On the second day of my Singapore food trek, I had one of my favorite Singaporean dishes – Hainanese Chicken Rice. It’s actually considered by some as one of the national dishes of Singapore. One of the benefits of eating with locals is that I not only had chicken rice from a restaurant renowned for the dish (Boon Tong Kee), but at the best location of that particular restaurant. Hardcore, huh? As you can see, Hainanese chicken rice looks like any other boiled chicken, but the taste is oh so different. Where do I even begin?
It’s all in the preparation – a whole chicken is boiled in a stock with garlic and ginger, infusing the meat with intense flavor while still maintaining a clean, pure chicken essence. The meat is often served lukewarm or slightly chilled, with chili, ginger and dark sauce. The results is a most distilled, pure taste – how you would imagine a perfect chicken to taste without the aid of heaps of seasoning and sauce.
But wait, there’s more! Accompanying chicken rice is, of course, the rice!
The rice is cooked with chicken stock and seasoned with ginger, garlic and a tiny bit of chicken fat. The result is a lightly flavored rice that complements the chicken meat perfectly. I’ve had chicken rices at Singaporean and Malaysian restaurants in NYC, and it is GOOD. The flavor at Boon Tong Kee was even better, with an even lighter aroma but equally intense flavor. I devoured my bowl and then some.
As you know, I’m not the hugest fan of veggies, but I did appreciate the spicy sauce, which gave this dish a bit of a kick.
We also ordered the a mix veggie dish with salted egg and thousand year old eggs. I LOVE salted eggs but am a little wary on the thousand year old variety – thankfully, it was easy enough to avoid those 🙂
Hainanese chicken rice is almost alarming in its simplicity; however, don’t underestimate the yumminess of this dish. Whether it’s at a restaurant in NYC or on location in Singapore, if you come across this dish, give it a try. You won’t regret it!