Johor Kaki is foremost about Johor food, and occasionally mini projects about Singapore food, my travels and hunt for the best instant noodles.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice Trail with SG Food on Foot and Silver Chef

Today, I was on a Singapore food trail with well known food bloggers Derrick and Ian. As Johor Kaki, I gladly tagged along with the local experts to try out the famous chicken rice stalls at the Bukit Merah area in Singapore.

Zhi Jing Cheng 紫金城, Blk 120, Bukit Merah Lane 1

Our first stop was Zhi Jing Cheng 紫金城 Hainanese boneless chicken rice at the popular Alexandra Village Food Centre.


At Zhi Jing Cheng, we ordered half a chicken (SGD10.50) for 3 of us to share.


Zhi Jing Cheng's chicken meat was tender and smooth, and half submerged in a sweetish savoury sauce. The watery drippy sauce was quite likable but it overwhelmed most of the natural flavours of the chicken meat. 

Singapore Hainanese-Chicken-Rice-Trail

Zhi Jing Cheng's rice was slightly stiffer and drier than average. Not overly greasy. The chicken aroma was also very slight.


The ginger and chili sauces were watery and mildly flavoured.

Uncle Chicken, Blk 120, Bukit Merah Lane 1

Our second stop was Uncle Chicken, also in Alexandra Village Food Centre.


Uncle Chicken rice is run by Niven, whose late father ran the famous Sin Kee chicken rice stall at Margaret Drive.


Uncle Chicken's meat was tender and smooth, and the light soy based sauce was sparingly drizzled on the chicken. The meat was flavourful and still had that natural sweetness of chicken, which I like. 

For those who prefer a little more heavy handed flavouring, you can dab the chicken in the slightly salty soy based sauce.


Chicken breast may be considered the litmus test for a chicken rice stall as it is relatively harder to make this white fibrous meat tender and tasty.


Uncle Chicken did a good job of it, cooking his chicken just right. Eating this tender chicken breast without any sauce or dip, I could taste the natural sweetness and flavour of the slightly moist meat.

Niven was clearly passionate about his chicken rice. Though a busy hawker stall, Niven took care to cut and plate the chicken nicely.

Personally, I like my food plated well as I feel that it enhances my enjoyment of the dish. For example, I enjoy a nicely sliced and well plated serving of sashimi better than a jumbled heap of fish slices or strips.


Uncle Chicken's rice was tender, had relatively little oil, yet it tasted rich and carried a nice chicken aroma. 


Uncle Chicken's fresh ginger and spring onion dip was mildly pungent and slightly savoury. The ginger dip comes without the watery and oily base found at most other chicken rice stalls. 

The chili sauce spiked with lime was tangy, quite spicy and sharp. 

I like both Uncle Chicken dips.

Singapore Hainanese-Chicken-Rice-Trail

After so much goodies, we gladly climbed the over 100 steps to our next chicken rice stop, Fook Seng Goldenhill chicken rice.

Fook Seng Goldenhill, 37 Jalan Rumah Tinggi, Bukit Merah.

Our third and final chicken rice stop for the day was Fook Seng Goldenhill chicken rice at Jalan Rumah Tinggi, Bukit Merah.

By the time we reached Fook Seng, it was already well passed lunchtime and business had settled to off peak calmness.


Fook Seng's half chicken (SGD16.00) was served in a twisted heap of small ribbons of chicken, some of which were chopped across the grain. The chicken was doused with a heavy dose of viscous sesame oil based sauce.


Fook Seng's chicken was done just right with great texture. The meat was cooked very slightly less than fully done - this is exactly the way I like my chicken doneness, and the way I cook it at home. (I picked this up from my Hong Kong schoolmates when I was in Canada in the 1980s.)

Fook Seng's chicken was tender and smooth. However, the aroma and taste of sesame oil was dominant and masked the chicken's natural's flavours.


Fook Seng's rice had just the right amount of greasiness and was slightly dry. Flavour and aroma was very slight.


The fresh chili and ginger dip laced with chicken oil were mildly flavoured.

My summary of the day's chicken rice trail - I liked all three chicken rice stalls.

If you like chicken bathed and half submerged in a sweet and savoury watery sauce, you may like Zhi Jing Cheng's chicken rice.

If you like slightly under cooked chicken (I do!) covered and almost glazed with a sesame oil based sloshy sauce, you may like Fook Seng Goldenhill chicken rice.

If you like your chicken au naturel with a relatively sparse soy based sauce, you may like Uncle Chicken. Uncle Chicken also serves their chicken without sauce, on request.

Personally, of these three stalls, I like Uncle Chicken most as I like to savour the natural flavours of chicken meat.

Date visited: 17 Apr 2014

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Lemon Tree Restaurant in Johor Bahru, Taman Melodies (Second Visit)

Jeffery, the boss, personally serving customers with warmth and sincerity. This is a candid shot, I took with telephoto lens.

Dropped by Lemon Tree again because I like old style Western food places that reminds me of my school boy days. Back then, such joints were "aspirational" food that we can only afford with weeks of pocket money savings. 

Lemon Tree also has the ambiance of quieter 1970s Singapore when I was a teen. It's even named after our favourite jingle of the era, Lemon Tree.

The Peter, Paul and Mary classic oldie, not the modern version.

We had spaghetti, chicken chop and lava cake at our first visit, so this time we tried other items on Lemon Tree's menu.


We started with a mushroom soup (RM5.50). At Lemon Tree, Jeffery the owner chef, uses 5 types of fresh mushrooms to make the soup. So, we can enjoy 3 slightly different mushroom textures and flavours in the creamy soup, if we pay attention. 


Our main course was this 9 inch Island Seafood Pizza (RM19.80).


It was fresh prawns, canned tuna, fresh squid rings, pineapple cubes, onion slices, diced capsicum and cucumber laid on a thick soft crust pizza base and baked with Thousand Island sauce and lots of Mozzarella cheese.


The pizza was a blend of sweet, tangy, and savoury flavours. The pizza base made with flour and yeast at the shop was thick, spongy, and not overly crispy or dry. The pizza had soft, creamy, crunchy and chewy textures from all the different ingredients. It was not greasy, which I appreciate.


Lemon Tree's sandwich (RM8.50) with chicken ham, cheese, eggs and lettuce between buttered toasts. Served with a heap of fries. Old school, simple and very nice!


Lemon Tree is a charming little hide out for simple and nice Western meals at reasonable prices.

Restaurant name: Lemon Tree Restaurant
Address: 18, Jalan Bedara, Taman Melodies, Johor Bahru
GPS: 1.491372,103.761965
Hours: 12:00 noon to 11:00pm (Closed on Monday)
No pork, no lard, no Halal cert, alcohol served

Date visited: 26 Feb 2014, 25 Mar 2014

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