By Kiana Koh
Many might know Chinatown for its cheap food and rich history, but in the Chinatown market place, there is a shop amongst all the food stalls that sells chicken rice that everyone queues for! The queue for the chicken rice was insane when I went there with Travis and we queued for close to 30 minutes to get the chicken rice! Before we headed out, I had no idea what to expect with the food. Also, I don’t really like traveling to Chinatown but Travis said that the chicken rice at Heng Ji Chicken was something he had eaten when he was younger. That really piqued my interest as he kept on claiming that the chicken rice was great.
After what seemed like forever, we FINALLY placed our orders and waited for it. While we were queuing, I heard the customers in front ordering and they ordered 5 or 6 packs of chicken rice to go, and I was surprised. Just how good is good is this chicken rice?!
We collected our chicken rice and found a table nearby. We sat down and dug in. For me, the rice did not taste like regular chicken rice. Regular chicken rice is cooked in chicken stock with ginger and pandan leaves but the Heng Ji chicken rice was lacking that familiar taste, which tasted foreign to me. I did not like the taste of the rice, it tasted like leftover rice and was missing the most important ingredients that make a chicken rice. The chicken was not anything special as well, it was slightly cold and tough and I was just really disappointed. I was hoping maybe the chili might help and just pull the dish together but to my horror, the chili was diluted and not even spicy. Disappointment was an understatement. Travis was shocked that the standard had dropped but I guess that showed it had been a very long time since he had it.
I highly recommend looking around the market for other good food because this might not be for everyone. If you are someone that is unable to take spicy food, you could try this dish if you want, because the chili is not spicy.
Maybe I just have a higher expectation for chicken rice because it is a dish that I absolutely love and enjoy. Maybe I will give this another go when I am in the vicinity! Hopefully, Heng Ji chicken rice will be better.