I asked for suggestions to eat around Holland Village area on my instagram, and many of my followers (who have good taste since they follow me) recommended the 40 year-old New Lucky Claypot Rice which is listed on Michelin bib gourmand list since 2017.
I replied my followers that I read online that the wait could be up to an hour and I almost never queue for food. There is good food everywhere—why queue? My time is precious. They replied that I could call ahead so I don’t have to queue. Just call +65 6778 7808, order, and tell them the time you would arrive to avoid waiting.
The menu is very simple:
–claypot rice ($15 for 2 pax, $20 for 3, $25 for 4)
–oyster sauce veg ($5/$6)
–assorted soups: we were quite surprised that each bowl of soup costs $5 (we went in August) when Johor Kaki went in March and paid $4 a bowl. Can someone confirm that the price jump 25% in a matter of months?
When we arrived promptly at 6pm, our claypot was already waiting for us. It wasn’t exactly steaming hot as you can see from the photo.
The claypot rice has simple ingredients–rice, chicken, Chinese sausage, salted fish, waxed meat and a preserved vegetable called da tou cai–but they come together to form something more than its individual parts. The ingredients create a layered depth and complex flavours, but at the same time, they complement one another perfectly. Each mouthful, with different components, tastes differently so it never gets monotonous. An incredible feat for a single-dish meal.
The rice consists of a mixture of old and new grains because old rice doesn’t burn easily, forming a textural contrast between the two types of rice. They use charcoal fire, so the rice is beautifully smokey.
The waxed meat and Chinese sausages are high quality. They come from a local maker who supplies the meats to them since 1979.
But what is truly exceptional is the chicken. It’s super aromatic, very tender, and juicy. They marinated it superbly. I think with sesame oil?
What can be improved is the oil. They use spring onion oil with 35% chicken fat, but comparing to Geylang Claypot which uses lard oil, free flow for patrons, we prefer lard oil.
To avoid completely: the soups at $5 a bowl. We didn’t know how huge they are, so we ordered two bowls. But each bowl can be shared between 2-3 people. The watercress soup tastes like detergent. The lotus root soup fares better, but tastes watered-down. Coincidentally, my eating partner who has drunk my mother’s lotus root soup commented that my mom’s soup tasted infinitely better.
I am not a fan of claypot rice but I’m won over by this version. We would return for the claypot but avoid the soups like plague.
New Lucky Claypot Rice
Holland Drive Market & Food Centre #02-19, Blk 44 Holland Drive, Singapore 270044
Tel: +65 6778 7808
11am – 1pm, 5pm – 8pm, Closed Wed
Food: 7.5/10 (for claypot), 4.5/10 (soups)
Service: 5.5/10 (uncle dishing out the food was a bit rude)
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–The Coffeeshop by Yaowarat, Kovan: Bringing Malaysian and Thai Food to Singapore
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Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.