Things 2 try   before we die
  Best food & drink by category
Best food & drink by region Special occasions National menus
Alphabetical index

Sponsored links


Special occasions



Hainanese chicken rice

Highslide JS

Hainanese chicken rice is a dish of Chinese origin most commonly associated with Singaporean cuisine or Malaysian cuisine.

Left: Hainanese chicken rice.

It is also commonly sold in neighbouring Thailand, and found in Hainan, China itself. Hainanese chicken rice is often considered as the "national dish" of Singapore.

The chicken is prepared in traditional Hainanese methods which involve the boiling of the entire chicken in a pork and chicken bone stock, reusing the broth over and over and only topping it up with water when needed, in accordance with the Chinese preferences for creating master stocks. This stock is not used for rice preparation, which instead involves chicken stock created specifically for that purpose, producing an oily, flavourful rice sometimes known as "oily rice" with Southeast Asian pandan leaves added sometimes. Some cooks may add coconut milk to the rice, reminiscent of the Malay dish nasi lemak.

The Hainanese prefer using older, plumper birds to maximise the amount of oil extracted, thus creating a more flavourful dish. Over time, however, the dish began adopting elements of Cantonese cooking styles, such as using younger birds to produce more tender meats. In another variation, the bird is dipped in ice after cooking to produce a jelly-like skin finishing, commonly referred to as Báijī ("white chicken"). In Singapore, where modernity has made the maintenance and long-term storage of master stocks unfeasible, the meat is cooked by boiling in water flavoured with garlic and ginger instead, with the resulting stock used in the preparation of the rice and also in the accompanying soup.

The dish is usually served with several dips, including chilli sauce and pounded ginger. It is common in Hainan to also offer a third sauce involving oyster sauce mixed with garlic, while dark soy sauce is more commonly served in Malaysia/Singapore. The Malaysian/Singaporean version of the chili are also much hotter, reflecting its Southeast Asian influences, and may also involve a mixture of chilli with garlic. Most dishes are served with sliced cucumber, reflecting the Chinese preference for introducing some variety for a more complete meal.

Sometimes a boneless version of chicken rice is served in Singapore or Malaysia.


Back to What People Eat & Drink



World's best food

Sponsored links


World's best drinks