You can’t visit Singapore without trying out the infamous Singapore Chicken Rice. This dish, which is considered by many as the country’s unofficial national dish, is so popular every food court in the island nation has at least a few stalls selling it.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice came highly recommended by the food guide we picked up at the airport. Their main, and oldest, branch was located at the Maxwell Food Centre in Chinatown. We headed over after a morning of exploring the various shops in the area.
We arrived at Maxwell Food Centre just before noon, and like many hawker centers in Singapore, the place had two rows of stalls selling all manners of food. Tables were arranged in the middle with a few set up at along the back wall of the food stalls. There is no air-conditioning, so be prepared to endure the heat and humidity while having your meal if you visit in the summer season. The place was already packed when we arrived, but we managed to grab a table for two near the back of Tian Tian Chicken Rice’s stall.
The line was long, starting from one edge of the stall and snaking to the back area where our table was located. It took more than 5 minutes of standing in line before we were able to order, but once we did, it was prepared quickly. In no time at all, we were sitting down our table with our meal, preparing to enjoy this much lauded gastronomic delight.
Chicken Rice in itself is a fairly simple, no frills dish. It consists of a large piece of very tender boneless chicken, fluffy and fragrant rice, a few slices of cucumber, a bowl of broth and a couple of dips in the form of chili and soy sauce. The size serving was not bad for the less than SG$ 4 price tag.
Tian Tian’s Hainanese Chicken Rice tasted divine. The chicken seemed to melt in your mouth and flavor was so subtle it encourages you to take more bites. The rice was the tastiest we’ve had. That’s high praise coming from two natives of a country where a meal is not considered a meal if a serving of rice is not included. The soy sauce was more viscous and sweeter than what we have in the Philippines, but it enhanced the flavor of the chicken. The broth was a simple chicken stock which was a perfect side dish to the chicken.
If you could try just one dish in Singapore, try the Chicken Rice. We bet you’ll love it as much as we did.