MELBOURNE | It’s no secret that I’m a Hainanese chicken rice fiend. It’s one of my favourite things to eat when I’m in Malaysia and Singapore.
I once powered through six different chicken rice spots in one afternoon in Singapore and am always on the look out for places that are doing it well in Melbourne.
When I heard that Gai Wong was doing a highly regarded chicken rice in North Melbourne, I knew that I had to try it.
Gai Wong, which means “Chicken King”, was opened by Philip and Shirley Leong a few ml the ago. It’s inspired by the hawker centres that Philip visited as child growing up in Malaysia and Brunei. This love of hawker food, combined with experience as a chef in fine dining restaurants, has resulted in a product that’s truly top notch.
It’s tender, four hour poached free-range, grain-fed chicken, served with aromatic rice that’s been cooked in the chicken stock, chilli-garlic sauce, and spring onion and ginger sauce. Each bite transported me straight back to my favourite chicken rice spot in Singapore’s Chinatown Complex.
If you want, you can swap out the chicken for crispy roast pork or char siew pork. There’s also a handful of other dishes on the menu. I loved the kon lo mee, a dry noodle dish tossed with a soy sauce mixture, topped with char siew pork and greens. For take away you’re given the option to have it with all of the components separated, so that the noodles don’t go mushy. A little touch that goes a long way and to me, shows that Philip really cares about making sure his customers have a great experience, even if ordering take away.
I also ordered a bowl of chai boey. It’s a light mustard greens stew that’s not commonly seen in Melbourne. It’s another winner.
During lockdown you pick up Gai Wong from the restaurant. You can also get it delivered via Easi, or directly on special suburb days (check their socials).
5-17 Flemington Road
Telephone: 0415 358 801
Sat – Sun: 11:30am to 7:30pm