Scrumptious Singapore: Hainanese Chicken Rice

January 26, 2011 By: Serena

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.

We rounded out the meal with kangkong balacan, or spicy water spinach:

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!

More Scrumptious Singapore:
Scrumptious Singapore: A Teaser
Scrumptious Singapore: Chili Crab and Friends
Scrumptious Singapore: Mooncake Madness
Scrumptious Singapore: Roti Prata

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17 Comments to “Scrumptious Singapore: Hainanese Chicken Rice”


  1. Chicken and rice are a staple in our household but I'm not sure I could make it like that! It sounds amazing.

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  2. Mrs. Hot Cocoa says:

    Yum. You know I love a good plate of Hainanese chicken rice!

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  3. Looks like a tasty dish! We love making chicken and rice…usually have honey mustard marinade over it…yum!

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  4. I love hainanese chicken and rice!

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  5. Looks delish! Can you share some of your NYC locations for the dish?? I've been to a few places in chinatown and brooklyn…just curious which ones you think are the best!

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  6. BigAppleNosh says:

    @Taryn, I lie New Malaysia, I wrote about it here:
    http://www.bigapplenosh.com/2010/08/malaysian-new-malaysia.html

    Nyonya is also pretty good :)

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  7. honey my heart says:

    i really enjoy chicken and rice, especially w/ garlic :) the sides look so great too. i'm not sure if i could try thousand year old egg either.

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  8. Chic 'n Cheap Living says:

    Love chicken rice and yes it is very Singaporean. I have made it at home a few times with some success. It's actually pretty easy!

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  9. Thousand year old eggs, huh? That's intriguing! Looks really yummy (the chicken, not the eggs, lol).

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  10. Micah and Catherine says:

    I want to try this. It looks so plain but I bet it's to die for.

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  11. I love boiled chicken! It's so weird but tastes really good with whatever sauces! mmm. such comfort food.

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  12. Vivian Cardinale says:

    Wow! This looks and sounds so good! I will be on the lookout for this on menus . . . you mentioned New Malaysia? Must try it soon!

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  13. Charlene @ Sweetchic says:

    AHHH! I looove Hainanese chicken rice! That dish looks deeelish!

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  14. Arroz con pollo is comfort food where I come from. {It's the simple things in life!} I'd love to try the Singaporean version some day!

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  15. Christina says:

    This looks amazing. I love rice cooked in chicken stock, so this would be right up my alley :)

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  16. I love Hainanese chicken rice! I was just telling my coworker about this because he said he went to a fancy restaurant and saw that the poached chicken was $34 and couldn't imagine it tasting good. I was like Ummm you just haven't had good chicken!

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  17. Rupert Mcgurk says:

    I am so happy I found your site. I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Google for something else. Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a informative post and an all round inspiring blog. (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment, but I have added your website to my favorites, so when I have time I will be back to read more. Please do keep up the awesome job!

    17


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