[MY] Melaka Trip IV | Chung Wah Chicken Rice Ball

Monday, January 09, 2012

It certainly took a while but finally we have internet access established at our crib here in UK! Continuing on the food trail of our Melaka Trip, we were determined to taste the authentic and best Chicken Rice Ball from Melaka.  After having tried Famosa Chicken Rice Ball previously, it made us question if we had got it right. After spending days of research and asking around, it seemed like we finally got the answer to it at Chung Wah Chicken Rice Ball.

We headed down to this corner coffeeshop located at a roundabout down Jalan Hang Jebat (basically the Jonker Walk stretch) at about 10am and there was already a queue! For the past few days that we were in Melaka, we had always walked past this place without paying much heed, but religiously, we joined the queue in search for the best chicken rice ball yet, amidst the light morning drizzle.

The staff actually pulled the steel shutters in to prevent people from trying to enter the coffeeshop. I thought it seemed rather rude but I could imagine why they had to practise that considering the constant stream of customers that lined up since its opening at 7.30am till about 3pm or when they are sold out.

The accolades that lined the interior walls of the coffeeshop.

Seated just beside the boss of the coffeeshop, we had an opportunity to witness how he swiftly portioned out a plate of chicken rice for the diners. For the record, there was no menu available. Upon being shown to our table, we were effectively only asked how many persons' serving of chicken we wanted (3 in this case) and offered us their available beverages, homemade barley. So basically if you are after something more than your plate of chicken rice, try somewhere else.

Tada! Our plate of chicken is ready! 

Hainanese Steamed Chicken

(+) Very succulent and juicy tender chicken portions, arguably the best I had even in SG.
(+) Even the breast meat was very tender, unlike the usually dry offering.
(+) The accompanying gravy/sauce was very fragrant and enhanced the flavour of this simple plate of steamed chicken.

(-) Lack of vegetables to go along with the dishes.

(+) The perfect scoop of garlic-chili that was spicy enough to give an oomph 'kick'.

(-) Be sure to take more because this little bottle of gem was meant to be shared among a few tables of diners.

Chicken Rice Ball

(+) The chicken rice balls were very fragrant and there was a 'chicken' tangy taste to it.
(+) The balls were soft yet not overly soggy and not densely packed like the ones at Famosa.
(+) Noticeably grains of rice when split open, not simply being mashed up.
(+) 5 balls equated to one plate of rice of normal chicken rice.
(+) Was so tasty that I had to order an extra plate. (which I rarely do)

(-) Smaller in size compared to the ones offered at Famosa.

I wish to add that a true enjoyment of a perfect plate of chicken rice is not just about the steamed chicken itself, but an embodiment of the chili sauce, chicken rice and chicken meat as a whole. That being said, the verdict we are issuing is based on the overall taste.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Unlike Famosa, Chung Wah was a simple no frills coffee shop serving her loyal customers and new diners like us alike. Throughout the course of our brunch, there was a constant stream of customers lined outside the shop. We even heard that there was going to be 10 buses full of tourists visiting in the afternoon and their staffs were getting ready to make the cut in serving the walk-in customers. Seated beside the boss, who was taking a break and holding a little chit chat with a regular uncle about their children studies was indeed very heart-warming and nostalgic. It was certainly a stark contrast to the highly commercialized competitor located across the road with striking billboard advertisements and icons to attract. We could not hold our laughter when we overheard the boss questioned the uncle about sending his son to Australia to study Medicine when India seemed like a much better destination, considering the prospects and cost-effectiveness. The little pieces of community living at its finest.

Seeing that we were foreign (or at least that was how we appeared to the boss) which was true considering we were from Singapore and Hong Kong, he took a brief moment to strike up a casual chat with us asking where we were from and how was our visit. We thought that was a nice polite gesture and definitely made us felt welcomed and appreciated as a diner amidst a very busy dining atmosphere. Of course, we paid the best compliments by emptying the plates that were served.

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