Choon Yien Chicken Rice: The crispy & tender chicken rice at Section 17 continues to win customers over

·4-min read

If you’ve been following my chicken rice adventures, I’m sure you’re  shaking your head disapprovingly right now. Yet another chicken rice tasting?

Yes (and I say this shamelessly), but this time it’s to Choon Yien Chicken Rice located in Happy Mansion at Section 17. Folks who grew up in Petaling Jaya would undoubtedly know of this extremely popular chicken rice stall. The owner, James has developed quite a reputation of being rather tough to his patrons (this grumpy behaviour was also confirmed by a friend of mine). 

Choon Yien Chicken Rice - stall
Choon Yien Chicken Rice - stall

So as I parked my car next to the restaurant, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of fear. Would this be the day my chicken rice adventures end in tears? Fortunately, his two employees were there to take my order, so all was well. 

I placed my customary order— one of everything: roast chicken, char siew and roast pork. Along with rice, ginger, chilli sauce and a large bowl of complimentary soup, this totalled up to RM14

What I tried at Choon Yien Chicken Rice

When the plate of three different meats arrived at my table, I was immediately taken by surprise.

Choon Yien Chicken Rice - dishes
Choon Yien Chicken Rice - dishes

My journey in searching for the ultimate chicken rice has brought me to five highly reputable spots, but Choon Yien Chicken Rice is the first ever to lay a bed of bean sprouts before placing the chicken on top. This was an automatic win-win in my book because I adore the crunchy taste of bean sprouts. But if you’re like many of my friends who absolutely abhor the very sight of ‘taugeh’ in your chicken rice, it’s best to inform the owner when you’re placing your order. 

Choon Yien Chicken Rice - meal
Choon Yien Chicken Rice - meal

The second thing which caught my attention was the rice. The fragrant smell immediately clung to my nostrils, refusing to let go till I took a scoop. And that’s when I realised it was possible to fall in love with just a plate of such fluffy rice. I could practically taste the chicken stock infused with bits of ginger and garlic in every bite. I’m unashamed to say this but I had three bites of the plain rice before forcing myself to snap out of the tasty trance. 

Choon Yien - roast chicken
Choon Yien - roast chicken

Just after taking a bite of the roast chicken, I immediately understood the hype about Choon Yien Chicken Rice. The glistening chicken skin was crispy and juicy. and the meat, oh so tender and soft. I could not believe how good it was. I tried another piece and it yielded the same delicious results. 

Choon Yien - char siew
Choon Yien - char siew

Impressed, I moved on to the char siew which looked extremely tempting with its caramelised skin and fatty meat. It was sweet, fatty and as delicious as it looked, but I wished it had more char— then it would have a more rounded flavour. I was hoping it would come close to the char siew sold at Char Siew Yoong, but that didn’t stop me from gobbling it down. 

Choon Yien - roast pork
Choon Yien - roast pork

Last on the plate was the roast pork. Honestly, I have high expectations for Choon Yien Chicken Rice’s roast pork. It was promised by many to be extremely tasty and the highlight of the meal. So I popped a piece eagerly— only to bite into a rather hard pork skin. Yes, it was crunchy but extremely unsatisfying as I had to chew on it several times for it to go down. It also didn’t possess that usual satisfying smooth crackle. The meat on the other hand was just alright, nothing to shout about. 

Final thoughts

Choon Yien - chicken rice
Choon Yien - chicken rice

As I gnawed on my roast chicken wing,  I thought to myself  if I were to rank the three meats, it would be the roast chicken, followed by char siew and finally the roast pork. I admit the roast chicken is one of the best I’ve had, and it’s safe to say it rivals the likes of Canton-Z Chicken Rice in Taman Indah which also took my breath away. 

However, my encounter with the siew yoke definitely dampened my experience. Alas, we can’t have it all, right? The plus side is that the restaurant is only 15 minutes away from home, so I’ll definitely be back when the chicken rice cravings hit. 

Expected damage: RM7 – RM14 per pax 

Other articles you might like:

Hong Kong Taste 1975: Pudu’s RM5 best kept chicken rice secret with crispy & juicy chicken skin

Char Siew Yoong: Pudu’s legendary buttery, melt-in-the mouth char siew continues to reign supreme

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