Singapore: Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

by gigi on March 30, 2011

After a seven hour flight from Tokyo, Jenkins and I arrived in the second city of our Asia trip: Singapore. I knew when I was planning the Singapore portion of our trip that I had to have the Hainanese chicken, considered by many to be Singapore’s national dish. I found that Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice was recommended by many people and was also visited by Anthony Bourdain when he was in the country to film an episode of No Reservations. That was enough to sell me on visiting this busy hawker stall in the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre close to Chinatown.

Tian Tian

I had been warned beforehand of the long line-ups but luckily for us, the line moved pretty quickly and I was able to place my order after waiting only about 7 minutes or so. Jenkins decided to order the large chicken rice while I ordered the regular size. As you can see below, there wasn’t too much difference between the two sizes but then again, you only had to pay S$1 (equivalent to $0.70 CAD) for the larger size.

Hainanese Chicken

Jenkins had found seats for us while I was lining up for our food so we were able to dig in immediately. What ensued was the best Hainanese chicken I had ever had in my life! The boneless chicken was silky smooth and cooked perfectly. I was most impressed with the texture of the chicken but also loved its subtle flavour of chives and ginger. What Jenkins noticed was that there was less sesame oil (if any) in this version compared to the ones we had in Vancouver.

Hainanese Chicken

As with many dishes in Singapore, the condiments also make the dish so we enjoyed experimenting with different quantities of Tian Tian’s house made garlic chilli sauce and thick soy sauce. I should also note that the rice was also delicious, picking up the flavours of the chicken and although oily, was not overwhelmingly so. I actually remarked to Jenkins that if I could only eat the rice and no chicken, I would still be quite the happy camper. :)

Hainanese chicken

To wash down our delicious chicken rice, we also had some fresh sugar cane juice and fresh soy milk. In the +30 degree heat that we were eating our meal in, the drinks were very refreshing and appropriate. :) The sugar cane juice was amazing and had a slightly grassy and sweet taste to it. Jenkins really enjoyed the soy milk and it turned out to be one of his staples while we were in Singapore.


Jenkins and I had a fantastic meal at Tian Tian Hainanese chicken. The cost of our chicken rice and drinks cost us about S$9, which is equivalent to just over $6CAD. Definitely a price that couldn’t be beat, especially for some of the best Hainanese chicken around. :)

Stall #10, Maxwell Hawker Centre
Corner of Maxwell Road & Southbridge Road
Open 11AM-8PM (closes when the chicken sells out)

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