Hwa Kee Lemon Chicken Rice: A delicious alternative to regular Chicken Rice

Many Singaporeans don’t settle for anything less when it comes to food, often willing to travel around the country to try out the best dishes. Usually, a large variety of dishes come to mind; think Nasi Lemak, Satay, Chilli Crab, and of course, the vaunted Chicken Rice.

Hailed by many as one of the country’s national dishes, Chicken Rice has become a staple in Singapore’s hawker and food scene. Moreover, with so many different places having their own take on it, there are bound to be delicious variants that come out of it – such as at Hwa Kee Lemon Chicken Rice.

Run by Mr Frankie Leow and his wife, Mrs Jane Yeow, Hwa Kee has been around for nearly two decades after Mr Frankie left the shipping business to enter the F&B industry. Under the tutelage of Leong Fook Wing, the creator of the famous Sin Kee Chicken Rice, Mr Frankie has perfected his own Chicken Rice recipe.

Ever quite the experimentalist, he was always trying out different Chicken Rice recipes, but one stood out from the rest – Lemon Chicken Rice. So Mr Frankie decided to put it onto their secret menu and focus on selling the staples of Roasted Chicken Rice and White Steamed Chicken Rice instead.

Mr Frankie preparing his dishes

After much convincing from old friends and fans of the dish, Mr Frankie has taken the giant leap of rebranding Hwa Kee from scratch. Only this time, the focus would be on his Lemon Chicken Rice, marking the start of a new chapter for the couple.

We were invited down to the opening of their newly-rebranded store in Peninsula Plaza, and at the same time, tried out their refreshed menu.

Lemon Chicken Rice

hwakee: Lemon Chicken Rice
Hwa Kee’s Lemon Chicken Rice

First up, was the star of their reinvigorated store – Lemon Chicken Rice (S$6.00). The dish looks simple; Crispy Chicken served on top of Fragrant Chicken Rice with a side of pickled vegetables. While aesthetically it seems ordinary at first glance, I was pleasantly surprised when I took that first bite.

The chicken was succulent and juicy, while at the same time, complemented by the black pepper-infused skin for a peppery taste that went perfectly well with the rice, both combining for heaven in each mouthful.

Pickled vegetables were never something that I was a fan of to begin with, but after trying a single piece, I was pleasantly surprised at how refreshing it was. A tad bit spicy and sour at the same time, it didn’t overpower the overall taste of the dish one bit.

And of course, I couldn’t forget to mention the sauces as well. Usually, other Lemon Chicken Rice I’ve tried has a lemon sauce that is either too sweet or sour that it ruins the entire dish. Hwa Kee’s, however, was something else. The sauce was perfectly balanced between sour and sweet, allowing it to pair perfectly with the already salty and crunchy chicken, almost like a match made in heaven.

Their chilli sauce was also amazing. Handmade by them, it adds a spicy and sour kick to the overall dish, almost reminiscent of Thai Chilli Sauce.

To top it all off, there is their handmade soup, which is made using chicken bones and leftover veggies from their pickled vegetables. The result is a very light and great palette cleanser that washes off the grease from eating the Chicken Rice. 

You can bet I was a happy customer after having their Lemon Chicken Rice. However, I can see why so many others wanted the dish to be unhidden from the secret menu and added back as a permanent fixture to the menu.

Lemon Chicken Rice Burger 

hwa kee: Lemon Chicken Rice Burger
Hwa Kee’s Lemon Chicken Rice Burger

Their newest addition to the menu – The Lemon Chicken Rice Burger (S$6.00), is Mr Frankie’s take on a classic. While rice burgers are nothing new, this one is a little different – it is essentially their Lemon Chicken Rice but in burger form.

Visually, it is a treat for the eyes; a rice burger is most definitely not often seen. Usually, we’d be used to seeing burger buns, but the Lemon Chicken Rice Burger patties are their signature chicken rice formed into a bun. Sandwiched in between were the chicken patty and veggies, topped with their signature lemon sauce.

Taste-wise, think of the buns as chicken rice balls, most commonly found in Malaysia. While the taste isn’t too bad, it doesn’t quite hit the same heights as the regular plate. Also, perhaps owing to how the bun must remain intact, it tasted slightly dry.

The chicken tastes the same, as good as it does on the regular dish; it is equally juicy and succulent and stands out to become the main part of the whole burger.

However, the burger wasn’t as good as I had perceived it to be. It’s a great option for eating on the go (compared to regular chicken rice), but the rice burger doesn’t taste as good as the standard Lemon Chicken Rice.

If you want to try out Hwa Kee’s offerings, you can do so by heading down to Peninsula Plaza at 3 Coleman Street. Their shop is hard to miss; it’s the one with a bright yellow sign inside a mini eatery in the mall itself!

To me, their Chicken Rice is a must-try when you’re in the area or just craving something different. The whole overall taste of theirs is sure to leave you wanting seconds, time and time again! 

Hua Kee Lemon Chicken Rice

Location: Peninsula Shopping Centre #01-12, 3 Coleman St, Singapore 179804
Opening hours: 10.30am to 4pm (Monday to Saturday)

You can check out their socials on Facebook and Instagram for more information or to contact them.

Photos by Glenton Weng of the DANAMIC Team.

Glenton Weng

Plays FPS Games, but prefers JRPGS

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