Heavily tattooed Canadian chef Matty Matheson has come to be known for his “how to” recipe hacks for hapless amateur cooks.
But meddle with Hainanese chicken rice and you’re asking for trouble with Singaporeans and Malaysians, where the meal has achieved national dish status.
Just days after Vice published Matheson’s recipe, chicken rice fans are taking apart his version on Facebook. One of their main contentions? His use of ingredients not typically found in the dish, such as anise hyssop and Szechuan buttons.
The recipe also calls for a garnish of edible flowers a fancy touch seen in upscale restaurants perhaps, but never in the thousands of chicken rice shops across Southeast Asia which serve up Hainanese chicken rice daily.
The Hainan chicken rice recipe was brought to Singapore and Malaysia in the 1800s by Chinese immigrants from the Hainan province. The dish has been adapted over the years to become something the locals call their own, and is available across street hawker outlets to fancy restaurants.