Walking past by Yet Con at Purvis Street, anyone would be immediately impressed on by the two pillars with red “inscribings” of the shop’s description on the wall. Loud and distinctive, it is as though a hallmark of the past is made conspicuously apparent in the present.
Simplicity is key at Yet Con. Big bold letters is pasted on the restaurant’s doors, and peering in, it is all a crowd with many cramped around the tables with perhaps a little too many people but everyone enjoying a meal of traditional Hainanese fare. Everything just seems retro here, from the simple layout, to the coin phone, to the spritely white hair (though) balding uncle in his pajamas pants behind the counter with a giant abacus by the side and little scribbles representing the orders and your receipt.
My Order, My Receipt. Interesting?
The chicken is served in all its natural flavour here. Don’t go around expecting for a serving of white chicken drizzled generously with a mix sauce light soy and sesame oil. Instead, the flavour is on the skin and infused within the meat itself. Tender and moist, the juiciness is well retained in each piece. Flavours are without doubt clear, natural yet with the slight hint of seasoning. My personal enjoyment comes from the skin, which is salted just so nicely that creates an explosive burst of flavour. Simple and traditional, just like how my ah po does it.
What is Hainanese Chicken Rice without the rice. Yet Con’s version is really a no fuss version. Lightly fragrant with a subtle scent of pandan and chicken essence, I would prefer the rice to be slightly oilier.
The Chicken Rice chilli is not spicy hot with chilli padi, but instead sweeter in taste and carries a slightly rough texture. The ginger dip is good with fragrance from the chicken oil.
Fried Tang Hoon with Chives, a rustic Hainanese dish which I do not enjoy when in Hainan Island while visiting relatives simply because of the pungent smell from the vegetables, is made palatable at Yet Con. Stir fried with tang hoon, dried cuttlefish, chunks of garlic, slices of pork and thinly sliced chives, this is a more savoury version that goes well for dinner.
Yet Con is an institution that refuses to change with time (except for the introduction of the air conditioner). Since the 1940s, its cuisine is simple homefare prepared lovingly from the kitchens filling hungry stomachs of families and friends. While many other Hainanese establishments have moved on in time to reintroduce dishes for the younger generation, this is one place that stands by what is always serves. Simple authentic recipes, at prices affordable for all, and perhaps a slice of history while you are at it.
25 Purvis Street
Opens from : 11am to 9.30pm