My quest for Singapore’s favourite dish, Chicken Rice carries on today. This time round, it continues at Nam Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant along Upper Thomson Road. Just last week, my tastebuds left its mark at Kampong Chicken House and I was quite impressed with its smooth and sultry tasting Kampong Chicken.
Today’s journey is at an establishment with over 40 years of experience and is probably a household name for many families across the island. It is own traditional Hainanese right, Nam Kee produces fine Hainanese Chicken Rice with meat so tender, chilli just right, and at affordable prices.
The skin of the chicken itself is tempting enough for anyone. With it being a deep brownish yellow, it bears the image of delicacy with just that right amount of fat within. The chicken pieces were also juicy and tender, pairing very well with the Chicken Rice chilli and ginger.
What I enjoyed most about this dish is the light sauce that is ladled over the meat. It is not too strong in either sesame oil or soy sauce, but instead is a delicate balance of flavours that is enough to add a sparkle to the chicken. Half Chicken goes lusciously at $12!
This time round, I found the Chicken Rice chilli to be quite mild and more flavourful in the chicken oil and essence added. Not as spicy as it looks, it complements the chicken pieces very well.
The ginger dip is also “softer” in nature and the subtle flavours it carries brings out a complex taste of warmth and umami delight when paired fatty piece of meat or spooned over a mouthful of chicken rice.
The Hainanese Pork Chop ($6) is perhaps a must try for anyone who visits Nam Kee. Crispy pieces of chops is presented with a homestyle favourite of tomatoes, carrots and green peas. The tomato sauce that is spooned generously over the dish is also exquisite in taste. It carries a stronger tangy accent that hints the subtleties of vinegar but also the light flavourfullness of chicken broth and chilli. Good!
For veggies, we had the Fish Maw with Sea Cucumber ($10). Ok, I sense the irony here that this does not exactly sound like vegetable dish but hey there was a good mix of red pepper, cauliflower, onion, mushrooms and of course fish maw and sea cucumber. All in a savoury brown sauce. I didn’t really go for this though.
Sometimes I have to admit that I am a glutton when I am not! An all time family favourite, Minced Sotong with You Tiao ($6) is served up crispy and drizzled on the top with a hefty portion of salad sauce. Eat until Jelak!
As the house specialty, Chicken Rice is still the best on the list. Though for a personal opinion, I still feel that I have tasted even more tender, smoother and fattier chickens elsewhere with a chicken rice emanating a stronger flavour and scent.
Nonetheless, Nam Kee heralds a good price range in its menu and the delicacies it whips up basks in a warm light of golden memories. It is still ever popular with its steady stream of regulars and new found chicken rice addicts that sometimes people have to stand around tables to “chope” (reserve) them once they are available. For those who go for tradition, and especially establishments with decades of experience, perhaps Nam Kee might be the choice for your next family or friendly gathering.
|Nam Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant
201 Upper Thomson Road