Many people flock to Malacca for their iconic chicken rice balls. However, not many know that this popular dish can be found in Singapore as well.
Nestled within Shing Boon Hwa Food Centre at Dickson Road, just opposite Sim Lim Tower, lies Hainan Chicken Rice Ball, which specialises in both steamed chicken as well as chicken rice balls. If you would like a quick fix of chicken rice balls minus the frills of a 3-hour long drive, then Hainan Chicken Rice Ball is a good alternative that we highly recommend.
The stall itself is situated in a old coffee shop at the end of Dickson road. We arrived slightly before lunch time when the coffee shop was not as crowded, but it was an assuring sight to see that all the diners that were present were tucking into chicken rice balls—an indication that coming here was not a mistake.
We got ourselves half a chicken to share along with 4 chicken rice balls. We paid a total of S$20 which in our opinion is pretty pricey for chicken rice. But for the novelty of actually being able to have these chicken rice balls here in Singapore instead of in Malacca, we suppose it was worth the steep price.
Each set meal typically comes with 2 chicken rice balls per person (S$0.50 per ball).
The rice itself was a tad sticky and a not as oily as your typical chicken rice, similar to that of a rice dumpling. However, despite being compact it still emitted a deep savoury aroma reminiscent of the ones we recall having in Malacca. We were utterly surprised at how tasty it was. It is much more intensely flavoured than your usual chicken rice and the stickiness of the rice grains added an interesting textural experience.
Contrary to many people’s opinions on the quality of their chicken being sub par, we actually thought it was pretty decent. It is definitely not the greatest out there, but the chicken meat was tender, moist and succulent, which is more than we can say about others we have had before.
Despite being doused only in a simple sweet soy sauce, the flavour of the chicken really held its own. Coupled with the tasty chicken rice ball, it made for a pretty satisfying meal.
Special mention has to be made about the complimentary soup that came with our order. While most soups that come paired with chicken rice are clear, the soup served here is of a dark brownish hue—which made us a little confused for a second. To our pleasant surprise, the soup was super tasty and comforting. It had a mild herbal flavour which reminded us of our favourite herbal bak kut teh.
The stall has been around for 93 years and still going strong. Have a taste of nostalgia today at Hainan Chicken Rice Ball!
Hainan Chicken Rice Ball
3 Dickson Road,
Daily: 10am – 3pm
Nearest Station: Rochor