27 Feb 2007
Pow Sing Restaurant has been serving Hainanese Chicken Rice and Peranakan food for many years now. And I have been eating Pow Sing's chicken rice for the last 14 years now and I have never gotten sick of it nor fallen in love with another shop's chicken rice. In fact, my mom almost tried to lock me up once when I was on my way out to eat there, my 5th time in 5 days.
The restaurant itself serves white chicken. There is actually another Pow Sing in a kopitiam (called "Cardon Restaurant") a few doors down which sells roasted chicken, char siew and roast pig. Both the stalls serve incredibly fragrant chicken rice.
Given that large quantities of rice is cooked each time, the rice achieves a good balance of "hard" and "soft" and almost every grain is infused with the fragrant scent and taste of chicken stock, pandan leaves and garlic. In spite of this, the rice is not overpowering and also not overly oily (unlike those sold at other chicken rice stalls) and is therefore still yummy even when cold.
Now, on to the chicken. The white chicken served at the Pow Sing Restaurant is soft, fragrant and tender. Not very much out of the ordinary , I must admit. So why do I like their chicken rice so much? It's because the one that I'm actually referring to is the roasted chicken sold at the kopitiam.
The crowd at the kopitiam swells to large numbers during the busy lunch hours (approximately 12 noon - 1pm) and 90% of them are there to eat the chicken rice from Pow Sing's kopitiam stall. In addition to the large eat-in crowd, there is usually also a takeaway line that forms in front of the stall. And depending on how many eat-in customers there are and how far back you are in the queue, I have waited for 20 minutes before, just to dabao ONE packet of chicken rice. Weekends are always bad because families come and buy in large quantities for their family lunches and parties. This long wait is also due to the fact that there is only 1 person doing the chicken-chopping. Oh, for those who have never been to Pow Sing's kopitam store, here's a tip for you: The queue is only for takeaway. If you're eating in, speak to one of the assistants.
The roasted chicken at the kopitiam store is almost always roasted to a perfection. If you're lucky, you may even get bits that have crispy skin. And those bits are super yummy! The meat is tender but really, it's the skin that is what's great about the chicken. Although it is roasted chicken that we're talking about, it is not overly oily and definitely not soggy (unlike those at Chin Chin). The taste is also simple and not fanciful (ie with lots of different herbs and spices). The kopitiam Pow Sing also does a good char siew and roast pig.
And now, what is chicken rice without the chilli? Pow Sing's chilli is by far my favourite "chicken rice chilli". It's not blended to a complete mush unlike most stalls'. There are still bits of chilli that can be seen in the sauce and I find that it actually makes quite a bit of difference to its overall taste. The chilli is also made with copious amounts of garlic. Since the mixture is not completely blended, the chilli is spicy, tantalises your tastebuds and is more interesting since every ingredient can be tasted AND felt in your mouth, not just the spice. I can just eat the rice (plain) with LOTS of chilli poured over it as a meal. That's how much I like it.
As for the Peranakan food at the restaurant, the fish head curry is a perrenial favourite, as are their ayam buah keluak, assam fish, kueh pa ti and various other Peranakan dishes.
PS: This is a "asking-for-it" statement but...Pow Sing Chicken Rice is the best ever!