experience in the culinary world.
When we asked how Chef Wong has reached such a level of perfection, he said: “You have to put your mind to it to do it well.” Humbly, he admits that everyone in this line of work faces the same challenges.
The difference between being good and great, though, lies only in two things.
“The most important thing is to do it with your heart.”
Chef Wong Kwan Sang, Head Chef at Kam’s Roast
And the second is all about technique. The chef’s mastery of the stove, or what he calls “temperature control”, is equally critical. It seems that having both the heart-ware and solid culinary skills are musts for creating such a popular and well-acclaimed dish.
For those who want something even tastier and just oozing with savoury flavours, try the Toro Char Siu ($26.22). Made with premium pork belly, it is seasoned with Chef Wong’s secret marination. This recipe was handed down from the late Mr Kam Kwan Sing—the second generation Chef-Owner of the brand.
Each slice of the Toro Char Siu was fatty and juicy beyond belief. And each bite was an explosion of the decadent, honey-like marinade in my mouth, with the oils of the fatty pork belly adding to the shiokness rather than being too cloying.
Not just about the accolades: Finding joy in the simple things
Despite having to uphold the sky-high standards of such a renowned brand, Chef Wong still finds solace beyond the accolades and the stars. Seeing me empty my plate of food, he was gleaming. His joy, he says, is always from his customers.
“We cooks are simple. We cook a dish, and when the customer is happy eating it, the customer doesn’t have to praise the chef. The chef will be happy, just because the customer enjoys it.”
Chef Wong Kwan Sang, Head Chef at Kam’s Roast
He likened it to something that’s much more familiar to us, and much closer to home. “It’s very simple. Just like how when a mother cooks for a child to eat, after eating, [the] mother’s heart is also very happy. It’s the same thing.”
For Chef Wong, being a good chef is a duty. Beyond that, he has brought to Singapore a wealth of culinary skills, a culmination of his 40 years of effort and sweat in bringing the craft of Hong Kong roasts to greater heights.
If you want to skip the hour-long queue for Kam’s Roast, or before it is possible to take an overseas trip to taste the original Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong, Kam’s Roast Singapore is just as amazing.