Chi Huo 吃货: Super value rice bowls with braised pork, fried ebi & teriyaki chicken from $4.50

When I visited Taman Jurong Hawker Centre for another review last month, one particular stall’s name stuck with me. Asking around what Chi Huo 吃货 could possibly mean in a hawker context, I learnt of 2 interpretations: a food enthusiast (foodie), or a place that offers good food.

Chi Huo - Stallfront

A quick scan of their menu revealed a litany of Japanese-inspired rice bowls from as low as S$4.50 to just S$6.50. The price point definitely arouses scepticism regarding quality, but I had to taste for myself rather than going off its measly 10 Google reviews.

Chi Huo - Full menu

No contrivances or embellishments here; Chi Huo’s menu really shoots straight with its offerings.

What I tried at Chi Huo 吃货

Chi Huo - Chicken Cutlet & Chicken Tbraised pork

Things were rocky from the get-go as our order of Teriyaki Chicken & Chicken Cutlet Rice (S$5.50) came not with teriyaki chicken but braised pork. Brushing aside this small error, I was surprised by how many ingredients had been packed in. According to the stall owner, almost everything is prepared in-house.

Chi Huo - Chicken cutlet zoom

The chicken cutlet occupied the bowl’s full diameter but was rather modest in thickness. Puncturing the breading with a fork managed to yield a pleasing crackly symphony.

The meat was a step down from its impressive size, being atypical of juicy cutlets I’ve had at other establishments. Not overwhelmingly dry as to resemble chalk but enough for the slices to sap moisture. Still, it had a salty exterior and was of a generous portion to compensate.

Chi Huo - Braised Pork zoom

Like the cutlet, the braised pork’s serving size was lavish and covered half the rice. We actually overlooked its erroneous inclusion at first, but the prominent soya sauce scent clued us in that it was not teriyaki. The pork wasn’t too dry, thanks to the braising liquid and the pork bits had enough sprinklings of fat to make good shao rou.

Chi Huo - Bok Choy

If you haven’t been clued in already, Chi Huo’s dishes are not faithful donburi renditions. Bok choy is present in most of the rice bowls, an admirable addition to the protein-carb majority.

To my pleasant surprise, the cabbage was well-cooked and decently soft down to the stem so each bite was juicy and did not need too much chewing. While it wasn’t a lot compared to the meat and rice, I did come out feeling healthier thanks to the convincing magic of placebo.

Chi Huo - Rice zoom

The rice underneath this stuffed bowl was the true winner. Every grain was coated in the same braised sauce, contributing to delicious spoonfuls even without accompanying meat. The mellow savoury and sweet flavours didn’t impede continuous helpings of the rice, and made it so my palate wasn’t oversaturated by the end.

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Chi Huo - Chicken Cutlet Curry

Nothing could have prepared me for a S$5.50 plate of Chicken Cutlet Curry rice to house such a monstrous amount of protein. In stark contrast, the downright pitiful pool of curry barely reached a quarter of the plate’s depth.

Despite the shallow volume, its aroma told of a liberal use of coconut milk.

Chi Huo - Potato

There were 2 large blocks of partially submerged potatoes, the near-mushy texture allowing them to absorb a fair amount of curry. It wasn’t ruinously spicy, which encouraged repeated sips. A common factor between Chi Huo’s Google reviews is praise for their curry, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Chi Huo - Curry shower

It was a good idea to drizzle the cutlet with curry, revitalising it somewhat and imbuing the salty crust with the fragrant gravy. After a heap of chicken cutlet and braised pork, I was barely fit for this massive undertaking. It helped that the crispy flakes were consistent throughout and the chicken was never chewy.

Chi Huo - Curry rice zoom

You don’t get the titular curry rice experience without drenching one in the other. Sadly, the shallow sea was only able to supply so much before it ran dry, leaving the rest of the plain rice without its gentle tang and milky consistency. If there had been an option to add more curry, I would have gladly done so.

Chi Huo - Fried Ebi & Teriyaki Chicken

We discovered that our last dish, Braised Pork & Fried Ebi Rice (S$6), had become Teriyaki Chicken & Fried Ebi Rice (S$6). That’s probably where the mix-up occurred with the first order of Teriyaki Chicken & Chicken Cutlet.

Chi Huo - Teriyaki Chicken zoom

Unlike the cutlet, the teriyaki chicken was tender and held a subtle sweetness that made it hard to stop after the first mouthful. Along with rice that had received the same treatment of teriyaki sauce, the combination of light textures and addicting flavours would have been remarkably mouth-watering had I still been hungry.

Chi Huo - Fried Ebi zoom

You might be left wanting more from the fleetingly narrow strips of fried ebi, so consider topping up S$3 for another 3 pieces. After finishing almost 2 whole dishes myself, I was just glad to have a smaller portion.

The sweet ebi meat was encased in a thin crust that crackled as I picked it up, gracing me with a brief whiff of its oceanic smell as I bit down. The dish definitely could do with more given how they were nearly bite-sized.

Chi Huo - Egg zoom

A braised egg (along with bok choy) is also served with this rice bowl.

Final thoughts

Chi Huo - Overall

Truthfully, I doubt it would be worth making a trip to Taman Jurong Food Centre for some plain old rice bowls at Chi Huo. However, if I happen to find myself nearby, Chi Huo’s value-for-money and decent variety are reason enough for a return visit. The wrong orders could have been avoided had I clarified just once.

Curry was undeniably the best element of the rice bowl, followed closely by the teriyaki chicken, ebi and braised pork.

Takeaway

If you’re rushing for time, takeaway doesn’t disappoint either.

Expected damage: S$4.50 – S$9

Sambae: 24-year-old young hawker’s bold attempt at $7.50 sambal stingray rice bowls and more

Price: $

Our Rating: 3.5 / 5

Chi Huo

3 Yung Sheng Rd, Taman Jurong Food Centre, #03-179, Singapore 618499

Price
Our Rating 3.5/5

Chi Huo

3 Yung Sheng Rd, Taman Jurong Food Centre, #03-179, Singapore 618499

Operating Hours: 10am - 8pm (Mon to Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun

Operating Hours: 10am - 8pm (Mon to Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun

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