The Best Salt-Baked Chicken In Singapore

Craving for this homely Hakka dish? Here’re some eateries that serve the lightly-salted chicken specialty.
by Amy Van

Photo: Man Fu Yuan, Lam’s kitchen

Salt baked chicken is a time-honoured Hakka dish that cannot be easily found these days as a lot of effort is needed to prepare this seemingly humble dish. The traditional way calls for a whole chicken to be completely covered with a large amount of stir-fried salt before it is baked.

After the seasoned chicken is tightly wrapped in parchment paper, the parcel is covered with hot smoky salt and left to cook. This helps the moisture to be contained within during the cooking process – meaning the chicken is steamed in its own juices. What awaits is a flavourful and tender chicken when it is unwrapped.

Here are some places to savour this homely creation:

Lam’s Kitchen

Credit: Lam Chicken

Lam’s, which been around since 1975, offers traditional dishes including their best-selling abalone noodles and signature salt baked chicken. They marinate grain-fed Malaysian kampung chicken with coarse sea salt from Australia alongside herbs overnight to allow the flavours to infuse. The chicken is then wrapped in parchment paper and baked under a layer of salt until golden brown and juicy. This is served with a piquant Thai-style chilli sauce. Besides whole chicken, chicken thighs are also available. The original eatery is on Race Course Road but there are different outlets around Singapore including one at ION Orchard.

Find out more here.

First Class

Credit: First Class

First Class uses only fresh kampung chicken for their recipe. The poultry (about 800-900g each) is marinated with dang gui and Chinese wine and then wrapped with paper, covered with sea salt, and baked for two hours. If the whole chicken is too hefty, you can opt to have chicken parts like whole leg (or chicken feet!). Besides the regular salt baked chicken, there’s also other flavours like ginseng ginger salt baked chicken and mala salted baked chicken. Their outlet is located at 520 Sims Ave #01-07 but island-wide delivery is available.

Find out more here.

Plum Village

Credit: Plum village

Plum Village, the oldest Hakka restaurant in Singapore, still serves this chicken speciality. Chef-owner Lai Fak Nian prepares all the authentic dishes from scratch. A whole chicken is coated with salt and sand ginger powder, and then steamed (instead of being baked). An essential ingredient used in Hakka recipes is sand ginger powder (sha jiang fen). Sand ginger or kaempferia galanga (cekur in Malay) has distinctive peppery and aromatic taste. Before serving, the salty, peppery chicken is cut into smaller portions. It’s best to pair it with rice.

Find out more here.



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A post shared by Salt N Bake (@saltnbake)

This is the only halal salt-baked kampung chicken in Singapore. The idea kick-started when one of the founders went to Perak, Malaysia, and tried the famous salt-baked chicken for the first time and really enjoyed it. Salt-N-Bake’s online store eventually debuted in March 2022. Their original flavour is said to derive from an 80-year-old recipe. The chicken is marinated with dang gui herbs and baked until golden. The other flavours offered include mala, raw-honey, ginger and ginseng.

Find out more here.

Man Fu Yuan

Credit: Man Fu Yuan

Man Fu Yuan’s Dongjiang style salted baked chicken is prepared by encasing the chicken in a salt crust and then baking at a high temperature of 165°C for four hours. It is a culinary tradition that has stood the test of time since the Qing dynasty.

InterContinental Singapore’s Executive Chinese Chef Aaron Tan says that this dish requires a lot of work and patience. “The salt casing is needed to ensure that moisture is trapped and retained, encapsulating the full-bodied flavour of the chicken so that when we remove the salt crust, the meat of the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender, succulent and juicy with a touch of savoury and smokiness. The dish is then served with our signature homemade chilli sauce for an extra punch of flavour.”

It’s recommended that guests enjoy this dish at the restaurant as the chicken will be flambéed at the table, which adds a welcome smokiness. This specialty is only available during the Lunar New Year season.

Find out more here.

This article originally published on The Peak Singapore.


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