Chicken Rice (Ji Fan in Mandarin) is definitely one of Singapore’s signature dishes, and is so common that I am sure 9 out 10 foodcourts in Singapore will have a stall selling it. It is known as Hainanese Chicken Rice, though I am under the impression that this Singaporean dish cannot be found in Hainan, and was created by Hainanese chefs in Singapore, who adapted a Hainanese dish to suit local tastes.
It is a simple dish that consists of a sliced portion of roasted or steamed chicken, served on a bed or rice which is cooked in chicken stock rather than water to give it a delcious flavour. It is accompanied by some fresh cut cucumber and a delicious chilli sauce, thats not too spicy but has a sweet garlic taste to it.
Due to the popularity of this dish you should be able to find it in most foodcourts and kopitiams (coffee shops) in Singapore, and with the price ranging from $2 to $4 this is a dish you can’t afford to miss.
The photograph below is of the vegetarian version of the dish served by the lovely auntie and uncle from Ci Wen Vegetarian in Blk 721 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8. This is definitely a tasty example of how vegetarian food can be just as good or perhaps ever better than the meat version. And for only $2.50 per plate, this one is definitely “die, die, must try!”
So for my first few meals I thought I would begin with the dishes I eat regularly, from places I visit on a weekly basis. Mai Zhi Su Vege Health Restaurant is an amazing little gem tucked away in Block 128 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3, just a short walk from the Ang Mo Kio MRT station. For visitors to Singapore it may be a little hard to find amongst the HDB Apartments but I would be more than happy to accompany my friends and share a few dishes with them.
This place has such a wide variety of delicious vegetarian dishes, that it will satisfy almost any tastebuds. With two different menus, one full of individual meals and sides, and another that lists all their larger dishes for family who want to have a full meal of dishes to share, this is a great location for all sorts. On top of this they also have daily specials, that change each day of the week. The staff are very friendly and helpful and the service is quite good even when they are busy.
My last visit was on Thursday, a great day to visit because it is Nanyang Curry Rice day. This serving of tender chunks of mock meat with potatoes in a mouthwatering curry sauce comes with steamed white rice and a crispy papadam. Definitely one of my favourite dishes.
But of course this is Singapore so you can’t just have one dish per person and leave it at that, you need to add another dish in the middle to be shared. Thats where the delicious Longevity Rolls come in. I can’t really say for sure what’s inside this delightful dish, but it’s a crispy skin wrapped around a delicious filling, fried, sliced ande served with a tasty chilli sauce. It’s a little pricey for a single plate at $7, but trust me when I say it is well worth the extra couple of dollars.
This place has a great range of drinks to wash it all down and I highly recommend the Luo Han Guo (a sweet herbal tea made from a fruit. ) or Teacher Tris’ favourite Suan Gan Shui (lime juice).
A lot of my friends will be flying to Singapore later this year to attend my wedding and one of the smarter ones had the brilliant idea that I should start a foodblog to prepare them and educate them about all the delicious fare that they will be able to sample while they are here.
Food is a huge part of life in Singapore and it’s possible that the most intense debates held in this country are about food. Most Singaporeans will have an opinion on where to get the best roti prata/carrot cake/chicken rice/satay/nasi lemak etc and they will give you passionate reasons as to why that dish is much better from a certain stall in a certain food court.
I will do my best to provide the correct names for the dishes I share and to help prepare my friends for their trip to Singapore I will throw in nuggets of local language here and there, as I have already done with the title of this blog. ‘Shiok’ is a word used to convey a feeling of sheer pleasure and satisfaction and so it is commonly used when referring to food.
Please be patient if this is a little rough to begin with as this is my first time dipping my toes into the giant swimming pool that is blogging, I’m not making any promises, but I’ll do my best not to pee in it.