Sunday, 10 December 2017

Tong Kee Chicken Rice 東記雞飯. Tanglin Halt Food Centre. Singapore

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So, I asked Niven whose family ran the famous Sin Kee chicken rice stall at Margaret Drive hawker centre on the whereabouts of the old stalls at the now demolished food centre 😢 I had lunch and dinner at Margaret Drive hawker centre countless times as I worked and lived nearby in the 1980s 😢 I remember there were four chicken rice stalls, fish ball noodles, char kway teow, zhi char, popiah, dessert, sui kow soup etc among many more. A part of me went missing when I lost touch with these stalls 😢


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Of the four Margaret Drive chicken rice stalls, only Sin Kee and Tong Kee 東記 are still in business. Thanks to Niven, I am reconnected with Tong Kee.

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Truth be told, of the four chicken rice stalls at Margaret Drive FC, I felt the least connected with Tong Kee. You see, I am a poached (white) chicken and soya sauce chicken person. Tong Kee is a fried chicken specialist. (Deep fried chicken is referred to as "roast chicken" in the world of Singapore chicken rice.)

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Ah Meng and Niven knew each other for decades as both worked at their parents' stalls at Margaret Drive FC. Ah Meng's family founded Tong Kee in 1969 (48 years ago 😮).

When Niven's mum wanted to eat chicken, her first choice is Tong Kee's fried chicken 😄

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Ah Meng runs Tong Kee 東記 now in Tanglin Halt food centre with his wife just like his parents did at Margaret Drive FC. Ah Meng still keeps to the old ways of his parents like cooking his rice manually instead of using an automatic rice cooker. Tastes better, both Ah Meng and Niven said.

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Apparently, I was not the only one looking for our old makan places.

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Niven and I shared half a bird, which is a lot of meat for two middle aged uncles..... .


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The chicken is seasoned with spices outside and in the cavity, then deep fried in oil until the skin is golden brown. It is cooked through, so there is no pink at all.

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The meat was tender and juicy, but it lacked the natural chicky sweetness of good poached chicken (which is why I remained an unconverted poached chicken loyalist).

Most of the flavour came from the slightly crisp golden brown skin. The savoury flavour from the spices and seasoning rubbed on the skin was sufficient to carry the whole mouthful of meat and rice. It's nice that way, even this poached chicken loyalist have to admit 😄

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We had this plate of boiled chicken innards for no reason other than "we are uncles" 😂 It's nice because "we are uncles".

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I dipped into this little innocuous looking bowl of dark sauce out of politeness, since Niven had already ordered it.

Man.... was I blown away. The dark gooey starch thicken sauce had a beautiful savoury sweet balance and an underlying toasty flavour from caramelised sugar. Oh.. man... this sauce is addictive... I warned you 😬 

The braised egg was good too... the white had a nice spring to the bite.

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I like Tong Kee's rice too. It has a subtle aroma from pandan leaves and chicken stock. The rice is not overly greasy and the tender grains have a nice savoury layer over the sweet starch.

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During the two hours (12 noon - 2pm) we took to finish our half bird (uncles eat very slowly), Tong Kee also sold out all their chicken. There was a constant stream of people lining up for the fried chicken and many took away many packets.

Can you guess which is my plate and which is Niven's - A or B?

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Thank you Niven for the treat and for reconnecting me with the good food of Margaret Drive Food Centre.

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Restaurant name: Tong Kee Chicken Rice 東記雞飯
AddressTanglin Halt Food Centre. #01-25, 3A Commonwealth Drive, Singapore 141003
GPS1°17'58.5"N 103°47'51.1"E | 1.299585, 103.797534
Hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm (till sold out - usually by 2pm on weekends)

Non Halal

Date visited: 10 Dec 2017

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1 comment:

I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

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