Traditional Rui Ji Chicken Rice & Curry Chicken Noodle in Toa Payoh
When Swee Kee Chicken Rice closed down in 1997 for renovations, but never reopened again, it was a blow to many. Its pre-Y2K closure means many of us have never gotten to try it, until now—their recipe given a fresh lease on life at Traditional Rui Ji Chicken Rice & Curry Chicken Noodle in Toa Payoh, which just opened to long queues some weeks ago.
Image credit: National Archives of Singapore
If Swee Kee Chicken Rice sounds familiar to you, that’s probably thanks to the emergence of similarly named, but unrelated eateries that have popped up over the years. The one and only original Swee Kee was founded in 1949 by Mr Moh Lee Twee on Middle Road, and is credited with popularising Hainanese chicken rice both locally and regionally.
The famous chicken rice stall, which even the sage Violet Oon said was the best of the ’50s and ’60s, would have been 74 years old today.
Today, Traditional Rui Ji Chicken Rice & Curry Chicken Noodle run siblings Jass Lee and Joseph Tan, who were relatives of Mr Moh.
According to Jass, her passion for chicken rice led her to learn the trade under Swee Kee in the 90s, before moving to Malaysia. After a car accident that led to the loss of her leg, she came to Singapore for treatment, ending up stranded here during the pandemic. During this time, she and Joseph came up with the idea of running their own stall, selling chicken rice.
According to them, the recipe is completely faithful to the original recipe, down to the ratio of each ingredient and cooking times.
On the menu, you’ll find Chicken Rice ($3.50), and Chicken Drum Stick Rice ($4.50)—should you be looking specifically to have the dark meat. The normal chicken rice is made with breast meat, but Rui Ji’s has cooked it to be extraordinarily tender and succulent, with a silky texture that leaves you craving for more.
Also, be sure to add a dollop of their limey house-made chilli for that extra spice. It’s the one thing that has changed since the Swee Kee days, as the use of an electric blender over pounding it by hand has made it a lot smoother in texture.
A Half Chicken is priced at $13, while a Whole Chicken will set you back $24. Order your rice a la carte at $0.80 a plate if you’re here with a group.
As the name of the stall suggests, they’ve also got Curry Chicken Noodle ($4), just in case you wanted to have something different.
We’ve ranked 10 best chicken rice stalls in Singapore, check our list out! Of the OG famous chicken rice stalls still open today, there’s Chin Chin Eating House in Bugis, so pay them a visit before it’s too late.
Address: Block 93, Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, #01-48, Singapore 310093
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 8am to 6pm
Tel: 9674 3355
Traditional Rui Ji Chicken Rice & Curry Chicken Noodle is not a halal-certified eatery, but uses no pork or lard
Photos taken by Melvin Mak.
Feature image adapted from Andy Tew, Traditional Rui Ji Chicken Rice & Curry Chicken Noodle, National Archives of Singapore
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