My previous post in 2013 on Sin Swee Kee Hainanese chicken rice in Senai drew strong but mixed responses - some are fans while others didn't enjoy it so much. We went back to Swee Kee today - we still like it and will be back again 😃
Sin Swee Kee occupies 2 shop lots at Jalan Bintang in Senai (a stone's throw from Senai Airport). Both shop lots were full when we were there for lunch. Many of the customers came from the factories in Senai.
Sin Swee Kee is the last link to the legendary Swee Kee of Middle Road in Singapore which is credited with popularising Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore in the 1950s. When Swee Kee closed in 1997, some of the staff who are related to the 莫 family returned to Senai. With Swee Kee boss 莫瑞安's permission, nephew 莫泽安 established Sin Swee Kee in Senai bearing the legendary "Swee Kee" name.
(There are a number of unrelated chicken rice restaurants in Singapore using the Swee Kee name today.)
Chicken rice in Singapore has since evolved with Cantonese influence like dunking the cooked chicken in icy water. There is also the rise of fried chicken where the cooked chicken is browned in hot oil. Swee Kee in Senai and Yet Con in Singapore are the few remaining Hainanese chicken rice stalwarts who stayed faithful to the traditional Hainanese style.
I saw fried chicken in the window in Swee Kee 😱 I guess the realities of business requires one to keep up with changing customer preferences.
There is also a bird hanging on a hook. Fortunately, it's a fake one 😂
We were relieved that good old Hainanese style chicken sitting on flat pans to air cool is still the main stay at Swee Kee.
I am also relieved to see a young Mr 莫 Po - which means that we stand a better chance of enjoying this traditional dish into the next generation.
We had half a kampung chicken, a plate of fried bean sprouts, and rice. Our total bill came to RM44.
The half bird was chopped into large chunks with bone in (I like 😃). The plate of chicken was given a light drizzle of sesame oil before serving.
The chicken was tender and juicy, cooked nearly fully through. The tender chicken had a slight firmness to the bite. As Swee Kee was very sparing with the sesame oil dressing, the dominant flavour was natural chicky sweetness.
It's the old chicky taste I remember from my childhood. I like this chicken 😋
You may not like this if you are bothered by chicky taste and if you like your chicken very soft, very smooth.
The rice has a nice subtle savoury flavour and it is not overly oily. The rice have a nice tender nuttiness to the bite. However, it's a mix of whole and chipped rice.
The clear soup is made simply with chicken and cabbage, so we get a delicious layered natural sweetness. I love this soup.
The spicy sourish watery chili sauce is a blend of chili and vinegar. The spicy savoury ginger dip is a ginger puree with chicken stock and salt.
If you like it extra hot, remember to ask the staff for the spicier dip made with chili padi - it has a sharp lingering sting which jolts the taste buds.
Good side dish, crunchy juicy bean sprouts simply stir fried with oil and bits of salted fish. The flavour is salted fish savoury with bean sprout juicy sweet.
👉 I was attracted to Swee Kee by chicken rice history and will come back for chicken rice nostalgia and delicious old school Hainanese chicken rice. The dips and rice were just average but I am quite happy just eating the chicken by itself 😃
Here is my previous post on Swee Kee in 2013 👈 click
If you are interested in a similar, old school Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore, here is my post on Yet Con 👈 click
Restaurant name: Swee Kee 瑞记海南鸡饭
Address: 98, Jalan Bintang, Taman Bintang, Senai, Johor
Hours: 9:00am to 7:00pm (close at 3:00pm on Mondays)
Date visited: 29 Apr 2012, 21 Dec 2016
Return to Johor Kaki homepage.