Wee wee wee all the way to Wee Nam Kee

13 06 2011

Super tender Hainanese Chicken, oozing with its juices, topped with a wedge of cucumber, shredeed onion leeks and torn coriander leaves.

 

AND THIS little piggy eNTeNG went…  “Wee wee wee” all the way to Wee Nam Kee!

Yes, I’ve always loved the “This Little Piggy” nursery rhyme.  I’ve actually tweaked it to reveal my passion, and to articulate my breathless anticipation when I first learned that Singapore’s ultimate purveyor of Hainanese Chicken Rice was finally coming to our shores.

 

This little piggy went to Market! Market! to Lord Stow’s,

This little piggy stayed at home and cooked,

This little piggy had roast beef sandwich at CBTL,

This little piggy had none.

And this little piggy eNTeNG went…

“Wee wee wee” all the way to Wee Nam Kee!

 

I had meant to dine at Wee Nam Kee at the Ayala Triangle Gardens before I would’ve left for my recent two-week Singapore trip.  I had the intention to compare the local franchise with the original.  But my best-laid plan wasn’t good enough and so for the umpteenth time, my Hainanese Chicken Rice dreams had to be put on the back burner.

Ayala Triangle Gardens Marker

I did manage to satiate my craving for this dish by my third day in the Lion city. So the bar had been set pretty high for anything that would follow.  And nothing higher than that for the local Wee Nam Kee.  But then again, the opportunity to go out of my way to make it to the crux of the Triangle has never presented itself.

Well, until the coffee table book was released and I was just so happy to volunteer to deliver K-anne’s copy personally.

K-anne and the coffee table book

 

The menu, the coffee table book, and K-anne

 

K-anne loved the book! That was all I was waiting to hear the whole night. And of course, compliments to my restaurant of choice. Hahaha!

Quite unexpectedly, the first thing that struck me was not even the food.  It was the stark contrast between the interiors of the original Novena Ville branch in Singapore and that of the one at Ayala Triangle Gardens.  Actually, there isn’t much of the “interiors” of the original to speak of.  It has a very hole-in-the-wall cafeteria feel, occupying a single commercial space on the ground floor of a two-storey residential building.  The dining area spills to the space in front, where tables and chairs have been propped up.  Each has a huge umbrella to shield diners from unpredictable downpours.

The local franchise is a different incarnation all together.  Probably owing most to its being in a prime location, the restaurant has the more high-end feel of a casual-fast dining place.  One could tell that a considerable chunk of the startup capital went to the interiors.  Most striking to me are the Chinese bird cages assembled into groups of eight that formed chandeliers.  The bird cages are an homage to the specialty of the house while the number eight is auspicious to the Chinese.

One of (I think) three bird cage chandeliers

 

The chandelier right above us. So lovin' it!

K-anne was obviously excited to try the chicken.  But I sort of wanted to suspend the moment a little more, and opted to dole out treats by way of starters.  We asked for the Salt & Pepper Squid, and as for me, I just had to have noodles – the Steamed Chicken Noodle Soup, specifically.

Salt and Pepper Squid

 

These were perfect. Crisp. Tender. Yummy.

The battered squid pieces were fried to a crisp outside while remaining tender inside.  They were good on their own, but even more superb when dipped in the restaurant’s prepared vinegar sauce.  The pleasant surprise of the meal turned out to be the Steamed Chicken Noodle Soup.  The dish was served in two separate bowls – the noodles, chicken, and kai lan (broccoli leaves) in one, and the broth in the other – for me, yet another silent homage, this time to my favorite noodle place in Ongpin.

Steamed Chicken Noodle Soup

 

A whole chicken breast comes with the noodles. Tender and juicy!

The petiteness of the bowl belied just how much food was inside – a generous bed of perfectly cooked flavorful egg noodles, on which seemed to lazily lounge a sliced steamed chicken breast, kept propped up by swaths of deep green kai lan.  I would’ve immediately poured the steaming hot broth on to the noodles were it not for our server’s proper introduction of the dish.

The Steamed Chicken Noodle Soup comes in two bowls.

“Sir, there’s a special sauce at the bottom of the noodles.  You may want to try it first before you add the broth,” Jhon politely advised me, probably sensing the apprehension in my hand as I processed in my head whether to pour the broth on to the noodles or have them separately – eat from one bowl then sip from the other.  Upon Jhon’s advice, I mixed the noodles, chicken and vegetables with the special sauce – but with first espying the said special sauce – and took my first bite.  I won’t be faking modesty here and say that I’m no noodle expert because frankly, I am.  As I would always say, relationships I may not know.  But noodles?  Noodles, I know.

The noodles come with a special sauce at the bottom. Yum!

And Wee Nam Kee’s Steamed Chicken Noodle Soup – a new addition to their menu per one of the owners who was in the store that night – is undeniably a flavorful, hot, comfort in a pristine white bowl.  If only I could have it all week.

Of course, a trip to Wee Nam Kee wouldn’t be complete without having their famous Hainanese Chicken Rice.  The “small”, which I think is a quarter of chicken, was quite plentiful for two.  And what was served to our table was exactly how Hainanese chicken should be – moist, tender, infused with just the right hint of ginger, and oozing with its natural flavorful juices, quite plenty to mop up with the plump, fragrant, and yes, flavorful rice.  A small bunch of shredded onion leeks and torn fresh coriander leaves elevated each spoonful closer to gastronomic heaven.

Wee Nam Kee's Hainanese Chicken, Steamed, Quarter

 

For me, Hainanese chicken goes perfectly with onion leeks, fresh coriander, and cucumber, all stained with the thick sweetish soy sauce.

 

Shredded onion leeks and torn fresh coriander leaves

 

Each table has its own set of the traditional condiments for Hainanese chicken – grated ginger in oil, sambal chili, and thick sweet soya sauce.

 

The very scrumptious Hainanese chicken rice

Wee Nam Kee at the Ayala Triangle Gardens is worth braving and defying unpredictable tropical weather and the long stretch of the parking lot that is EDSA for.  I was even more convinced as I sipped my tall glass of Cold Fresh Barley Juice.  I had two.

K-anne and her new favorite, my favorite Cold Fresh Barley Juice

 

K-anne and eNTeNG

 

I walked with K-anne on her way back, and we passed by this poster of Green Lantern at the underpass.

 

Of course I gotta have my photo taken with Green Lantern!

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

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2 responses

13 06 2011
Alexis Araneta

You’ve unwittingly suggested a restaurant for me to go to!

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13 06 2011
-K

Barley juice, my new favorite! 🙂 I think you forgot to mention the conversation you had with your new found friend (the owner himself) who has just been added to your I-know-him-but-he-doesn’t-know-me list. ^_^ hahaha! But in fairness, you’re the only customer whom he talked to. That was a indeed a very nice dinner. Thanks boss! 🙂

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