I’ve been on a nostalgia roll recently.
This was triggered off by two things: National Day, which for me evokes memories of National Days past, especially now when I see my son enthusiastically singing the same national songs that I learnt as a child; and the blog posts from the Lovin’ My Spot in SG blog train, inspired me to think about the places I loved in my youth.
So you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon one of my old haunts when I was at Far East Plaza recently.
I am talking about Hainanese Delicacy on the 5th Floor of Far East Plaza, where I got my regular chicken rice fix back in secondary school. Back then, my friends and I used to catch a bus after school to Far East Plaza quite often, and there were three places where we used to eat: (1) McDonalds, with their (almost) iconic stone tables out in front of the building, (2) Ritchie Rich, a food joint with sizzling hot plate noodles (I don’t really know what else they sold since that’s all I ever ate!), and (3) Hainanese Delicacy.
The first two places are gone by now. I didn’t expect otherwise, not with the relentless pace of change in this city that we live in. It’s sad but true that I just don’t expect places of my childhood to still be found in their original form. I was therefore thrilled when I realised that not only was Hainanese Delicacy still around, in exactly the same spot as it was 20 years ago, it also looked almost exactly the same in real-life as it does in my memory.
It was Saturday evening when I came upon it, and it was too late for us to get a table – they were sold out for the evening. So I made a mental note to go back for lunch during the week. I suggested it to a friend when we arranged to meet for lunch, only to have her tell me that she and her husband regularly eat dinner there. Hah. Actually I’m not sure why I stopped going back. I guess I just moved on. After secondary school, I moved on to junior college and start hanging out in different places, and just forgot to come back. Anyway, on this occasion, my friend kindly agreed to humour me and I got to re-visit this old favourite.
It felt so familiar stepping in. So many things were still comfortably the same. The sign board outside, the layout, the seating, and even the chicken statuettes lining the walls. I kind of remember the chickens being placed lower down though, and the sauces used to be on shelves under the chickens, and placed together with a basket for utensils. We found the sauces on the table, in place of the low shelves on the wall we found neat little laminated cards with the drink list.
I ordered the same thing I always used to order. The Kiam Chye Duck Soup and the Chicken Rice (White Chicken). I waited with bated breath for them to arrive. And the verdict? The food was as good as ever, and yes, still tasted the same too. I was so happy.
Noey and the dinos joined us for lunch. Looking rather worried that Mummy would finish all the food!
Did I also say that the prices still seem to be rather low? I didn’t ask for the breakdown but think it was about $4 a plate for the chicken rice.
It isn’t my favourite chicken rice – the rice here at Hainanese Delicacy just isn’t as fragrant as I like my chicken rice to be, but the chicken is smooth and tasty, and the kiam chye duck soup is super. I’ve never tried any of the other sides. Truth be told, I never even knew they had other sides. Haha. I guess as a poor student on limited pocket money, a plate of chicken rice is good enough! Maybe I’ll try some the next time I come back.
For now, I’m just happy to have re-discovered something from the good old days again. And glad that I’m able to share some of that with my son.
Hainanese Specialist Boneless Chicken Rice
14 Scotts Road
Far East Plaza #05-116