What Makes Singapore Chicken Rice Taste Better (if not the Best)?
Chicken Rice is arguably considered one of Singapore's national dishes. So popular is the dish that it's impossible not to find it in every corner of the city-state. Sellers have different versions and ways of preparing it to create a certain distinction and selling point. With competition increasingly becoming more tough, it is indeed a challenge to make ones version most noticeable. In general, there are two types of chicken that can be tried - Roasted and Steamed. Depending on your personal preference, you can have it either way. But have you ever explored the different breeds of chicken used in the dish? Or are you even aware that there are many chicken varieties to consider?
Yes, there are more than just one chicken variety in the supermarket. The use of each is highly dependent on the particular dish you wanted to cook and the manner it is to be prepared. But perhaps, the most interesting of all is Kampong Chicken (synonymous to Native or Free Range Chicken in other countries). Kampong is a Malay word for village. So to put it simply, it is a chicken that is raised in a village. As a food, Kampong Chicken is regarded as premium and thus, commands a higher price in the market. It is believed to have better flavour compared to the conventionally farmed chickens. To validate this claim and let our taste buds discover the difference, we've visited some popular restaurants known for serving good Chicken Rice in Singapore - Boon Tong Kee and Five Star.
Boon Tong Kee is a long heralded brand for Chicken Rice. Being one of the pioneers, it gained a loyal following from the locals. The restaurant serves the typical farmed chicken for their Chicken Rice Dish.
Roasted Chicken Boon Tong Kee version - mildly salted, oily, with acidic after taste, dry and flaky in texture
Steamed Chicken Boon Tong Kee version - very strong skin note, bloody, with acidic after taste, soft in texture
Five Star is another well established brand that uses Kampong Chicken in their dish. From the signage in front of the restaurant, it looks like they are really capitalizing on that unique selling point.
Steamed Chicken Five Star version - juicy and tender meat, very lingering after taste, less skin note, not bloody at all
Across all attributes, it's clearly noted that Kampong Chicken is a better type of chicken compared to the typical farmed raised, be it roasted or steamed. So the next time you crave for your favourite Chicken Rice, you know that there is something more to it that makes it more appetizing apart from the sauce that goes with it and the fat or broth used in the rice. Before savouring hefty servings of it, make sure that you have selected the right kind of chicken.