So, when it comes to our beloved chicken rice, there has always been great debate on who is the best in town. Wee Nam Kee, Boon Tong Kee, Kampong Chicken, Tian Tian, 5 Star etc, the list is endless.
Today, I have just found the one chicken rice to rule them all. One steamed chicken that will put to rest who has the best chicken meat in this town. Or any other town for that matter.
And that crown rests on 73-year old Sergeant Kiang's proud head and shoulders. He was one of the pioneers of Mandarin Hotel's Chatterbox famous (and expensive at that time) chicken rice, and he has such a great story to go along. And now, he and his son and daughter are carrying on this great chicken rice tradition in an unassuming coffeeshop in Havelock Road.
|The Ultimate Chicken Rice Meal|
What they serve here is exactly what you get from every chicken rice stall. Slices of steamed chicken, served with cucumbers and tomatoes. Chicken rice, and a bowl of chicken broth to go along. Simple. Effective. And utterly delicious.
|Smooth, Heavenly Boneless Steamed Chicken|
If there is a doubt to who serves the best steamed chicken, one bite of Jiang Ji's chicken meat and you will be relieved of all doubts once and for all. The chicken was not oily at all, and was as smooth as butter and retained a certain bounciness to the bite.
But once the bite was completed, the succulence and tenderness of the chicken meat will win you over like any classic Disney animated feature. Absolutely timeless, incredibly flavorsome and ultimately unforgettable. One bite of this meat, and you will hard pressed not to return for more.
|Wonderful Chicken Rice|
The chicken rice was equally supreme in every sense. Sergeant Kiang does not use chicken fat, and yet he is able to maintain such a rich flavor within and elicit such a wonderful texture of grain and fluff that this rice tasted almost miraculous and impossible.
Like all chicken rice, Jiang Ji should also be judged on their condiments. And in this regard, they passed with undoubtable flying colors. The ginger paste was gorgeous, refined and not too overpowering all at once.
And then, there was the chilli. The Kiang family personally make the chilli every single day, and boy was it really good. A strong sense of lime, garlic and chilli all combined to produce a wonderfully aromatic chilli sauce that had just the perfect acid to bring out the flavors of the chicken meat. Perfect!
|The Legend Himself|
Truth be told, without the persistence and passionate devotion of Bobcat, Jiang Ji might have been lost to us forever. You see, Jiang Ji has been only in operation for the last few months, and business was anything but great due to the ongoing renovation and the somewhat quiet traffic there.
But thanks to Bobcat, he has brought a fair amount of media attention to it recently, including the folks from Makansutra which in turned, got a feature on the New Paper recently. And Kiang himself is a much happier man these days, with business picking up really well.
Sergeant Kiang is intent on passing his legendary skills down to the next generation, and his son and daughter, Alvin and Susan are more than willing disciples to his culinary excellence. They are also really nice, humble and down to earth folks as well, passionate and intent on carrying their father's legacy.
|The Kiang Family|
The man himself is as unassuming as it gets. Almost camera shy, but always willing to pose, he regaled us with many of his past stories and experiences. From his chef days at Mandarin, to his subsequent stint at Rasa Singapura, to his leading of the Singapore team in many cooking and culinary competitions overseas, he always has something interesting to say.
In fact, he even showed us a special pass that he got from a personal cooking session for the head of Perak years ago. Man, would that pass come in handy for us Johor golfers! He is that special!
And this is what makes this blog so wonderful to write, to discover great food legends in Singapore. Hearing their part of their story, and eagerly awaiting the next chapter through their children taking over the reins.
Jiang Ji Chicken Rice? For the Silver Chef, the best chicken rice bar none now. But the greater story is of Sergeant Kiang himself. A really nice man.
Jiang Ji Traditional Hainanese Chicken Rice
Hong Xiang Coffeeshop
745 Havelock Road
Since this was last blogged in early 2011, Jiang Ji no longer operates and this outlet can no longer be found in Havelock Road. Mr Kiang has since, late December last year, been working with the guys that operate Banquet food courts, to open a new outlet in Jurong Point, called Sergeant Kiang's Kitchen.
As I have yet to been there, I cannot furnish further details, though I am told their chicken rice is as good as before, and they also serve other dishes beyond the standard chicken rice fare.
Written, filmed, edited and directed by Silverchef Productions.
Shot and edited entirely on Apple's Iphone 4 and at Valley Point's Starbucks.
No steamed chicken was harmed in the shooting of this video.
"秘密" performed by 張震嶽.