The healthy eating craze has made Hainanese chicken rice popular now-a-days. There are so many new chicken rice restaurants popping up. Kenny Rogers has even included the dish on their menu. I honestly don’t know how healthy it is…. because the secret in making chicken rice is including the chicken fat trimmings in the stock. The more oily the better!
I believe the best Hainanese chicken in Manila would still be Tao Yuan. The restaurant is located at the corner of Mabini and Malvar streets in Malate. It is across the Pan Pacific Hotel and there is a parking lot near the establishment. The mother of our alumni Calvin Or and Carol manages the restaurant. We like the novelty and charm of the original Malate place better but Mrs. Or says the more modern Resorts World branch also has their Singaporean and Hong Kong chefs.
For lunch we ordered a whole Hainanese chicken, cereal prawns, celery with fish
cakes, and laksa. The Hainanese chicken was flavourful and succulent. Really the best!! The huge pieces of cereal prawns were fried to perfection. The cereals were light and crunchy, and not oily unlike other places. The laksa can be compared to a rich bisque with coconut cream served with generous portions of seafood. It was sooo good! For vegetables we had stir-fried celery with fish cakes. The house specialty asado century egg tart had a delightful flaky short crust and the asado filling was delicious. Complementary desert to end the meal was a refreshing and nicely chilled Mango Sago. It was a very good lunch because everything served to us was properly executed. Next time I will come back for the Singaporean chilli crabs even if the place is a bit pricey.
Hainanese chicken is so easy to make at home. Traditionally steamed but you may also opt to simply boil the half chicken. Then use the stock to cook rice. Serve the chicken on a bed of sliced cucumber together with the sauces. The three dipping sauces are: chili, sweet soy sauce (called kecap manis and is available in most Asian stores), and grated ginger with sesame oil and scallions.