Chicken Rice – the “national dish” of Singapore – is served everywhere in the country from hawker centres and canteens to major restaurants. For me, it is my highly consumed food during my first month here in Singapore and mainly because of two reasons. 1. It is cheap; the cheapest is just S$2.50. 2. It is the most obvious edible food for a person who is not familiar with Singapore food. In fact, I bet a lot of Filipinos share the same story.
More than three years passed and now I can say that I discovered the best chicken rice experience in Singapore; in Loy Kee. Loy Kee means ‘memorable experience’ in Mandarin. They started selling chicken rice with a unique recipe in Raymond Market in 1953.
The place is not so big, but it is homey and the interior is a mix of old and modern decor. There’s a wall of old photos of the owner and the celebrities who have dined there, old lamps and antiques and tables are round and the chairs are made of wood. There are big ceiling fans and air conditioning, though there’s still an area for smokers who want to dine.
Richard worked as assistant manager of the restaurant before, brought me to Loy Kee for lunch. He enthusiastically told me how the restaurant was before while pointing to the changes made in the shop. Kimi, one of the service attendant assisted us with a genuine smile. We didn’t wait long for the food, and it came steaming hot, teasing us with the yummy Hainanese aroma.
Everything was nicely cooked. The chicken meat was tender, the rice was tasty served in a plate garnished with cucumber. There was also a side dish of steamed Chinese cabbage, as well as condiments such as minced ginger, chili and dark soy sauce on the side. Other dishes like Hainanese beef stew were also just as tender and delicious and I loved the guyabano juice that was served in a mason jar, though it was sweeter than I thought.
We ate a lot! We couldn’t help it. Having lunch at Loy Kee is value for money. The experience is like dining in chicken rice’s own home.