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Savoring Singapore's Signature Dish: Hainanese Chicken Rice

Savoring Singapore's Signature Dish: Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice is a beloved culinary icon of Singapore, celebrated for its simplicity, delicate flavors, and comforting appeal. If you're eager to recreate this quintessential dish at home or simply learn more about its origins, join us on a flavorful journey through the world of Hainanese Chicken Rice.

The Essence of Hainanese Chicken Rice

At its heart, Hainanese Chicken Rice consists of poached chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth, accompanied by dipping sauces and flavorful condiments. This dish may seem straightforward, but its beauty lies in the harmony of flavors and textures.

Ingredients for Hainanese Chicken Rice:

For the Chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken (about 1.5 kg or 3.3 lbs), preferably free-range
  • 3 slices of ginger
  • 2 stalks of spring onions (scallions), white part only
  • Salt, to taste

For the Rice:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups chicken broth (from cooking the chicken)
  • 3 slices of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt, to taste

For the Dipping Sauce:

  • Soy sauce
  • Ginger, finely chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • Chili sauce (optional)


  • Fresh cucumber slices
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped


1. Prepare the Chicken:

  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil.
  2. Add ginger slices, spring onion stalks, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Gently lower the whole chicken into the pot, breast-side down.
  4. Cover the pot, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature of 75°C or 165°F).
  5. Remove the chicken and immediately plunge it into ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking process. This helps to keep the chicken skin firm and tender.

2. Cook the Rice:

  1. In a skillet, heat a bit of oil and sauté ginger and garlic until fragrant.
  2. Add rinsed jasmine rice and stir-fry for a few minutes.
  3. Transfer the rice to a rice cooker or pot. Add chicken broth (strained from cooking the chicken) and salt.
  4. Cook the rice according to the rice cooker's instructions or until fluffy and cooked through.

3. Prepare Dipping Sauce:

  1. Combine soy sauce, chopped ginger, minced garlic, and chili sauce (if using) in a small bowl. Adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

4. Serve and Enjoy:

  1. Slice the poached chicken and arrange it on a plate with cucumber slices and fresh coriander.
  2. Serve the chicken with the fragrant rice and dipping sauce on the side.

Cultural Insights:

Hainanese Chicken Rice traces its origins to Hainan province in southern China, brought to Singapore by Hainanese immigrants. Over time, this dish evolved to suit local tastes, becoming a beloved part of Singapore's culinary landscape.

Share the Experience

Whether you're preparing Hainanese Chicken Rice for a family meal or gathering with friends, embrace the tradition and flavors of this iconic Singaporean dish. Let each bite transport you to the vibrant streets of Singapore, where food is not just sustenance but a celebration of culture and community.

Join the Conversation

Have you tried Hainanese Chicken Rice? Share your cooking adventures and favorite variations in the comments below. Let's connect through food and celebrate the joys of culinary exploration!