The first thing I did after getting off a 16 hour plane ride from Los Angeles to Singapore, was to head straight for chicken rice. Chicken rice is known to many Singaporeans as our national dish. It's a plate of boiled chicken, served with rice and condiments. Sounds simple? It's not. Want to make it at home? It's not going to take 30 minutes. Every Singaporean has their favorite version of the dish, their favorite stand that sells it. My go-to place is Lee Fun Nam Kee in Toa Payoh. Some prefer the chicken served as is, others like the soy sauce version. They are both good, but this time, I opted for the latter.The chicken is boiled in a broth consisting of chicken bones and garlic, then shocked in cold water. This results in a very juicy chicken, with a rather gelatinous skin. The chicken is served over rice, but not just any rice. The rice is cooked with the same broth, which results in an oily and fragrant rice. It's so flavorful that you can just eat it as is, without any gravy. But oh, the gravy is so good. It's thick and salty. The sliced cucumbers add crunch and is a nice compliment to the dish. Lastly, the dish is served with condiments - ginger garlic, chili and dark soy sauce.
Barley water is a perfect refreshing drink for the hot and humid climate.
There's something so perfect about this meal. From the rich, clear broth with plump dumplings, to the supple chicken with jelly-textured skin, to the thick soy sauce and condiments, and the refreshing crunch of the sliced cucumbers. It seems like a simple dish, yet is something that is so much more complex.
Lee Fun Nam Kee
94 Lorong 4
Toa Payoh, #01-04 Singapore
+65 6255 0891