The evolution of Hainanese chicken rice



As Hainanese chicken rice rose to its popularity in Singapore, some chefs got creative and invented different versions of this simple dish. Many of these variations instilled different cultures to suit the different tastes in Singapore. Here are some of the different variations of Hainanese chicken rice:

Hainanese “Roasted” chicken rice

The most common variation to the original Hainanese chicken would be the “roasted” chicken rice. There are different techniques involved to prepare the roasted chicken. In most cases, the chicken is not roasted but deep-fried to achieve the crispy skin and succulent chicken meat! Surprise!

Malaysian-style roasted Hainanese chicken rice

All Malaysians love chicken. No Malaysia native would go through a day without having some form of chicken dish or eggs. As such, our neighbours did not let go of the chance to create their own version of Hainanese chicken rice. Unlike the normal fried “roasted” chicken found in local food stores, the Malaysian-style roasted chicken’s cooking method stayed true to its name. Following the traditional Malay method in roasting chicken, the chicken is cooked to produce tender meat with crunchy skin.

Thai-styled Hainanese chicken rice

Khao Man Gai is one of the most common street foods found in Thailand. This mutation of the original Hainanese chicken rice is not widely known outside of Thailand and keeps its recipe close to the original one. Nonetheless, the Thai-styled chicken rice features extra dishes that may be surprising to Singapore crowd. It features cooked congealed chicken blood and soup with Chinese winter gourd. This modified Hainanese chicken rice is almost comparable to the original recipe, with some locals preferring it over to the traditional one.

Lemon Chicken Rice

Sticking to the same recipe for the rice, the lemon chicken rice dish replaces the usual poached chicken with a Chinese classic dish, the lemon chicken. The lemon chicken is prepared by frying chicken patty till it’s golden and topped with homemade lemon sauce. The honey chicken is often more tender and chunky as compared to the original one and appeals better to the younger crowd.

What other forms of Hainanese chicken rice have you tried and which are your favourite?