Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by marseilles on July 6, 2008

Google the words "chicken rice" and "Singapore," and you'll stumble upon several forums where Singaporeans argue about where the best chicken rice in the country is. Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of the most frequently mentioned sources of the best chicken rice, and I had to find out why.

Chicken rice--"Hainanese chicken rice" to foreigners (though the Singaporean version doesn't actually come from Hainan!)--is what most Singaporeans consider their national dish. You might say it's a national obsession of sorts, in fact, as everyone proclaims to be a connoiseur of chicken rice here.

Maxwell Food Centre is a medium-sized hawker centre along Maxwell Road in Chinatown. I got there on Thursday lunchtime, and the place was already packed with office workers in their long-sleeved shirts and neckties lining up at the various stalls. It wasn't difficult to find Tian Tian (stall #10), because there was a long, long line of customers queued up in front of it.

Maxwell Food Centre is largely a "self-service" hawker centre. What that means is that for most of the stalls, you have to go to to the stall, line up, wait for your food, and pay for it, before bringing it to your seat (unlike some other hawker centres where a waiter will bring you your food after you've ordered). During peak hours, sharing tables with complete strangers is normal here (just make sure no one has "reserved" the seat on which you intend to sit -- something that's often done with an umbrella or a packet of tissues).

I ordered a small order of chicken rice (S$2.50), found an empty seat, and sat down to enjoy. Indeed the chicken rice was really good! The chicken was moist, perfectly steamed, and there were very few shards of bone. I did have to add some kecap manis to sharpen the taste a little, but I was very happy with my meal.

At S$2.50 a pop ... it makes you wonder why anyone in Singapore would still bother putting a kitchen in their apartment.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
12 Murray Street #01-10


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