How would you spend your last hour in a hotel before rushing to the airport, bus or train station for that next leg of the journey? Most travellers will leave their packing to the last hour. What if the hotel granted you a late checkout at 1 pm? That means, you have some extra time. Most travellers, like me, hate rushing to check out by 10 am. I always ask for a late check out – an extra hour or two helps.
In an earlier post, I wrote about how I spent my last morning in Singapore. After a nice long walk, I had my shower and packed my luggage. I took my time. The hotel granted my request for a 1:30 pm late check out. I even have time to write that last post while I was still in my room. I have another two hours to kill. After reading a comment posted by a friend of mine – Mr Dillon in Facebook – a passionate food lover and a great cook, he was sharing his “foodie” experience eating Hainanese chicken rice at Purvis Street.
Purvis Street is only 2 blocks or a 5 minutes walk from the Fairmont Hotel. I have walked past the street but not along the street. I didn’t realised there are some eating places along Purvis street, and that there are a couple of places specialising in Hainanese-style Chicken Rice. I am always a big fan of Hainanese chicken rice. I have heard so much that the Singaporean version is better than the Malaysian version. And, I think they are right. I have tried one stall a few years ago in Chinatown at the famed Maxwell Road Food Court. It was the best chicken rice I have ever had and I still remember that very moment at the Tian Tian Chicken Rice stand.I found one of the chicken rice cafe, “Chin Chin Eating House”. It looks popular and busy with local Singaporeans. There was a menu with a few Hainan-style dishes. I ordered a mixture of “white chicken” and roasted chicken. The white chicken is actually a poached chicken. Once cooked, it is blanched in ice water to create the jelly like skin finishing, giving it a nice and silky smooth texture. I ordered a Hainan- style mixed vegetables – cabbage, black fungus, button mushroom, glass noodles and bean curd skin. The side condiments on the table include freshly grated ginger and chilli sauce. They go hand in hand and best eaten with the rice and chicken to get the full punch in the mouth! Next door to Chin Chin is another Chicken Rice cafe – YY Cafe, at the corner of Purvis Street and Ocean Road. I ate at YY for lunch a day before. Both YY and Chin Chin are good. There wasn’t much “white chicken” in my plate at Chin Chin, which made it hard to compare with YY. The “white chicken” at YY was lovely, silky smooth and tasty. But, the rice at Chin Chin was probably better which was loose by the grains, fluffy and oily as should be. The extra condiment of freshly grated ginger delivered a wholesome experience of a complete chicken rice dish with full, rounded and robust flavour. And, the Hainan style mixed vegetable was delightful. After my chicken rice lunch at Chin Chin, I made my way back to the hotel with a side detour. I stopped at The Raffles, which was directly across from the Fairmont Hotel. I leisurely strolled through the opulent hotel’s retail shops and internal courtyard. A great contrast to the outside world of The Raffles was a block of flat with hanging laundries from some of the units. This was a rare sighting – reminiscent of the bygone era when flat was built with no space for drying clothes. Hence, the long bamboo pole protruding from a window of the unit. It makes a colourful change from the otherwise sterile and clean Singapore.