Chatterbox @ Mandarin Orchard, Singapore – Chicken Rice

July 18th, 2010 27 Commented

"Taste the legend" occurs at Chatterbox when you savor their price rocking Chicken rice and Lobster Laksa. I was one of the few skeptics who rolled their eyes when people allowed their wallets to be flattened by the SGD$22 Chicken rice. Some may even say that they are crazy! But alas, I decided to take the plunge when I wanted to be convinced that my skepticism was right.

So, I found myself sitting by the window at the brightly lit Chatterbox on a Friday afternoon with my wife. Located on the 5th level, the recently re-opened restaurant is tastefully fashioned with a modern and clean look. It is themed with colors of white and green and even their menu, pictured below is dressed in those colors.


The restaurant boasts of a semi open kitchen, prettily embellished with glass bottles on the glass racks at the top and nicely stacked white plates at the bottom. If you notice closely, even the sofas are colored in pale lime green.

Semi open kitchen

The cutlery design is simple but has a modern oriental flavor.

Cutlery design

Now, here comes the Mandarin Chicken Rice. The tender chicken meat was cushioned on a bed of lettuce and light sauce in a white shallow bowl, garnished by a pair of baby tomatoes and two slices of Japanese cucumber placed on the side. The succulent meat was lightly salted, fresh and fragrant. I couldn’t resist taking in the chicken skin as well because it wasn’t too oily overall.

About Chicken Rice

It is a popular dish that is commonly found in the Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine. Based on the Wenchang chicken (文昌雞), a well known Hainanese dish, it became very popular when it was adopted by the overseas Chinese residing in Southeast Asia. Today, it can be found in countries such as Thailand, and found in Hainan, China.

Steamed chicken

The rice was fragrant and cooked to the right consistency, not too soft or hard. It had a light chicken flavor to it and it wasn’t oily at all. I’ve tried chicken rice where the rice was more oilier than the chicken itself! Yucky! The three kinds of sauce on the side: ginger broth, their secret chill sauce, and their specially brewed dark soy sauce compliment the dish very well.


The soup had a nice earthy and sweet flavor to it. It had the right taste, not oily nor salty. Topped with a huge chunk of tofu and some shredded lettuce, overall it was a tasty and refreshing light broth.


The seasonal vegetable was fresh and crunchy. It was garnished with fried garlic bits, which wasn’t bitter at all. The slightly starchy sauce goes well with the Xiao Bai Cai a.k.a. celery mustard.

Seasonal vegetable

The Lobster Laksa was a total knockout. Even though I paid a hefty price of SGD$28, the succulent lobster meat and the savory laksa was to die for. I thought the amount of meat given was pretty generous, where you can really bite into chunks of lobster meat. On top of them, you will be glad to find ample amounts of fishcake and tao gua (beancurd) in the crimson-licious soup. Two quail eggs were prettily floating in the bowl as well, which is my favorite. The noodles were chewy and not soggy at all. The Italians would call it "al dente". Overall, this Laksa won me and my wifey over. :D

Lobster Laksa

I ended my meal with a chilled coconut drink. It wasn’t really special or anything, so this is a really overpriced drink at SGD$9, when you can easily get one for SGD$2 in the supermarket. Never follow in my foot steps for this one. But, go for their popular homemade coconut ice-cream instead.

Chilled coconut drink

Official Chatterbox website

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27 responses to “Chatterbox @ Mandarin Orchard, Singapore – Chicken Rice”

  1. Aya says:

    I like the restaurant style :)

    • softz says:

      Hmm… the photo shown is only part of the restaurant because I was facing another direction. Sadly, I didn’t snap the whole restaurant to give an overall view. :(

  2. heathorn says:

    wow, that laksa….seems like I need to try that.
    LOL for the thai coconut, yeah you are right we can buy that for less than 2sgd :D

    Not going to singapore garden festival? I am hoping to see your coverage ^^

    • softz says:

      Oh man… I’ve totally forgotten about the Singapore Garden Festival. :( … Sigh, it’s a sign of old age. *LOL*
      I’ll see if I can drop by on Monday evening, or else I’d have to wait for next year. :(

  3. chubbybots says:

    Wow….that laksa looks really good! Ok will go and experience it for myself!

  4. Nopy says:

    The food looks good. I’ve had laksa several times before, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it with lobster.

    • softz says:

      I found the lobster laksa quite interesting too. It was my first time trying it, though it was ordered by my wife cause we wanted to try more variety instead of having both chicken rice.

  5. Fabrice says:

    I love chatter box, they sure make the food nice, but expenisve =/

    The one i go to now to have the best chicken rice XD is a far east plaze, on scotts road, the top floor nxt to the hair salon, i forgot the name of it, but its definetely worth a try, i first went there 2-3 years ago, and since then i stop going to Chatter box and went to this one =)

    Mhmm for laksa.. i prefer home made, its just that most restaurant or coffee shop put too much coconut milk (well in my case) makes it heavy and the taste becomes..well not the usual laksa anymore.

    • softz says:

      Ah Fabrice,

      I know that one, at Far East Plaza, you mentioned. I went there five years ago. They taste great too, but the space seemed limited to me. Not long ago, I went there again. It was too pack for us to even get proper seated. So, I gave up, plus the cooking smell from other stalls are sticking to my clothes, which I find it very annoying most of the time.

      Btw, have you heard of Boon Tong Kee? I heard they serve great chicken rice too. I’ve gotta find out where they are and I might visit them ;)

      • Fabrice says:

        Ye its true the space is limited, but if you go at the right time, i tell you they make it very nice, plus the price is reasonable. Im glad its a bit detached from the other stalls like this it has its nice own spot if you know what i mean,

        Ive heard of Boon Tong Kee, my friend went there, i havent been myself, so ill have to ask him =) thanks for the reminder!

        • softz says:

          I’ll try BTK too. :)
          I’ve gotta give up on the Far East one. The whole floor was filled with the food aroma. I just hate getting my shirt smelling with food, especially in weekends, unless I go down in tee-shirts and shorts and sandals. ;)

  6. Yi says:

    That lobster laksa… it looks soooo good.
    “the succulent lobster meat and the savory laksa was to die for.”
    Your blog always makes me sooo hungry.

  7. AS says:

    The Lobster Laksa looks delicious :9. Certainly seems worth the price for the big chunks of lobster. I like how the head of the lobster is sticking out of the broth, a little creepy but makes for nice presentation xD. I still haven’t taken a sip straight from a coconut yet, it looks really cool and tropical whenever I see it on TV lol.

    • softz says:

      I love sipping from coconut and also, scooping out its flesh, especially a cold coconut during hot weather. It’s simply enjoyable :) Try it some time AS.

  8. Xine says:

    Food looks good. Does laksa contain coconut milk? I’m not really fond of dishes with coconut milk but I love fresh coconut juice. ^^;

  9. Jesse says:

    I miss Singapore :(

    My short trip to Singapore remains one of my best food-related memories! I’d kill for a good carrot cake back in San Francisco.

    • softz says:

      I understand how you feel. When I was in the States, I can’t remember any favorite food that I had there. Probably, I didn’t explore enough. :)

  10. John says:

    Kai fan!!!! love it… I prefer roasted though, but sometimes I don’t mind the steam type….

  11. Marzz says:

    Wow, those look tempting…. But a tad too expensive for me….

  12. […] restaurants. For example, a very popular restaurant amongst the higher status locals called Mandarin Chatterbox located at Orchard road is well-known for its Hainanese chicken rice made from the best authentic […]

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