The first thing you need to know about Makcik Chicken is that there is no physical restaurant. This is a strictly delivery and takeaway outfit and if UberEats Deliveroo or Honestbee doesn’t serve it to your hood, heading down to their 77 Aliwai Street outlet (where all their food delivery pick-ups happen) is your best bet.
Chicken rice, the unofficial national dish of Singapore. We all eat it – Chinese, Malay, Indian, Others, even the expats – and each ethnic group has put its own spin on it. So how does one elevate the every day plate of chicken and rice, and dare to charge more than triple vs. a regular hawker center favourite?
First off, Makcik Chicken has got all the hipster/social media must-have boxes ticked.
1. The nostalgia element: Who doesn’t love chicken rice, better yet a fancy (but not too atas) version.
2. Fancy cooking method: Their chicken is sous vide, not just steamed, poached or roasted.
3. Instagram cred: Cut into their hanjuku egg and watch the ooze.
4. Recycled packaging: And served with a set of non-plastic fork and spoon, so eldesko meals don’t feel basic.
5. Feeding the condiment addiction: They know it’s all about the chilli, so they’ve given you two.
6. Size envy: For $9.50, you don’t have to choose either a chicken breast or drumstick, you get the whole thigh.
7. Cool factor: Have you seen their cool drone video?
But is it as STEEEMMM as they promise? Yes. It is.
The rice (it’s Japanese, not Thai) is extra fragrant, nicely greased and cooked with just the right amount of bite; all the better to soak up all of Makcik’s three secret weapon sauces: an oil and soya sauce mixture, a standard chilli sauce with just a hint of ginger and a moorish ginger and spring onion chilli.
The marinated chicken leg with its subtle ginger and garlic flavour serves as a neutral (and very juicy) base to fully enjoy the accompanying sauces; of them the piquant ginger and spring onion chilli sauce has a more homemade feel to it, and is (at least for me) the secret weapon.
Instagram aside, the egg is a nice touch but it also adds another level to the overall experience. Try dipping a chunk of chicken meat into the runny yolk and add just a touch of the salty soya sauce oil – in their words: STEEEMMM.
Overall, for $9.50, is it really that much better than your usual go-to chicken rice uncle? Like The Coconut Club’s $12.80 plate of nasi lemak (disclaimer: we’re a fan), it’s the small touches that justify its inflated price tag. And for Makcik Chicken, these touches are down to the generous portion size, the extras like crunchy slices of cucumber, the runny egg, the option of having three different sauces, and lastly their ability to balance the flavour of rice (fragrant and gingery), chilli (with enough heat but not overpoweringly so) and chicken (subtly gingery, tender to the bite and very succulent) beautifully.
Is this the best chicken rice we’ve ever tasted? It’s one of the better ones. And definitely a contender when you’re tired of lining up at Tian Tian (or insert personal cult favourite) or morally opposed to shelling out $32 for Chatterbox. Also, we’re just suckers for old school food, done with new school style.