A while ago, a friend of mine asked me, “Have you tried Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice?” And my answer was no. We then had further discussions on that subject from which I realized that so many people were talking about the fame of Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. As a consequence, tasting their chicken rice quickly climbed to the top of my Singapore to-do list.
Hainanese chicken rice is a Chinese rice dish most commonly known as the “national dish” of Singapore. It primarily contains boiled chicken meats, served at room temperature and eaten with oily tasty rice that has previously been cooked with herbs and chicken stock. The dish is generally served with two kinds of sauce: soy sauce and chili sauce. However, I usually eat the chicken rice with no sauce at all, with the intention to enjoy its real taste. To me, soy sauce and chili sauce can disrupt the deliciously natural taste of the chicken meats.
Hainanese chicken rice is one of the comfort food I must have whenever I visit Singapore. I can eat chicken rice almost everyday during my stay in Singapore, and I never get bored. Unbelievable, huh? Believe me, you can easily find stalls at any hawker food centers in Singapore selling Hainanese chicken rice.
Even though Chatterbox at Mandarin Hotel claimed itself as the home of “Mandarin Chicken Rice” but I found their chicken was too lean and extremely dry. It’s healthy but not typical good chicken rice for me. ^_^ Besides, their famous chicken rice was very pricey too. I would rather eat chicken rice sold at one of any hawker food places than at any upscale restaurants, because chicken fats give excellent tenderness and delicious flavors.
Local foodies have voted Tian Tian as one of top five chicken rice stalls in Singapore. Makansutra, a Singapore-based food company that does not sell food but promotes the joy of eating Asian food, has given Tian Tian’s chicken rice with a “die, die must try” rating, and proclaimed them as one of the fifteen Hawker Legends of Singapore.
In my visit to Singapore last August, I finally made my way to Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. Woo hoo! Their chicken was succulent, tender, and juicy. The rice itself was flavorful and just perfectly right (not too hard or too soft). The chicken oil was just a right kick, poured on the top of the chicken rice. Anthony Bourdain reported, “Chicken rice is so fragrant and delicious that it can be eaten on its own.” which, in my opinion, was very true. Overall, the meal I had at Tian Tian was outstandingly good.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Maxwell Road Food Centre, Stall 10
Opening hours: 11am-8pm, closed on Mondays