Singapore's renowned Chatterbox has flown the coop all the way to Hong Kong’s newest landmark, K11 MUSEA in TST. Revered for its iconic deboned chicken rice, Chatterbox first made its appearance in 1971 at Singapore's five-star Mandarin Orchard hotel on the island city state’s buzziest shopping street as a 24-hour coffee shop. The menu featured local hawker favourites served in a very refined setting. The star there was, and still is, the chicken rice, which is probably the cleanest, least oily version we’ve tried. The meat remains succulent even though most of the chicken fat has been skimmed off, and the rice is cooked with chicken broth instead of the traditional chicken fat. Surprisingly, we preferred the white meat over the dark at Chatterbox Café; we felt it was more tender and had (surprisingly) more flavour. In the essence of quality over quantity, only 700 portions of this Mandarin chicken rice ($118) are served per day.
Shop B110, B1/F, K11 MUSEA, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, TST, 2352 2173
The Farm Cafe
This popular neighbourhood restaurant has two branches around the corner from each other in Kennedy Town, but only the Catchick Street location serves Hainan chicken rice ($68). The set comes with chicken-oil rice, a tomato-based broth and a hot drink. The chicken is tender and juicy and, when dipped into the herb-infused sauce, absolutely mouth-watering. We also recommend pouring the sauce over the rice for extra flavour. The salted, roasted peanuts on the side make for a nice change from the usual pickled vegetables.
38–40 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town, 3486 3632
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
The name says it all, and Tian Tian first made its grand debut in the 852 last year as an outpost of the famed Singapore Michelin-recommended chicken rice hawker stall, and the queues haven’t let up since. This plate of chicken rice ($80) features tenderly poached chicken alongside a mound of fluffy, plump rice glistening with chicken fat. Even better for us though is Tian Tian’s roasted chicken rice ($82). Shell out just $2 more and you’ll be graced with the same fragrant rice and flavourful, silky chicken – but this time with browned, crispy skin.
Causeway Bay: Shop H2, G/F, Fashion Walk, 9 Kingston Street, 3108 2181
TST: Shop 1050A, 1/F, ELEMENTS, 1 Austin Road West, 3108 2182
When the craving hits, many of us head to popular local restaurant chain Tsui Wah for a fix. This home-grown chain of cha chaan tengs, or teahouses, first opened in 1967 with its San Po Kong branch and grew quickly in popularity thanks to its bevy of classic Hong Kong drinks and comfort foods. Today, the brand has 28 locations in Hong Kong and has expanded to Singapore, Mainland China and Macau. The Hainan chicken rice ($70) here, made of juicy, boneless chicken paired with chicken-oil rice and soup, is a time-tested classic. It’s a good deal from a brand that’s part of Hong Kong’s history.
Branches around town; click here for locations
AND THE WINNER IS...
In our humble opinion, the coveted title of best chicken rice in Hong Kong goes to the succulent birdie at Café Causette at the Mandarin Oriental, proving that time-honoured tradition reigns supreme. This eatery at the five-star hotel started selling its Hainan chicken rice ($318) back in 1994, and it has remained one of the establishment’s best-selling dishes. The kitchen team treat the chicken with plenty of TLC, turning the chook every 20 minutes in its poaching liquid. The rice is infused with lemongrass, chicken fat, ginger and homemade secret seasonings. With such a high price tag, this chicken rice is definitely a luxurious treat – but well worth it.
M/F, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central, 2825 4005, book online
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