Monday, October 1, 2012

Stompin' At The Savoy

There has been much discussion over the years regarding the culinary importance of Hainanese chicken rice: Senor Bourdain has lauded its scrumptious simplicity on more than one occasion, it's the national dish of Singapore, and I have yet to meet a person who doesn't immediately profess their fondness for chicken rice in comida filled conversations. But what makes slices of boiled pollo served with white rice so special? I chose the Savoy Kitchen in Alhambra as the perfecto place to find out.
 Traditionally, this dish is made from slowly boiling whole chickens in a constantly reused pork and chicken bone stock to create a tender texture and rich taste. Occasionally an ice bath is employed after boiling to insure a jelly like skin on the meat. The 'white' pollo at the Savoy is served boneless (and skinless) which is a typical Singaporean 'hawker centre' variation. Next on the plate is the 'oily' rice: cooked in chicken stock, coconut milk, and aromatic leaves this stuff is truly more flavorful than it looks.
The dynamic duo is almost always served with a powerful trifecta of dipping sauces: minced ginger, chili garlic sauce, and soy (or oyster) sauce. This is all fine and dandy but is chicken rice really that mind blowing? Not really. Is it better than other local favorites like: laksa, nasi goreng, fish head curry, satay, or chili crab? I would argue no. Would I happily order a plate sitting on a shaded patio surrounded by die hard fanatics? You betcha.


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