A Hainanese Classic

There’s always some healthy rivalry between neighbouring nations, especially for those with a shared history. Be it the Netherlands vs. Germany, Pakistan vs. India (okay, maybe not so healthy), and of course Malaysia vs. Singapore. And one of the most heated debates we’ve had, is about the ownership of food, and of course, who does it better. And one of the most contentious dishes, is arguably the Chicken Rice.

Now, I won’t get into that debate. But what I’ll say about it, is that our countries shared a similar heritage and colonial past. We’re like rival siblings, whom are bound to butt heads over various and often trifle issues. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of a competition, as that allows us to improve and better ourselves. Especially if the results are tastier dishes, and I can’t really say no to that!

Chicken rice is a dish bought over by the immigrants from Hainan island. The Hainanese were, and still are, well known for their culinary skills, with many recruited as chefs by the Brits back in the Colonial days. Chicken rice is to Malaysia and Singapore, like Apple pie is to the USA, and nowadays, Chicken Tikka Masala to the UK! It’s a ubiquitous dish with humble origins, and simple yet satisfying flavors.

One of the better joints to get a decent chicken rice in Miri, is at Chen Kee, which is located beside the Krokop wet market. There are other branches as well i.e. in Boulevard, but we often come to the original here, which is closer to my company’s mothership.

I’ve tried a few Chicken rice shops around town, and this place probably comes closest to the veritable establishments in Ipoh, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, or Singapore. The steamed chicken is relatively moist, and infused with a healthy dose of chicken oil.

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Steamed Chicken

The Chicken rice itself was lacking in flavor, and could benefit by being cooked with more chicken oil, garlic and ginger.

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Chicken Rice

Another popular side dish that can be ordered is the Silken tofu with minced pork. The restaurant doesn’t make its own tofu, but this is a decent, albeit rather pedestrian offering.

Silken Tofu with Minced Pork

At the end of the day, the most important question to ask is, did it actually taste good?

Yes, it’s a decent offering that will satisfy your chicken rice cravings, and it’s probably the best you can get in Miri. That being said, if you have a planned trip to Ipoh, Malacca, or Singapore, I reckon it’s better to hold off for just awhile for the good stuff.

Location: Located beside the Krokop wet market. Here’s the Foursquare link.

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