Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice – The Taste Test Between Anxin Chicken VS White Broiler
Coming to Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice feels like coming back home – enjoying a plate of chicken rice and listening to conversations being made in Hainanese, just like what happens in my family during Chinese New Year (I can hardly speak Hainanese though, but I understand it).
While the chicken rice dish itself may be as common as the air we breathe, those that have transcended the norm to become truly great are rare. Growing the business from an unknown stall in Maxwell Market from 1986, all the way to one of the most recognized and best venues for Hainanese Chicken Rice in Singapore is Madam Foo and her daughter Ms Loi. Both of them still presides over the quality of the food at all outlets with a watchful and experienced eye.
Tian Tian chicken rice is already very good on its own, what if we now replace the usual commercial broiler to Anxin chicken (安心雞) specially for the Ultimate Hawker Festival 2014? SOLID. After our visit to Toh Thye San farm, we had a clear understanding of how Anxin chickens are reared. These French birds grow up in a peaceful environment, feed on corn and are free from antibiotics and chemical growth promoters. They take about twice as long as to be raised as compared to the white broiler, but are said to have better tasting meat. But it’s difficult to imagine how the taste would differ from the commercial broiler ones.
As a continuation to our trip, we had lunch at Tian Tian chicken rice @ Joo Chiat a week later. Kenny from Toh Thye San farm specially prepared delivered Anxin chicken to Tian Tian and we tried the two different chickens (Anxin vs white broiler) on our table.
Let’s start from the look, the picture above is Anxin chicken while the picture below is normal white broiler. Anxin chicken obviously has a more yellow skin (because they feed on corn). The skin is slightly thicker than the normal broiler. Now comes the most important part – taste! Wahseh, we can really taste the difference! Anxin chicken has a firm texture with slight sweetness (from the corn fed element). It has nice chickeny flavour in the juicy meat which is absent in the commercial broiler. Usually when we eat chicken rice, a sauce will be drizzled on the chicken to uplift the flavour. But Anxin chicken is so tasty that the sauce is redundant!
Regular Tian Tian chicken rice is cooked with American Broiler breed of chicken. Not saying the usual broiler is not nice. It, of course, already tasted great and that’s why Tian Tian defeated Gordon Remsay at the Hawker Heroes Challenge. That already speaks alot about their food. Whether it is Anxin chicken or the normal white broiler, Tian Tian cooks them so well that there is always a layer of gelatine underneath the skin. Of course, the usual white broiler tasted better with their special gooey sauce. It’s tender, juicy and smooth!
The steamed chicken is served slightly chilled which is very refreshing and light on a hot day. The soothing coolness is also a perfect counterpoint to the “fierceness” of the chilli. Most important of all, and setting this delectable dish aside from the rest, is the Hainanese rice. Light, smooth and slightly buttery with just a hint of garlic. The rice is cooked in the chicken stock to perfection – full of flavour and oily as the way Hainanese chicken rice should be. Even celebrity chef and host Anthony Bourdain said that the rice here is so good that you can eat it on its own.
We paired our chicken rice with other dishes such as salad prawns, vegetables and thai style tofu.
Kenny and his dad Alex, the men behind Toh Thye San farm. I personally think it is great idea to let everyone taste the better quality meat from Anxin chicken rice during Ultimate Hawker Festival (by the way, Anxin chicken is certified Halal). Read more about them here. If the response is so good, who knows, we may be able to hold a special promotion with Tian Tian Chicken Rice to promote the Anxin chicken at their outlets!
With everybody! 🙂 Here’s a video interview with Mdm Foo and Ms Loi:
Besides the original stall at Maxwell Food Centre, Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice has expanded to other locations (they have just opened an outlet in Clementi). If you prefer to have the same quality chicken rice at an air-conditioned place, you can visit its outlet at Joo Chiat Road. This outlet also offers a selection of Hainanese dishes to make your meal more colourful.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Address: 443 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427656
Opening hours: 10.30am to 9.30pm
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Toh Thye San Farm and Tian Tian chicken rice are again doing their part for the Singapore Ultimate Hawker Fest. This is a charity event to showcase some of our finest street food in Singapore. At the same time, it was also an event to raise money for the beneficiaries under the care of TOUCH Community Services REGARDLESS of race and religion. Get a taste of Anxin chicken and over 20 other Singapore hawker food at:
Singapore Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014
Venue: SUNTEC Convention Hall 401-402
Date: 22 Nov 2014 (Saturday)
Time: 11am to 5pm