Soya Sauce Chicken: THE BATTLE IN CHINATOWN
By Cecilia Joven Ong - Sunday, Dec 21, 2014
The New Year is upon us and Singapore is all set for a year of SG50 festivities, her coming of middle age celebration of sorts. For starters, we have it good in the food department. We have very discerning palates and are fiercely honest with our views. One can eat well for $400 or $4 in Singapore and we are spoilt for choice. On this last day of 2014, we would like to take you to 7 Cantonese chicken noodle stalls in Chinatown that will bound to please your taste buds where a friendly makan war of sorts is taking place. Soya Sauce Chicken Noodles is a good choice of comfort food. And, at any point in time, many would have recommended these stalls as they all have their fiercely loyal regulars and are popular in their own ways.
CHIEW KEE CHICKEN NOODLE HOUSE
32 Upper Cross Street Singapore 058339
Operating Hours: 8 am to 7 pm (Closed on Wed)
There is a direct competition between Chiew Kee and Chew Kee as opposing relatives run the shops. They share an identical menu and have competitive-based pricing; half of their soya sauce chicken is at $13. Although the texture of the chicken is tender, it is less robust in flavor due to un-thorough marination.
This could be the likely reason why they are not as crowded during lunch hours in comparison to other stalls.
CHEW KEE EATING HOUSE
8 Upper Cross Street Singapore 058327
Operating Hours: 9 am to 7 pm (Closed on Fri & Public Holiday)
Chew Kee is the original stall started by the founder. Their soya sauce chicken is intensely flavorful, perfectly glazed with a slight hint of rose wine with a juicy feel. Their Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle is a popular choice; both the chicken and noodles are served in a substantial portions with a handful of leafy greens. Their service is noticeably warm and easy going (but only if you come during their off-peak hours.) A plate of half chicken is also priced at $13.
FATTY OX HONG KONG KITCHEN
Block 335 Smith Street #02-84 Chinatown Complex Food Centre Singapore 050335
Operating Hours: 7.30 to 3 pm (Closed on Mon & Tue)
A plate of half a chicken is priced at $10 with its size and quality worth every cent. It is expertly done where its skin, besides spotting a beautiful glaze, is also distinctly flavorsome and succulent. The dish is then uniquely served with chopped ginger and spring onions on top of the chicken to provide an additional layer of flavor. A Hongkee (now citizen) helms this stall and you can tell by this distinct Cantonese accent as he takes your order.
FRAGRANT SOYA SAUCE CHICKEN
Block 335 Smith Street #02-85 Chinatown Complex Food Centre Singapore 050335
Operating Hours: 7 am to 3 pm (Closed on Mon & Thu)
They have moved from Queen Street to this food center about a year ago. Just like their neighbor, the stall owner traces his lineage from Hong Kong but he has been in Singapore for quite a fair bit of time and is able to tweak the taste of their soya sauce chicken to better suit the locals’ taste buds. An equally excellent version of soya sauce chicken is served at $10 for half a chicken. It has a noticeable robustness that does not compromise its tenderness. Their braised sauce is savory yet sweet and goes really well with the noodles.
MA LI YA VIRGIN CHICKEN RICE
Block 335 Smith Street #02-176 Chinatown Complex Food Centre Singapore 050335
Operating Hours: 7 am to 4 pm (Closed on Mon)
A distinctive difference that sets this stall apart would be how they serve their soya sauce chicken with fried soya beans and sesame oil. I was told this is a rather old school preparation of the dish. Their soya sauce chicken is done nicely such that the fragrance of soya sauce is infused with the chicken, giving it an additional depth in flavor. There are two available options when it comes to their chickenl the smaller one is priced at $7 and the bigger one is at $9 for half a bird.
EMERALD SOYA SAUCE CHICKEN RICE & NOODLE
Block 335 Smith Street #02-45 Chinatown Complex Food Centre Singapore 050335
Operating Hours: 7 am to 7 pm
This is the least popular stall amongst its competitors with fewer customers and a non-existent queue. Their taste is slightly inferior and quite forgettable. Half of chicken is at $7 and the whole chicken at $12; clearly the cheapest amongst all. Their chicken is relatively smaller in size, even smaller than that of the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle’s.
HONG KONG SOYA SAUCE CHICKEN RICE & NOODLE
Block 335 Smith Street #02-126 Chinatown Complex Food Centre Singapore 050335
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 7 pm (Closed on Wed)
This stall spots the longest queue in this food center with waiting time that could exceed an hour where a constant queue forms even during off-peak hours. Although their soya sauce chicken is smaller in size, it is reasonably priced at $7 for half a chicken and $14 for a whole chicken. The meat is given a deeper dimension of taste and optimal tenderness, making this affordable dish worth the wait. After surviving the long queue, it only makes sense if an order for a minimum of half a chicken is placed.