If you are visiting Singapore, don't leave the sunny island without eating chicken rice. Here's 5 reasons why you must eat Singapore chicken rice.
1. Chicken rice is Singapore's unofficial national dish. (It's often referred to as Hainanese chicken rice but you will find nothing like it in Hainan, China.)
2. It's the most popular hawker dish in Singapore. Chicken rice stalls / restaurants can be found in every corner of Singapore.
3. Because it is so popular, you learn something about Singaporeans' soul by eating and learning about it.
4. The standard of chicken rice in Singapore is
5. A good chicken rice is oh... so delicious!
What is good chicken rice?
Every Singaporean has her/his own opinion, so I am just sharing my personal preferences.
There are many streams and styles of chicken rice in Singapore. Each stall has their own variation to appeal to their following. Chicken rice stalls also serve chicken which are boiled, poached, deep fried or roasted.
I like my piece of chicken chopped into large meaty succulent chunks of meat with skin and bone on (not skinny slivers of skinless meat). I prefer my meat to be cooked through (though when I was younger I liked it pinkish medium rare). The meat should be tender yet with a slight bite, juicy with natural juices and still has a slight chicken flavour 鸡味.
The skin should be soft and smooth. I especially love it if there is a thin layer of jiggly jelly-like gelatin (fat) between the meat and skin.
The chicken may be bathed in the stall's special blend of dressing sauce (usually a blend of sesame oil, light soy and peanut oil) which enhances the flavour but the sauce should not overwhelm the chicken's natural flavours.
I like my rice aromatic with savoury chicken flavour with hints of refreshing lemon grass, ginger and sweet pandan leaves. The long grains are tender with a little bite (not mushy soft), whole (not broken into chips) and separate easily into individual grains (not stuck together in a sticky starchy lump). The grains have a very light chicken oil coat but not slick and greasy.
I like my chili dip to have a sharp sting from fresh red chili peppers and spiked with freshly squeezed lime (not vinegar) for a slight tangy balance. It should not be overly watery from added water.
I like my ginger dip to be roughly pounded rather than finely pureed with an electric blender. The ginger's mild spiciness is balanced with a little salt and chopped scallions are added for flavour and aroma.
There are other side elements like soup, vegetable pickles (achar) and salad that enhances the enjoyment of chicken rice but are not central in my humble opinion.
The following chicken stalls in Singapore and across the Causeway in Johor Bahru (Malaysia) have most (though none have all) of the qualities I like in chicken rice.
Please note that these are not all of the best chicken rice in Singapore or Johor - just the ones that I have enjoyed so far and share with you while I look for more of the best.
Chicken Rice Stalls in Singapore
This is a 50 year old brand (Sin Kee of Margaret Drive), now run by the founder's sons who kept to many of the old traditions of the well loved old stall.
Restaurant name: Uncle Chicken Rice <- click to read more
Address: Bedok Market Place, 348 Simpang Bedok, Singapore S469560
GPS: 1.331136, 103.948501
Hours: 12:00 noon to 8:00pm (closed on Monday)
If you are a visitor and want to try eating at a humble chicken rice stall serving simple staple chicken rice eaten by locals in a neighbourhood coffee shop, check this out.
Restaurant name : Ah Boy Chicken Rice Stall (at V6 Food Court) <- click to read more
Address : Blk 678A, Choa Chu Kang Crescent, Singapore
GPS: 1.401471, 103.744712
Hours : 7:30 am to 8:00 pm (Closed on alternate Thurs)
The chunky chicken at Ming Kee has tender meat, jiggly jelly fat and smooth skin - everything I look for in a good piece of chicken.
Restaurant name: Ming Kee Chicken Rice & Porridge (old Bugis Street) 明记鸡饭粥 (in Kim San Leng kopitiam) <- click to read more
Address: Blk 511 Bishan Street 13 #01- 522 Kim San Leng Food Centre, Singapore (a short 3 minutes walk from Bishan MRT station)
GPS: 1.348926, 103.850079
Hours: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm (closed on alternate Tues)
Distinct "chickeny" flavour as Hua Kee uses a very light dressing sauce thus allowing the chicken's natural flavours to shine.
Restaurant name: Hua Kee Chicken Rice 华记鸡饭 <- click to read more
Address: Blk 85 Redhill Lane #01-72 Redhill Close Food Centre, Singapore (steps from Redhill MRT station)
GPS: 1.287394, 103.817857
Hours: 9:30 am to 1:30 pm (closed on Monday and Tuesday)
Probably the most popular chicken rice stall in Singapore's east. Good tender chicken with the bonus of "free flow" of crunchy "achar" (Nonya style pickles).
