Gastronomy of Singapore
Check your guidebook! In Singapore, you will find lots of restaurants specialized in chicken rice, although you might also find it by another name which is Hainanese chicken rice since it originally comes from Hainan Island in China. Hainanese immigrants introduced this recipe to Singapore about 60 years ago, but nowadays, it is actually considered a Singaporean national dish. You can find it at food courts, restaurants and even hawker stalls. Moreover, it’s a favorite in international exhibitions and food festivals around the world.
The Original Recipe of Chicken Rice
Usually, Chicken Rice’s main ingredients include rice, tender chicken –you can choose between breast, leg or mixed–, soup with a bit of garlic and tofu. As seasonings, you’ll find sweet soy sauce, grated ginger and chili. It’s a mouth-watering combination! Of course, as it usually happens with popular dishes, you’ll have two varieties to choose from. The first one is more elaborate and fancy and we like to call it royal chicken rice; meanwhile, the second one is more playful and casual, and it’s usually the one the locals choose as their favorite. For argument sake, we’ve named it common folks' chicken rice.
Where to Eat the Best Chicken Rice
You can find royal chicken rice at the high-end hotels located in the Orchard area. Generally, it’s presented on very luxurious plate settings that turn this dish into a work of art that conquers both your palate and your eyes. The fragrant and full-bodied rice is cooked with herbs and accompanied with fine slices of fresh cucumber, tomato and lettuce, providing tasty comfort and proving why CNN Go listed this succulent creation at number 45 on World’s 50 most delicious foods in 2011.
On the other hand, common folks' chicken rice is served at a lot of small restaurants and stalls around the city. There, lunch becomes a fun experience every time because the sweet soy sauce, grated ginger and chili are placed on a common table that gives the diners chance to mingle while they season their dish. By the way, Singaporeans love spicy food, so they always order extra servings of green chili to make their chicken hotter!
Tips to Order Chicken Rice
If you order chicken rice, you’ll only get chicken and rice... as obvious as that might sound. However, if you also want the traditional soup that goes with it, DINKtravelers advises you to order a chicken rice set. Then you’ll have the option of choosing either a soup with shrimp dumplings or a fried vegetables soup.
Some restaurants let you choose between roasted chicken, duck and even pork. We highly recommend the chicken version because the meat is very juicy on the inside but the skin is brown and crispy.