My theme for the 2016 A to Z Challenge is #foodiefiction
C is for Chicken Rice
He had tainted chicken rice forever for her. It had been her favourite go-to meal. A quick dinner. A late night supper. A brown paper package tied up in a red rubber band, transported home in a small pink plastic bag. Then he came into her life and whisked her away to their first date at a fancy-pants hotel for its $27 chicken rice. Where the chicken meat was carefully plated in a seperate sampan-shaped bowl, the rice a perfect dome, the greens gently laid out, the cucumbers and tomatoes in artful slices, the trio of sublime sauces (black, yellow and bright red) in their own little vessels. Every thing had its place. Nothing was encroaching on another’s space.
After that, hawker centre chicken rice, where meat was piled on rice, a pale green sliver of watery cucumber tucked in as an afterthought, could never compete. Her friends laughed at her obsession with expensive chicken rice, they never failed to inform her how many plates of $3 chicken rice they could buy for just one of hers.
So she no longer told anyone about her late night runs to the hotel café for her chicken rice fix. Not even the man who first brought her there. She wasn’t in contact with him anymore, that tall, slightly awkward but sweet guy who charmed her on their first date, bowled her over on their second, then stopped answering her calls, stopped replying to her emails and text messages for no apparent reason after that. She had moped for a while but knew there was no point in pining for someone who hadn’t felt anything for her.
She still thought of him sometimes as she sat alone at her favourite table at the hotel café, just before she savoured that perfect platter of chicken rice. That one thing in her life she could always depend on. She wasn’t sure whether to curse him or thank him.
Chicken rice or Hainanese Chicken Rice is considered one of Singapore’s national dishes. The chicken is usually juicy and tender as it is poached in stock, and the rice is fragrant and rich with the flavors of chicken stock, ginger, garlic and pandan leaves. Chicken rice can be found everywhere, from the humble neighbourhood hawker centres to Hainanese eateries specializing in chicken rice to five-star hotels on the Orchard Road shopping belt.