Monday, December 11, 2006

Hainanese Chicken Rice on SilkAir

Hainanese Chicken Rice on SilkAir

I just realized that after so many flights in and out of Singapore all of these years, I'd never really seen chicken rice (practically a national icon) offered on any of the flights...until today. When the flight attendant told us the choices, I didn't even bother listening to the second choice as my mind was made up instantly. Now, technically this was labeled as Hainanese chicken rice, which I understand to be a forefather of the allegedly tastier Singaporean adaptation that is today one of the country's pride and joys. Seeing that we were leaving China today, I wasn't sure if this were supposed to be the original Hainanese version or not. Then again, maybe all of the food was loaded in Singapore, seeing that SilkAir had such a quick turnaround on the ground today in Chongqing.

And I was still confused when eating it, as there was a sauce on top of the chicken that was gooey-er than what I believe is common to either version. The rice, which I understand is one of the key differences between the two versions, tasted like it was made with chicken stock, thus suggesting that it was intended to be more Singaporean. Yet if it were really meant to be that way, then they missed out on one huge piece of the equation: the raw garlic infused chili sauce. So I'm not sure which one they were trying to go after here, but in the end, I still liked the juicy boneless cuts.

Well, technically I've never been to Hainan and really can't say any of this with much authority, so if anyone can confirm or clarify the difference for me, please do (and seeing how comments seem to shoot up anytime I write about chicken rice, I know that I'm opening up a can of worms here). Either way, here is to having more chicken rice options on airplanes.


CT said...

your query had left me curious so i googled that topic and got a brief description:
"..The traditional Hainanese method boils the entire chicken in a large pot and reuses the broth for cooking rice. After boiling, the chicken is immediately dunked into cool water to prevent overcooking and firm up the meat..."

Maybe it's something to do with the preparation.
And i believe that the term "Hainanese Chicken Rice" has been overused because people have so much trust in that label.

bma said...

Thanks. Yeah, actually here is a good story too. What confuses me though is the last few paragraphs, where she points out that the Hainanese stock is not used for cooking rice, but then in the next paragraph says that they do use a chicken stock for the rice.

Well, assuming that the rice is cooked in a chicken stock in both versions, then I guess the main difference is the chili sauce? Then this one truly was Hainanese...and now that I think of it, that "gooey sauce" on it did taste like an oyster sauce. Hopefully I haven't misunderstood anything here...again, I've never been to Hainan before, so I really can't distinguish one from the other.