Chicken rice is a dish that’s close to many Singaporeans’ hearts.
A dish that inspires fierce, unwavering loyalty among Singaporeans, many of us chicken rice fans have a favourite stall we rarely stray from.
If you love chicken rice, here’s a contender you should definitely check out – Hai Kee.
With two locations – one at Changi and one at Bedok – ‘Hai Kee’, which roughly translates to ‘remember the sea’, is a chicken rice stall that has been around since 1959.
Originally located at Upper Cross Street, this hawker stall is easy to spot with its bright red signboard. Specialising in soy sauce chicken rice, Hai Kee is run by a pair of young hawkers – Joseph Wang and his younger brother, James Wang.
Chicken That’s Soy Delicious
It probably goes without saying that the best-seller at Hai Kee is its signature soy sauce chicken.
A Cantonese style of cooking chicken that involves braising the chicken in soy sauce, Hai Kee’s version is tender and packed with delicious savoury flavour.
The chicken is poached to perfection and is left to rest for a few minutes before serving, which is what gives the meat its tender quality.
Choose to have your meat with either rice — cooked in a garlic- and ginger-infused broth and chicken fat — or egg noodles.
As with many other hawker stalls, you can order ‘xiao de‘ (small), ‘zhong de‘ (medium) or ‘da de‘ (large).
The Superior Soy Sauce Chicken Rice is $3.50 for a small serving, $4.50 for a medium serving, and $5.50 for a large serving, while the Superior Soy Sauce Noodle is $3.80, $4.80, and $5.80 for a small, medium, and large serving respectively.
Even though the soy sauce chicken is the crowd favourite, Hai Kee’s char siew is an absolute must try.
Roasted in-house, Hai Kee uses pork belly meat to make its char siew. The meat is marinated overnight and is freshly roasted daily with Hai Kee’s secret caramelised sauce. Succulent and bursting with flavour, the meat is the perfect mix of sweet and savoury, and will leave you hankering for more.
The Char Siew Rice is $3.50, $4.50, and $5.50 for a small, medium, and large serving respectively, while the Char Siew Noodle is $3.80, $4.80, and $5.80 for a small, medium, and large serving respectively.
Any chicken rice lover worth his salt will know that the sauces are just as important as the flavours on the plate – and Hai Kee’s definitely pack a punch.
If you can’t live without your chilli, dip your meats into Hai Kee’s chilli sauce! Prepared with two varieties of chilli – bird eyed chilli and big red chilli – the sauce is finished off with a dash of lime juice, giving it a bright, zingy twist.
Hai Kee has also created two ginger dipping sauces for its customers. Its ‘sha jiang’ ginger is a chunkier dip that is more reminiscent of the ginger sauce we’re familiar with. Aside from that, Hai Kee has also created a sweet-sour version that goes superbly with its chilli sauce.
Hai Kee also serves roasted pork and vegetables such as Oyster Sauce Vegetables ($3/small, $5/large) and Beansprouts with Cuttlefish ($3/small, $5/large) if you want more variety on your plate.
A New School Brand With Old School Flavour
While Hai Kee has undergone a huge rebranding, ditching its original, more traditional signboard for a modern aesthetic, the food and flavours have not changed; the chicken and roast here taste every bit like the Hai Kee Singaporeans have come to know and love, but with an updated presentation.
One thing you’ll notice when you eat at Hai Kee is that, unlike many chicken rice stalls these days, it serves its rice in a bowl. The old way of eating rice, the duo wanted to do this because they felt that the rice is more fragrant when eaten like this, instead of on a plate.
At Hai Kee, the food is served in traditional-style crockery, making you feel as if you’re having a comforting home-cooked meal, while also evoking a sense of nostalgia.
If you’re keen to have a taste of Hai Kee’s chicken rice, be warned — both its Changi and Bedok branches see long queues on weekends, so be prepared to wait! Otherwise, your best bet is to drop in on a weekday.
While Hai Kee may be a little out of the way for some of us, you can rest assured that the trip will be well worth your while. And if you can’t travel out for a taste, hey, they’re on all the food delivery apps – Deliveroo, FoodPanda, honestbee, and UberEATS.
With mouth-watering soy sauce chicken and tasty roasts, you’ll be wanting seconds while you’re at Hai Kee!
Address: Kim San Leng Coffeeshop, 324T Changi Road S419799
Opening Hours: 9am – 6.30pm, while stock lasts; Kitchen is closed every Friday
Contact no.: 9459 2494
Address: Food Loft Coffeeshop, Blk 217 Bedok North St 01 S460217
Opening Hours: 9am – 8pm, while stock lasts; Kitchen is closed on alternate Tuesdays
Contact no.: 9835 0099