Chin Chin Eating House ($3.50 | Address: 19 Purvis St | Tel: 63374640 | Opening hours: Daily 7.30am-9pm) scored pretty low on the best chicken rice scale. Did you expect that of this long-standing Hainanese?
Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice ($4 | Address: 865 Mountbatten Road, #B1-85/87 Katong Shopping Centre | Tel: 97896073) The Cantonese-style breast meat is described as “blah” and “a bit dry” with a need for flavour.
We narrowed the 20 plates down from recommendations, HungryGoWhere.com's user ratings and our critics' preferences. For fairness, each plate was stripped of characteristic packaging and labelled.
Eng Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice & Porridge ($2.80 | Address: 7 Eunos Crescent #01-2651 | Tel: 67435520) is “totally not memorable”, according to one of our harder-to-please tasters.
Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice ($4 | Address: 191 East Coast Rd | Tel: 67775555) turned out to be more ordinary than we expected.
BEST CHICKEN RICE | Fook Seng Goldenhill Chicken Rice ($3 | Address: Blk 37, Jalan Rumah Tinggi, #01-429 | Tel: 97773318) It all comes together very nicely.
Hainanese Delicacy ($4 | Address: 14 Scotts Road, #05-116 Far East Plaza | Tel: 67340639) “Hot ah!” is how one taster described the heavily-ginger-ed chilli sauce that gets you by the back of your tongue.
MOST NOSTALGIC FLAVOUR | Kampong Chicken Eating House ($3.80 | Address: 247 Outram Road | Tel: 62212522) “Pity about the colour,” commented a taster.
Tasters had to sample from 20 plates of chicken rice from 18 stalls and restaurants. "You don't taste the differences until it's set next to each other," one said of the chicken rice.
Guess which chicken rice this is
Lee Fun Nam Kee Chicken Rice ($3.50 | Address: 94 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh | Tel: 62550891) The white chicken is tender, not too oily and generally pleasing.
Lee Fun Nam Kee Chicken Rice and Restaurant ($3.50 | Address: 94 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh | Tel: 62550891) This is duck rice masquerading as chicken rice.
BEST ROAST CHICKEN RICE | Loy Kee Chicken Rice’s ($4 | Address: 342 Balestier | Tel: 62522318) The roast flavour is strong in this one. The Hainanese-style bird is the best of its elements.
Pine Tree Cafe ($4 | Address: 190 Middle Road, #02-09/13 Fortune Centre | Tel: 98154940) This vegetarian chicken rice uses beancurd skin to create its mock chicken dish. “Like chap chye peng."
A panel of 25 taste-tested the chicken rice.
Can you identify your favourites from this line-up?
Red Riding Hood Hainanese Chicken Rice ($3.50 | Address: 7 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, #02-102 | Tel: 62263869) The roast chicken is tough, dense and has not much flavour, even though it smells as a good roast should.
Red Riding Hood Hainanese Chicken Rice ($3.50 | Address: 7 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, #02-102 | Tel: 62263869) The white chicken is soft but tasteless.The rice is mushy; while the chilli sauce is “barely there”.
Sin Kee Famous Chicken Rice ($3 | Address: 159 Mei Chin Road, #02-22 Mei Chin Food Centre | Tel: 64739525) The Cantonese-style dish doesn’t come together, not even with the bitter-noted dark sauce.