Friday, March 10, 2017

The Time I Went Overseas Just For My Michelin-Starred Chicken Rice

So that day, I joined the likes of the rich and famous, crossing international borders for lunch. I had my passport stamped just for a meal! So there I was, like a celebrity 😎, taking the causeway bus travelling to Singapore for...chicken rice! Yes you heard it right, Hong Kong soya sauce chicken rice! The much talked about Michelin-starred meal remained indelible in my mind, screaming, until I tried it. So, in true Singaporean kiasu-ism, I die die must try!
I braved immigration and crossed the border for this plate of chicken
The stall is situated in Singapore's tourist area, Chinatown. To get there, I took the MRT to Chinatown and followed exit A. From there, it was nearly impossible to miss a the block of concrete that says Chinatown Food Complex.
Chinatown Food Complex at Smith Street
Thinking I can outsmart the public, I arrived a little after lunch hour thinking that I can avoid the queue as the internet cites that the stall closes at 7pm. But to my dismay! There were no more chicken and the workers were already scouring pots by 3pm.
The flagship stall where the chicken rice was bestowed the 
And then I spotted...

Hawker Chan has opened a restaurant and I still had a chance to try the chicken rice!
Hawker Chan has opened a stall
Although I favour trying the dish at the original hawker stall, I cannot be more grateful that Hawker Chan has opened a branch! I believe this has helped avoid many disappointments. Forget that 'original is better' principle. I came from overseas and I will not let that go to waste! Besides, just in case you need assurance, they sell the same good stuff that won Hawker Chan the award. 
As expected, there was a queue
As expected, there was a queue but it was forgivable. Hawker Chan must have received lots of recommendation to make it a national attraction. Their restaurant is not fancy or pompous but is appealingly designed. It is, after all, Singapore's pride and an impression to be taken home by many tourists.
There is even an automated payment machine!
In the Hawker Chan Restaurant
Chan Hon Meng, the man behind Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice hails from Ipoh. (biasa lah...Malaysia will claim our part of fame after those who left the country become successful)

His chicken rice is the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the WORLD! Therefore, believe it or not, its cheapness is another selling point that differentiates Hawker Chan from other lavish fine-dine Michelin-starred restaurants.
Look at the beautiful roasted chickens lined up behind
The Michelin starred dish!
Hong Kong Style Soya Sauce Chicken SGD 12 (half chicken) SGD 23 (whole chicken)
SGD 3.80 per plate with rice
SGD 4.50 per plate with noodles or hor fun
The star of my overseas trip finally arrived on my table with me smiling in glee! The anticipation was worth it when I sunk my teeth into the beautifully braised chicken. You do not have to fight for the leg because the chicken breast meat is unbelievably just as tender. The chicken is marinated thoroughly and is more than skin deep. Skin is gelatin-like but not fat. The sauce is brimming with herbal goodness which we could guess is the winning ingredient. There is indeed great master work in that plate of chicken. Best eaten there and then. 

3 combination platter - from left, siew yuk, char siew and pork ribs SGD 10
SGD 4 per plate for 1 pork type and rice
SGD 4.80 per plate for 1 pork type and noodles or hor fun
I would visit Hawker Chan again for its chicken but maybe not for its porky selections. Siew yuk could be crispier and the char siew lacked fat. Apart from that, it is a little on the sugary side. The pork ribs also did not make an impression. Oh by the way, I know an excellent Char Siew place in Malaysia. Wait for my next review.

Plain noodle and Hor Fun SGD 1.50 each
The plain noodles are wan tan noodles which are fairly springy. Hor fun is smooth but not the finest I have had. At the side, is the shrimp chilli paste which makes the noodles even more flavourful.
The overseas customer!
After lunch, I fashionably braved the immigration queue and went back to Johor Baru with great admiration for Hawker Chan. His hardwork paid off and he deserved it, making hawker food proud. How I wish Malaysian hawker food too is visible in the Michelin food guide because I know, Malaysia has better and a lot of potential unearthed. 

I will be back in Singapore for another Michelin-starred dish- Tai Hwa Pork Noodle!

Hawker Chan's Stall
Blk 335, Smith Street #02-126, Chinatown Food Complex, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: 10:30am to 7:00pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Fri)
8:30am to 7:00pm (Sat – Sun) 
Closed Wed
Chinatown MRT (Exit A)

Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle 
香港油雞飯麵
78 Smith Street Singapore 059872
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm
Chinatown MRT (Exit A)

Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle – Tai Seng
18 Tai Seng Street #01-02 Singapore 539775
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 9:00pm