Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hainanese chicken rice, Unofficial national dish of Singapore

What is the national dish of Singapore? It is without a doubt hainanese chicken rice. This dish is the most popular dish in Singapore and one of the few local dishes served on national flag carrier, Singapore Airlines, flights. This dish has been originated in Hainan Island of China and brought to Singapore by Chinese immigrants from this island. But a handful of generations who called Singapore home gave it a new personality and flavor on the little red dot.

Hainanese chicken rice is prepared by boiling entire chicken in a pork and chicken bone stock. It is served with franrant rice prefried in chicken fat and cooked in chicken broth cooked with garlic and ginger. It is served with a chilli-lime sauce, ginger puree, and black soy sauce. In Singapore, a roasted chicken variation is also very common. I usually prefer the roasted version. Even if you eat roasted chicken rice, or roasted duck/pork rice, request the special "oily rice" cooked in chicken stock with them. It is more tasty than the plain boiled rice.

The photo below shows a typical hainanese chicken rice set. The chicken rice is served with a soup, chilli source, vegetables and depending on the preference hard boiled egg is added.

Hainanese chicken rice is not only tasty, it is also fast to buy and eat and one of the cheapest dishes in food courts and hawker centers. The price of a set will be between $2 and $5 depending on the place you eat and extras you buy (i.e. boiled egg). It is a great way to have a good, delicious and budget lunch. The best can be found in the deep heartland Singapore hawker centers and unfortunately the ones tourist will try in central food courts are usually not the "best".

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