The Singapore Michelin Bib Gourmand has gotten more inclusive, with the entrant of a traditional style Claypot Rice stall.
Stalls to be more specific, as New Lucky Claypot Rice occupies two stall spaces located within the Holland Drive Market and Food Centre.
(Click PLAY for video highlights of New Lucky Claypot Rice)
Opened since 1979, the stall used to be located in Bukit Merah and Clementi, but has since moved to its current location in Holland Drive. (For tourists, Holland Drive is kind of near Holland Village, perhaps a 5 minutes car-ride, 15 minutes walk away.)
Let’s get down to the more nitty-ditty details to make your dining experience more pleasant.
The waiting time is estimated to be between 20 to 30 minutes for off-peak periods, and 45 to 90 minutes for peak period.
You can call to reserve (+6567787808) to minimise the wait, but be ready with your orders, and remember the queue number they gave you. For dinner service, call at 4:00pm onwards. Nothing earlier.
Some diners any ask – why so long, why can’t fast fast?
That is because traditional Claypot Rice requires the rice to be cooked within the pot itself, with appropriate control of the fire. Plus the fact the stall is using charcoal, which would take up at least 45 minutes of cooking.
However, many of the newer stalls elsewhere take the short-cut and cook the rice beforehand to be subsequently transferred to the pot. That defeats the whole purpose.
The signatures at New Lucky Claypot Rice include the Claypot “Wu Wei” Rice for two pax ($10/$15), 3 pax ($15/$20), 4 pax at ($20/$25). The “Wu Wei” rice includes a mix of both chicken and Chinese sausages.
Extra ingredients option comes at minimum $5. There is also a Claypot Chicken Rice option that does not come with pork.
The stall also offers Chinese style soups, such as Salted Vegetable with Pork Ribs Soup, Chicken Feet with Peanut Sup, Watercress with Pork Ribs Soup, Black Chicken Soup, Lotus Root with White Fungus, and White Fungus with Pork Ribs Soup.
While the soup I had was not out of this world, I consider it inexpensive at $4.
An extra side of Vegetable with Oyster Sauce is also priced at $4.
Their claypot dishes are cooked using the traditional method over charcoal fire, resulting in a long waiting time. However, this results in a very distinctive flavour profile.
For those of you who have never eaten Claypot Rice ever, the three simple steps are: add the dark sauce, add oil (both according to your preference), then mix.
The prices are considered reasonable for the decently generous portions of rice and ingredients of chicken, Chinese sausage and salted fish.
I found the lup cheong particularly tasty without being tough or dry, specially supplied by a shop in Chinatown.
The chicken pieces were also well marinated, had a smoky flavour, without being too bony.
Additional tip: The chilli sauce bowl is kept at the side of the stall. Do go get some.
You know about saving the best for the last. The charcoal cooking leaves a charred-layer sticking to the bowl, waiting to be scraped off. These are the crunchiest (and some say tastiest) parts to be mixed with what is left.
A sign of good fire control, that layer did not get overly burnt, and was nicely-crisped.
I find the entire dining experience rather pleasant – the reservation helped, and the hawker centre was also quite airy at night.
Is this the best Claypot Rice in Singapore? While I cannot give a definitive answer, New Lucky Claypot Rice does deserve its accolades and popularity. How many hawkers have the patience to cook proper Claypot Rice from scratch in current days?
New Lucky Claypot Rice
Holland Drive Market and Food Centre, 44 Holland Drive, Singapore 270044 (10 min walk from Buona Vista MRT)
Tel: +65 6778 7808
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:00am – 1:00pm, Dinner 5:00pm to 8:00pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Sun) Closed on Wed