Hainanese Chicken, an often misunderstood dish since the name implies an origin within China; yet it is a dish associated with Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia as well. Widely considered the national dish of Singapore, there are a few variations of Hainanese Chicken among the different areas. However, the basic items are constant such as the poached chicken and chicken oil rice. The trick to make the chicken tender and juicy is to never let the water boil. Moreover, the proper technique to make chicken oil rice is, as in the description, to use the leftover chicken oil to stir fry the rice before cooking it in the leftover chicken broth. Many places cheat and do not use this process, resulting in a mushy and non-aromatic rice. So far, it's been difficult to find the perfect Hainanese Chicken; but Prata Man does a pretty good version (I'm not sure about their other dishes though... a bit substandard). You can find other variations at Mui Garden (free range, it's chewier), Banana Leaf, Tropika and Hawker's Delight.
Today, on our way to the women's ice hockey game between China and Finland, Viv and I stopped by Cafe D'Lite to give their Hainanese Chicken a try. I decided to order the large single order since it looked so pretty in the picture. You see, it's a formed bowl of rice surrounded by boneless pieces of dark meat. I'm happy that it was boneless since that is the correct way of serving it. Too many a time, there are bones, which is a no-no. The chicken, in my mind, was pretty good. Tender, juicy and with a light drizzle of sweet soy, this would give Prata Man a run for its money. However, and this is a big however, the rice was terrible. Consisting of mainly broken rice, it was mushy and dry and the same time (not sure how that can be). Furthermore, it was flavourless and lacked the oil gloss that makes the chicken rice taste and look good. That in itself spoiled the dish for me.
We also got a Beef Laksa and it looked pretty good. Yah, oil slick at the top is normal. I thought noodles were done right and the broth itself was decent, maybe lacking a bit of coconut flavour. It wasn't as spicy as I would've liked it; but it's my bad for not specifying. Honestly, except for the rice, I thought the meal was solid and I'll probably return. However, I hope this was an off day for the rice because it was not very good at all.
- Properly prepared Hainanese Chicken
- Reasonable prices considering the location
- Terrible chicken rice (maybe only this time?)