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Hainanese Chicken Rice

A dish of Chinese origin most commonly associated with Singaporean cuisine or Malaysian cuisine.

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Singapore's "National" Food

  • Feb 18, 2010
Rating:
+5
In Singapore, Hainanese Chicken Rice (or simply Chicken Rice) is synonymous with typical Singapore cuisine. Although originally from the island of Hainan, this staple dish of chicken and rice had been made famous and popular in Singapore more than anywhere else in Asia!

Singaporeans love their chicken rice and I know majority of them eat it at least once a week! Chicken rice can be found in any food court or hawker center in this country. So, no worries, you will find good Chicken Rice in Singapore for a mere US$3 or less. That shall be all that's needed for lunch! How economical is that?!




Rumors had it that the best chicken rice in Singapore can be had at the Mandarin Hotel's Chatterbox (coffee house) in Orchard Road. I have never tried it as it's at least triple the price of any chicken rice in the city! What I've had was a store at the Food Junction food court in Raffles City (3rd floor) and so far, that's my favorite! It's good, cheap and easy to access. Best after or before my shopping spree ;-) Another chain that specializes in Chicken Rice and I thought as good is Boon Tong Kee chain of restaurants. It's a bit pricier but the chicken is reasonably good. Swee Kee Chicken Rice was legendary but I'm not sure if it is still in operation though, my guess, it's closed since quite awhile back (1997).

The Art of Eating Chicken Rice?
Well, you guess it right, what's so complicated about eating a plate of chicken with rice? Well, it all boils down to how good it'll taste at the end when you put it in your mouth! Ok, just kidding. I like my chicken dipped with a little dark soy sauce (it's black in color & a little sweet in texture, thicker than the normal soy sauce, you can find it next to the chilli, no mistake about that). In addition, sometimes, depending on my mood, a little pounded ginger as well! Chili (the Chicken rice type, not the kind you find in supermarkets) is great on the rice, not on the chicken, for me that is. This chilli is mixed with garlic, so it's heavenly when you blend some with the rice.

For those who are lazy, don't worry, the chicken rice in Singapore is often served boneless. You can have a choice of the different part of the chicken too. Drumstick is more expensive than wings and breast meat is cheapest. This is where the Orient and Western consumers differ. Drumstick is very popular with children and adults alike in Asia. Most people in this region don't like breast meat! Interesting, isn't it?

If you like more variety in the chicken rice, you can ask for some tofu, gizzard or liver and also some vegetables (usually kailan or choi sum) to accompany your meal. No broccoli, I'm afraid. Not forgetting this is a very Chinese dish! ;-)

However, for the less initiated, be comforted that there is another type of chicken served at these Chicken Rice stalls. They are the Roasted chicken. These 2 type of chicken don't quite taste the same. So, give it a try before deciding which one your favor. Personally, I used to like the Roasted ones many years ago. Now, I prefer the white chicken. Strange how one's taste changed with time :-)

Other than Singapore, I also found Chicken Rice in Thailand, Malaysia, China (Shanghai & Shenzhen), Hong Kong and even Canada (Chinese restaurants in Toronto serve it). I'm sure you can find it in San Francisco or Los Angeles. The taste may not be as authentic but if you see lots of Chinese ordering it, then that's a good one to try! ;-) As with what they said about good restaurants... to look for a good Chinese restaurants, go to one that's fill with lots of Chinese and better still if you've a long queue waiting for tables. Chances are, it's the best Chinese restaurants in town! 
Singapore's Singapore's

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July 11, 2011
This meal sounds like good competition for arroz con pollo.
 
February 20, 2010
oh...food..food...FOOODDD!!! Love chicken rice! Makes me miss Asian even more!
February 21, 2010
When & where was the last time you had chicken rice? I'm sure there are some good chicken rice in SFO!
February 22, 2010
there's Chung Hing but it is never as good as the ones made in Asia!
 
February 18, 2010
Oh, I did not know this about Hainanese chicken rice!  You would think that it would be the national dish of, you know, Hainan ;P  I love this stuff though!  Fairly healthy compared to other chicken dishes, and oh so tasty.  Have you ever had this dish in Hainan before?  I swear it's the worse there (which is still pretty good).  I just find it peculiar that other countries that I've travelled to have made a much better spin on it.  Lucky me, my mom can make a pretty mean Hainan chicken dish :D  Thanks for sharing, Sharrie!
February 19, 2010
Yes, lucky you indeed! Your mom sounds like a great cook! You should enrol her as a Lunch member so she can share with us all her secret recipes! :-)
 
February 18, 2010
Eating Chicken Rice in Singapore seems to be very interesting! With that dark soy sauce, chilli mixed with garlic. Yummy! Last year i have been in Hainan, now i know what i missed to eat! Cheers, Sharrie
February 19, 2010
Thanks, Oliver! I'm sure you'll have lots of chances to visit China in future & we'll see one another soon enough this summer, possibly in China too! But if you do go to Singapore or even transit at the airport, there is chicken rice to be had there. :-)
 
1
More Hainanese Chicken Rice reviews
Quick Tip by . September 22, 2011
posted in The Rice Table
Caption
This is some seriously awesome stuff! There was a Singaporean restaurant in the Philippines that I thought made it quite well; since Pinoys love rice, it also came with a bottomless serving of Jasmine rice. I could eat tons of this stuff!
Quick Tip by . April 19, 2010
posted in Go Singapore
Singapore National Dish. A must-eat when in Singapore. The locals have it at least once a week! It can be had almost everywhere in Singapore
Quick Tip by . November 07, 2009
Tauted as 'national dish of Singapore' it's something I must eat every time I visit Singapore. Cheap & good!
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Sharrie ()
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I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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Wiki

Hainanese chicken rice is a dish of Chinese origin most commonly associated with Singaporean cuisine or Malaysian cuisine, although it is also commonly sold in neighbouring Thailand, and found in Hainan, China itself. So-called due to its roots in Hainan cuisine and its adoption by the Hainanese overseas Chinese population in the Nanyang area (present-day Southeast Asia), the version found in the Singapore region combines elements of Hainanese and Cantonese cuisines along with culinary preferences in the Southeast Asian region. The dish was popularised in SIngapore in the 1950s by Moh Lee Twee, whose Swee Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant operated from 1947 to 1997.

The prevalence of stalls selling Hainanese chicken rice as their primary specialty in Singapore underscores the dish's unrivalled popularity amongst Singaporeans and overseas visitors. Hainanese chicken rice is often considered as the "national dish" of Singapore, and is often served at internationalexpositions and global events abroad, and in Singaporean-run restaurants overseas. Hainanese chicken rice is also one of the few local dishes served on Singapore Airlines flights.

In Singapore, Hainanese chicken rice is served at stalls and food courts. There are Hainanese chicken rice stalls that have established franchise or branch outlets, and these include Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice, Boon Tong Kee, Loy Kee and others which have many outlets island wide. The price range is around S$2-4 (the latter if the...
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