Chicken rice is one of Singapore’s unofficial national signature dishes, and lots of tourists never leave the country without devouring this enticing meal. Consisting of rice cooked in chicken broth and poached or roasted chicken slices, it is eaten with chilli-lime sauce, black soy sauce and a bowl of soup made from the chicken stock.
Here in Singapore, a hawker place or kopi tiam without a chicken rice stall is almost next to impossible. But finding stalls serving vegetarian chicken rice is as rare as an ice cube in the Sahara Desert, probably.
I’ve only seen this in two restaurants so far: one in Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant in Fortune Centre and another in Tian Yi Vegetarian Food in Ang Mo Kio where I was supposed to have had it yesterday morning.
I was disconcerted when the owner said it’s only available on Sundays, and there’s no way I’m ever musing of going back to that faraway place. So I returned to the Fortune Centre today to be “at peace with the world.”
Address: 190 Middle Road, Fortune Centre #01-07 (Other branch: 19 Upper Dickson Road Singapore 207478)
Contact Number: 63967769
Opening Hours: 9am-8:30pm daily
Nearest MRT: Bugis / Bras Basah
How to Go: You can walk from Bugis MRT, north to Selegie Road. It’s just a block away from Midlink Plaza, also near Sunshine Plaza. You can also walk from Bras Basah MRT and go straight from Waterloo Street.
Food I Ordered: Chicken Rice
There was a standing tarpaulin at the entrance stating that this vegetarian fast food serves no onion, no garlic and no egg. Offering a variety of Asian, Western and Indian cuisine, its signature dishes include: ardine murtabak, paper masala dosa, chicken rice and soup tulang. On the counter were printed cards and photographs of the Hindu god Krishna. (Gokul is actually where Lord Krishna was brought up.)
There were also a box for donations and a basket of mint candies for customers to take in after meal. The walls were painted plain white, the floor was black and the chairs were red. The colors just reminded me of Germany’s old flag.
The kitchen and the dining area was separated only with a clear divider, so we could see how the chef cooks the food. There were like 10 tables only, with four chairs per table in the entire rectangular-shaped diner. Noise from inside and outside could be heard outstandingly.
I stared at the Indian chef with a grown mustache because he was also staring at me, when I was unsure if I’d order from him directly. Why, he was standing by the counter, while the wait staff were so busy taking in payments and tidying the mess of tables of customers who had just left.
To cut the first turf, I called him out for one chicken rice. He repeated my order and got to the wok. I paid at once to the cashier attendant and I noticed he handed me the change in a traditional North Indian manner–by lightly placing his left hand on his right forearm near the elbow.
Two minutes after I sat down and the chef served me a plate of chicken rice with chili sauce and soup. He nodded to the wait staff who then gave me a napkin and a pair of utensils. While I was eating, the chef gave me this crispy crackling (like some bonus treat), which was not originally found in their picture:
I don’t know but maybe their vegetarian chicken rice tastes closely to the non-vegetarian chicken rice, without the chicken fats. The main ingredients tossed to the wok, I guess, were: coarsely chopped ginger, fresh red chilli padi, salt and pepper, pandan leaves and stir-fried mock chicken made of wheat gluten. Side dishes were cauliflower (with Indian flavor) and a small slice of cucumber.
The chicken was staggering good when paired with the fragrant rice. The whole meal made me ravish with delight. I can’t say any negative.
Price for value: ★★★★★
With a dose of excellent food and great customer service, what more can I say? The price was just right at S$5, and there was no added service charge. I like this place very much!