This is a topic that invites much debate, and there will never be a conclusion. Pardon me for borrowing the popular phrase spoken among Indians: “according to me”, I say Chung Wah is the best.
It is often mentioned that chicken rice sold at Jonker Walk are hype and are to be avoided. My tastebuds tell me otherwise. Chung Wah sells the most awesome chicken rice at a touristic location. To me, what really sets Chung Wah apart from the rest is the minimal use of soy sauce. You can see from the featured photo above that there is hardly any gravy. That’s because the chicken is already packed with enough juiciness and aromatics to need to be supplemented with much soy sauce at all.
The texture of the chicken is also quite different from those of the other chicken rice sellers in Malacca. It is not dry, nor is it bouncy. It is soft enough, yet not soggy. I would think they use some kind of Kampong chicken.
Pricing wise, heck, i don’t care if it is the most expensive of the lot (it is). I think this is the main reason why locals will tell you to avoid Chung Wah, but if you only come to Malacca once in a long while, then money should be no object for choosing the best chicken rice. Rather, what you may find to be a deterrent is the queue. During weekends and holidays, you can expect to queue for an hour or more during meal times (breakfast and lunch hours).
The rice balls and the chilli sauce at Chung Wah are also the best. The rice balls are extremely aromatic, and you will find it quite edible even if you are not used to having rice this way.
It’s not fair to say Chung Wah is the best if i don’t also mention the competition. The main competition comes from the shop next door – Hoe Kee. I have only sampled their chicken rice once, and that was right after having Chung Wah, just for comparison sake. The texture was the bouncy type, and it was served in a pool of soy sauce. If i have to rank them, i would agree they are second best, because the chicken was tender and juicy.
Along Jonker walk, there is also Famosa chicken rice, which i remember trying once. I would guess that Famosa gets the leftover business when either Chung Wah is sold out, or when people are lazy to queue for Chung Wah, or when they are clueless.
The other chicken rice seller that is popular among locals is Huang Chang. They are located at Batu Berendam, some 15 minutes’ drive away from Jonker Walk. I finally got around to trying them out.
To be fair, i wasn’t feeling well when i visited them, but i can still tell you that the chicken texture was a little dryish and lacking in aroma. It was served in a pool of soy sauce. The rice ball was also dry and lacking in aroma. It was, however, quite cheap. The food as pictured above was less than RM24.
Having tried Huang Chang, i’m resolved to stick to Chung Wah.