Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Boon Tong Kee in River Valley, Singapore

Let me talk about Singapore's national dish once again -- the Hainanese Chicken Rice.

This is really such a popular dish that no hawker centre or food court is complete without it. However, when it comes to searching for the best, Paul and I ventured out even to places that's not quite accessible by the MRT in order to have a taste of what some people would call THE BEST. 

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Let's see about that. First stop was at Boon Tong Kee in River Valley. Our first visit was exactly a few days after we got here a year ago. I can still remember it clearly though, Paul and I went to Sunday Mass and we agreed to have dinner at Boon Tong Kee which was located just around the corner. Can you just imagine how hard it was for me to concentrate during the priest's sermon when my mind was filled with visions of that tender white chicken meat, shiny and fragrant rice and more? Oh what a challenge and such a delicious temptation. 

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So we got there pretty early for dinner and were easily able to secure a nice table for two. For starters, we were given a saucer of Boiled Peanuts (S$2) which we happily munched on. It was delicious and sweet making it quite addicting. Note though that you can opt not to have these nuts and they would just remove it from your bill. That's the trick when dining at some restaurants here, they would immediately be serving you with cups of tea, starters and wet napkins but be careful as these are not complimentary. For extra measures, do not be afraid to ask the server if you're in a budget.  

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Browsing through the menu, we got Hainanese Chicken - Half Portion (S$13) and a cup of Chicken Rice (S$0.70) each. Let's start with the meat -- the chicken meat was very tender and flavorful. We happily enjoyed this while dipping it into the soy sauce then the chili in the exact sequence. Sadly though, they didn't have the ginger paste when we dined there as I feel this really helps bring out the amazing flavor. As for the rice, it was pretty good too. The serving was very generous for both the chicken and the rice. We were surprised actually as we can easily finish a half portion with no problem but we ended up with leftovers that we brought home this time around. 

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We also tried the Poached Chinese Spinach with Assorted Eggs (S$12.80). This is one of my all-time favorite vegetable dish that I would always end up ordering this whenever and wherever it's available. I love the delicious spinach served with salted egg, century egg and chicken egg. Oh yummy!! 

So why wasn't it the best Hainanese Chicken Rice for me? Admittedly, it was a tight battle but Boon Tong Kee, we feel, was very commercialized. The chicken may be slightly cheaper but with all add ons, our bill came out to be more expensive. Flavor-wise it can be comparable to our favorite Chicken Rice place but sadly, it's the authenticity that we're looking for which is somewhat lacking during our past visits. Nonetheless, it's still one of those places that I wouldn't mind taking a guest too as it got more branches all over the country. 

Boon Tong Kee is located at 425 River Valley Road, Singapore. Call them at 6736-3213. They also have 6 other outlets all over town. Click here to see the full listing

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