No fowl play: Popular Tian Tian Chicken Rice says it may halt sales of its signature poached chicken

PHOTO: Michelin Guide

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'd know that Singapore is currently going through a chicken crisis of sorts right now. 

Inevitably, this issue is impacting our local F&B scene, and one such establishment that is feeling the effects is none other than the famous Tian Tian Chicken Rice. 

So, what are their plans to cope with these tough times? 

The chicken rice specialist might just have to stop selling its popular poached chicken, it told 8days.sg recently.

There is "no way" to use frozen chicken for poaching — a process that involves immersing the meat in water and slowly simmering it until it is cooked through — explained the stall's ex-boss, Foo Kui Lian, 73. 

To tide through this period, the stall may consider selling other dishes instead. Kui Lian also added that closing the stall in the meantime is not an option as the staff and rent still have to be paid. 

For the uninitiated, Tian Tian Chicken Rice is one of the more famous chicken rice stalls in Singapore — the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain even once said that the rice here is "exceptionally fragrant and flavoursome". It also happens to be a Michelin Bib Gourmand stall

As of now, the family business is run by 49-year-old Li Mui Yin, who is Kui Lian's daughter. 

Kui Lian previously took over the business from her brother, who opened the chicken rice stall in Maxwell Food Centre in 1987. 

What is happening to Singapore's chicken supply? 

The current chicken supply issue is due to Malaysia halting the export of up to 3.6 million chickens per month from June 1 onwards. This drastic move is reportedly due to the rising chicken prices there. 

As Singapore relies on Malaysia for a large chunk of its chicken — in 2021 alone, we imported some 73,000 tonnes of it from our neighbour — it's understandable that many of us are pretty concerned. 

In fact, some consumers are so anxious that they wiped out fresh chicken supplies in wet markets and supermarkets when the news was announced. 

Some poultry stalls in wet markets in Bedok, Ghim Moh, Bishan and MacPherson were even sold out before 9.30 am, which is at least three to four hours earlier than usual. 

"I also had one customer that bought almost $300 worth of chicken and chicken parts...usually customers don't buy that much at one go," said Tan Mei Inn, 50, who runs poultry stall Chop Eng Huat at 216 Bedok North wet market. 

Tian Tian Chicken Rice isn't the only F&B establishment that is suffering either. Other chicken rice stalls have expressed that they were caught off guard by the new export limit and may have to resort to using frozen chicken in order to remain in operation. 

"I am unable to close this stall as my livelihood depends on it," Danny Tan, 46, owner of popular stall Hainan Chicken Rice Ball, told AsiaOne.  

melissateo@asiaone.com