Listen or download the podcast for this week’s interview with Chef Ming Tan, Guest Judge on Masterchef Singapore:
This week, our Makan Kaki is F&B consultant, Co-owner of Park Bench Deli & guest judge on Masterchef Singapore, Ming Tan. His favourite chicken rice is one that his family has followed for decades since he was a young boy, from one location to the next, until its current home at Holland Drive. This rice is what Chef Ming calls “WORLD CLASS”. It is a rice that haunts him and he craves when he’s away from Singapore. So much effort and thought has been put into the making of this rice, that it simply blows him away. This is Cantonese-style rice and it’s the fragrance & texture achieved through a judicious cooking process that gets him every time.
The result is rice that is not fully “opened out”, which means each grain is distinct and separate from the other, not clumped in a sticky mush. At once, the rice is savoury, comforting, moist, yet you get a firm bite to each grain. Every grain is a glistening and shiny pearl, coated with a thin layer of delicious oil. At the forefront of this rice are the trinity of Chicken, Pandan & Ginger (toasted and nutty yet has a peak point of freshness). For Chef Ming, pandan is the quinessential aromatic Asian herb – it is home, it is comfort. That’s why it tastes great on its own, unadorned by condiments. However, if you do want a bit of sauce action, Chef Ming only chooses black & ginger sauces – he never adds chilli to his rice. He honestly believes the rice doesn’t need it. Unconvinced, Denise tried things his way, with black sauce and the ginger sauce, sans chilli. Surprisingly, without the heat and tang of the usual chilli, new flavours bloomed. The garlicky, chickeny fragrance of the rice is enhanced by the salty-sweet, deeply umami black sauce and the ginger adds just the right amount of warmth & zing, that pleasant little throat tickle that chilli also can provide. Chef Ming calls this the “point on your tongue”.
Another thing Chef Ming advocates is the chicken liver from Sin Kee, which is always tender and without that too much of an unpleasant metallic, iron tang. The soft liver melds perfectly into the rice and adds a wonderful richness to it, without being too cloying. Add some boneless chicken breast (which is surprisingly tender and moist, not dry and fibrous), you get the perfect spoonful of chicken rice heaven. Admittedly, Sin Kee’s chicken, while very good, is not the best, yet Chef Ming will return again again for the rice, which he truly believes is perfection. Be sure to go early (we went at 2.30pm and it was sold out), look for Benson and have the meal of your life!
SIN KEE FAMOUS CANTONESE CHICKEN RICE
Blk 40 Holland Drive S(270040)
Open Tues – Sun: 11am – 7pm
Tel: +65 84287865