This evening I joined makan buddies at Chinatown Complex for dinner. As we walked pass Heng Ji Chicken Rice, I casually remarked to Pearl that the chicken hanging in the window looked plump and juicy. Buddy Allan said he was going to bring us to eat the "3 o'clock chicken" but I didn't know what he was referring to.
Not long after sitting down, Allan came back with two large plates of poached chicken. Only after asking Allan about this "3 o'clock chicken" did I realised that Allan was referring to Heng Ji. Alan calls Heng Ji the "3 o'clock chicken" because the stall opens at 3pm. Allan so kindly queued for the chicken while we sat comfortably chatting. Thanks buddy 😊 At that moment, I also recalled that buddy Tony Tee had also been telling me about this chicken rice stall before.
The thing about Heng Ji is that they are rather nonchalant about niceties like plating. No matter how I turned this plate of chicken, I couldn't get a photogenic shot of the heap. (I like my food to look nice - then can take nice pictures mah 😜 )
But, one bite into this chunky tender, juicy white flesh, and I am completely sold. Each bite into the soft smooth meat released the fresh chicken's natural sweetness along with a subtle chicky taste. The chicken was done very slightly pink.
The chicken innards though only slight in flavour had nice crunchy (gizzard) or mashy grainy (liver) texture.
The blended oil and soy sauce dressing pooled at the bottom of the plastic plate - it was quite flat savoury salty in flavour. I didn't used it much as I love the chicken without any dressing.
The chili and dark soy sauces (dips) were just average tasting but it hardly mattered (to me) as the chicken was already so tasty. No.... the chili sauce tasted a bit odd and heavy on salt. The soy sauce was balanced with caramel or sugar. I didn't taste the ginger dip because it looked watery 😛
The rice was well oiled but not overly greasy. The tender grains had firmness to the bite. There were whole and broken grains, and they were stuck together. The rice had a nice savoury taste and subtle chicky aroma.
After my delicious chicken rice meal, I went to say hello to stall holder Ms 林恩爱 (her helper told me). Needless to say, Ms Lim was extremely busy. Tony Tee told me that Ms Lim has been running Heng Ji for 30 years and this stall was founded by her father-in-law decades earlier. Tony shared that Ms Lim is an accomplished Cantonese opera singer.
Heng Ji's chicken is reasonably priced at SGD20 a bird. Thank you, Allan for the treat 😄
4-Star (out of 5). The sauces were average and there was no soup. The chicken was served in a haphazard pile on a disposable floppy plastic plate. Cutlery is a pair of disposable soft wooden chopsticks and plastic spoon. But, all is forgotten once I tasted the delicious tender juicy chicken.
If I assessed Heng Ji's chicken rice by breaking it down to components like chicken, dressing, sauces (dips), rice and soup, and allocated points like it's a maths problem, then Heng Ji wouldn't score high. But, hey, food is about feelings as much as flavours to me, and based on how the chicken alone tastes, Heng Ji is now one of my favourite chicken rice stalls in Singapore. I am illogical like that.
Restaurant name: Heng Ji Chicken Rice 享記雞飯
Address: Blk 335, Smith Street #02-131, Chinatown Food Complex, Singapore 050335
GPS: 1.282705, 103.842889
Hours: 3:00pm to 8:00pm (Sunday off)
Date visited: 5 Nov 2016
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