Saturday, 13 September 2014

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice - Chinatown - Singapore, Singapore

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

It's finally time. As promised, I will now post about the famous 'Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice' stall. This post has been delayed for a very long time. I've been Tian Tian a number of times but my photos always turned out to be blurry and I couldn't justify posting about it. This time, I ensured my photos were much clearer and more presentable.

Located within Maxwell Food Centre, is this little humble hawker store selling Singaporean styled chicken rice. It sounds like a plain and boring dish, yet its simplicity is striking, packed with a whole lot of taste and it's phenomenal. I'm a big fan of their chicken and it's just so delectable and cooked to ultimate perfection. Now I'm going a bit overboard.

Maxwell Food Centre is a famous hawker centre. It's non-air conditioned, crowded and not the cleanest environment. It's a plain, casual and no frills food court. There isn't much to it. You may also find yourself sweating buckets in the heat and humidity. However, the quality of food at some of the stores here is exceptional. I've eaten at moderately priced restaurants in Singapore and sometimes what I can get at a hawker centre tastes so much better. The best part about eating at a hawker centre is the reasonable, budget friendly prices. It's just so cheap and pocket friendly!

Over the years, Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice hasn't changed much. The store front is still the same, the menu is still the same and the queue hasn't changed unfortunately. Best of all, the prices are still reasonable for the taste and quality. You're paying SGD 3-5 for a generous portion of authentic Singaporean food and that is what brings me back time and time again.  It's good value for money.

Even before it opens at 10am, there is a line forming. They say, the length of the queue is an indication of how good the food is. We start queueing up a bit before 10am and we end up waiting for about 10 minutes which is short compared to what I have waited before, which can be up to half an hour.  The line can spiral around the back of the store.

It's been mentioned in numerous travel guides and if you search Google, there will be thousands of reviews on this eatery. It's popular and its popularity is valid for a reason. You'll never fail to see a tourist holding a guide book lining up. It's ever so popular with locals and tourists.

Do you recognise that famous face? It's celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who has raved about the chicken rice here .

What has changed though is they no longer offer a side soup to go with the chicken rice. What happened to the soup? Their chicken soup was so good and I was so shocked that they got rid of it. I guess it's time consuming to make and serve. At least the delicious chicken rice made up for it. Another thing that has changed is they no longer offer metal cutlery. They now provide plastic knives and forks which is better cause its more hygienic.

Hainanese chicken rice is basically steamed chicken, served slightly chilled over chicken flavoured rice.

It's served with a chilli sauce and sometimes ginger and dark soya sauce. However, Tian Tian only serves chilli sauce.

We ask for three dishes of the drumstick chicken rice, as no one is a fan of the breast meat. Unfortunately, they only have two drumsticks left and I decide to give the other two dining companions the drumstick chicken rice.

Service is prompt. You place your order and then you wait to the side. Then you wait a few minutes for the chicken to be chopped up, plated and accompanying sauce served. In the meantime, you grab your plastic cutlery and wait.

'Chicken Drumstick Chicken Rice SGD (4.20)' is glorious. The chicken skin is paper thin and near translucent. The meat is smooth, succulent and oozing with juices,.

From the picture, the chicken is shiny because they've added a special kind of sauce on top to give it extra flavour and it sure adds a kick. The rice is not dry and lacking flavour like some places would usually cook it. It's loaded with chicken stock and there are hints of garlic leaving it smelling ultra fragrant. They also cook the rice with chicken oil but it's not oily as you would expect.

One of my all time favourite rice dishes. Looking at the picture is making me hungry.

'Chicken Rice (SGD 3.50)' is served with the breast meat part of the chicken, the part I dislike most. It's still very good and it's so rare for chicken breast to be cooked that well. The flesh is soft and tender, yet maintaining that slight chewiness.

Oh so good. Look at my clean plate!

Tian Tian also has three other outlets in Singapore, operating as a restaurant for those who prefer to go to those over hawker centres. Though, I've never been to any of them myself.

If you have the chance to visit Singapore, do give Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice a try. It's worth the time queueing and at the end of it, you'll be rewarded. This is a big call, but I would say Tian Tian serves one of the best chicken rice in Singapore and there are plenty.

Maxwell Road Hawker Centre
1 Kadayanallur Road
Singapore 069184

Phone no: +85 9691 4852

Opening Hours
Tuesday to Sunday
11am - 8pm


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