One of the things we fell in love with on our first visit to Singapore was Hainanese Chicken Rice, considered by many to be the national dish of Singapore. For those who haven’t heard of it, Hainanese Chicken Rice consists of delicately poached chicken and is usually served with several dips including chili sauce, pounded ginger and dark soy sauce.
We first tried Hainanese Chicken Rice at Tastes of Singapore on Sentosa Island and although it was touristy and overpriced, it was still extremely tasty.
But after our experiences eating authentic Singapore Hawker Food at Makansutra Gluttons Bay, we knew that there was surely better Chicken Rice out there.
And we were on a mission to find it!
Where To Find The Best Hainanese Chicken Rice In Singapore
Determined, we did plenty of online research looking for the best Hainanese Chicken Rice in Singapore. The popular opinion was that it was to be found at Tian Tian Chicken Rice located at Stall #10 at the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre. Even Anthony Bourdain had eaten at the famous Tian Tian and highly recommended it!
“Chicken Rice is so fragrant and delicious that it can be eaten on its own”
- Anthony Bourdain
After a couple of failed attempts to visit Maxwell Road Hawker Centre due to pouring rain, we finally had a sunny afternoon to visit and get our Chicken Rice fix. We excitedly exited Tanjong Pagar MRT Station and started walking up Maxwell Road, reaching the Hawker Centre after about 5 minutes.
We searched around looking for Tian Tian Chicken Rice and when we finally found it, despair set in…
It was closed on Mondays… and today was a Monday!
The roller shutters were down and there was no sign of life anywhere around Tian Tian. Two doors down, we saw another Hainanese Chicken Rice stall at #7 called Ah-Tai that was open for business.
We approached Ah-Tai and ordered two dishes of Hainanese Chicken Rice and at the total cost of $6, we couldn’t go wrong even if it tasted horrible.
After finding an empty table, we finally were able to dig into our first taste of Chicken Rice in over a year… and it didn’t disappoint! Ah-Tai had served up some perfectly poached chicken that made our taste buds sing and both of us proceeded to essentially inhale what was before us.
Amy even finished her food before Kieron, an extremely rare occurrence. That’s how good this Hainanese Chicken Rice was – arguably the best in Singapore!
We later found out that Ah-Tai was opened by Wong Liang Tai, the ex master-chef at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice who worked there for 20 years. No wonder this Chicken Rice was so delicious! We’ll no doubt be back again soon enough and will have a very tough decision to make…
Stick with the proven Ah-Tai or give the more famous Tian Tian a try? Screw it, we’ll have both!
Maxwell Road Hawker Centre
Address: 1 Kadayanallur St Singapore 069184
Opening Hours: Daily 8am – 10pm
There are a total of six Hainanese Chicken Rice stalls at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre.