Hainan Chicken from Wee Nam Kee, Novena, Singapore

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Most places have an iconic dish that immediately springs to mind the moment you utter its name. The U.S. has me thinking of ribs and buffalo wings; Italy stereotypically implies pasta and pizza; Japan would conjure images of sushi and ramen.

Singapore, on the other hand, is all about its Chilli Crab. Chilli Crab and of course, its Hainan Chicken.

Though of Chinese origins, Hainan Chicken is also served in other Asian countries but it is in Singapore where devotion to the dish reaches national levels. Considered one of the national dishes, Hainan Chicken is sold in stalls and restaurants all over the city.

The spiritual home of this dish (at least according to friends and restaurant guides) is Wee Nam Kee. I had the opportunity to drop in one last time in their old premises before they moved last April.

Though not strictly a hawker station, Wee Nam Kee’s set up is very basic.

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Having difficulty deciding how to have it, I had a combo serve of the Hainan Chicken and Roast Chicken. I wasn’t disappointed. The Hainan Chicken still reigns supreme but I was glad I tried out the Roast Chicken. Make sure to have it with chilli, ginger and the sweet soy sauce. I like a little bit of the sauce on the chicken rice too.

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Of course, I can’t not have Kang Kong with my Hainan Chicken. Also known as “River Spinach”, “Morning Glory” (tee hee) or my favourite, “Swamp Cabbage”, it’s a crunchy vegetable I had grown up eating. Lightly braised with belacan (shrimp past), it’s delicious.

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I had no idea they were moving when I went but I’m glad they hadn’t just yet. I would have been very disappointed going to Novena and finding no chicken rice there! Check them out at their new premises at United Square, 107 Thomson Road.

The word? An institution. This place is so popular it has franchises in other countries. Great feed for a great price.

Old location (where this meal was had) was at…

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