Saturday, October 24, 2009

Best Hainanese Chicken Rice anywhere

Its only natural that being from Singapore/Malaysia, I am a foodie and hence my first post will be about food. In particular my search for home food in this city with few Singaporean-Malaysian around.  The craving for spicy food especially comes often and the food in Philippine while delicious, especially my favourite, Sinigang, is typically blander and lack the 'hot' element which other South East Asian cuisine has.

One of the food I have been looking for is the Hainanese Chicken rice. Its not that its my favourite food so much that I have many Pinoy friends who have tasted it and really liked it.  So, since this city have some really good Chinese food these days, I thought it would not be difficult to find good Hainanese Chicken Rice.. However, those that I have tasted varies greatly from marginally acceptable to pretty bad..

Until today, when a new good friend took me to Tao Yuan at Malate.  Its not just the chicken was well done and have the two version of  boiled and fried-crispy skin, its not that the rice was perfectly fragrant, what made this experience worth mentioning was the Chilli sauce - I swear its as good as any tasted anywhere period. It was so good that we kept our large sauce plate refilled at least 5 times! In fact most places in Singapore and Malaysia cannot match  this quality - the righ vinegar, chilli, ginger, garlic.. It was perfectly balance with a perfect sting of 'hot'.

Supposedly the owner of Tao Yuan is now a Singaporean who imports much of what is needed. He certaintly done his country proud. I swear the chilli is better than Boon Tong Kee, Wee Nam Kee in Singapore, Famosa and Chop Chung Wah Chicken Rice Ball in Malacca and Ong Kee or any other oulet in Ipoh. You would not imagine the one of the best Hainanese Chicken rice chilli in the world would be found of all places in Manila.  How is that for unique perspective of the Philippines?

In addition, the chicken was interesting. Most of the chicken I have tasted here in the Philippine is a bit bland and soft typically of mass-produced types that you get in all supermarkets everywhere.  You can get the run-free type (i.e., kampung chicken variety) in the rural areas which is hard to come by in the city. The kampung chicken here while tasty tend not to be well-fed and hence either too small or not enough meat to make decent chicken rice with. Tao Yuan chicken is tastier than any chicken you can buy at the supermarket but not as tasty as the kampung chicken variety BUT the meat is actually not as tender as the supermarket variety and not as tough as the kampung chicken variety.. I like my chicken this way.. And the there was little fat in it!  I suspect he gets his chicken specially supplied to him on his specification!!

So for those craving for Hainanese Chicken rice especially bloggers who have been writing about it after going to the Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards. Now you can have your craving satisfied locally.. However, I have to warn you. My only complain is the price was pretty steep. We had half a crispy-skin and half boiled chicken with a small vege and the bill came to P1500 and we did not order any drinks.. But at least the parking is free (you can get it validated if you park next door to Tao Yuan).

I can't wait to go back to Tao Yuan to try its other dishes. Supposedly they also have fish-head curry and the roast duck and piglet looks faboulous to try...

Tao Yuan
General Malvar St. Cor of Mabini St

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