I still remember that heartfelt happiness when I first tasted my first piece of salt baked chicken when I was a child back in 1960s Singapore. Since then I did not have the opportunity to taste traditional salt baked chicken as it was a luxury for us back then, and as I grew up, other distractions came along like fashionable Western food. Still, salt baked chicken is something special to me.
The second time I had salt baked chicken after a decades long interval was at Tapai Tang in Taman Melodies. And, it was very good.
So, when heard about the traditional salt baked chicken in Q Chicken in Taman Nusa Bestari2, I just had to go pay them a visit.
Co-incidentally, the boss who is better known as MR Q, had the same sentimental attachment to salt baked chicken as me. MR Q had been selling salt baked chicken in 777 Food Centre in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah before opening his shop in Taman Nusa Bestari 2. MR Q actually closed his business for 4 months last year so that he could rediscover and recreate the old style taste and flavour of traditional salt baked chicken. MR Q reopened his shop in March this year after he was confident that he had found the answer.
Freshly baked chicken made right there at the stall
MR Q makes his salt baked chickens using this large black iron wok filled with coarse salt.
MR Q experimented and invested heavily in other cooking methods and devices before settling for the traditional old wok which produced the best results.
MR Q only uses fresh chicken to bake his salt baked chickens and only freshly baked chickens are sold. Any left overs are given to charities and never sold.
As we also had other places that we planned to eat at that morning, we ordered just a half a chicken at RM14 (whole chicken sells for RM25). The staff cut the chicken apart easily with a pair of scissors as the flesh was tender.
The chicken flesh was juicy, firm yet tender. There was a subtle herbal taste and flavour blended with the chicken's natural sweetness, and it was only delicately salty even though it was baked in salt.
The kampung chicken had very little fat and the meaty thighs were huge. MR Q said that this is the authentic taste and flavour of traditional salt baked chicken.
As for me, I could not remember the taste or flavour of my first salt baked chicken decades ago. I only remember the feeling of wide eyed delight and pleasure as a child tasting such a treat for the first time. As an adult, the same child like wonderment and joy is very hard to recreate.
MR Q said that actually the best way to enjoy salt baked chicken is to tear the tender chicken apart piece by piece with hands as the flesh releases aromatic puffs of steam when torn apart.
MR Q said that most of his customers including many from Singapore buy and take away his chickens to eat at home. So, Q Chicken's dine in menu is limited to just his salt baked chickens, a simple vegetable dish, cold herbal desserts and canned drinks.
Click on the picture to view the Fatbook video on Q Chicken's salt baked chicken.
Try Q Chicken's salt baked chicken, if you are around in Taman Nusa Bestari. You might like it.
Restaurant name: Q Chicken 药材盐鸡
Address: 118, Jalan Nusa Bestari 2, 1/4, Taman Nusa Bestari, Skudai
Hours: 11:00am to 8:00pm
Date visited: 1 Nov 2012