#7: Singapore – Hainanese Chicken Rice

“Chicken and Rice are allowable per my diet, right Mom?” – Rooney

In February 2020 while the world was on the heels of a global pandemic that continues to impact the entire world, I was preparing for one hell of a birthday trip. For 2 1/2 weeks I traveled around Vietnam and Cambodia, while kicking off and ending my travels in Singapore. The city was almost like a fantasy world between beautiful light shows, over the top shopping centers, you name it and it was bigger in Singapore.

The street hawker scene in Singapore is very strong and represents a melting pot of so many Asian cuisines it was kind of hard to pick a dish that may have its origins in Singapore. But I decided to go with something that I saw everywhere yet didn’t manage to try while I was there: Chicken Rice.

On the surface, this looks to be a very straightforward dish. It’s chicken. It’s rice. Maybe a dipping sauce. Why would I go out of my way to eat this while surrounded by so many other options in Singapore? This may explain why I didn’t try it while I was there but thought I’d see what all the fuss was about for this cooking challenge.

I elected NOT to make my own chili sauce or roast a whole chicken for this, and stuck with poaching the chicken breasts I already had readily available. (On a side note, I recall doing a major pantry/refrigerator purge in early February so I imagine there will be a pattern over the next several posts of tweaks I made to dishes to work with what I already had or simplify.) I think the trick to the flavor here is cooking the rice in the rendered chicken fat. I did that to a point, but given that I didn’t take the extra steps of cooking a whole chicken first, a little of that flavor might have been lost. You can find the recipe that I adapted my take on this dish off of here: https://www.internationalcuisine.com/hainanese-chicken-rice/.

Overall Level of Effort: 2

Skill Level: Beginner

Would Make Again? No

Additional Notes: I wasn’t blown away with this dish and given that the flavor was kind of “meh” I didn’t see this dish as worth the grams of fat involved into trying to achieve that special flavor.

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