When I first heard of soya sauce chicken, I immediately thought of chicken rice that Malaysians are more accustomed to. But when Michelin announced they were launching the guide in Singapore and that a humble hawker had been awarded this exclusive star for its soya sauce chicken, I knew I had to visit it and more importantly, try the dish myself!
Soya sauce chicken can be found all around Singapore, but the Michelin star honoree and the alternatives in this article are located at the Chinatown Food Complex, so you can try all of them and compare for yourself.
Michelin Star Winner: Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle
The hawker stall was recently awarded a Michelin Star, making it the world’s cheapest Michelin Star meal at only SGD2. But the catch is you’ll have to wait in queue for a really long time. Just to give you an idea, I waited for 3 hours before it was my turn to enjoy it. The first person in the queue was there at 8am, so he also had to wait 3 hours because the stall only opens at 11am.
The first things I noticed were the glistening chickens under the stall’s spotlights. If the chef was a painter, this would be his masterpiece. The chef cut into the meat with ease, like knife against butter, as he prepared my order, signalling to me just how tender the meat is.
I tried the rice first as it was drizzled with the soya sauce and I can confirm that it does hit the sweet spot in the mouth. Sweet, savoury and spicy (if you mix in the chilli sauce), the tender and juicy meat will take your mouth on a roller coaster ride of extreme tastes, not that I am complaining. It is most certainly Michelin Star quality, but I would probably not go back again if I had to wait another 3 hours.
Alternative Star: Fragrant Soya Sauce Chicken
With tummy grumbling and knowing what my next target would be, I made my way to this particular stall to make my order. I was advised by the locals to order the soya sauce chicken with the noodles, as the noodles would act like a sponge absorbing the flavours. Like a true Malaysian, I made sure to mix everything nicely, making sure the noodles soaked up all the sauce. I particularly enjoyed the savoury-sweet robustness of the soya sauce. The sauce was not overpowering and I could honestly drink it like soup—not too heavy in its consistency but still filling the air and my nostrils with tantalizing fragrance! The chicken was so tender I could practically slurp it in along with the flat rice noodle. In the end, I had to exchange my chopsticks for forks because I had such a hard time picking up the meat with the chopsticks.
Alternative Star: Fatty Ox Hong Kong Kitchen
The name is not some marketing ploy—the stalls trace their lineage back to Hong Kong. But I assume that this stall has tweaked their dish to suit local taste buds. The difference here is the “sauce” made from spring onions and ginger that adds a different dimension to the dish, an extra kick from the ginger that reminded me of the chicken rice back in Malaysia. With the chicken’s beautiful glaze, one only has to stare at it to get their tummy rumbling. As with eating fried chicken, I usually attack the skin first, but here, it’s the silky smooth soya sauce chicken skin that I enjoyed the most.
Alternative Star: Emerald Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle
For me, the rice was the thing to beat at this stall, which other stalls serving the soya sauce chicken could not match. They don’t drench the rice with the sauce but it’s drizzled onto the chicken instead. The rice was fluffy and light, and the braised sauce completed the dish. But I felt that the meat was not as succulent as the other stalls.
It is certainly a Michelin-star experience to eat at Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, but if you’re put off by the queue, the other stalls at the hawker centre serve equally tasty soya sauce chicken worth travelling for.