Echo Eats: Chicken Rice, A Timeless Classic in Our Modern World

Chicken rice is a common dish in restaurants all around Singapore and Malaysia. It comes in several variations, like poached, roasted, and seasoned with soy sauce. Famous as one of Singapore’s national dishes, chicken rice comes in two notable varieties: Hainanese and Cantonese, both of which are extensively accepted in these Southeast Asian nations’ cuisines.

Small pieces of chicken are paired with aromatic rice and a specially made chilli dip in this delicious dish. The aromatic rice, which is the cornerstone of the meal, is cooked to perfection after being delicately rinsed and allowed to absorb the flavourful essence of the chicken broth.

Whether it is poached, roasted, or braised, the centrepiece with the chicken –  is meticulously prepared to guarantee a juicy and soft texture.

Every bite of the chicken, which has been marinated in a flavourful mixture of spices, fragrant herbs, and occasionally ginger or garlic, promises to be a savoury treat. Condiments such as spicy chilli sauce, soy sauce, and cool ginger paste complete the dish and provide a lovely taste contrast.

A garnish, such as fresh coriander or green onions, adds the last touch to this culinary symphony,giving the dish a lively appearance. With this careful attention to detail, chicken rice becomes a multi-sensory feast that entices customers to enjoy the complex interaction of flavours and textures.

Looking back, Hainanese chicken rice is actually a misnomer because its creators, who immigrated to Singapore in the late 19th century, were Hainanese chefs, not natives of Hainan. They created the popular chicken rice dish in Singapore by modifying the Wenchang chicken recipe from Hainan and adding regional flavours. This historical context highlights the dish’s development as a culinary gem with strong roots in migration and adaptability and gives it an additional layer of cultural depth.

Garlic Chicken Rice

There are few things in Sunway City that have as stellar a reputation as our beloved Garlic Chicken Rice. Located just outside the Sunway University campus, customers begin flocking there as early as 8am, just for a taste of the garlicky, savoury chicken. 

  Source: The Star Newspaper

Garlic Chicken Rice started operating in Sunway City in 2013, quickly becoming a crowd favourite for its affordable and tasty dishes. Crowds begin flocking as early as 11:30 a.m., usually consisting of hungry students and office workers.

The star of the show is, of course, the garlic chicken. Savoury slices of chicken are served on separate plates, doused with a good helping of soy sauce and sprinkled with crispy bits of garlicky goodness. The rice served is fragrant and coloured an appetising shade of yellow. A bowl of old cucumber soup is usually served alongside this meal, sweetened with goji berries. 

If you’re not in the mood for chicken, Garlic Chicken Rice also serves up char siu, chinese sausage, braised eggs and tofu, as well as roast pork. The roast pork in particular is a must-try, with its crispy skin and melt-in-your-mouth fat. 

Garlic Chicken Rice is a great choice for anyone looking for a reasonably priced meal. One should opt to arrive earlier in order to beat the lunch crowd, as well as find a parking space nearby. 

Hong Zhou Chicken Rice

Better known as “128 Chicken Rice”, this unassuming stall located in 128 Restaurant is nestled amongst a myriad of different hawker stalls, all offering delicious local foods. However, Hong Zhou Chicken Rice is known as a crowd favourite, a reliable choice for hungry patrons.

Source: Personal Photo

Hong Zhou Chicken Rice faithfully serves its customers with Hainanese-style chicken rice. 

The star of the show, the chicken, is served on top of a layer of sliced cucumbers, which offer refreshment in between bites of chicken and rice. Other than classic roasted chicken, poached Hainanese chicken is served as well. The usual chicken rice stall fare is offered as well, consisting of roasted pork, char siu and braised eggs.

Accompanying this meal is a small serving of chilli, which is tangy and and garlicky. Its slight acidity and spiciness contrasts the tasty chicken well. A bowl of old cucumber soup, boiled with pieces of chicken is served to cleanse the palate. 

Hong Zhou Chicken Rice seems to primarily cater to students, given their affordable price and large portions of rice. However, the portion of protein given may prove unsatisfactory to people with larger appetites. 

Customers interested in sampling Hong Zhou Chicken Rice do not need to stand in long queues, however it is recommended to come earlier in the day if you want to sample the roast pork or char siu as they tend to sell out in the afternoon. 

Xin Kee Chicken Rice (Transliteration)

Source: Personal Photo

Xin Kee Chicken Rice is located in Sunway City’s well-known Rock Cafe. Known for its open air dining space, which is particularly conducive for hangout sessions with friends, it offers a large range of both local and international cuisines, one of them being the Malaysian comfort food, chicken rice. 

Xin Kee Chicken Rice offers both roasted and poached chicken, which is tender and well cooked. The unique thing about Rock Cafe Chicken Rice that distinguishes it from other chicken rice stalls is the way in which the chicken is prepared. After the chicken is chopped, it is basted repeatedly in soy sauce, which gives it its moist and tender texture. Every bite of chicken is flavourful, even without the addition of chilli sauce. The rice is fragrant and well-flavoured, served alongside a bowl of hot old cucumber soup. 

Xin Kee Chicken Rice is suitable for anyone seeking a comfort meal. Since it is usually not crowded, customers can come anytime, but parking may prove to be a challenge. It is recommended to come with friends to fully enjoy the ambience. 

In conclusion, chicken rice is not only a masterwork of cooking but also a symbol of culture that is dear to the hearts and palates of people in Singapore and Malaysia. This dish’s dynamic progress is demonstrated by its extensive history, which spans from the convergence of indigenous flavours to the adaption of Hainanese techniques. The harmonious combination of aromatic rice, tender chicken, and a variety of sauces produces a taste sensation that surpasses its unassuming components. Chicken rice invites foodies to partake in a culinary journey that showcases the complex tapestry of Southeast Asian cuisine. It’s more than simply a meal—it’s a voyage through time, culture, and flavour. 

Written By: Sarah & Tarini

Edited By: Ruby

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