04 Feb2010

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Mrs. MM and I once lived in Singapore for several years and standard fare at least once a week was a good Hainanese Chicken Rice. A soft poached chicken, often with a trace of blood still evident, the flesh was silky and moist, the simple flavors enhanced by dipping sauces made out of ginger and scallions or spring onions, kecap manis (a sweet soy concoction) and some fiery chili or sambal. Until yesterday, we had not found a decent version locally… more often than not, the chicken is overcooked and “boiled to death” and the essence of the dish is destroyed. So Mrs. MM and I were very pleased to have tasted Stevie’s version of Hainanese Chicken Rice, which he makes available with an advance order and picked up from his home in Makati. I think it’s safe to say it is the best local version of Hainanese Chicken Rice we have tasted so far. And at PHP950 for what I consider to be 4 servings (Stevie suggests 5), I think it is a relative bargain.

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The whole chicken arrived in a medium sized foil take-out container, moistened with poaching liquid, and attractively garnished with particularly fresh coriander and the requisite cucumber and tomato as well. There was a very generous portion of standard HCR rice, and a more unusual serving of black olive rice (this is not standard, but offered as an option). Three standard sauces were also in the package along with a topping sauce. The chicken was moist, and just a little more cooked than say a classic Singaporean take on the dish… I attribute this to most Pinoys dislike of seemingly undercooked anything. There is a particular aversion to blood, though with bird flu I suppose there is a kernel of basis for this paranoia. It was certainly the softest and moistest version I have had in a long time. It came with detailed instructions and after following them and transferring the dish to proper serving platters, Mrs. MM and I sat down to a wonderful dinner. And the blue dish has only 80% of the chicken in the foil tray, so there were a lot of leftovers. The chili sauce offered was a bit orange, and a little less fiery than traditional sambal, but it was good. The ginger condiment was delicious as well. The rice we found a touch heavy, maybe because it had sopped up all the wonderful braising or poaching juices, and even though I am on a strict rice intake at the moment, I had two servings! Chicken fat is glorious, and while it is less visible than pork fat, I know I consumed a fair amount of it last night… Overall, a highly satisfying meal and well worth the money. Contact Stevie at 906.508.4155 if you want to try this out for yourself…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. chinachix says:

    this post made me crave for Hainanese Chicken Rice! Pinaglihi ko ang 2nd child ko on this dish hahaha. Luckily, theres a great Singaporean resto here that we frequent whenever we feel like it… But this looks really good.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 6:33 am

     
  2. jean says:

    There is exactly one Singaporean restaurant in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina where I live. Their version is too neat and “sanitized” (and lacking in fat and flavor). Stevie’s looks amazing! I do miss food in the Philippines. Thanks for posting, MM.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 7:22 am

     
  3. alicia says:

    Great to know a good Hainanese Chicken rice meal is just a phone call/text away! Thanks MM.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 7:30 am

     
  4. Mike says:

    Is our local “pinaupong manok” related to the Hainanese Chicken?

    Feb 4, 2010 | 7:46 am

     
  5. Betchay says:

    I love HCR! Is that 1 whole chicken?Reasonable price.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 7:50 am

     
  6. Tricia says:

    I will order this for Sunday, my diet-free day! :D

    Feb 4, 2010 | 8:11 am

     
  7. junb says:

    here’s my hainanese chicken version for those want to try cooking on their own http://hungry-dad.blogspot.com/2009/04/bored-cook-kampong-chicken-rice.html

    Feb 4, 2010 | 8:52 am

     
  8. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Yumm…I do make my own but it is a different version–taught by someone who lived in Brunei…yumm…same condiments though…I find this healthy as chix is poached…

    Feb 4, 2010 | 10:18 am

     
  9. Martine says:

    I remember crossing the street from school in Dover Road (UWCSEA) and having HCR for only $1.50 at the hawker center. Those were the days! Nowadays, I rely on my mom to make HCR the way we always made it at home in Singapore. It’s still better than any local resto version I’ve had (the Palm Beach resto in the Fort didn’t even come close.). I like my HCR “dirty”, hawker center style!

    MM, my mom was able to buy kecap manis in Unimart, the same brand we’d buy in Singapore when we were living there. (I remember we hoarded on kecap manis upon coming back to Manila for good.) It’s the sweet kind, the same as what you’d get at the hawker center.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 10:21 am

     
  10. Mrs. T, thebaghag says:

    Ive tasted stevie’s chicken and I haven’t stopped ordering it ever since!!! It’s really excellent!

    Feb 4, 2010 | 10:35 am

     
  11. Lex says:

    Tao Yuan (beside Pan Pacific Hotel) in Malate serves a pretty mean Hainanese Chicken. I find it the best in town. Their cuisine is Singaporean Chinese. The have the best laksa in town too.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 10:47 am

     
  12. leigh says:

    Thanks, MM. I love Hainanese chicken rice. While it may have been influenced somewhat by being touted as Singapore’s award-winning Hainanese chicken rice, my favorite does continue to be the HCR of Meritus Mandarin. Another comfort food for me … (I do seem to need to be comforted a lot … LOL)

    Feb 4, 2010 | 11:05 am

     
  13. junb says:

    Does anyone try a tinola style hainanese chicken? That can be an interesting hybrid cooking :)

    Feb 4, 2010 | 11:22 am

     
  14. Mom-Friday says:

    I like! thanks for sharing this :)

    Feb 4, 2010 | 11:44 am

     
  15. faith says:

    Thanks for sharing, MM! :) Definitely trying this. Maybe place an order for Chinese New Year’s eve.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 1:08 pm

     
  16. renee says:

    Thanks MM! My dad loves this dish, but has not gone back to Singapore since the 80’s! I’m asking my sister to order one for him.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 1:50 pm

     
  17. Trin says:

    What’s the yellow sauce to the right of the ginger? (top photo)

    Feb 4, 2010 | 4:15 pm

     
  18. Marketman says:

    Trin, it’s the chili sauce, but with red and green chilies and something else to water it down. I also had a bit of sambal (not in photo) that I used to ramp up the heat quotient. :)

    Feb 4, 2010 | 4:18 pm

     
  19. joanne says:

    MM, we have the same circular placemats. I bet you got them in Bali too. :)

    Feb 4, 2010 | 4:35 pm

     
  20. Rowi says:

    Hej MM,
    It must be serendipity! I was thinking of doing Hainanese chicken this weekend using a newly acquired steamer-oven and was just wishing for inspiration and voila, here comes your post today! I’ve never done this chicken recipe before so I thought I was being over ambitious but after reading your post and the fellow readers’ comments, I know that I just have to give it a try!

    Feb 4, 2010 | 5:23 pm

     
  21. Marketman says:

    Rowi, I have a similar braised chicken with ginger recipe that I overcooked a bit once, it’s in the archives in case you want to try it…

    Feb 4, 2010 | 5:54 pm

     
  22. k says:

    Thank you so much for this post, Marketman! I love Hainanese Chicken Rice, but a good local version has so far eluded me. Now I know where to order to satisfy my cravings. :)

    Feb 4, 2010 | 6:57 pm

     
  23. prosti says:

    *salivates* I miss chicken rice

    Feb 4, 2010 | 7:50 pm

     
  24. www.triportreats.com says:

    OMG I was craving for this the entire day!!!!! This is insanity… I hope this lives up to the dream and the hype. If not, I’m going to have to attempt a weekend trip to Sing just to try this!

    Feb 4, 2010 | 9:24 pm

     
  25. betty q. says:

    …and if you have any leftovers,turn them into DRUNKEN CHICKEN…for a quick appy, remove the meat from the bones and shred them, dousewith a mixture of chinese rice wine (potent stuff, I think, so easy adding the stuff), a little sugar, some of the poaching liquid if your made your own Hainanesechicken, and let it sit in the cooler overnight. Next day, serve with seasoned jellyfish , marinated 5spice beef shank(cut into paper thin slices).

