Hokkien Braised Duck (Lor Ark): This beloved Hokkien family recipe was passed down to Mdam Ong from her late mother, and is one of the favourite family dishes in the Ong clan. Learn this grandmother's secrets, including how to remove the oil glands of the duck and why she never covers the wok while braising this dish.

Hokkien Braised Duck (Lor Ark)

Mdam Ong's treasured family recipe for Hokkien Braised Duck was passed down by her mum. Find out her secrets to removing the duck's oil glands and why she never covers the wok. 

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword Braised Duck
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Resting Time 2 hours
Servings 10
Calories 635 kcal
Author Mdam Ong


  • 2 kg Duck
  • 3 slices Ginger
  • 4 slices Blue Ginger (Galangal)
  • 6 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tau Kwa
  • 4 Tau Pok
  • 6 Hard-Boiled Eggs Peeled
  • Parsley For garnishing

Marinade Ingredients

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp 5 Spice Powder
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 8 Cloves
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1.5 litres Water
  • 8-10 small cubes Rock sugar

Chilli Sauce

  • 5 Large Chillies
  • 2 Chilli Padi
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sugar


Preparation Method - Duck

  1. Clean the duck thoroughly include all innards in the duck cavity (see tip 1). Then blanch the duck for a few minutes in a wok of boiling water.

  2. Remove any remnant feathers. Rub all over with coarse salt, then rinse thoroughly.

  3. Pat dry and rub each of the marinade ingredients all over the duck and in the duck cavity. 

  4. Tuck in the duck wings and webs, then marinate overnight (or at least for 1-2 hours).

  5. Wash, peel and slice the ginger and blue ginger. Then wash and peel the garlic. Stuff the blue ginger and garlic into the cavity of the duck.

Preparation Method - Chilli Sauce

  1. Peel and wash the garlic, then chop coarsely.

  2. Remove the seeds from the chilli and rinse. Cut into small pieces and blend finely.

  3. Place the chilli and garlic in a bowl. Then add in the vinegar and sugar and mix well.

Cooking Method - Duck

  1. Add the sugar to the wok and fry over low heat until it melts.

  2. Once the sugar turns golden, quickly add in the 5-spice powder, star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick and fry for 30 seconds over low heat. Then add in the dark soy sauce.

  3. Next, place the whole duck in the wok and coat it evenly with the soy sauce mixture.

  4. Add in 1.5 litres of water until the water covers the duck to around three-quarter, and add in the rock sugar. Bring back to a boil over high heat.

  5. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium and braise the duck uncovered for 1.5 hours, turning the duck over mid-way. Turn the duck a few times towards the last 30 mins to ensure the bottom of the duck is not burnt as the sauce thickens.

  6. Transfer the duck to a plate. Then use the same braising gravy to braise the tau kwa, tau pok and hard boiled eggs for about 30 minutes.

  7. Chop up the duck and place on a serving dish, together with the tau kwa, tau pok and hard boiled eggs. Garnish with parsley, and serve with the chilli sauce and steamed rice.

Recipe Video

Top Tips


  1. To test if the duck is cooked, use a chopstick to poke through the thickest part of the duck (usually the thigh). Another way is that once the skin at the joint of the wings and leg are torn, it's cooked.
  2. Braise the duck in an uncovered wok - this achieves a slow-cooking effect that helps the meat to achieve a more tender and moist texture. Slow-cooking also allows the duck to soak up more flavours from the sauce, compared to if the duck has been cooked more quickly over a high fire.
  3. To further mask the smell of the duck, this dish is typically cooked with ingredients such as ginger, blue ginger, garlic, cinnamon, star anise and cloves. Blue ginger is a must for more flavour.
  4. Best to marinate the duck overnight to allow the flavours to penetrate the meat. If you are in a hurry, let the duck to marinate for at least 1-2 hours to allow the flavours to seep in.


Duck meat, if not properly prepared, can be very 'fowl' smelling. To get rid of the odour, you need to make sure that the duck is cleaned very thoroughly.

  1.  Remove the thick layer of skin over the tongue and bill of the duck.
  2. Remove the oil glands from the duck tail, and it can be very smelly. These 2 oil glands are yellow coloured and are located in the top half of the duck's hind. Alternatively, you can simply cut off the whole tail-end of the duck.
  3. Remove the windpipe located in the duck's neck, if you enjoy eating duck neck.
  4.  Remove the callouses on the bottom of the duck webs, if you enjoy eating duck web.
  5. Blanch the duck in boiling water for a few minutes to further reduce the odour
  6. Then remove the feathers. Unlike chicken feathers, duck feathers are notoriously difficult to remove, especially the tiny down feathers. Blanching the duck makes it much easier to remove the feathers. You can use a pair of large tweezers to pluck the feathers off