Friday, October 06, 2006

Bishan 13 Chicken Rice

Continuing our exploration of Singapore's "heartlands", we set off in search of a Bishan chicken rice stall emphatically recommended by a local taxi driver.

With no map, no address, and no stall name, we set out armed with only the name of the road - Bishan 13. If it's famous we should have no trouble finding it, right?

Our first inquiry, at the Bishan MRT customer service booth, failed to turn up any leads. Guess those booth controllers don't get out much.

The location map told us Bishan 13 was just behind the MRT and bus station, so we walked around a bit. Progress was quick. We picked up the tantalizing smell of good hawker dishes and could hear the metal clink of utensils against woks. But where was the shop? All we could see were dark walls and an empty old lot.

It turned out we'd walked into the back parking lot of the neighborhood food court. Making our way over to the front, we found several stalls with few or no customers... and one stall with over 30 people lined up waiting to be served. Hmm, any prizes for guessing which one was our quarry?

We resigned ourselves to the long wait that's synonymous with every well-known hawker stall in Singapore. It was well worth it, though. The chicken came in huge servings, easily more than twice what shopping mall food courts normally dish out. Rice was flavorful and tender, without being too oily. And it was cheap, too - S$2.50 per serving.

The chili was good but I missed the fresh ginger that Wee Nam Kee serves. Still, I liked this place better than the Boon Tong Kee chain - and as far as value for money goes, it beats Chatterbox by miles!

(Bugis Street) Ming Kee Chicken Rice is at Kim San Leng food court, Block 155 on Bishan Street 13, close to the bus interchange and 5 minutes walk from Bishan MRT.

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