Boon Tong Kee @ 401 Balestier Road
Dubbed as the ‘national dish’ of Singapore, Chicken Rice has a special place in every Singaporean’s heart. We have such an insatiable appetite for this dish that every hawker centre definitely has a stall (or two), just to cater to the demand. Needless to say, everyone has their favourite Chicken Rice stall. Be it Tian Tian Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre, Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice, Boon Tong Kee or even the extravagant $28 Chatterbox Chicken Rice, each has its fans and loyal customers who return time and time again, just to satisfy that craving.
We had two friends dropping by Singapore from the UK a few days ago and being part of the food scene as well, they specifically requested to have Chicken Rice during their visit having heard rife rave reviews about it. After factoring in their itinerary and non-existent tolerance for our country’s humidity, we decided on the original Boon Tong Kee branch in Balestier, which was conveniently air-conditioned.
Boon Tong Kee has been around since 1979 when the owner started out with a humble little stall in Chinatown, followed by his first restaurant in 1983. The brand now has 7 outlets all over Singapore and has also diversified in serving Zi Char as well on top of their famous Chicken Rice.
While I am usually a fan of roasted chicken, we had to try Boon Tong Kee’s Signature Boiled Chicken $5/$10/$15/$30 because this white sauce chicken is their specialty. And true to its claims, the chicken was firm, tender and silken smooth. Even the breast meat parts that are usually dry and flavourless, remained moist and extremely succulent. The highlight was of course dipping that chicken into their in-house chilli sauce. Absolutely lip-smacking delectable. The rice too was extremely fragrant and sufficiently oily, even good to eat on its own!
We also added a Braised Mushrooms with Broccoli $15 to the order, just to get our veggie fix. I did think $15 was a tad too pricey for the portion we were served though!
The Braised Pork Belly with Bun $18 on the other hand was quite a bargain especially because it came with 6 steamed buns or Man Tou! I have never really been a fan of fatty pork but my was this too good to resist. The pork belly had been stewed till tender with that layer of sinfully melt-in-your-mouth fat under the skin. The sauce was sweet, sticky and paired off with those warm steamed buns so beautifully. The UK friends had full praises for this and polished off everything, right to the last piece of lettuce and coriander leaf.
Boon Tong Kee does live up to its reputation and seeing the bustling crowds at lunch time with long queues outside the restaurant is testament to the standards that remain consistent right to this day. I enjoyed the boisterous atmosphere and the over-friendly aunties who were fussing over us the whole time, making sure we were enjoying our food and keeping our tea cups filled at all times.
399 /401 /403 Balestier Road
Tel: 6254 3937 l 6256 0138
Monday – Saturday: 11:00am to 04:45pm
05:30pm to 04:30am
Sunday : 11:00am to 04:45pm
05:30pm to 03:00am