HainaneSe ChiCken riCe
The popular Singapore chicken rice is normally referred to as Hainanese chicken rice due to the ethnic origin of the early migrants from Hainan Island who brought the dish with them. The dish usually uses older, plumper chickens and is prepared using the traditional methods, which involves poaching the whole chicken in not-quite boiling water. The fatty stock is skimmed off and, along with ginger, garlic and pandan leaves, is used to cook the rice, producing oily rice that is bursting with flavour. The whole chicken is plunged into ice straight after cooking to create the jelly-like coating before being sliced and served with the delicious rice and condiments.
Known as Uncle Commie the first chicken rice vendor was Mr. Wong Yi Guan who peddled his chickens to the Hainanese community around Purvis Street and Seah Street. He later opened a shop in Purvis Street providing Singapore with the first of its fixed Hainanese chicken rice stalls. At a time when meat was a luxury for the poor, Uncle Commie was named, not for his political beliefs, but because of his habit of distributing unsold chickens free of charge to his less well-off neighbours.