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Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice needs no introduction. Rated as one of the best chicken rice in Singapore, its original shop in Maxwell market drew the crowd like no others. During meal time, expect the queue to stretch around to shop to the open air car park. And that's not all, most of the tourist guide, blogs or other food reference, recommend Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice ('Tian Tian) as a must try in Singapore.
In 2013, when Singtel Invited Michelin Stars Chef Gordon Ramsay for Hawker's Challenge. Representing Singapore National dish, Madam Foo, the owner of Tian Tian, won hands down and send Godron back to UK licking his chops. Prior to that, Anthony Bourdain and other celebrity food host have given their seal of approval to this establishment.
Since Madam Foo has come to a ripe age, the second generation has come in to continue the business. With that the expansion of Tian Tian begun and this time around we visited the shop in Joo Chiat.
The set up is an upgraded version comparing to Maxwell Market Food Centre. It is air-conditioned with simple and minimalistic furniture. Today we have 3 hungry guys for lunch, we ordered 1/2 steam chicken ($14), 1 portion of giblets and heart ($4), Hainanese Pork Chop ($8) and small baby kailan ($6). Oh not forgetting the Rice ($0.80) per plate.
The rice is fragrant, flavourful, plump and fluffy. It does not stick to each other. The chicken is plump, silky and succulent. There is skin and meat does not stick to each other and the breast meat us as succulent as the thigh meat. The same can be said about my favourite part of the chicken as well, the bishop. It is springy and full of flavour. Although it is a bit oily, it's just irresistible. The best part, they remove the smelly part from it.
The giblets and kidney tasted clean, no gamey smell. I like giblets because of its crisp and chewyness, while the kidney has a velvety texture.
Hainanese Pork Chop is thick yet tender. However, the meat is not as tasty but it is well fried, coated with panko and not too oily. The traditional tomato sauce, provide the sweet and sour flavour to the dish. The vegetables are fresh, crunchy and tasty, stir fry with garlic.
Service is average. As we are seated near the entrance, it is very difficult to get their attention. There is at one point, you can't even see them. Although the set up is minimum, at least it is air-conditioned so you won't sweat too much if you had too much of the chilli.
Overall, it is a good place to have Tian Tian Chicken Rice if you don't want to line up in Maxwell Market. However, I must admit their standard is not as equivalent as their main store. The chicken is missing the X-Factor compare to the one I had in Maxwell. Kind of lost in transition. Cheers!!