Ultimate Hainanese Chicken Rice: A Singaporean Culinary Masterpiece

Authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Flavorful Asian Cuisine

Discover the exquisite flavors of Singapore with this authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice recipe. A beloved staple that combines succulent poached chicken, fragrant rice, and crisp bok choy, all enhanced with zesty chili garlic sauce and sweet soy sauce. This dish is a true representation of Singapore’s rich culinary heritage.

Hainanese Chicken Rice is more than just a meal; it’s a cultural icon. Originating from Hainan, China, this dish has become a cornerstone of Singaporean cuisine. Its popularity stems from its simplicity, affordability, and comforting flavors. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a curious home cook, this recipe will transport your taste buds to the vibrant hawker centers of Singapore.

While this recipe may seem complex at first glance, each component is straightforward to prepare. The key lies in perfectly poaching the chicken and infusing the rice with rich, savory flavors. Follow our step-by-step guide to create a restaurant-quality Hainanese Chicken Rice in the comfort of your own kitchen.

A Taste of Singapore’s History

Hainanese Chicken Rice arrived in Singapore with Chinese immigrants and quickly became a national favorite. Today, you’ll find it at countless food stalls across the city-state, each with its own loyal following. Our recipe pays homage to this rich tradition while making it accessible for home cooks worldwide.

Authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice Set


For the Chicken:

  • 1 small whole chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds; 1.3 to 1.6kg), giblets removed
  • 2 tablespoons (18g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt (for table salt, use half as much by volume or the same weight), plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) rice wine, such as Shaoxing
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) soy sauce
  • One 3-inch knob ginger, peeled and sliced (3 tablespoons; 40g)
  • 3 medium scallions (2.5 ounces; 71g), trimmed and halved
  • 2 pandan leaves, tied into knots, optional (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) toasted sesame oil

For the Rice:

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (20g; from 3 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh peeled ginger (15g; from a 1 1/2–inch piece)
  • 2 cups long grain white rice (12 1/2 ounces; 355g), rinsed well

For the Bok Choy:

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 medium shallots (2 1/4 ounces; 64g total), peeled and sliced into 1/16-inch-thick rings (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces (227g) baby bok choy (6 small heads), washed, trimmed, and halved lengthwise

For Serving:

  • 1 small cucumber (9 ounces; 255g), sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (4 ounces; 113g), stems and leaves chopped (2 cups)
  • Chile garlic sauce
  • Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce; see notes)


  1. Prepare the Chicken: Pat the chicken dry and trim excess fat. Vigorously rub salt all over the chicken to exfoliate the skin, ensuring a smooth texture. Sprinkle with white pepper for added flavor.
  2. Poach the Chicken: Place the chicken breast-side up in a large stockpot. Add rice wine, soy sauce, ginger, scallions, and pandan leaves (if using). Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Poach until the internal temperature reaches 155°F (68°C) for the breast and 165°F (74°C) for the legs.
  3. Cool and Season: Immediately transfer the cooked chicken to an ice bath for 10 minutes. Pat dry and rub with sesame oil. This process ensures juicy meat and glossy skin.
  4. Prepare the Broth: Strain the poaching liquid and reduce to about 9 cups. Season to taste and let cool to allow the fat to rise.
  5. Cook the Rice: Render the reserved chicken fat with garlic and ginger. Add rice and cook in a rice cooker with 3 cups of the flavored broth.
  6. Prepare the Bok Choy: Fry shallots until golden. In a separate pan, simmer bok choy in broth until tender yet crisp. Garnish with the fried shallots.
  7. Serve: Carve the chicken and arrange on a plate with a drizzle of broth. Serve alongside the fragrant rice, bok choy, cucumber slices, cilantro, chili sauce, and kecap manis.


Pandan leaf adds a subtle flavor to Southeast Asian dishes. While not essential, it can be found in Asian markets. Avoid using pandan flavoring as a substitute.

Kecap manis is a sweet, thick soy sauce. If unavailable, dark soy sauce can be used as an alternative, though it’s less sweet.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
726 Calories
38g Fat
41g Carbs
53g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 726
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 38g 48%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 152mg 51%
Sodium 2527mg 110%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 53g
Vitamin C 47mg 233%
Calcium 151mg 12%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 1096mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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