Yet Con, Singapore

We’d made plans with our friend Mandy to go on a durian-eating session in Geylang (read about my Singapore durian fest) but met up for dinner first. We went to Yet Con, a coffee shop on Purvis Street that is known for its Hainanese cuisine.

An elderly uncle sits sternly at the front counter directing the traffic, overseeing the chopping of cooked chickens and taking the money. The abacus and an orange coin-operated payphone add to the coffee shop’s old-fashioned feel, but thankfully it’s an air-conditioned dining room.

Yet Con Yet Con doesn’t look particularly attractive from the front, but proves you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

On our marble top table were jars of chilli sauce and minced ginger, light and dark soy sauce and a steamboat burner, which we may have used on a different day, to sample Yet Con’s “economical steamboat”. But tonight, we were just after a quick dinner.

You can’t choose the part of the chicken you’d like, so we shared half a poached chicken. Individual bowls of fragrant chicken rice were quickly delivered to our table, followed by big bowl of soup with smaller bowls to ladle into, and the chicken. The roughly chopped chicken was piled on the plate, cucumber chunks scattered around it. The flesh was lean and almost gamey, like a kampung (village) chicken. People sensitive to a strong natural chicken flavour may find Yet Con’s chicken too ‘chickeny’. The rice was savoury and delicious. Was it as good as Tian Tian? For me it was different, rather than better (or not). They’re now both on my Singapore chicken rice shortlist.

Hainanese chicken Hainanese chicken – the least photogenic plate of chicken I have seen in a while, but we enjoyed it.

Soup A generous serving of soup for three

Chop suey’s not a dish I’d usually order, but Jac liked the sound of mixed vegetables with pork, prawns and squid (I think she was just desperate to include vegetables in our meal). You can’t go wrong with chunks of meat and veggies in a garlicky sauce – it was a very home-style dish that reminded me of my late grandma’s cooking.

Mixed chop suey Mixed chop suey

When I was a kid, my grandma sometimes cooked chicken chop, boneless, lightly battered chicken in a tasty sauce with sliced fried potatoes, tomatoes and onions. We ordered Yet Con’s Hainanese pork chop – a juicy crumbed pork chop with a dark crisp crust, served with sliced fried potatoes, tomatoes, peas and onions, all smothered in a tangy sweet sauce. I really enjoyed this taste of nostalgia but Jac found the sauce too sweet. Luckily I was there to help eat her share.

Hainanese pork chop Hainanese pork chop

Our table had the only Westerner in the place. The dinner crowd appeared to be mostly locals, always a great sign when you’re after a good feed in a touristy town.

Around here, just about everyone claims their Hainanese chicken rice is ‘famous’. The trick is to eat your way to discover which ones deserve fame! Yet Con has been selling chicken rice from this very shop since 1940 – to thrive for so long in Chicken Rice City, they’re doing something right.

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Yet Con
25 Purvis Street, Singapore
+65 6337 6819

Singapore series

Jac and I were in Singapore for 8 nights in July 2014. We paid for this trip ourselves and our friend Mandy was our local guide and makan kaki (eating buddy).

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  • Row

    These rustic-looking dishes look so hearty and satisfying! The Hainanese pork chop looks especially delicious… I would love to eat this with extra rice to soak up the yummy sauce. :)

    • I think I did eat some of Jac’s rice too, as I finished mine off rather quickly. :)

  • Definitely the most haphazard plate of chicken rice I’ve seen in my time! I quite like the stronger flavour, so I think this would be right my alley.

    • Haha, haphazard is a great description! My late grandma and dad shared the same dislike of chicken that smelled too chickeny. They wouldn’t have liked this chicken, that’s for sure.