Everyone knows chicken rice, eat chicken rice and love chicken rice. It is the most convenient and tasty too.
But real chicken rice is hard to come by. Those fast food outlets are a o.k. but still not authentic enough. The chicken should be the park-cham-kye/white chicken. Not roasted or fried or soaked in soya sauce. These are the Cantonese type, found in Hongkong, very lame variety.
Being a Hainanese, I remember vaguely my father has his rules on making chicken rice. They are something in this line:
1. Chicken must not be boiled or steamed. You need seven (7) pots of hot water. Dip the chicken into the boiling water, one pot after another. Chicken soaked in the hot water will maintain their juices, cook thoroughly without those bloody inside, dried like cardboard outside texture.
2. The chicken rice must be cooked in chicken stocks, with all the fats and cholestrol.
3. The chili sauce must be made by using the yellow fats from the chicken which are fried to release the chicken oil. Only fresh chilies, ginger, salt and another type with chili and garlic and preferably some green lime juice. Pounded with a mortar, of course.
4. The chicken must be a cock, running free in the kampung. Lots of muscle. Hens, like women, have too much fats. Also not some tortured to get fat broiler chicken. (Do you all know that the chicken we eat are abused and not given their chicken rights? The farmers turn on the light 24/7 and poor chicken are fooled that it is day time and they keep on eating, eating, eating. The faster they get fat, the faster they die and ended up on our table.)
Oh well, who has time to boil 7 pots of hot water? So, that tips remain only in my mind. One can get decent chicken rice all over Penang. My favourite is the Kheng Pin coffee shop (yes, the same place I talked about Loh Bak). I had been patronising this stall for something like 14 years now. The couple only sell one type of chicken – the steamed chicken.
Another favourite of mine is in Chai Leng Park, Butterworth. Just thinking about it makes me drool. Hope I have the chance to sample and snap some photos one day. That shop sells salted chicken and belly pork. The kind where they deep fry the skin till very crispy. Serve with asam pedas ikan kembong (some sourish curry with cheap fishes).