Tar Pau Nation: Iconic chicken rice from old stalwart Boon Tong Kee

Half a chicken with rice and poached chinese spinach with gluten & garlic.
Half a chicken with rice and poached chinese spinach with gluten & garlic.ST PHOTO: WONG AH YOKE

SINGAPORE - With eateries coming up with all sorts of riffs on iconic local dishes for National Day, it is not surprising that I find myself craving chicken rice.

For me, this is a dish Singapore deserves to be celebrated for. Although similar versions can be found in many Asian countries, I feel the best is found here, honed to perfection by hawkers – with smooth and juicy poached chicken accompanied by aromatic rice cooked in chicken stock and a piquant, gingery chilli sauce.

Among those that provide islandwide delivery of chicken rice via foodpanda is Boon Tong Kee, a household name that has been synonymous with the dish since it started as a stall in Chinatown in 1979. 

It has eight outlets in various parts of the island, including in Balestier Road, East Coast Road and Sengkang. The delivery platform matches you to the nearest outlet, so the food can get to you without having to travel too far. 

It is now offering a 10 per cent discount and single diners can order the Chicken Rice Box For 1 ($6.74 after discount, varies by location), which comes with boiled chicken on rice, plus a deep-fried meat ball and pickled vegetables. 

There is no option to choose the chicken cut, however. Because I do not want to risk getting breast meat, which I do not like with rice, I decide to go for the Signature Boiled Chicken (Half) for $17.50 instead. 

Any uneaten meat can be repurposed for another meal. For example, breast meat tastes better when shredded and added to congee. 

The thigh, drumstick and wing – moist and covered in slippery skin – are best eaten fresh with a splash of the blended soya sauce, ginger paste and chilli sauce, which are packed separately. 

There are also packets of dark soya sauce to add to the rice (sold separately at $1.93), but I prefer not to drown out the delicious, fragrant grains with its heavy flavour. 

The chicken comes with cucumber slices and spring onion, but I need more vegetables. Poached Chinese Spinach With Gluten & Garlic ($13.76), which comes with a good number of gluten pieces, offers better value than a plain stir-fried vegetable that costs only $2 less. The vegetables are poached in plenty of stock, so it is almost a soup as well. 

The broth is not very sweet, but that also means it does not contain much artificial seasoning – which is a good thing. 

Boon Tong Kee is a household name that has been synonymous with chicken rice since it started as a stall in Chinatown in 1979. PHOTO: WONG AH YOKE

Boon Tong Kee

Where: Eight outlets, including in Balestier Road, East Coast Road, Ang Mo Kio and Sengkang

To order: Go to foodpanda's website. There is now a 10 per cent discount

Delivery charge: Calculated at checkout. Mine was $4.39, but it can be more during peak hours.

3.5 stars out of 5