Hainan Chicken Rice Shop, Kuantan

Chicken rice is serious business in my family - comes with being Hainanese, I think. It surprises people sometimes, when I tell them how much of a staple feature chicken rice is in our celebratory menu. Chinese New Year - check, Chap Goh Meh - check, mooncake festival - check, dumpling festival - check, birthdays - check; well, you get the point. It goes without saying that we're pretty hard to please when it comes to chicken rice, especially when it comes to the condiments and we're always on the lookout for a good, authentic chicken rice spot. (For the days in between festivals, you know)

Hainan Chicken Rice Shop
52-62 Loring Tun Ismail 8,
25000, Kuantan, Pahang

The descriptive name can be quite difficult to uphold - but this outlet has gotten the nod of approval from the generation above mine. While not exactly like our home-cooked fare, it passes the test, and with accompanying roast pork, one cannot complain.


Chicken prep is a delicate affair when it comes to chicken rice - getting the cooking time right is key as one doesn't want to end up with raw chicken, but there's also that fine, fine line between perfection and over-cooking. We've had many a debate over methods in my family - everything from cooking times, to amount of garlic needed, to whether or not to use an ice bath as the final step. They've managed to get their cooking time just right here, resulting in succulent, smooth chicken, doused in delicious salty-sweet soy sauce. Our version of the chicken employs far, far more garlic than anything you get outside and that still holds in this case. There are times when I wonder if all that garlic that we so liberally stuff our chicken with is accepted practice only in my family.

And of course, the special little bonus - a serving of crispy-skinned roast pork, which come to think of it, is one of those dishes that transcends all dialects, doesn't it? 

To balance out the meat, fresh, crunchy, just-cooked beansprouts.

A (refillable) bowl of soup, some fragrant rice, or white rice, if you prefer and lots of pounded ginger and chilly - and you've got yourself a hearty meal.

With that said, I'm still on the lookout for garlicky chicken - any recommendations, anyone?

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