reliable, comforting local cooking (and of course, very good hainanese boiled chicken).
boon tong kee is a local institution for chicken rice. known most particularly for the white, boiled variant of the dish, they serve up plates of tender and juicy chicken that arrive doused generously with a sweet-and-savory soy sauce (that I think could actually be the true star of the show).
they also do a large range of cooked dishes, or cze char, but these – while decent – tend to run second fiddle to the chicken (and rightly so, perhaps). on this visit, we ordered bitter gourd sauteed with regular and salted eggs (our new favourite thing to order everywhere, also possibly a reflection of increasing age), and seafood hor fun (the thick rice noodles had a hint of wok hei, but were a little gloppier than we would have wanted).
definitely a good option for the weekdays. the place is packed at dinner times, and is a good alternative if you had initially planned to visit melben seafood, which is just a couple storefronts down (which was what we had initially come for). the common (and typically, the only) gripe I’ve heard about this place is its price, but hey, let’s not be stingy about paying for local food.
satisfying post-work fare. we started a rather pleasant friendship with ramen during our trip to Japan last year – the sort in which you talk whenever you want and there’s no expectation of further commitment – and have come back to Singapore only to be consistently disappointed (most recently, by sanpoutei, which serves up a too-doughy noodle and rather middling charsiu).
but the husband recalled a good meal at this joint – and we joined the queue, scoring a table in barely 20 minutes on a Friday night. the dude manning the queue is alternately perfunctory and impatient – but I did manage to figure out that the noodles here come in a few permutations (soba or ramen, wet or dry, rich or clear soup, black pepper or wasabi for spice), with the only constant being the tender chicken leg that peeps out the top of the bowl.
tender, seasoned beansprouts (so addictive) and hard-boiled eggs are available table-side – and they complement the al-dente noodles that sit in a (slightly too starchy) flavourful bowl of soup.
p.s. bamboo shoots aren’t included in the bowl but are available with supplement – they come in thick, tender strips and are quite good.