    Feb 5, 2010 | 12:47 am

     
  26. rudy says:

    reminds me, the last trip to Philippines, a childhood friend from Brunei and I decided we should cook good old chicken rice. problem was, for the chili sauce, we could barely find any long red chillis anywhere in Montalban or in Cubao, and ended up using labuyo instead, a fiery concoction indeed! instead of the usual generous lathering, we had to limit it to few drops per piece of meat while eating!

    by the way, isn’t the usual soy sauce a blend of dark soy, sesame oil, leftover stock and sugar? usually in malaysia kicap manis is only used in the Malay version of chicken rice.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 1:56 am

     
  27. rosemarie says:

    rudy, is Singa Chicken still open in Brunei? ten years ago, while still working at JPMC- i love their HCR both steamed and the broasted. I remember it was near Centerpoint. I also loved the HCR at Riverview hotel. Thanks.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 3:50 am

     
  28. TravellingPete says:

    I ordered a set last week (thanks for the tip, Mrs. T!), and totally enjoyed the meal. Apart from it being very tasty and done just right, I much prefer the non-hassle way of picking it up from Bel-Air rather than braving the traffic and parking situation of going to Tao Yuan in Malate or elsewhere. I’m always particular about my ginger sauce, and I’m very happy to say that Chef Stevie has definitely passed muster with flying colors! The next test is to get a set for my sister—who’s been very spoiled with Singapore’s ChatterBox!

    Feb 5, 2010 | 9:42 am

     
  29. Lissa says:

    Oh wow thanks for sharing MM. I haven’t had a decent HCR in Manila, not even close to those SGD3 ones I eat in Singapore hawker centers.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 10:13 am

     
  30. Pilar says:

    TravellingPete: there’s a parking space near Tau Yuen and tickets can be validated to get free slots.

    For those who loved Tao Yuen’s Hainese Chicken, you might also want to try their Peking Duck. Yummy! We spotted Tony Boy Cojuanco with Gretchen and Marjorie having dinner there last Tuesday. Not to be missed when you’re in Adriatico!

    Feb 5, 2010 | 1:25 pm

     
  31. Joyce says:

    cute funky chopsticks mm!

    Feb 5, 2010 | 1:44 pm

     
  32. Melissa says:

    Try Tao Yuan Restaurant located at 508-512 Gen. Malvar St corner A. Mabini (across Pan Pacific Hotel), Malate, Manila for one of the best Hainanese Chicken in Manila.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 3:40 pm

     
  33. Rowi says:

    Hi MM,
    Many thanks for your recipe tip which I would try first before venturing into the realm of the HCR.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 6:42 pm

     
  34. May says:

    Hi Marketman! You should try the hainanese chicken in this new restaurant called SHIOK located at the Bonifacio Stop Over (between Petron and Global City school). Their HCR is good and tastes pretty authentic!

    Feb 5, 2010 | 7:07 pm

     
  35. Noni says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster. Wife and I’ve been craving for HCR since coming back from SG several weeks back. Definite must try! Thanks! Have to look for MM’s other chicken recipe though…

    Looking forward to doing MM’s ribs recipe this weekend though. http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/barbecued-baby-back-ribs

    Feb 5, 2010 | 7:18 pm

     
  36. gia says:

    The HCR of Joni’s cafe on pasay road is pretty good.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 10:29 pm

     
  37. Mrs.TAV says:

    I used to live in SG as well and would always go to my favorite Hawker to get HCR about last week I had a craving for it and decided to grab some at Banana Leaf. It was awful, the rice had no hint of stock to it and the chicken was sad to say overcooked suffice to say I did not enjoy that meal.

    I will definitely give Stevie’s a try when my craving resurfaces thank you for sharing MM

    Feb 6, 2010 | 4:45 am

     
  38. paolo says:

    has anybody tried the HCR of BreadTalk? any comments? saw it on their menu but was not able to try it.

    Feb 6, 2010 | 7:21 am

     
  39. Eileen says:

    I’ll definitely try this out since I live in Makati and it’s so easy to pick up! :)

    Feb 6, 2010 | 9:53 am

     
  40. Fred says:

    A bit far from Makati to order this. I am interested in cooking my own HC. Any tips on getting the chicken done right?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 10:00 am

     
  41. betty q. says:

    Mang Fred: good chicken is a must!…so if you have access to free range chickens, it is worth it…if not, then ordinary chicken willdo. It goes without saying that if you are cooking a wholechicken, season it generously and then stuff it with Chinese aromatics…ginger and green onion stalks …bruised to release the oils….I use chicken stock which I always have on hand…immerse the chicken in it and let it come to a boil, then lower the heat to barely simmering and put a lid on and gently poach….this is for the desired texture of the chicken. If you have meat theremometer, use it…165 degrees is good. If not, I usually leave it in for about 30 to 45 minutes but with heat turned off . Then toachieve the springy skin….dunk it in ice water or bath. …If you don’t have chicken stock, plain water will do for your poaching liquid. Then lift it and place on platter. Rub the skin with sesame oil and season with this Chinese seasoning with white pepper and a hint of 5 spice powder which is readily available in any Asian grocery store. Then chop and ladle some of the poaching liquid over it…just enough but not to bathe the chicken in it.

    The little liquid that accumulates on the platter, I alsouse that as a dipping sauce adding a little of the oil from the ginger-green onion dipping sauce and a pinch of that Chinese seasoning. Also you can use that liquid to make Drunken chicken if you have any leftovers adding just a touch of Sherry (which always have on hand) or Chinese rice wine (shoktong?) and a tiny pinch of sugar…just shred the leftover chicken meat.

    Feb 6, 2010 | 11:22 am

     
  42. rudy says:

    rosemarie: not sure as i just returned to brunei from malaysia. i just know that thien thien is still there and its still quite decent :D

    Feb 6, 2010 | 8:15 pm

     
  43. Fred says:

    Thanks Betty q. the poaching part is tricky. i undercooked my chicken on the 1st attempt. will adjust heat as you instructed.

    Feb 6, 2010 | 10:20 pm

     
  44. betty q. says:

    Mang Fred…another tip. make sure your chicken is at room temp before you dunk it in the pot. Take it out of the cooler 2 hours before you are ready to cook it. My apologies for the late reply….malalim na ang gabi when I wrote the above that I forgot to tell you about room temp. chicken. If you undercooked it, just bring the soup stock to a boil and dunk the chicken in it for the second time. Leave it there for another 30 minutes or so and dunk in cold water again.

    Feb 7, 2010 | 3:03 am

     
  45. niceyfemme says:

    Chicken rice is really a favorite so everytime I’m here in Philippines I’m always always longing for it but I haven’t had a good one here….. I’ll try some of those recommendations I’ve read here… But good thing I’m going back in Sg this Wednesday and chicken rice and chai tow kway here I come!

    Feb 7, 2010 | 12:37 pm

     
  46. michelle o says:

    This is the ultimate comfort meal. When my husband was based in Singapore this was a regular. Tried to do it at home but failed miserably. The kiddies will be thrilled to see this at the dinner table.

    Feb 7, 2010 | 10:01 pm

     
  47. Cecilia says:

    Well, I have a new mission after having read this blog, the comments and going back to old posts re. XO Fried Rice, BettyQ’s XO Sauce and Hainanese Chicken Rice and so on. So, next weekend I will have a “Betty Q Day”, spending it going to Chinatown buying the ingredients, and finally make the XO Sauce and Hainanese Chicken, which I have put-off for many months … Good thing I do have some really good leftover XO Sauce from an authentic Chinese restaurant here on the Westside, so I can serve my family your XO Fried Rice, MM, to tide me over for the week … Thanks, MM and Betty Q!

    Feb 8, 2010 | 6:09 am

     
  48. Fred says:

    @betty q, followed your instructions with the chicken, they turned out perfect! I willl try to get the dip recipes right. (although it seems there are variations on what dip is served with the chicken. http://twitpic.com/121ann

    Thanks again!

    Feb 8, 2010 | 4:38 pm

     
  49. betty q. says:

    Good-looking chicken, Ka Fredo! Nakakagutom! It is lunchtime here na!…the dipping sauces are the easiest things to make! Next time, to cut down on the poaching time, cut the chicken in half…you are going to chop them into serving pieces anyway. What makes it fun is to have an array of dipping sauces…Ha! Are you going to have a To-Go business, too? I will collect royalties! …mwahahahahaa…just kiddding! Nawa’y umunlad and inyong future Ka-Fredo’s Pinoy Hainan Manok!

    Feb 9, 2010 | 4:09 am

     
  50. Fred says:

    @betty, hahaha, thats a good idea. not enough guts to execute it. Everyone loved the chicken btw. will check stevie’s version when im in makati.

    Feb 9, 2010 | 8:03 am

     
  51. Monchet says:

    I completely agree with the comment made by Lex. Tao Yuan, in Malate, serves the best Hainanese chicken rice thus far. And their chilli crab is quite authentic too. I understand this resto is certified by the Singapore embassy no less as the best.

    Feb 9, 2010 | 8:23 pm

     
  52. Issa says:

    I have been craving for this – the two heartbeats in me are to blame (am with baby, 4 months). I tried it at the Makansutra village in Ocean Park. I was satisfied. I think it was only P150. My friends (Anton of AwesomePlanet and wife) have been urging me to try Tao Yuan but I still do not have the time to go. Glad to know there is another option but for a family of 3, I think the serving is too much, but maybe not. Thanks MarketMan!

    Feb 11, 2010 | 2:29 pm

     
  53. bennyzeng says:

    you should try at singapore hainanese chicken rice 366 T. Pinpin, Binondo manila, they serve hawker food beside the chicken rice

    Feb 11, 2010 | 3:09 pm

     
  54. tintin says:

    @bettyq, pwede po ba walang ginger? thanks

    Feb 12, 2010 | 1:00 pm

     
  55. rosemarie says:

    rudy: thanks.
    MM- thanks for this blog. just happen to visit- dessert comes first- she also tackled chicken rice by stevie. is it the in thing now in the philippines? battle of the chicken rice? i will try to look for an old recipe i got from sheraton brunei. hope i will be able to share it with your readers. i was addicted to singa chicken rice whilst working in JPMC – BSB. happy vday.

    Feb 13, 2010 | 2:55 am

     
  56. Eileen says:

    I ordered this a few days ago and we all loved it!! The chicken was moist and the flavor was great! :) Thanks for this great find, MM!

    Feb 13, 2010 | 2:16 pm

     
  57. ajing says:

    my first try with tao yuan, i was impressed with the ingredients. my sisiter too had reserved a table and had a super wonderful meal so she asked me to reserve a table again so i can try the things i havent tried during my first visit, and Boy was i disappointed, super not nice i dont know how to describe it, my sister was so quiet in her corner she was seething with anger. even my friend who was planning to book a table bec of all my wonderful kwentos changed her mind. never ate there again, almost every platter that came out was a disappointment, even the mango sago! how can a mango sago be pangit in taste? worst ive evr tried. there was a lot of worst that evening, maybe they have become too popular

    Feb 17, 2010 | 9:26 am

     
  58. atb says:

    i tasted a new set up Singapore CHicken Rice at Araneta Centre, next to shopwise arcade, gen roxas ave, and you know what they also offer famous nasi lemak, curry chicken, laksa and of the sweet is dinosuar very tasty!

    Feb 25, 2010 | 1:59 am

     
  59. icu says:

    Chicken rice at Chatterbox in Mandarin Hotel SG is super !
    I can eat it 3x a day, very big portions too. Even the soup that
    came with it is very tasty. I have to make another attempt in cooking
    my own Hainanese Chicken Rice. My first attempt had a dry chicken, maybe it was overcooked ! Will try Stevie’s.

    Mar 3, 2010 | 10:18 am

     
  60. Che says:

    So far the best Hainanese Chicken Rice I tasted here in Singapore is the hawker in front of Novena Square.. The tables are already extended till the sidewalk..and people still flock the eatery till wee hours of the morning..

    The best part is, you dont have to pay more to taste the best there is.. :)

    Mar 5, 2010 | 1:11 pm

     
  61. karen c says:

    nakakatakam! hope someone can share their recipe of the rice paired with the chicken and a sambal sauce as well? thanks.

