Even as a wandering foodie, I still haven't eaten in a lot of Malaysian food joints in the country. Although I've got a taste of Malaysian cuisine when I went to Singapore two years ago, I know I still haven't had enough. Luckily, the beau and I got to try The Chicken Rice Shop, a humble-looking quick service restaurant that turned out to have come from Malaysia.
Earlier last week while we were in Harbour Square, I convinced the beau that we dine at the first restaurant that piques my interest. And within the area, The Chicken Rice Shop came off to me as the perfect place to have dinner without splurging too much. I have to admit though, I didn't have any idea that we're already up for a Malaysian evening meal until I saw the menu. But being adventurous when it comes to food, we decided to give it a shot.
The interior at The Chicken Rice Shop is what you'd expect from a quick service restaurant -- brightly-lit with blacks, reds, yellows, greens and photos of the joint's food items. It actually reminded me of our famous local inasal food spot. However, although the place seemed ordinary, I was really amused by their adorable chicken utensil holder.
The Chicken Rice Shop offers a lot of food items on their menu. But after a few minutes of skimming through a list of both the familiar and the foreign, I decided to start the meal off with 4 pieces of Nyonya Pai Tee (P78) which are crispy top hats filled with shredded vegetables and chicken meat, and served with a tangy sweet and sour sauce. I also had a glass of Kuching 3 Layer Tea (P58), a sweet concoction made of black tea, milk and palm sugar.
Being a hardcore tofu lover, my date got us a serving of the Braised Towfoo and Egg (P98). Although this plate looks really good, we were left disappointed. The tofu was lifeless and bland while the braised egg was tough and chewy. Both the beau and I thought that maybe this plate has been sitting too long on the counter top before it was served.
For main course, I got myself a personal platter of Hainanese Chicken (P128) served with chili and ginger sauces, rice and soup of the day. For such a low price, I was really impressed of how decent the chicken portion was. The chicken meat also passed my taste buds as it was very moist, tender and had a light, delicate taste that blended really well with the bed of cucumber slices and soy-sesame sauce.
And as if I didn't find myself already satisfied, the rice and soup were also very tasty. Cooked in chicken stock, the rice was oily yet equally flavorful. The soup on the other hand, also had a very evident chicken flavor. I'm guessing that the accompanying soup was also made from the same chicken stock the Hainanese Chicken and even the rice were cooked in.
Since my date is a big fan of noodles, he got himself a serving of the Honey BBQ Chicken Noodles (P168) which comes with steamed wanton and free soup of the day. Unlike myself who was satisfied with my orders, the beau wasn't too happy with his dry noodle platter. Although the Honey BBQ Chicken tasted phenomenal -- beautifully grilled and glazed with sweet honey BBQ sauce, the noodles and wanton were a little dull and lifeless for him.
I was already getting full after the seemingly mid-heavy meal, but being a desserts person, how can I ignore The Chicken Rice Shop's list of sweet meal enders? So although I pronounced it wrong, I ordered a regular Ais Kacang (P70) before billing out. Pronounced as ice kachang and not kakang, this bowl is a traditional Malaysian shaved ice dessert drizzled with raw sugar syrup, coconut milk, red beans and ground peanuts, a simple meal ender that didn't fail to satisfy my sweet tooth.
For an impromptu evening meal, I was happy to have chosen to eat at The Chicken Rice Shop. The interior may not be outstanding, but it was very comfortable. Service was also note-worthy as the servers were all very friendly, courteous, prompt and alert to our needs. However, when it comes to taste, the beau and I have different stands. While I enjoyed my experience, my date found the flavors too bland for his palate. I guess Malaysian food is not for everyone.
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
The Chicken Rice Shop, Harbour Square
G/F Harbour Square, Pedro Bukaneg St.,
Manila, Metro Manila
Malaysian Official Website