ELEGANT: Chicken Society offers good meals in a classy space and with high-quality service. VNS Photo Minh Thu
Though Hainan chicken rice is originated in China, it has become hugely popular in Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore. The dish has also earned a spot in Vietnamese people's hearts, and bellies.
SLATHERED IN FLAVOUR: Steamed chicken in Hainan style is rich in sauces and spices. VNS Photo Minh Thu
On a sunny winter's day, I went to Chicken Society nearby West Lake to have lunch with my friends. We chose a table at the veranda with a beautiful view overlooking a swimming pool so we could enjoy the warm sunlight of the midday.
When I began perusing the drinks menu, the waiter told me each chicken rice set came with a free drink as a promotion to mark the first anniversary of the restaurant. We felt blessed by this stroke of luck, as a set with chicken, a side, greens and a drink costs just VNĐ95,000 (US$4). For me, it’s a good price for a good meal with high-quality service.
The promotion will run until December 26 and only at the Xuân Diệu Street location.
I have tried Hainan chicken rice at various restaurants. The steamed chicken is often served with black soy sauce and chilli sauce. At this place, you have four seasoning options to enjoy the dish with, namely black soy sauce, chilli sauce, ground ginger sauce and spring onion in oil.
The perfect combination of steamed chicken and sauces gives a burst of taste. Thanks to the brilliant colours and fragrance, I believe the sauces are made from fresh ingredients.
I really enjoyed the spring onions in oil. They were fatty and scented and could be eaten with rice alone, with no need to add chicken to your bite.
FOOTING THE BILL: Fried chicken feet are crunchy and spicy. VNS Photo Minh Thu
For a side, you can order rice which is cooked with chicken broth, garlic bread or French fries. For greens, there are spinach stir-fried with garlic, pickled cucumber slices and a salad of sprouts, rocket, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Apart from steamed chicken, grilled chicken with honey and fried chicken are also on offer. As we went in a group, we ordered all of them and shared with each other to try all the delicacies.
The secret recipe of marinating the chicken in spices and the harmony of sauces made each of the dishes a hit. The chicken was cooked perfectly to ensure the meat was soft and moist while the skin was firm. The white rice was tender, moist and aromatic.
The grilled chicken is a little bit sweet thanks to honey. Under the high temperature of the oven, the skin becomes shiny, thin and crispy. I often discard the skin of boiled chicken because it’s too fatty, but I gobbled up every morsel of the grilled chicken skin at Chicken Society,.
The next time I will bring my children to the restaurant because I’m sure they will love the fried chicken coated with crispy flour.
Apart from chicken sets, the menu offers other delicacies including nộm gà xé phay (chicken salad in Vietnamese style with shredded chicken, onions and herbs) and grilled thighs wrapped in pandan leaves. VNS