Widely regarded as the national dish, chicken rice in Singapore is often the spark of food wars and major debates as friends disagree over which stall serves the best.
For those who have never experienced it, the chicken rice in Singapore is made up of several elements - slices of poached chicken, a slightly oily rice cooked in the chicken stock with ginger and garlic, a spicy chilli sauce and side bowl of chicken broth. It may look simple, but it's a recipe that's hard to master.
Chicken rice in Singapore can be found easily in just about any hawker centre, food court, coffee shop or restaurant. But, like much of Singapore’s food, not all chicken rice is made equal.
Start with our rundown of the best chicken rice in Singapore. Expect long queues of locals at many of these.
1 Kadayanallur Street
+65 9691 4852
If you find Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice familiar, it might be because you’ve seen it featured on the late Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations in 2008. You may have also heard of it when celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay came to Singapore to battle it out in a chicken rice cook-off, only to lose to the chefs at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Singapore.
Try a plate from the nation’s most famous chicken rice stall and you will understand why its reached its fame. This stall's rice is fried with chicken fat and then boiled, resulting in an incredibly fragrant and soft dish.
It is also flavourful without being too sticky, which is something that many other chicken rice stalls in Singapore struggle to achieve. As the late Anthony Bourdain succinctly put, Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice’s “rice is so fragrant and delicious that it can be eaten on its own”.
The chicken is equally flavourful and moist - achieved by soaking the blanched chicken in an ice bath in order to lock in the natural juices and achieve optimal texture. Each piece of chicken is coated in a house-made dressing that adds a depth of flavour to the dish.
Unsurprisingly, the humble stall was awarded a Bib Gourmand in the inaugural Michelin Guide Singapore in 2016. With all the recognition and raving reviews, the queue at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Singapore is consistent throughout the day - you have to be patient if you want a taste of the best.
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425 River Valley Road
+65 6736 3213
Boon Tong Kee is a chicken rice brand in Singapore that has multiple outlets across the island and is popular for its unique pyramid-shaped rice.
While it is slightly pricier as compared to other chicken rice in Singapore, the large portions more than make up for the price and if you're looking for surroundings that are a little more comfortable out of Singapore's perpetual heat, this might be the one for you.
Unlike most chicken rice in Singapore, the components at Boon Tong Kee are served separately. The fragrant rice is not overly oily, and is the perfect companion to the firm, smooth, and tender pieces of chicken served on the side.
Opened till 4.30am in the morning, Boon Tong Kee is the place to go to curb your chicken rice cravings, even if that's in the dead of night.
3 Dickson Road
+65 8314 0228
Chicken rice ball originated from Malacca and is simply chicken rice rolled into the shape of a ball. It's a time-consuming and labour-intensive process and there are only a few stalls in Singapore still left making it.
Hainan Chicken Rice Ball, which has been in business for over a hundred years, is one such place where you can still find them.
The stall serves rice balls that are not overly greasy. You will also notice hints of fried garlic and shallots in the rice balls that perfectly cut through the oil of the chicken rice.
You'll find a generous portion doused with a thick layer of dark sauce, quite a difference from the other chicken rice stalls in Singapore.
Hainan Chicken Rice Ball also serves a comforting and peppery herbal soup on the side. Unlike the usual clear and bland soup served up by other chicken rice stalls in Singapore, the soup here is boiled with many different Chinese herbs and spices creating something far more fragrant and aromatic than their competitors.
191 E Coast Road
+65 6344 5911
Five Star Kampung Chicken Rice is a small chain in Singapore. They only kampung for their dishes, chickens that are free to run around making them lower in fat and have an aromatic flavour when cooked. They also have a wonderful texture, the meat being easily pulled away with a folk.
If you are health-conscious, you’d be glad to know that kampung chicken is healthier, leaner, lower in cholesterol, and contains more fibre.
This stall also serves up a fragrant and savoury rice along with sauces that are made in-house from fresh, local ingredients.
Because the restaurant was opened about 30 years ago by a supplier who has great knowledge about chickens, you can be sure that you're in good hands.
Katong Shopping Centre
+65 9789 6073
Tucked away in the basement of a small shopping centre, it's easy to miss this unassuming little joint. Among Singaporeans, Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice is better known as Katong Shopping Mall Chicken Rice, because of where it is situated.
Despite its popularity, this stall serves their customers rather quickly. So, if you want a quality plate of chicken rice without having to brace the crowds, this chicken rice in Singapore is your best bet.
The rice served here sports a characteristic bright yellow colour because it is cooked with yellow ginger. The result is a tasty and aromatic plate of rice. Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice’s succulent chicken comes with a generous topping of fried garlic, chopped scallions and some coriander drizzled with a light soya sauce.
Your chicken rice order will even come with a gigantic bowl of soup and a free-flow of addictive achar, or pickled mixed vegetables.
85 Redhill Lane
This hawker stall began as a trishaw stall in the 1970s. After close to 50 years in the business, Hua Kee Chicken Rice continues to keep things simple and affordable.
Aside from the taste of chicken fat used in the rice to give the dish it's signature oiliness, there are hints of ginger and onion, which help to cut through give balance.
Without overdoing it with sauces, you get to enjoy the natural flavours of the fresh, fluffy, and moist chicken. They're also thickly cut, so each bite contains a substantial amount of meat. The layer of fat that the chef leaves on the chicken further contributes to the dish's overall texture and flavour.
The popular stall closes in the afternoon when they have almost always sold out, so head down in the late morning if you want to try some of the best chicken rice in Singapore.
19 Purvis Street
+65 6337 4640
Conveniently located in the heart of Singapore, Chin Chin Eating House is on every local’s list of top 10 chicken rice in Singapore.
Its chicken is prepared in accordance with traditional Hainanese methods, which involve poaching the entire chicken at sub-boiling temperatures. The stock is then skimmed off and some of the fat and liquid, along with ginger, garlic and pandan leaves are used in the cooking of its iconic “oily” rice.
After devouring a plate of chicken rice, you can choose to go back for seconds or order from a wide variety of cheap, affordable, as well as homely Hainanese dishes.
511 Bishan Street
If you are ready to join locals in their favourite pastime of queuing for food, give Ming Kee Chicken Rice a try. But be prepared to queue for at least 40 minutes for a plate of the good stuff.
This popular stall’s chicken rice features rice grains that are soft, moist, and fluffy. The star of the show though is undoubtedly the chicken.
Ming Kee Chicken Rice serves its chicken cold. This is because the chefs place the chicken in a big tub of ice and remove it only when it is time to chop it for serving. This results in a juicy, cool chicken that's perfectly tender.
The chicken is topped with a salty soy sauce and the portions are generous enough for sharing. But trust us, you are going to want a whole plate for yourself.
270 Queen Street
This stall, with close to 50 years of experience, is rather popular so be prepared to queue.
Their chicken is steamed to perfection - tender, fragrant without being too oily and with just the right amount of soy sauce. The rice is always fluffy and never under or overcooked.
As with all chicken rice in Singapore, the stall serves its own side broth cooked over the morning with chicken bones and vegetables like winter melon.
It's a well balanced dish that easily makes its way onto the top 10 chicken rice in Singapore. While you are there, be sure to try their other signature char siew barbecued pork.
722 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8
+65 6455 1194
For more than 20 years, Yishun 925 Chicken Rice has been serving its delicious plates of chicken rice to residents of Yishun. The dish, however, attracts locals from the other end of Singapore, who know it's worth travelling for.
If you are on a tight budget, you can nab a plate of chicken rice at Yishun 925 for just $3. Each plate comes with perfectly cooked rice, slices of poached chicken with a layer of gelatinous skin, and just the right amount of thin soy sauce to add saltiness.
This is how chicken rice in Singapore should be served.
101 Thomson Road
+65 6255 6396
To ensure the best flavour and texture, this stall carefully selects their chickens which are gently poached in stock and herbs at a carefully controlled temperature. The result is just the right tenderness.
This chicken rice in Singapore vendor also knows the importance of each element of this dish. The rice is cooked in the poached chicken stock with just a little of the chicken's fat, garlic, ginger and pandan leaves.
And the exceptional sauce is perfectly balanced with chilli, ginger and just the right amount of dark soy sauce.
78 Smith Street
+65 6221 1668
We’ve got to end this list with another Michelin Star chicken rice in Singapore. Back in 2016, this stall was thrust into the spotlight when it was named the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred meal.
For just below $4, you get a plate of soya sauce chicken rice with succulent chicken and thin glistening skin. The simple plate of chicken rice sees only the use of premium ingredients. It's a salty, deliciously balanced dish that is worthy of its star.
Today, the brand has expanded beyond the shores of Singapore. However, we highly recommend that you join the queue at the humble little hawker stall that won the accolade after years of refining the recipe.
Don’t get us wrong - we’re not trying to put an end to the age-old best chicken rice in Singapore debate. But trust us when we say, you can't find better chicken rice than one of the spots above.
Still confused about which to try? Fear not. You can always join our daily Singapore food tour and let the food experts help you navigate Singapore's complex food scene.
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