eating in singapore: chicken rice lah!

in my life i talk a lot about chicken rice. when i mentioned i was going to singapore, i told people “i’m going for chicken rice.” i enjoy the movie “the chicken rice war.” i once spent an entire day in singapore eating nothing but chicken rice – 6 different plates.

8 years ago when i visited singapore with my parents, my friend sandra took us to boon tong kee on balestier road and we ate chicken rice street side on the sidewalk . . . and it was good.

so when i came back to singapore, i put in a request to sandra . . . and we made our way to boon tong kee again, but things done changed.

Boon Tong Kee

that’s right! an indoor restaurant where the sidewalk stand used to be! i’m not sure it is an improvement – i did like eating on the side of the road, but it was more comfortable.

for those unfamilar, chicken rice is boiled chicken (“white chopped chicken” in chinese) served with rice cooked in chicken oil and other assorted herbs and spices and, well, stuff. (each place has a seperate secret recipe) it’s what anthony bourdain calls the “chopped liver” of singapore – inasmuch every hawker centre, mall food court and high end restaurant serves a version of it, with a large army of advocates arguing that his or hers favorite chicken rice place is the best. the plain chicken is then served with a spicy dipping sauce, as well as a garlicky, sweet sauce.

at boon tong kee, the three of us ordered the chicken rice, an egg and shrimp dish, these amazing deep fried tofu cubes (so so so so good), and some vegetables.

Boon Tong Kee - Chicken!

Tong Boon Kee


even though its moved inside, the chicken at boon tong kee is still pillowy soft, the rice is savory and fragrent, without being too oily. it’s not the cheapest place to get chicken rice – nor is it the cheapest good place (i like tian tian in maxwell road hawker centre) but boon tong kee satisfies some deep-seated need in my soul to eat chicken rice.

401 Balestier Road
Tel: +65 6254 3937
S$20 per person – so expensive.

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4 Responses to eating in singapore: chicken rice lah!

  1. uzbekcelia says:

    My very first time in Singapore was while I was transitting to India (also for the first time) to visit Tim during his 6 month volunteer stint. I took a taxi from Changi to Balestier Road and went to Boon Tong Kee! It was tasty indeed. Alas, even though I had time, I got too full to eat any more chicken rice, so I couldn’t try any other places, much as I would have liked to.

    12 hours later, I arrived in Delhi. I told Tim how I had passed my time in Singapore. His face fell.
    “You didn’t bring me any take-out chicken rice?”
    I honestly hadn’t thought about homesick he might be for Chinese-style food (I didn’t know it was so rare in India.)

    Let me throw down some fighting words . . . I like the chicken rice in Bangkok better. They give you a cube of coagulated blood on the side, and I prefer the chili-soy sauce for dipping.

  2. Terence says:

    I’ve never actually had Hainan Chicken Rice in Bangkok – as I eat more Thai fried chicken and pork neck and that red pork stew with the egg and seafood when I’m in Bangkok.

    I do know, however, that I could easily be happy spending my days in Singgapore going from stall to stall to stall eating white chopped chicken.

  3. jill says:

    ^to the previous poster.. there are other boontongkee locations closer to the airport than balestier. there’s one on east coast road, a 10 dollar cab ride (incl surcharge), for example

  4. terence says:

    @jill – I don’t think Celia is likely to be by Singapore anytime soon – seeing as how she’s in the Bay Area.

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