Hainanese Chicken Rice

This is the Singapore national dish #1, I have no less than 5 recipes in this blog, this one is in English for international food lovers – believe me, I haven’t found any cuisine with Chicken (Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, etc) which can beat this national dish – besides, this is a cheap food (S$3 a plate in any hawker center).

Every Singaporean should learn how to make this dish when entertaining overseas guests. Even as a novice (30 years ago), by following the simple recipe steps, I could make this dish with only a rice cooker (big enough to dump in a 1-kg size chicken) to surprise my French professor and his wife, 3 French colleagues at 2 separate home parties as their Main Menu dish.


How to Make Hainanese Chicken Rice

This is a simplified recipe,  first explained in English,  by this pretty Angel Wong, an American Chinese from Taiwan:

Hainanese Chicken is not from Hainan Island (China) but Singapore in the 1950s. The ‘Coolies’ (Chinese port laborers) who transferred heavy tons of spices/rices from the big ships docked at the Port of Singapore to the shores using ‘sampans’ (small Chinese boats) along the smelly Singapore river (no more smelly after 10 years of cleaning by Lee Kuan Yew), among them 2 Hainanese brothers (Mr. Mok 莫氏兄弟 of ‘Swee Kee’ Restaurant 瑞记鸡饭) invented this simple dish Hainanese Chicken Rice which becomes the Top #1 Signature Singapore Food.

The coolies “苦力” were the coastal southern provinces (Fujian aka Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew aka Chaozhou, Hainanese, Hakkah, …) Chinese immigrants (our grandfathers and fathers) evading the war lords & Japanese invasion during 1900s – 1950s. These illiterate coolies were ingenious to invent cheap but excellent dishes to provide energy for the harsh labor, among which are the famous dishes:
– Bakuteh 肉骨茶
– Yusheng 捞鱼生
– Char Kway Tiow 炒㷄条
– Hokkien Oyster Noodle 乌芭叶 福建蚵面 (disappeared since 1980s), replaced today by the ubiquitous Hokkien Sotong (squid) Prawn Noodle 福建苏东虾面 — 娘惹风味)