When you think of chicken rice, I’m sure a slew of famous names will come to mind. For me, however, Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice located at Changi Village is the one. That’s the thing about Changi Village; the rarest of gems are hidden here. Case in point: Dil‘B Restaurant.
Fun fact: the standalone stall in Changi Village is helmed by the older brother of the owner of the namesake Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded stall in Tiong Bahru Market. Rest assured, the two brothers’ renditions are similar in taste.
What I tried
I ordered a plate of Steamed Chicken Rice (S$3 for small) and Roasted Chicken Rice (S$3 for small), and a plate of Oyster Sauce Kai Lan (S$3.50). Their chicken rice also comes in Medium (S$4) and Large (S$5) serving portions. Here’s the best part; they also offer a free-flow serving of their soup of the day and its flavour varies daily.
If you, like me, always end up making multiple trips back to a stall to get extra chilli, you’ll definitely love the convenience of having the traditional chicken rice condiments placed on the table itself.
Like all Hainanese chicken rice, I’ll start off with the Steamed Chicken Rice. Let the record state that I only have my chicken rice with breast meat. Considering how easy it is to overcook breast meat, any chicken rice lover will know that if a chicken rice stall can perfect their breast meat, they’re one to look out for.
Compared to some of the acclaimed brands in Singapore, the chicken here is smooth and not too oily while managing to retain its juiciness. The steamed chicken here doesn’t come with the familiar jelly-like skin as well.
Another way of judging the quality of your chicken rice is, of course, the rice. It has to have that fluffy texture with a burst of ginger-garlic aroma before tasting it. The rice was all of the above and well-cooked—truly the epitome of chicken rice perfection.
First of all, the only way to indulge in a plate of Roasted Chicken Rice is by drizzling it with a generous amount of dark soy sauce for that umami kick. Like the Steamed Chicken, the chicken was succulent and flavourful but I wish there was more of that golden brown skin on my plate for extra oomph.
Before I move on to the Kai Lan, I need to talk about the soup of the day. Here’s the deal; a good bowl of soup elevates a plate of chicken rice, to me, at least. In my case, the hot bowl of soup I got wasn’t like any other I’ve had before. Visually, it’s not at all oily, and one good slurp will get your taste buds tingling with the robust essence of chicken stock. Bonus: I can go back for as many servings as I want without the chicken rice uncle’s judgy stares, too!
Lastly, the Oyster Sauce Kai Lan. It’s not my first choice; you can definitely give it a miss so as to not taint your divine chicken rice experience here. The plate I received was doused in heaps of oyster sauce which reduced the bitterness of kai lan but caused it to lose its crunch as well.
If you are looking to escape the crowd at Changi Village Hawker Centre and for a hearty plate of chicken rice, Tiong Bahru Boneless Hainanese Chicken Rice deserves your visit. Not only does their chicken rice put a smile on your face but the shop has a nice rustic feel to it, which definitely puts the ‘village’ in Changi Village. Besides, where else can you find a decent plate of food for just S$3 these days?
However, if you are prone to mozzie bites, do remember to come prepared with bug spray. Don’t risk getting bitten by the hungry bloodsuckers while filling your tummy.
Expected damage: S$3 – S$6 per pax
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