    Mar 7, 2010 | 4:00 pm

     
  62. carmela says:

    hi, after reading a blog about chef stevie’s hainanese chicken, i immediately ordered a set for the next day, im such a fan oh hainanses chcicken and would like to know the best in town….so the next day came and the HRC is in our dinner table, ( was so excited to show it off to hubby), i was so shocked to see blood on my chicken…..i know it ihappens beacuse of the process but the blood was so there, even with the sauce that i cant imagine having a tase of it,(fresh chicken blood) maybe on my steak. there were portions that was cooked perfectly and everything was great, the taste, presentation price etc except for the bloody blood…As a hainanese chicken fan, hard rock cafe has the best to date, strange but u got to try it…….HARD ROCK has the best hainanese chicken

    Mar 16, 2010 | 4:10 am

     
  63. robin says:

    ordered from Stevie last Saturday. We just came form Singapore last month and it was definitely better than the HCR we ate at the Ion Orchard food court. But compared to Chatterbox, hard to tell which is better.

    thanks Marketman for sharing this great find.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 2:15 pm

     
  64. Marketman says:

    robin, I do like the chicken at the Mandarin on Orchard Road in Singapore, is that a chatterbox?

    Mar 22, 2010 | 3:18 pm

     
  65. robin says:

    Yup, Chatterbox at Meritus Mandarin on Orchard Road. We ate the chicken and the lobster laksa.

    Mar 23, 2010 | 12:38 pm

     
  66. dimps says:

    have u tried Tao Yuan’s (located in Malate) version? which version is better – Stevie’s or Tai Yuan’s?

    Apr 21, 2010 | 11:28 am

     
  67. Travelers Atlas says:

    Chicken rice at Boon Tong Kee in Singapore is another classic!

    May 14, 2010 | 5:23 pm

     
  68. Stephanie Chua says:

    There’s a newly opened resto serving good hainanese chicken at very affordable price… I’ve been there thrice already. Their Hainanese Chicken Rice bowl served with soup and juice cost only a 100 pesos… big serving… a must try! They’re located at makati near makati med called 101 Hawker food House.

    Aug 5, 2010 | 8:36 am

     
  69. chester says:

    anybody knows how to identify hainan chicken from our local breed? philippine native chicken. ty

    Aug 18, 2010 | 8:30 am

     
  70. Kevin says:

    A true blue Singaporean recommends that the best Singapore Chicken Rice is at Maxwell Hawker Centre in Chinatown serves the BEST chicken rice at SGD3.50 a plate. Chatterbox is a rip off at SGD20+++, and standard is dropping by the day. This is the website of the BEST chicken rice in Singapore, they just opened a restaurant branch a few months back. http://www.tiantianchickenrice.com/. Check it out next time you are in Singapore. As for the best Chicken Rice in Manila, it really has to be Tao Yuan, oily real fragrant rice with silky smooth chicken rice and superb chilli and ginger, unbeatable combination.

    Sep 1, 2010 | 11:26 pm

     
  71. Richard says:

    My pet peeve with Tao Yuan’s HCR is that it’s on the “sweet” side,which makes it an SHCR – sweet Hainanese Chicken Rice. Haha.

    Sep 4, 2010 | 8:00 am

     
  72. carbak says:

    Good news for hainanese chicken lovers! I met the owner of Wee Nam Kee in Singapore and he told me that they are opening at the Ayala Triangle this October! I’m so happy because I no longer have to bring chicken back from Singapore!

    Sep 14, 2010 | 2:24 pm

     
  73. Kuna says:

    I must say the best, reasonable priced Hainanese Chicken Rice meal for me would be the one they serve in The CAFE which is located in the Ground Floor of the old Jo-ni’s Bldg. It’s at 832 Arnaiz Ave. (former Pasay Road), Makati City. They have the best ginger sauce too! You will definitely come back for more!

    Mar 24, 2011 | 6:10 pm

     
  74. Benny zeng says:

    We had shifted from 366, T.pinpin St. binondo to 1547, adriatico st., ermita, malate. we are just right opposite of robinson tower 2. we will start business on 17 Aug 2011.
    you are most welcome to have the real authentic singapore hawker food.
    thanks

    Jul 30, 2011 | 4:39 pm

     
 

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