Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Food Review: Hidden Finds- Yeo Keng Nam Chicken Rice

By Tuesday, April 17, 2012 , , , ,

I'm not a Chicken rice fan (like i've mentioned in a previous post here) and i wouldn't make a meal out of Chicken Rice typically. However, i have to say that it is one of the most convenient and tasty takeaway meals. It doesn't matter if you leave it sitting in the packet and soaking up the moisture from its condensation, it'll still taste good, or perhaps even better. You don't quite have to worry about your sides turning soggy because the chicken is steamed or roasted and it even tastes ok when cold! Most importantly, most of the stalls over the island has been able to produce decent chicken rice so the standard is pretty consistent regardless of where you are (of course if you're darn unlucky u'll get the really bad ones).   

 The most memorable chicken rice that i've tasted was dabao-ed (takeaway) by S. It was the most fragrant and fluffy rice cooked in chicken fat that i've tasted. I immediately proclaimed it to be the best chicken rice in Singapore in between gobbles. According to S, it was a random buy but i thought we hit chicken rice jackpot. However, that still didn't make me crave for the dish. Even thought we often drive past the same stretch of road and we'd always chime "Best Chicken Rice in Sg" when we spot but we never ate there.

Fast forward a couple of years to 2012. S met me for lunch in the vicinity and he suggested trying the dish again. I guess it's a good test of whether it was really as fantastic or was it just a figment of my imagination. So here you go- Yeo Keng Nam Chicken Rice.
It was only when i took a closer look at the stall that i realize this is no ordinary chicken rice stall. They have won some award back in 2009 for their traditional Hainanese dishes. S is such a kukubird sometimes. Anyhow, this is also proof that i have the makings of discerning food critic! :P
The location is indeed very nondescript, Yeo Keng Nam has car repairs workshops as their neighbors. S said that there used to be another chicken rice place at the corner but it has been taken over by a mixed veg stall. YKN is more of a restaurant than a coffee shop. Fully air conditioned, clean and uncluttered seating area (though it is really small) and polite servers to take your orders. There's no oily greasy grime and dirt or smokiness to the place. I like. 
At YKN, you can order your chicken rice individually for $4 a plate. It's only $3.50 if you take it away. For sharing, you could go with half a chicken for $15 or $30 for a whole (if i remembered correctly).
The rice was exactly how i remembered it. I like the broken and slightly soft rice grains? Can you see that they are nicely split in the middle? This shows that they have been simmered in a rich stock of fried ginger, garlic, chicken stock (and some fats) and salted for additional flavor. Some people have complained that this is too healthy. Seriously?? I don't care as long as it tastes good. The fragrance of stock has penetrated and locked itself within each grain of rice and you can simply eat this on its own. No need for chili or dark soy sauce (i thought the dark soy overpowers the flavor of the rice). I actually contemplated having a second bowl of rice! Amazeballs!
The chicken is nicely flavored as well. They served us breast meat for the individual plates though. I should have said i want the thigh meat for that additional succulence and tenderness. The breast meat wasn't dry though and was juicy enough.

The chili was a killer. It really stings. There is a nice sourness and spiciness to the blend of ginger, garlic and chili. Go easy on it if you can't take chili. 

I've been warned not to eat chicken rice at night because the chicken has probably sat there on the rack for the entire day. At YKN, batches of steamed chicken and rice are cooked over the course of the day. They are only prepared when the previous batch runs out. This ensures the freshness of the ingredients. Yay! Wouldn't say the same for the other regular coffee shop stalls though.
S ordered the Sambal Kang kong($7) for sharing. I love the chunky dried shrimp bits and how they really pack in a punch. The kang kong wasn't mushy or overcooked and had a nice crunch to it.On hindsight we should have ordered kailan. That would have gone better with our chicken rice but oh wells, the boy is weird in terms of placing food orders.
There's a variety of dishes to pick from if you are not particularly interested in the chicken. Hot favorites include the Nonya Curry Fish Head ($23). The snapper head was simmered in a red gravy of eggplant, lady's fingers and tomatoes to give it that tangy and lightly spiced flavor. Coconut milk is used sparingly but it doesn't weaken the robustness of the hearty curry. Based on a 18 year old secret recipe by Mdm Yeo (the founding chef).

Hainanese Pork Chop is a popular choice as well. Think tangy sweet and sour sauce on top of crunchy cream cracker battered pork chop.
Had their home made barley ($1.50) to extinguish the fire from the spice. This barley is super gao3 (thick). Just look at the dense and viscous stream that's flowing from the straw. No i wasn't playing with my food again.

So here you go, still the best Chicken Rice in Singapore. It gets packed during lunch and dinner so go early. If not, they also have a delivery service! Yay!

Verdict- Recommended!
Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5 Comfortable

Yeo Keng Nam (Tradition) Hainanese Chicken Rice
8 Braddell Road (Main Restaurant)
Tel: +65 6285 4153/ 6285 4261
Tue to Sun: 10.30am to 10pm
(Closed on Monday except on PH)

562 Serangoon Road (Branch)
Tel: +65 6299 1128/ 6299 0218
Daily: 11.30am - 11.00pm

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