Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Twe Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice

Personally, I have always preferred the more subtle versions of our favorite Hainanese chicken rice, and not the overly powering variants served by Boon Tong Kee and Tian Tian.

That is why I have always enjoyed Sergeant Kiang's chicken rice when he was running it as Jiang Ji last year, and until he resurfaced recently at Kovan, I admit, I was having a bit of chicken rice cold turkey.

Thankfully, thanks to a fellow foodie, I have discovered another superbly authentic Hainanese chicken rice that is run by an elderly couple at Jago Close off East Coast Road.

It is a very simple setup, and is by all indications, very modestly operated. Yet, behind this simplicity lies one of the best chicken rice around. And the couple told me, that they have done this for a long time, and using the same traditional recipes and methods passed down from earlier generations.

Chicken Rice

I will start with the rice, and just like Sergeant Kiang's, it was not oily at all. It was fragrant and flavorsome, and I was informed they used shallots for flavoring and it showed.

The rice itself was nicely firm and for my money, it was better than Sergeant Kiang's, which by comparison, is usually a bit more soft than Twe Kee.

Hainanese Steamed Chicken

The chicken served here was huge, and beautifully succulent. It was also a bit more firm than Sgt Kiang's, and hence, slightly more chewy. Despite this, the steamed chicken had a more robust flavor that complimented the rice perfectly.

And as mentioned, I dislike the heavy seasoning of other chicken rice establishments, and mercifully, they were very subtle in the soy and sesame seasoning here.

It is quite a toss up between Twe Kee and Sgt Kiang's in terms of which is better, and in the end, I think each is unique and excellent in its own way. For me, I will take this over the more famous chicken rice outlets anytime.

Raw Fish Slices

In addition to chicken rice, Twe Kee also serves raw fish slices similar to those  you find in some Teochew Bak Kut Teh stalls. The fish slices were again lightly seasoned and with a touch of acid from the lime, it was heavenly.

I have never thought of having this dish with chicken rice, but the flavors went together beautifully and you will be asking for a second helping before long.

The couple that are running this stall are also very friendly and have a knack of remembering faces, which brings a nice homely touch to the eating experience.

They also serve chicken congee, and while it is nothing out of the ordinary, it is also warm comfort food for a leisurely breakfast dish.

The only thing that dampens this wonderful eating experience is the fact that they are already quite elderly, and their daughter has no intention of carrying their legacy.

This sounds like another one of those foods that will go the way of extinction once they decide to retire and just like Sergeant Kiang, this is one of the great chicken rice places destined for history.

Until then, chicken rice lovers who are tired of the usual over seasoned and over priced chicken rice stalls should check this one out. You will be pleasantly surprised like me.

Twe Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice
Coffeeshop at the junction of Jago Close and East Coast Road.

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