Wanting to satisfy my chicken rice cravings, I went to the Loy Kee’s main branch at Balestier and was greeted with a warm smile and a nod from this lady behind the cashier.

The shop is plastered with pictures of celebrities like Michelle Yim, Martin Yan and Charmaine Sheh (but somehow I wonder ‘why always those few celebs’ haha). And that’s when I realised that the same bespectacled lady is Mrs Loy (Mdm Jane Tan) herself! Like a little fan, I whipped out my camera for a picture together.

Other than the framed celeb pictures, this coffee shop-like eatery oozes out some nostalgic charm with marble tables, big chairs and swirling fans.

Loy Kee has been one of the names synonymous with the famous local Hainesese dish. Once voted as the Best Chicken Rice in Singapore in the 1990s, it has expanded far and wide to several food branches. With an amazing heritage and reputation since 1953, the common complaint is standards have dropped ever since.

Other than the standard sets which comes with chicken, vegetable, rice and soup, they have varied to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu includes Curry Chicken Rice, House Laksa, Roasted Pork Noodles, Nasi Lemak and House Macaroni.

Despite all the competition, I still enjoy the chicken meat, being thin and tender with a slight touch of oil and succulence (some chicken can be too thick or dry). The rice is slightly on the dry side and I would prefer it to be a tad oilier. But the truth is, chicken rice is very subjective and there are probably different camps on separate side.

The noodles were springy. I like.

I also had the Seafood Mini Steamboat which had a mixture of pork organs, abundant bean sprouts and some seafood served in a claypot bowl constantly heated up with a burning flame. With two slices of fish and prawns, you can literally count the seafood.

Ever since Loy Kee first started out at Whampoa Drive, it still attracts a loyal following. But we shall await for omy voters to decide  which is their favourite chicken rice seller.

Loy Kee Best Chicken Rice, 342 Balestier Road (Next to Shaw Plaza) Tel: +65 6252 2318


  1. I don’t know about you, but actually I like chicken rice enough to like almost all the joints – each for their special individual difference. Some days I crave Loy Kee’s while other days I am glad for Boon Tong Kee.

    Wonder how many people are like me?

  2. Hi Jonaven, I am actually like you. I see the merits in the different chicken rice, whether it is Chatterbox, or Tian Tian or Chin Chin.

    It’s interesting to see so many variations of the same chicken rice.

    But of course the fundamentals have to be still there – fresh chicken, fragrant rice and THE chilli.

  3. Perhaps you were obviously snapping photos.I’ve lived at Balestier for most of my life & ate there for most of these years constantly.i’ve always have been rather satisfied with the food there.But recently,i’ve noticed a drop in standard and last weekend was the worst ever.imo,good chicken can’t just have good rice or chilli.everything have to at least be consistent.most disappointing last weeknd was the soup,it’s (no exaggeration whatsoever)colored plain water,we asked for a change and they came back (qt a long while later) with colored plain water again,this time with more spring onions & few cabbages swimming inside.me and my 4 other diners figured there’s no pt getting it changed again.the ginger is no longer as robust as before.and the crystal chicken feet,which used to be served thai style and then they change to just pouring their chilli over.that night,it was served White (as if it was just boiled in hot water) coupled with drizzles of sesame oil and soy sauce, 2 tiny parsley leave n 2 rings of cut chilli.it was beyond shocking.no comments there already.We had fried wanton too, it was just too oily and the filling was rather tasteless.all these makes the rest of the items rather unforgettable.i’m not sure if it’s just that day or is the standard here to stay.but i am in no hurry to go back when there are much better ones available,i.e. at Whampoa(Nan Xiang).my mother also expressed great disappointment over the drop in standard in the breakfast menu and she’s there almost every other weekend for many years.I’m glad you had a much better experience than me and i sincerely hope that all these is perhaps coz the chef was just in a bad mood.

  4. Hi Jess, thank you for sharing your experience. In fact, many feel the same way that it no longer tastes the way it used to be. I guess this is inevitable with expansion and franchising…. the same Loy Kee can taste different from branch to branch and from time to time.

    But they are still continuing to attract many customers, and was voted one of the top 4 chicken rice recently. They must be doing something right then.

    It’s good that consumers have more say now, and hopefully the different eateries can strive towards providing quality food they used to.

  5. Hi Jess,

    I have the same feeling as you. The quality of their breakfast and chicken rice drop a lot . From what I observe, they use inexperience PRC to do all the cooking, in order to cut cost.

    I have been a great fan of them for many years. IMO, as difference branches have difference taste, better stick to their old stall at Blk 91,Whampoa Hawker Center if you want value for money($2.50 for a plate).The food there still prepare by their old crews, so the standard still maintain. It is just about 200 meter away and lot of parking space.


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