A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.



I was recently in the Thong Lor area of Sukhumvit Road and came across Boon Tong Kiat, a restaurant selling “Singapore chicken rice”. Despite having visited the country several times, I only recently became aware that chicken rice is Singapore’s ‘national’ dish and was curious to see how it differed from the Thai version. The shop was also highly recommended by a friend, so I stopped by.

From the get-go, Boon Tong Kiat’s khao man kai looks quite different than the domestic version of this Chinese dish. The rice had a slightly gold hue, which according to an extremely detailed sign inside the restaurant, was due to the use of “nine different spices”. In addition to this, the sign explained that the rice was also “the finest jasmine rice in the country”, and was first fried in a wok over high heat before being cooked over medium heat in a gas-powered rice cooker, before finally kept warm in a “Singaporean rice cooker”. There was an equal amount of information regarding the cooking of the chicken, the majority of which escapes me now.

Culinary mission statements aside, it took only a simple taste to realize that Boon Tong Kiat is doing something special here. The rice was was fragrant with the “nine spices”, galangal being the only one I could identify with some confidence, and was perfectly cooked, being both tender and toothsome. The chicken was also tender but not mushy, and was juicy and flavourful. This was the first time I’d seen this simple dish done to its full potential, and I loved it.

Halfway into the dish, I noticed that the restaurant also did rojak, a sweet/sour ‘salad’ of Indonesian origin known at Boon Tong Kiat as som tam singapore. I loved this dish from my visits to Singapore and couldn’t resist ordering:


Boon Tong Kiat’s version was pretty spot on and combined par-boiled morning glory, crunchy bits of cucumber, pineapple, apple and the deep-fried Chinese dough fritters known as you tiao. This was topped with the thick, sweet/sour sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The sauce wasn’t as profound or thick as that I’ve had in Penang, but tasted more or less as it should.

In addition to chicken rice and rojak, Boon Tong Kiat also prepares a variety of Sino/Singaporean-foods. And despite Singapore being virtually a neighbor of Thailand, this shop, as far as I know, is the only place in town where you can find such dishes. Very highly recommended.

Boon Tong Kiat Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice
440/5 and 396 Sukhumvit 55
02 390 2508

11 Comments for Boon Tong Kiat Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice

Can you beam over some of this grub to the other side of the planet for me? I am salivating on my laptop as I type. Your blog is a Thai & Asian foodie’s dream. This Hainanese chicken sounds like the ultimate in taste and texture.

I think Rojak shouldn’t have morning glory in it…it’s supposedly a fruit salad dish…so having greeny leaves in it is just wrong. Anyway, in KL, they also have morning glory in their version of rojak…call me biased, but I always think Penang rojak is the best! The sauce makes all the difference.

Rojak is of Javanese origin (rujak in bahasa Indonesian). Singapore didn’t exist as a city-state when it was introduced to Malaysia (as were many other Indonesia-origin dishes) by Javanese settlers who arrived to work on rubber plantations as tappers towards the end of the 1800s.

In addition to the Penang (Chinese version) there’s an Indian version as well, with a peanut-based sauce.

vgriffing: food beaming would be wonderful, wouldn’t it! Thanks for reading.

rasa: I agree with you, but actually much of the rojak I’ve had in Malaysia (particularly in Melaka) had morning glory. And yes, the best I’ve had was in Penang, at the Gurney Street food court/hawker centre.

robyn: Ta, and corrected! I knew it was Indonesian in origin, but thought the Sing. version might be considered something of an entirely different dish in its own right. Maybe not?

Sad to say Gurney Drive hasn’t recovered from the tsunami.

We Singaporeans have different views about who makes the best version of our national dish. Most of my teochew friends prefer Boon Tong Kiat for some reason while I find their chicken to be rather dry and tasteless myself. My fav will always be Wee Nam Kee with their juicy plumb roast chicken.

Nice to know that one of our name brands made it to BKK. When will you get here so we can show you the real stuff? 🙂

    I was curious and being a Singaporean wanted to taste it. But I can only say that there is nothing quite similar and close to Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice. It tastes like beginners doing chicken broth rice and the texture is not Singaporean too. The Rojak was totally salty with no shrimp paste in it. This rojak is actually known as the Peranakan rojak , it should taste sweet and sour but not very salty. The ingredients are supposedly the following: Long fritter or Yu Char Kway , turnip , cucumber , sweet and sour pineapple , vegetables , bean sprouts , dried tofu , chilli paste , sweet dark soya sauce , tamarind sauce , sugar , MSG , penang shrimp paste . The sauce should be thick and sticky but the one at BTK is a total disgrace. I can make the original Rojak to prove it if we have the penang shrimp paste. The secret is in the paste , thats it. If no Penang shrimp Paste then it is not Rojak for sure. So whoever is recommending BTK …stop it…it is not originally Singapore food. I wonder if the owner is Singaporean anyway.

      I stopped by here for the first time in ages and, to my dismay, the quality appears to have dropped significantly… I hope they get their act together, as it was pretty good at one point.

I’m weeping from afar … that you have access to such divine stuff. oh to be walking along sukhumvit right now.

I can’t wait to go back to BKK now!
Your blog is very interesting and the pictures are beautiful! You are one of my many inspirations!

[…] Bush (2007). Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.austinbushphotography.com/blog/boon-tong-kiat-singapore-hainanese.html. [Last Accessed 17 August […]

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