Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Hawker Restaurant: Boon Tong Kee

By Thursday, February 02, 2012 , , , ,

I'm not a chicken rice person. It's not that i don't like the dish, it's just that i don't eat it on a regular basis. I'm lucky i guess, i just do not have the palate for oily and unhealthy local food. No char kway teow, most Malay dishes, Laksa... They are just not part of my daily meals. I think the last time i had chicken rice was a year ago.

The thing that irks me about chicken rice is the aftertaste. That concoction of garlic and ginger somehow lingers on hours after consumption and it's practically impossible to get rid of the smell or the taste even if you try to scrub your mouth with a toilet brush. But that is also what makes chicken rice so tasty- the chili which contains those ingredients.

Anyway, the friends and i headed to Boon Tong Kee (River Valley) for dinner the other night because C requested for that. As usual, W and i had to accommodate him because London doesn't do good Chinese food and certainly no awesome Sg food. So it's always local food when he comes to visit. And of all places, he chose Boon Tong Kee. I never tried all these so called famous chicken rice chains e.g. 5 Stars, Pow Sing.. I think they are over hyped and i don't think their chicken rice is that good (quite an unfair judgment since i refused to try them). The opportunity finally presents itself for me to dispel this opinion and sadly it was just as what i expected.

The chicken was coarse and kinda dry. I believe that a good chef can make breast meat tender and juicy but even the texture of BTK's chicken thigh was rough and a little tough. I shall not even talk about the breast meat. I believe i can steam a better chicken than this. Seriously i've tried better chicken at random kopitiams around Singapore.
The rice was nothing spectacular. My idea of well cooked rice must fulfil the following qualities- fluffy, right amount of moisture (just a little moist), fat grains. For chicken rice, it has to be fragrant and flavorful. This rice smells better than it tastes. Somehow the chicken fat/stock/gravy did not infuse into the heart of the grains. Again, i've had better rice from elsewhere.  
The veg was more tasty than the chicken IMO. Done the Canto you2 cai4 style with fried shallots and oil with soy sauce.

And if there's anything that's really good, it's the mei cai kou rou (Braised pork belly with preserved vegetables)! The pork is braised long enough till the meat simply disintegrates as you send it into your mouth. The meat is absolutely tender and well marinated with the sweet sauce and it also absorbed some of the saltiness of the preserved veg. This dish is quite sweet actually but it's really good. Think it's only $8 for 3-4 slabs of pork belly. A very good complement to the somewhat tasteless rice.
BTK is what i would call a tourist trap. I think we were the only locals who were dining there that night. Bet everyone followed some guidebook and hence they ended up there. This is more a restaurant than a hawker stall and they do other zi char dishes (Chinese) as well. If you want local food with "ambience"as what C requested, this is an option you could try. I think Chicken rice tastes better when it's packed to go because the rice can soak up the essence of the chicken and that sesame-soya-chicken fat gravy that is drizzled on top. I'm not weird.

Locations: Ang Mo Kio, Balestier, Bukit Timah, East Coast, MacPherson, River Valley, Whampoa West. Opening hours vary, check website for details.

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  1. Hi! really enjoy reading your posts, came across the one of you doing alot of sports. could you also advise on your excersing habits with photos to go along? thanks, and keep writing these wonderful food posts!!!

  2. Thanks! Glad that there are people who don't mind my ranting. :) Hm i'm not really an expert on working out so it's not very wise for me to advise in case i 'injure' anyone.

    As for myself, I do a mix of cardio and yoga. My current favorite combination is 1h combat (it's a class at my yoga studio that combines boxing with taekwondo etc. mixed martial arts) and then 1h deep stretching/pilates after. :) Cardio for burning and then yoga/stretching for strength and conditioning. Hope it helps. Cheers!