Sunday, October 13, 2013

Trying Out Chatterbox' $27++ Mandarin Chicken Rice!

Hainanese Chicken Rice is undoubtedly one of Singapore's favorite dishes. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of stalls and restaurant chains all around the city that serve this smooth boiled chicken with fragrant rice (cooked in chicken stock) and chili/garlic dish. By far the most iconic of them all is Chatterbox's Mandarin Chicken Rice. It may not be Singapore's best or favorite chicken rice, but it certainly wins the award for most expensive at just under SGD 32.00 nett after taxes and service charge.

Chatterbox Mandarin Chicken Rice Singapore

Chatterbox's version is also probably the largest-portioned chicken rice in the city. Unlike many other $3 places which are all rice no chicken, Chatterbox uses extra large 2kg birds, and serves up a full quarter chicken with each order. No worries about going hungry, then! As is fairly standard with Hainanese chicken rice nowadays, the chicken is boiled and then dunked in ice water to smoothen and firm up the skin.

Chatterbox Mandarin Chicken Rice Singapore

We also added on some iceberg lettuce, which at $9++ is a rather steep price to pay.

Chatterbox Mandarin Chicken Rice Singapore

A closer view of the Chicken - this photo below is from the drumstick & thigh cut. Naturally the drumstick & thigh is smoother and juicier but also a bit oilier than the breast meat.

Chatterbox Mandarin Chicken Rice Singapore

So ... is the chicken rice really worth $32? Well, we thought that the chicken was cooked very well and not as oily as most other chicken rice shops around town. The skin was also nice and smooth but perhaps a little on the lean side. We also did think the breast meat was perhaps ever so slightly less 'smooth' than other top places. Chili, garlic and soy sauce (laced with some chinese wine!) were sublime, and the rice was fragrant and tasty without being oily.

Our opinion then is that the Mandarin Chicken Rice really does deserve a spot in any "Top X Chicken Rice in Singapore" lists among the other heavyweights like Tian Tian and Boon Tiong Kee. However $32 is something like four or five times more expensive than the others, which honestly doesn't really make it worth the money even considering the Hotel Mark Up. For us, it's definitely worth paying a visit at least once just to cross it off your list of 'famous foods I must eat before I die,' but it would be really tough to justify a return visit.

Chatterbox is located at Mandarin Orchard Hotel / Mandarin Gallery. Open seven days a week, reservations not necessary.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the open and honest review of Chatterbox Mandarin Chicken Rice. We really appreciate your time in writing about us. We actively listen to feedback and will be happy to hear what would make you return again and again. We are delighted you believe, like we do, that Chatterbox remains in the "must do" of Singapore. Thank you again for your comments.