Five Star Hainanese Kampung Chicken Rice - A Local Favourite
Established in 1988, the Five Star brand is known for their mouth-watering "kampung" (free range) chicken rice. As a Singaporean, you grow up with chicken rice and Five Star is a great outlet to come back to and get your chicken rice fix. After all, there is a reason why they've been around for so long. Recently Five Star went through a brand overhaul, and have now come to include other local favourites in their menu, such as the Curry Fish Head and Braised Pork. They've even released an app where diners can order takeaways or advanced orders; a convenient tool to have for such a popular restaurant. That way, you'd never have to worry about waiting for seats. There's even a drive-thru station next to the restaurant where drivers can pick up their takeaways and go! Five Star is innovative in every aspect, except their menu. Their food is simple, solid and good enough just the way it is and just the way their regulars like it. This is chicken rice, in its simplest and best form.
Five Star's exterior is deceivingly simple. Nostalgic coffee shop tables and plastic chairs litter the street side. A few fans hang over the table so that diners won't suffer from Singapore's heat. Entering the restaurant, the place is air-conditioned but can be a little cramped and looking around, a beautiful kampung mural adorn the walls.
While simple, the place evokes comfort and truly feels like a place where everyone is welcome. It truly lives up to the "Kampung" name. In Singapore's past, a Kampung was a village where people lived in and the Kampung Spirit is the bond and social cohesion between the neighbours in the Kampung, despite their differences, be it race, circumstances or language. Entering Five Star, I felt like everyone had a bond - the love for our local food.
Kampung chickens are leaner, healthier and tastier. The meat of kampong chicken has a more full-bodied flavour than those of non-free-range chickens and they're less fatty! The chicken, despite its familiar flavour had a better texture than other chickens out there and was delicious when paired with the sauce. Trying the chicken with their chilli and ginger was a different experience altogether. While good on its own, the chilli added a spicy kick and the ginger had a savoury aroma that wafted up your nose.
Other than their chicken, they also served Braised Pork Belly, Curry Fish Head, Hometown Tofu and Chinese Spinach with 3 Assorted Egg. While all were good, the one that surprised me the most was the Braised Pork Belly. Served in thick and slightly larger pieces on a bed of gravy, most would expect it to be chewy and a little tough. Surprisingly, it was delightfully tender and melted in my mouth. Furthermore, the flavour of the gravy had permeated into the meat evenly. It was so sinful but so good.
The Curry Fish Head was another honourable mention. With the curry being so good, it was really difficult to decide if I wanted the rice plain to enjoy the fragrant rice that is synonymous with chicken rice or if I wanted it doused with the curry. The fish was fresh and the curry wasn't too surfeit. The Hometown Tofu and Chinese Spinach were slightly lighter in flavour, compared to the chicken and the Curry Fish Head but provided a nice little break to cut the heavy flavours of the two. GoldLeaf did their Hainanese Kampung Chicken Rice well but they certainly did not spare efforts with their other dishes as well.
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Five Star Hainanese Kampung Chicken Rice
191 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428897 (Dakota MRT)
7 Cheong Chin Nam Rd, Singapore 599732 (Beauty World MRT)
419 River Valley Rd, Singapore 248318 (Tiong Bahru MRT)
Mon - Sun: 10:00AM - 2:00AM