Immigrants from the island of Hainan are the creators of this culinary icon. While we know the person who first concocted the Singapore Sling – in 1915 by another Hainanese named NGIAM Tong Boon – the Head Bartender of the Raffles Hotel, no one knows when Hainanese Chicken Rice first appeared on our island state (in Hainan itself, their most famous breed of chicken is the Wenchang Chicken).

Started 68 years ago, The Hainanese Kitchen – aka Golden Mile Thien Kee Steamboat Restaurant – has a very traditional style of chicken rice. Their steamboat is also justly famous (the pork satay is no longer good).

Hainanese Chicken Rice is very easy to pair with Champagne, sparkling and white wine, and rosés. Things get a bit complicated when you dip your chicken into too much ginger, chilli or/and dark soya sauce. Of the three, the dark sauce is the most challenging because it is a touch sweet. Too much chilli can also be tricky. The ground ginger paste actually pairs well with wine. The chicken being boiled, white is a better pairing than red wine (which goes better with deep-fried, roast or baked chicken).

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