Written by: Foo Siew Jack
In this iteration of Echo Eats, we went on a manhunt to find out where we can find the best rendition in town of this dish that has become synonymous with the Malaysian food scene – a plate of steamy chicken rice.
Chicken rice is found in many Chinese restaurants and hawker stalls; it is a dish that is prepared rather simply with a fine blend of poached chicken meat bathed in soy sauce, oily rice, cucumber slices and a bowl of soup. Since its humble origins in the Hainan province of Southern China, it has catapulted itself into Malaysian culture and even spawned the different unique variations we see today – and love very much.
Fortunately, chicken rice is very cheap and affordable for just about anyone and everyone, so you don’t have to worry about putting a dent in your wallet. However, it is paramount that we know which places serve the best and most affordable chicken rice.
This article serves to inform you on the best choices you won’t regret (ever)!
Kung Fu Kitchen’s Roasted Chicken Rice
The roasted chicken rice hailing from Kung Fu Kitchen, located at one of the shop lots running alongside the university, is prepared with a generous serving of dry, roasted chicken, aromatic rice and a bowl of salty soup.
Coming in at RM5.90, this plate of chicken rice could be considered by some to be on the more expensive side. However, this is a rather up-class eatery that is air-conditioned and wifi-enabled which could contribute to the final cost of the product.
The aromatic rice used to prepare this dish is quite unique compared to its competitors – it does not use the traditional yellow rice often seen in other places. Though I can’t tell which is better, some most definitely prefer the type made by this restaurant as it is less oily and greasy. As for the chicken, I found it pretty ordinary with not much taste though it does get the job done. The chilli sauce is, for some reason, served cold which may offset some people at first bite; and the soup may be a bit too salty.
As Kung Fu Kitchen does not specialize in solely chicken rice (the kitchen cooks an assortment of Chinese dishes), the dish simply cannot stand on firm grounds against more dedicated stalls. However, this is not to say it isn’t good; in fact, I’d say that it is worth the price as you get to enjoy it in a premium setting without having to pay premium prices. All in all, the best thing about this is actually the rice, as its chicken unfortunately falls short compared to its other competitors.
Not to mention, they also have bottomless “Teh Tarik” and “ying yong” drinks on offer – this means you get unlimited refills AND a satisfying caffeine fix!
Rock Café’s Chicken Rice Stall
The chicken rice stall from Rock Café brings to the table a varied selection of serving and meat options that includes roasted chicken, roasted duck, roasted pork and barbequed pork. All the dishes comes served with a bowl of soup and oily rice.
Coming in at around RM6 per plate, it is slightly pricier than even Kung Fu Kitchen. Though you do get to enjoy this dish in Rock Café, where an extremely wide selection of beverages is available at your disposal – it doesn’t really justify the cost. Just like most chicken rice places, an addition of RM1 would get you an extra row of chicken meat too.
The chicken rice served from this stall is just borderline average at best. The roasted chicken is sometimes a bit too dry for my liking, and the soy sauce comes out as being a little on the salty side (just like their soup). The rice is not too bad, that being said, it can’t compete against the standard of much better options out there. In spite of that, I found their chilli paste quite good, and it has a noticeable tinge of lime to it.
This chicken rice just made the mark by a narrow inch, which is probably of no surprise to those that have tried it before. The factor that really salvaged this would be its presence in Rock Café, as many people like its variety of drinks and even desserts that make the overall eating experience a satisfactory one. Other than that, the other two venues discussed in this article gets packed very quickly in the rush hours of lunchtime; you won’t have to worry about that here as Rock Café has a much larger sitting capacity than the two combined!
Garlic Roasted Chicken Rice Shop
Lo and behold, here comes the stall that is heralded as the best chicken rice in Sunway and perhaps, even Subang Jaya. This stall serves a variety of meats and dishes as well as including roasted chicken, roasted pork, barbequed pork and sausage rice. All dishes come with chicken soup and oily rice.
This is one of the best parts about this stall; it is cheap as dirt but tastes like something that even Kenny Rogers himself would approve of. Coming at just RM5 per plate with an additional RM1 if you’re going for the extra chicken option – you just can’t beat the price! In fact, its price is equal to the prices you would find in Ipoh, which makes a big statement to other competitors.
The dish is prepared in a rather unorthodox fashion whereby a sprinkle of fried garlic is carpeted along the rows of roasted chicken. I found the soy sauce perfectly balanced…as all things should be. The oily rice is of the conventional. A worthy mention though, is the soup; it is the type that is brewed using whole chickens, some Chinese herbs, winter-melon and peanuts amongst (probably) many other things. The chilli sauce comes with a subtle albeit significant note of lime and garlic – very Cantonese style.
With that said, the meal you’re going to get from this stall would leave you begging for more. The competitive pricing of this restaurant is hitting it out of the park as they are offering a staggeringly low price of just RM5 for a serving of this Malaysian delight. The owner is very friendly, chill and has a no-nonsense vibe going on of the sort that probably rendered him legendary status as the guy that started it all amongst students of Sunway and Monash University. The only reason it’s not a perfect 10 is because the restaurant is not exactly the most spacious – expect a crazy crowd around the lunch hours of 11am-12pm.
All in all, if you’re looking for a no-frills, old-school chicken rice with a garlicky twist, look no further than this place.
The Garlic Roasted Chicken Rice Shop takes the undisputed title of being the best place to get your chicken rice fix, anytime and every time. Unless someone pops up with a special secret recipe that made the Krabby Patty the best burger in Bikini Bottom, it will be long before this place will be dethroned. From the words of my good friend Aaron from Sri Lanka, he only has this to say; “It’s so good”.
And rightfully so.