Restaurant name: Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice 加东美味起骨雞飯 <- click to read more
Address: Stall #3, Basement 1, Katong Shopping Centre, East Coast Road, Singapore
Hours: 10:30am to 8:00pm (Closed on Mondays)
Jiale (H.K.) Roast Food is a Hong Kong style roast meat shop but it's 菜园贵妃鸡 Free Range Imperial Concubine Chicken is one of the best chicken in Singapore.
Restaurant name: Jiale (H.K.) Roasted Food 嘉乐(香港)烧腊 (inside Teck Huat Eating House) <- click to read more
Address: 383 Upper Aljunied Road, Singapore 367868 (beside Esso Petrol Station)
GPS: 1.332885, 103.878774
Hours: 10:30am to 9:00pm daily
Tel: +65 9765 3779 (Charles Tan)
This relatively new stall is already making it's mark in Toa Payoh. The chicken and rice here compare well with the famous old names in the crowded world of Singapore chicken rice.
Restaurant name: Master Chicken 雞師傳 <- click to read more
Address: Blk 22 Toa Payoh Lor 7 #01-18 Singapore (Kim Keat Palm)
GPS: 1.334793, 103.857708
Hours: 10:00am to 7:00pm (Closed on Monday) (Closed at 3:00pm on Sunday)
This a version poached in a blend of dark soy sauce and a bit of herbs. The chicken is so soft and smooth, it is inadvisable to eat this and talk at the same time (because of choking risk ;-p ). At SGD7 for half a bird, it's the most affordable that I know of in Singapore.
Restaurant name: Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle 香港油雞飯麵 <- click to read more
Address: Blk 335, Smith Street #02-166, Chinatown Food Complex, Singapore
GPS: 1.282705, 103.842889
Hours: 10:30am to 7:00pm (Monday to Friday) | 8:30am to 7:00pm (weekend and public holiday) | (Closed on Wednesday)
This is chicken rice? What blasphemy?! The chicken rice purists might protest.
This is The Diner by the Travelling COW's interpretation of chicken rice. I like it that this burger has all the qualities of a good chicken rice even though it doesn't looked remotely like it's ancestry.
This chicken rice burger still needs a few minor tweaks but it's already great when I tasted it.
Restaurant name: The Diner by The Travelling COW <- click to read more
Address: #02-16, Level 2, CT Hub, 2 Kallang Ave, Singapore (nearest MRT station is Lavender and there is a free shuttle bus service available from the MRT station to CT Hub)
GPS: 1.312567, 103.863160
Hours: 11:30 am to 9:00 pm (closed Mondays)
Tel: 9818 6636
Chicken Rice Stalls in Johor
Hey, as this is Johor Kaki blog, here are the Johor chicken rice stalls that I like :-D
This humble little stall is a well loved local favourite.
Restaurant name: Ah Lee Kampung Chicken Rice 亚李菜园鸡饭 <- click to read more
Address: Junction of Jalan Badik and Jalan Badik 1, Taman Sri Tebrau, Johor Bahru
Hours: 4:00pm to 12:00 midnight
Restaurant name: 源记鸡饭 chicken rice stall in Kedai Kopi Yee Chia Ler <- click to read more
Address: Jalan Temanggong 11, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah, Skudai. Johor
Hours: 9:00am to 2:00pm (usually sold out earlier) (Closed on Monday)
This delicious chicken made one of my best friends teary eyed...... .
Restaurant name: Restoran Tong 东肉骨茶馆 <- click to read more
Address: 41, Jalan Hang Lekir 10, Taman Skudai Baru, Skudai, Johor
Hours: 9:00am to sold out (usually around 2:30pm). Opens at 08:00am on weekends. (Rest days are not fixed. Rest for a week every two months.) Call 07-558-5367 to check.
Stumbled upon this in Kluang three years ago while hunting for moon cakes. Am missing this juicy charcoal roast chicken. Looking forward to my next Kluang trip to enjoy this delicious chicken again.
Restaurant name: Chicken rice and roast meat stall @ Xiang Hong 香红 coffee shop <- click to read more
Address: Corner coffee shop at Jalan Tan Khim Seck (diagonally across the road from Yuan Fatt bakery)
GPS: 2.042412, 103.333100
Hours: 9:00am to 1:00pm (alternate Thursdays off)
Most of us have heard of Hainanese or Cantonese chicken rice. There is also Guangxi style chicken rice which is considered one the Guangxi Three Treasures 广西三宝 (the other two are Guangxi stuffed toufu and braised belly pork).
Restaurant name: Sam Kong Restaurant 三江 <- click to read more
Address: 8-H, Jalan Ungku Mohsin, Kampung Ungku Mohsin, Johor Bahru
Hours: 11:00am to 11:00pm (Monday closed)
This list is a work-in-progress and incomplete. Do check back regularly as I will be updating this list with new good chicken rice finds in Singapore and Johor.
Please help me make this list better by sharing your favourite chicken rice in the comments. Thank you.
First edition: 4 Jul 2015
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