For the past couple of months, dad has occasionally bought back Chicken Rice from Boon Tong Kee after work. As it has now reached ‘favourite’ status within the household, all of us thought it might be a good idea to actually drop by the family restaurant to experience it served fresh from the kitchen. Boon Tong Kee started in 1979 at a stall in Chinatown. Fast forward that 40 years later, the brand has outlets around Singapore. It definite carries its own fans. But as the favourite or best chicken rice store is a subject that runs bone deep within Singaporeans, the topic is hotly debated amongst all. Could this possibly be Singapore’s best chicken rice?
My family’s personal favourite for chicken rice goes to Kampung Chicken Rice and Nam Kee Chicken Rice along Thomson Road, Yet Con Chicken Rice at Purvis Street, and Mooi Chin at Golden Landmark. I’ve tried also Tian Tian, Ming Kee, Five star, Loy Kee as well but still preferred the rest for its stronger and more robust chicken flavour and fragrant rice. The list for any Singaporean is extensive and not to be trifled with.
Still to start the lunch, the table was served with appetisers of Century Egg and Braised Peanuts. As mum and I are fans of century egg served in various styles, this was a good start to the meal.
We started with the first dish of Fried Tofu, and I was pleasantly delighted by it. Soft, silken tofu achieves a status of firm crispness in this dish. The contrast in textures is the highlight here, and the flavours of tofu best enjoyed natural or with a dip of mayonnaise. Perfect for sharing.
The Prawn Rolls reminded me of the traditional ngoh hiang with minced meat and mushroom stuffing. This is quite similar except with a full emphasis on chunky prawns within. The skin is crispy and the sea sweet savoury flavours well paired with the light sweet plum sauce by the side. Though if I were to choose between this and the tofu, I would order the tofu any day.
Onto the chicken, we got a $20 portion to share, and then realised the serving was generous enough for 4-5 persons considering the dishes we already ordered. I thought that the chicken was well executed, leaving the white meat pieces tender and not too dry. It is best flavoured with the savoury sweet light sauce drizzled all over. However, when compared to my personal favourite of Kampung Chicken Rice, the chicken there is more tender with a sweeter bite. This on the other hand is meatier with a more flavourful taste enhanced with the sauce.
To be fair, chicken rice is prepared very differently around Singapore with a choice of varying ingredients and accompanying rice. Furthermore, this dish is a signature as the Cantonese Chicken Rice which by name alone is fundamentally different from Hainanese Chicken Rice. Nonetheless, when dad bought home the chicken, I always thought it was a great delicious plate of Hainanese chicken rice (in an almost blind taste test moment). Subtle differences might be there for those who actively discern and seek out the variations. But one thing for sure, I still love the chicken rice my Hainanese grandmother used to make.
As a whole, this dish of chicken rice is definitely worth mentioning. The key complement, the rice, is flavourful and grainy. It can be enjoyed on its own with the slight oily texture and light chicken fragrance impressive in its own right.
The chilli dip is also thicker and heavier in flavours as compared to the finer and hotter dips found elsewhere. It is also a touch sweet and is sufficient to add to that tang longed for in the dish.
The Braised Pork Leg looked like a feast all by itself. The skin with its layers of fat is luxurious and delectable, a smooth delight if you love Braised pork. The sauce is presented thickly rich with a warm sticky texture that would go very well with just plain white rice. I found the meat textures varying from tender to dry. The inconsistencies are not jarring but reminiscent of home cooked delights.
Vegetables with century egg and salted egg yolk is decent, and an overall acceptable dish. The gravy could do with a little thickening but it was nice with salty, savoury flavours that is enjoyable with rice.
Boon Tong Kee at Boon Keng in overall serves up a very acceptable plate of chicken rice with sound flavours of chicken and good complements of rice and chilli. I hear that there are variations in flavour for the chicken rice across its branches so it might do good that the best chicken rice is at your own favourite branch. It is good, though my personal best would be a combination of flavours from different brands. One thing notable of Boon Tong Kee is that while chicken rice may be the main draw, one can also choose to order other dishes to pair the mains with. A good place to visit if you like the flavours of Cantonese dishes and chicken rice in a single sitting to share.
|Boon Tong Kee
Blk 34 Whampoa West
Contact : 6299 9880
Website : www.boontongkee.com.sgOpens From :
Mon – Fri 11am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm
Sat/Sun/PH 11am to 10pm