Singapore’s National Dish – Where to Find the Best Chicken Rice in Singapore
Competing with chilli crab for Singapore’s national dish, Hainanese chicken rice is something that most Singaporeans eat every week. And when it’s considered one of the greatest cheap eats and is so freakin’ delicious, why would you not?
A plate of white chicken cut into bite sized pieces served with fragrant rice, soy sauce and chilli sauce may sound simple, but there is plenty of technique and knowledge that goes into perfectly executing the traditional recipe.
Each local restaurant and Hawker stall has its own recipe and everyone has their own preference on what makes the perfect chicken rice. But that hasn’t deterred us from embarking on a search for the best and tastiest Singapore has to offer.
What makes a great Hainanese Chicken Rice?
First brought over by Southern Chinese immigrant, restaurants would traditionally broil chicken before submerging it in ice cold water to seal in the flavour.
However, nowadays most restaurants offer steamed or roasted varieties, too.
The rice element is just as important as the chook. Cooked in the chicken broth so that it takes on its wonderful flavour, the perfect rice should have a slightly oily texture. Looking back further, the rice was originally cooked over fire with pandan leaves and ginger slices before being moulded into small balls.
Completing the meal is the chilli sauce. This is where recipes really differ. It’s fascinating to watch chefs blend or mash up their own secret blend of birds eye chillis, ginger, lime and garlic. Most places will also serve a soup and some veggies alongside to complete a healthy and satisfying meal.
Anyway, we’re sure you know the score, so let’s get down to business and answer what you really want to know…
6 Places Serving Singapore’s Best Hainanese Chicken Rice
Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice
Wee Nam Kee offers both steamed and roasted chicken from its Marina Square restaurant and has over 40 years experience in the business. That translates to some of Singapore’s most tender chicken and intoxicating chilli sauce. The price is very affordable, especially in relation to the quality. All this has made Wee Nam Kee a must-eat Singapore chicken rice restaurant over the years.
Boon Tong Kee
If you fancy the comforts of a restaurant compared to a Hawker stall then Boon Tong Kee might be for you. What started as a single stall in Chinatown is now 8 outlets across Singapore. Prices are a bit higher, but you do get restaurant comforts like air conditioning. Boon Tong Kee is also a great choice for night owls as it is open well into the early hours.
Address: Balestier Rd, 399 401 & 403, Singapore 329801Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 11AM – 4.30AM
Loy Kee Best Chicken Rice (Balestier)
Another Balestier Road outlet, Loy Kee Best Chicken Rice has been around since 1953. This is some of Singapore’s prettiest chicken rice. Get the special set, which Loy Kee serves on a wooden tray with many sides, such as vegetables and soup. The vibe is traditional and you can opt for either roasted or steamed chicken.
Ming Kee Chicken
Applauded around town as being the chicken rice stall to rule them all, it’s no surprise to see Ming Kee Chicken making this list. Hungry market goers can be waiting anywhere between half an hour to one hour to find out what’s so special about this spot. We can confirm that a little patience pays off big time. Ming Kee Chicken follows the traditional method of dunking their chicken into ice cold water to achieve that gloriously succulent result. A standard plate will set you back around $3.50 or share the whole bird between friends for just $25. Adding crunchy gizzards to the side comes highly recommended.
Tian Tian Chicken Rice
Another very famous chicken rice spot is Tian Tian. The Hawker stall is located in the Maxwell food court and its fame – largely thanks to it being recognised by the Michelin Bib Gourmand guide – means there’s often a crowd. At $3.50, it’s also one of the cheapest. A family business, Tian Tian poach and then soak the chicken in ice water to lock in the flavour the traditional Hainanese way. The chilli sauce is also the result of years of experimentation and Tian Tian boil it and then drizzle it over the chicken.
Address: 1 Kadayanallur St, #01-10/11 Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore 069184Opening Hours: Tue – Sun: 10 – 7.30PM
Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice
The second Hawker spot in the Michelin Bib Gourmand guide is Tiong Bahru. At $3, it’s perhaps also the cheapest Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore. The original stall is located in the Tiong Bahru Market on Seng Poh Road. Simple and clean seems to be the motto here and that extends to the flavours. Tiong Bahru adds spring onion to the rice to give it a sweeter taste, which is a nice touch that we like, while there’s Hainanese and roasted chicken to choose from.
Address: 30 Seng Poh Rd, #02-82 Tiong Bahru Market, SingaporeWebsite: Tiong BahruOpening Hours: Mon – Sun: 10 – 9PM
Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle
Liao Fan Hong Kong made it to the headlines when it became one of the few street food stalls worldwide to be awarded a Michelin star in 2016. The chicken rice is a little different here too. Liao Fan braises their chicken in soya sauce and serves it alongside sauteed green beans. Multiple branches are popping up across Asia, but the prices remain affordable here. Thanks to its status there’s always a queue, but that’s unsurprising considering this is the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world.
Address: 335 #02-126 Smith St, Complex Market & Food Centre, Singapore 050335Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 10.30 – 8.30PM