Maria Virgin Chicken – Mentor of Michelin-Starred Hawker!
Meet Madam Maria Siew, the owner of Maria Virgin Chicken (瑪俐亞處女雞). Last year, Shin Ming had reported that Madam Siew is believed to have been a teacher of Mr Chan Hon Meng, the man behind the Michelin-starred soya sauce chicken rice stall in the same hawker centre.
Maria’s soya sauce chicken recipe came from her dad who owned the legendary New Lam Thong Tea House (新南堂) which was founded in 1926, in Chinatown. New Lam Thong was famous for soya sauce chicken and Maria had been working in her dad’s restaurant since she was 9 years old.
After her father’s business folded, Maria subsequently opened a stall in Maxwell before moving to Chinatown Complex. Chef Chan had worked for Maria for more than a decade before striking out on his own. Last year, they have moved from one stall to another in the same hawker centre.
Are you wondering how the stall got its name? Apparently, Maria Virgin Chicken pays tribute to Mdm Siew’s sworn sister, the well-known Hong Kong entertainer Maria Cordero.
Maria’s soy sauce chicken was excellent. Just look at that nicely glazed skin, which has absorbed the colours and flavours of the superior soy sauce dressing. On the first bite, you can detect a subtle fragrance of rose wine, and herbal notes. The meat, which was cooked to the right temperature with the bone hollows still pink, was really tender and springy. Even the breast meat was so juicy!
While many other soya sauce chicken stalls pair their chicken with plain rice, Maria chooses to use chicken rice. I like Maria’s rice as the grains had just the right amount of moisture. The rice carried a gentle balance of sweetness and garlicky savouriness. It was also not overly greasy.
While you’re here, you must must must order the Signature Braised Beancurd ($1.40 per piece) which comes drenched in a sweet and savoury braising sauce. It’s soft, it’s smooth, it’s jiggly. This one really stole the show. And if you plan to ‘dabao’ some back for your family, the minimum order is 5 pieces without the purchase of their chicken (not that you will have any problems finishing that).
In my opinion, this is definitely one of the better soya sauce chicken rice in Singapore. And, I think it deserves a Michelin star.
Maria Virgin Chicken
Address: Blk 335, Smith Street #02-189, Chinatown Food Complex, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: 7:30am to 4:30pm, closed on Mon & Fri