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Brother Cheng’s Chicken Rice

Restaurants Orchard
Brother Cheng’s Chicken Rice
Photograph: Brother Cheng’s Chicken Rice

Time Out says

Would you pay $15 for a plate of chicken rice? You might at Picnic Food Park. Its owner Cheng Hsin Yao is hoping to convince you that his gourmet version is well-worth the buck. His latest concept, Brother Cheng’s Chicken Rice, digs into his grandfather's time-tested recipe to create chicken rice made using premium ingredients – from the bird used right down to the chilli sauce.

Authentic Hainanese versions of the dish call for the use of ‘Wenchang’ birds from Hainan, China. But here, kampong chickens from Malaysia are used instead. The birds are fed a diet of corn, which results in a distinctive yellow skin and succulent meat. It’s poached, then dunked in an ice bath – a crucial step that yields a layer of silky collagen beneath the skin. A drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil completes the dish.

Equal attention goes into developing the accompaniments, too. Bentong ginger, a richer, more pungent variant sourced from Pahang, Malaysia, is used in the preparation of both the rice and chilli. It lends the rice a gentle warmth and plenty of aroma, and in the chilli, a kick of spice and heat. For a boost in flavour, the grains are first fried in chicken fat together with ginger, then steamed alongside pandan leaves and chicken stock till fragrant and fluffy.

Prices start from $14.90 for a set for one, $42.90 for three, and $84.90 for six. It might sound steep, but with the context of food prices in town, it’s a decent price tag for a hearty square meal. Each comes with sides of oyster sauce vegetable and chicken soup with cubes of tofu – an unusual addition, but it's just like what Hsin Yao had growing up.


Address: #03-15, Wisma Atria
435 Orchard Rd
Opening hours: Mon & Tue, Thu & Fri 11am-2pm, 6pm-9pm; Sat & Sun 11am-9pm
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