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)


Hainanese Chicken Rice Set Lunch 海南鸡饭套歺

Melbourne Singaporean Restaurant:
Beautiful plate of the authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice Set Lunch:

Cooked by my ‘sifu’ (teacher) 彭师傅 Pang using a Pressure Cooker in 4 minutes:


The following Hainanese Chicken Rice chef is charging a training fee of S$42,800 teaching you how to cook this Singapore Number 1 Signature dish and set up a business : 2 months of apprenticeship at his hawker stall and 1 year of consultancy. His first trainee was a former Singaporean lady World Champion of Bowling who launched a social enterprise by opening a Hainanese Chicken Rice Stall.


However you learn it free from below – except you need to practise to make perfect. Success goes to those who have the apperception (领悟性)。

How to cook Hainanese Chicken:
1.客家 白斬鸡 “三温暖” 熄火泡热水肉不老

2. 新加坡传统海南鸡

1. How to make Nonya Acar


2. How to make Ginger Paste 姜泥:
Young ginger 80g
Salt 1/2 tsp 茶匙
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Chicken powder鸡精粉 1/2 tsp
Chicken soup 鸡汤 30 ml

Blend well all ingredients in a food processor. Ready to use.

3. How to make Chilli sauce :
Red chillies 100g
Chilli paid 10g
Lemon sauce 檸檬酱 60g
Rice vinegar 60 ml
Young ginger 60 g
Garlic cloves 50g
Pineapple 60g
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 30g
Chicken stock 50 ml

Blend well all ingredients in a food processor. Ready to use.

白切雞如何煮得皮爽肉鮮 QQ Hainanese Chicken

白斬雞腿: Chicken Thigh

The secrets :

♢ 3-times repeated “Sauna” 三温暖 : soak in boiling water, immediately bathe in iced water, repeat 3 times.

Reason: the meat will be tight (hot expand cold shrink 热胀冷缩), the skin will not loosen or drop off.
肉紧 皮不松。
♢ Cook 5 minutes (smallest fire),
♢simmer 30 minutes (turn off fire).
♢Enough Ice.
♢Smooth skin: Dry the chicken in the air for 1 hour or so, before cutting.

Watch the Chicken cutting and the beautiful plate display (with Tomatoes):

如何剁全雞?: How to cut a Chicken using a kitchen knife


Note 1: The western-style chicken cutting using a Chef Knife:

Note 2: 海南雞分半鐘拆骨起肉 : 1.5 minute Boneless Chicken Cutting

How to cook the Hainanese Chicken Rice (at “Boon Tong Kee” 文东记 Restaurant @ Balestier Road):

Recipe of Hainanese Chicken with Rice: