A Different Picture of Chicken Rice Every Day
September 15, 2020 10:05 AM   Subscribe

For 1,000 days, a Singapore resident, kuey.png, has been posting a different picture of chicken rice every day.

Known only as "ji fan fan" (a bilingual pun for "chicken rice" in Mandarin and "fan" in English), they are known to post photos of Hong Kong-style soy sauce chicken rice or Hainanese chicken rice.

Soy sauce chicken is served at the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant.

Based on Wenchang chicken from the Chinese tropical island of Hainan, Hainanese chicken rice was developed by diaspora Chinese in Southeast Asia and taken around the world. Gently poached with ginger and scallion, it is served with fragrant garlic rice.

kuey.png has given rise to a machine learning algorithm to distinguish between the two dishes.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College (22 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
It is not garlic rice as you would imagine. Its redolent of oily chicken stock flavoured with spices and condiments in which the rice is cooked.
posted by infini at 11:00 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


I'm vegetarian but I used to make tea eggs all the time and this makes me miss making them.
posted by nevercalm at 11:03 AM on September 15


I love a good Hainan chicken. It's really sublime when a place gets it right.
posted by toastyk at 11:17 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


It is not garlic rice as you would imagine. Its redolent of oily chicken stock flavoured with spices and condiments in which the rice is cooked.

This sounds incredibly good to me.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:28 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


I never get tired of eating chicken rice/nasi ayam/khao man gai. I’m always on the lookout for a new stall. The real debate is between red sauce or brown sauce.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:31 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]




Like one of the commenters, I would like to know if kuey actually eats all that chicken. That's three years of daily chicken.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:24 PM on September 15


I'm vegetarian but

reminds me of a guy I haven't seen in years -- a committed vegetarian who would occasionally slide when he had too much to drink. But he'd only ever eat chicken. "It's alright," he'd say, "Vegetables are smarter than chickens anyway."
posted by philip-random at 12:36 PM on September 15 [7 favorites]


I hadn't eaten soy sauce chicken since my family left Singapore in the late 1980s, but I was lucky enough to visit Melbourne and go to the Hawker Chan mentioned in the story, as they've opened up a few restaurants. It's amazing how something so delicate is also so full of flavor. It made me feel warm and happy, like the best comfort food does.
posted by PussKillian at 1:04 PM on September 15


There's a great Andong video where he goes on an epic Hainan Rice Adventure. Includes a trip to the original Wengchang Chicken joints!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:16 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Hainanese chicken rice is one of those things that seems like it should be unappetizing on description and presentation alone ("chicken... on rice...") but is completely mind-blowing in its simplicity on first bite because of how seriously they take the rice. If I lived in Singapore, I'd probably try to eat this everyday too.
posted by orbit-3 at 1:22 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


There's a Portland institution—Nong's Khao Man Gai—that started with a cart that just did this dish. She's taken that one dish that she made excellently, and now went from a single food cart to multiple restaurants and a sauce empire.

Crap, now I know what I want for dinner.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:26 PM on September 15 [3 favorites]


When my wife and I visited Hong Kong ten years ago, her uncle escorted us around the city for much of the trip. He's fairly well-off, and as such he took us to a number of high-end restaurants (which were uniformly amazing), but the only one we went to twice was a student-y hangout I can't remember the name of which served his favourite version of this dish (it was delicious, and cheap).
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:53 PM on September 15


It is not garlic rice as you would imagine. Its redolent of oily chicken stock flavoured with spices and condiments in which the rice is cooked.


I can't believe I undersold my own favorite form of rice. (kuey.png isn't me)
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 2:18 PM on September 15


These photos make me immediately, viscerally homesick for my Singaporean mother's chicken rice. Thank you (I think?).
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:27 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


For those of us who don't have easy access to restaurants serving Hainanese chicken rice, what are some good recipes online?

(is this recipe from The Woks of Life acceptable?)
posted by needled at 7:12 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


I mean, maybe you can get this in a "restaurant", but really it's street food, kitchen is a pushcart and a few plastic chairs and folding tables, available until wee hours of the morning for maybe $2.50

There's a version using sliced fried chicken that is even better (BKK Gai Taught)

The little bowl of stock on the side, and choice of sauces. . .
posted by goinWhereTheClimateSuitsMyClothes at 7:20 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


(is this recipe from The Woks of Life acceptable?)


That's a pretty good one. It's one of those things where family members can argue about technique and nobody agrees on the finer points.

I further recommend you 1) dry-brine the chicken by rubbing salt on it and in the cavity and leaving it in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours, 2) stuff the ginger and scallions in the cavity, 3) a little fish sauce when you're frying the rice, we usually don't use the bit of chicken fat in frying, preferring instead to use the broth and get a little bit of rendered fat, which I think was a health concession long ago.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 11:59 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


The slow approach is poaching the chicken in water which is just under boiling temp for that damp texture while the fast approach is to dump a packet of rice mix in the cooker with a chicken breast sitting in the middle.
posted by infini at 7:34 AM on September 16


For the Thai version of this dish (kao mun gai) Hot Thai Kitchen has both a "full" version and an "easy" version (that basically tastes just as good -- it's basically a shortcut version that uses chicken parts and stock and a simplified cooking technique.)

My favorite places to eat kao mun gai in New York City, should anyone else reading this also be in the Big Apple, are Eat Gai at Essex St Market in Manhattan and EIM Khao Mun Kai Elmhurst in Queens.
posted by andrewesque at 7:42 AM on September 16 [2 favorites]


This seems as good a place as any to drop my favorite ode to chicken rice, from Invader Zim: Peace is Nice.
posted by fragmede at 6:08 PM on September 17


Oooh chicken rice. I just had that for dinner. My kid would eat it every day if he could (we don't let him). There are lots of recipes, but I've never actually cooked it because it's something you can buy from just about any food court or hawker centre here. Key to the dish (for me) is the slightly sweet soy sauce. For most people, the fiery chilli is just as important.

Those eggs aren't tea eggs, btw; they're soy-braised eggs, boiled eggs submerged in lu shui. They're delicious.
posted by destrius at 8:47 AM on September 18


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