The queue at Heng Ji
Heng Ji Chicken Rice has been around Chinatown Complex for decades and my family has been patronising them ever since I was a little boy.
Other than Tiong Shian Porriage at the main road (opposite CK Department Store), Heng Ji Chicken Rice seems to be the only other thing we eat whenever we visit Chinatown.
The thing about Heng Ji is that they only sell white chickens and there is always a perpetual queue for it's chicken rice.
I remembered their rice used to be served in little blue colored bowls and because the bowls were really small, we always had to order extras.
Heng Ji's rice is fragrant and slightly oily which is fine with me but they uses broken rice which crumbles easily in the mouth.
We continued to patronise Heng Kee for many more years until the opening of the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle stall (#02-127) a few doors away.
The chickens hanging off the hooks gleamed under the lights and looked so much more tantalising than the pale looking ones from Heng Ji.
We decided to give the new stall a try and we are glad we did for we have never looked back since.
Heng Ji Chicken Rice at $2.50
Fast forward to last Saturday, I was at Chinatown for the Mid-Autumn Festival street bazaar when a wave of nostalgia hit me to try out Heng Ji again.
To be honest, Heng Ji's chickens definitely has some standard to it otherwise, they would not have been able to attract a regular queue to their stall and able to stay in business for so long.
The chicken still taste as good after so many years. Despite having chicken breast, the meat doesn't taste dry or bland at all.
Another thing that remain unchanged is that they are still using broken rice. It didn't help matters when the rice was soggy as well.
For some people, the accompanying chilli sauce is another deciding factor to be taken into consideration as to whether a popular plate of chicken rice is deserving of it's name.
You might be interested to know that Heng Ji does not serve the usual garlic-chilli sauce one would normally associate with chicken rice.
In terms of color, theirs is a dark red and slightly sweet which reminded me of what they used at Ngoh Hiang stalls.
I'm sure their chilli had their own loyal following but it just doesn't give me a lasting impression.
Despite the chicken, it wasn't reason enough to warrant another visit anytime soon as the rice and chilli were still as disappointing as before (even the cucumber slices were sliced paper thin).
There were only two reasons why I ate at Heng Ji that day.
One was purely for nostalgia sake as mentioned earlier while the other was simply because Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle stall is already cleaning up and closed for the day at 6pm.
HENG JI CHICKEN RICE 亨记鸡饭
Chinatown Complex Food Centre
Blk 335 Smith Street
Mon - Sat: 3pm - 9pm