My personal favorite Hainanese chicken rice spot in Singapore? That over-priced one from Chatterbox at the Mandarin Orchard. I know, it's a travesty - to eat "hawker food" in a 5-star hotel and pay 5 times what you'd need to pay outside. But I can't help it!
But hold on, every Singaporean will undoubtedly have their own personal preference. Yes, despite the fact that Singapore's Hainanese chicken rice, no matter which outlet you get it from, will have the characteristic, subtle ginger-shallot-garlic-pandan smell. The rice grains will be deliciously coated with chicken fat, and taste like manna. The accompanying chicken, usually poached, will have that perfect, gelatinous skin, and the meat will have been cooked to a perfect done-ness. And you'd normally get 3 types of accompanying dips: a bright, orangey-red chilli-garlic-lime dip, the minced ginger dip, and the thick soysauce dip.
Anyway, I decided to try Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stall at #01-10 Maxwell Road Food Centre, today. This stall was SO popular - it's been voted as serving the best Hainanese chicken rice in numerous surveys conducted here, and had even been mentioned as having the "best chicken rice in the world" by Anthony Bourdain and Tetsuya Wakuda.
Warning: the waiting time in the queue at the stall can be more than 30 minutes during peak meal periods. For lunch, try to be here by 11.30am.
My take: The rice was tasty, perfect texture. Taste-wise, not as fragrant as my Chatterbox favorite, nor my other favored spot: Yet Con on Purvis Street (which I should post on later). Chicken was also quite nice, but not as sweet & tasty as I'd expect "kampung" (village) chicken to be.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Stall
#01-10 Maxwell Road Food Centre
Operating hours: 11am to 8pm (Tue-Sun). Closed Mondays.
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