For 4 years of my childhood my family and I were lucky enough to live on Christmas Island. This was years before the horrible detention centre and the travesty of the whole Tampa debacle that people tend to think of when you mention it now. Far from that, Christmas Island of my youth was an innocent tropical paradise full of fishing, surfing, vibrant cultural celebrations and wonderful food. As a hangover from the labourers brought in by the British to work the island’s phosphate mine, the population is predominately Chinese and Malay/Indonesian Muslim. This meant that I cut my foodie teeth on such delights as Cantonese style noodles, curry laksa, beef rendang and roti canai. We could even get nasi lemak at the school canteen! Thus began my enduring love affair with this type of cuisine that continues to the present day.
Of all the wonderful dishes I grew to love during this period our lives, perhaps mine and my family’s favourite is Chicken Rice. I wrote an entry on it a while ago, so check it out if you’re unfamiliar with the dish and want a bit more of an explanation as to what it’s all about. One of the things I love most about Perth is the abundance of great, cheap South East Asian food we have available to us, and being somewhat of a connoisseur of the dish it has been my mission to search high and low to find the best Chicken Rice in town. Well folks, I think my quest might finally be over as a while back I had a spontaneous Chicken Rice craving and thus went to Tak Chee on William St in Northbridge for lunch.
Sitting directly opposite another of my favourite Asian food haunts, Viet Hoa, it seems that it was sitting right under my nose the whole time. Initial signs were good as everyone else in the place was Asian (an Asian restaurant full of honkies is always a very bad sign in my opinion) and they pretty much all had the Chicken Rice sitting in front of them. Hopes thusly raised, I was not to be disappointed. Coming served in a cute, boat shaped dish with the requisite rice and broth in bowls on the side, the large chunks of breast meat were floating in a delicious soy based sauce with bean shoots in it, a nice extra touch that I’d not seen before which added some good crunch to the meal. Man it was good! The rice was flavoursome but not too oily, the broth salty and delicious and the chilli sauce undoubtedly homemade and brimming with fiery chilli and tangy ginger and garlic. Washing the lot down with a can of 100 Plus (a fizzy isotonic drink popular in Malaysia and Indonesia) I was taken right back to my youth and can honestly say that it was the best I’d had since leaving the island. Aunty Jen, who’d come with me, had the Roti Canai, which was equally good and despite coming with only 1 roti had a huge bowl of mouth-wateringly good chicken curry with it.
I have to say that I had heard Tak Chee was the best Chicken Rice in town and am very happy to be able to confirm it. Judging by Jenny’s roti and the look of a few other dishes that I saw come out they do everything else really well too, so I think I’ll be making a trip back there when I next get a Malaysian food craving. The laksa did look pretty damn good after all…