Hainanese chicken rice, made of poached chicken and seasoned rice, is one of Singapore's national dishes. This delicious dish was created by the migrants from the Hainan province in China, centuries ago. The chicken rice then underwent many changes in its taste, texture, and ingredients.
The people of the Hainan province used bones of the aged fowls and pigs to prepare this dish. However, when it came to Singapore, chicken became the primary ingredient. In Singapore, the chicken rice is a simple dish of poached chicken and flavoured rice, served with chilli sauce and cucumber garnish. This dish has simple flavours as it was created and popularized by the poor Hainanese community in Singapore.
Tender chicken is used to prepare this dish. The meat is first cooked in hot water and then dipped in cold water to give it a soft, melt-in-mouth texture. The rice is cooked in chicken fat extracted from this broth. Ginger, garlic and pandan leaves are added to make it flavoursome. The chicken rice is served by placing the poached chicken pieces on top of the oily rice. A number of dipping sauces, too, are served along with the Hainanese chicken rice.
Sometimes, instead of poaching the chicken, they are roasted in the salty and tangy soy sauce for enhanced flavours. Now, many chefs are trying to bring variations and multiple flavours into one of the most iconic dishes of Singapore.
After Singapore split from Malaysia, in 1965, a political controversy had erupted when both countries claimed the ownership of the Hainanese chicken rice.
The Hainanese chicken rice has found a place in the list of 50 best dishes in the world published by CNN.