We eat a lot of chicken here in the United States, but we don’t taste a lot of chicken. We tend to prefer to obscure the meat with sauces and seasonings that overwhelm its delicate natural flavor. Other cultures just seem to like unadorned fowl more than we do. The pinnacle of this is Hainanese chicken rice, a Southeast Asian dish of poached chicken with rice made from the leftover liquid.
At this time three years ago, I was going from hawker stall to hawker stall in Singapore’s glorious Chinatown eating the dish. My favorite chicken rice is a less common alternative with crisp skin instead of the gelatinous kind that most stalls offer exclusively. Which brings me to Kindi Thai Chicken Rice.
Kindi, which operates out of Frontier Kitchen in Chantilly alongside burger purveyor Tamalero and Island Food to Go, serves typical poached chicken rice, but also fried chicken for takeout and delivery. It’s not the crispy Singaporean chicken I crave, but the combo, which includes both poached and fried, splits the difference. Both taste like–you guessed it–honest to goodness chicken. Though the fried slices are a tad greasy, I found myself liking them more with each bite. And the rice? It’s oily as it should be, with a slick texture that comes from the aromatic-infused chicken fat with which it’s boiled.
Blame my American upbringing–my favorite part of chicken rice is the accompanying homemade sauce. In the case of the Thai version of the dish served at Kindi, it’s not the bright-red chile sauce I enjoyed in Singapore, but an equally piquant blend of soy, garlic, ginger and chile. But I say use it judiciously. This is one case in which you’ll really want to taste the chicken itself. // 25387 Pleasant Valley Rd. Suite #110, Chantilly
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