As you are reading this, I am probably in Singapore at the same time this is published, so I find it apt to roll this post out so when I arrive, I'd have some comparison to the wildly popular Hainanese Chicken Rice meal from Singapore import Wee Nam Kee. Turns out, I actually know the proprietor of the Manila franchise, so I promised I would try it out for ToT.
When news surfaced a couple of months ago of Wee Nam Kee's grand opening in Ayala Triangle Park, there was much anticipation from the hungry set because they say that this is THE best Hainanese Chicken Rice. I held off from the opening stampede because I just don't like running with the pack, and preferred to come when all the hoopla had died down. I like the birdcage chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, and the roofed awning by the booths. It reminded me of Kung Fu Panda's Noodle Shop look.
Right on the table is a condiment set of Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce), Sesame Ginger Scallion paste, and Sambal chili. Although I like the availability of these items without needing to request from the server, I kinda wished the ginger paste was served fresh to keep up with the aroma and the texture.
I ordered the Lime Juice, since it had the "recommended" asterisk. It tasted like Sun-Quik with Lemon on it, but I am sure it is lime concentrate. Citrusy, but I would prefer the fresh type.
Mr. S & I both ordered the Small Chicken Plate, and even if it said that only the Personal Meal would come with Chicken Soup, the server gave us 2 servings upon serving our drinks. The clear broth is reminiscent of dozens of chicken bones simmered til soft. Love this and am happy they give refills.
The Steamed Chicken plate was a 1/4 serving of chicken cooked the traditional Hainanese way. It was subtle in flavor, moist and served at room temperature. It was Hainanese all the way but I felt that there was a flavor component missing. I was happy of the texture of the chicken, not rubbery like most steamed ones turn up.
The Roasted Chicken, though not the traditional Hainanese, had more flavor, from the extra effort of roasting, and was more apt to my taste buds. Even though this version was roasted, it was still juicy and moist like the steamed counterpart.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
The Rice! The ultimate Asian staple. I don't know how many batches they make of this rice, but it was fluffly, gingery and the perfect accompaniment to both steamed and roasted versions of the Hainanese Chicken. I wish they had filled the little bowl to the brim, because we definitely ordered doubles after the first bowl was wiped out.
I'm glad we have a quick service joint for Hainanese Chicken, especially when you appetite is too tiny for Takeout Hainanese. But let's see how this fares after I try the real deal in Singy.
Ayala Triangle Gardens
Ayala Avenue, Ayala Triangle
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines