THE BIG KAMPONG CHICKEN DEBATE – Clementi Hoy Yong Restaurant



The Makan Kakis and I went to the well known Hoy Yong Restaurant in Clementi one night .

An enjoyable meal particularly because of the company although we were spread out into two tables and couldn’t mingle (but there is the group chat).

The food was generally of a high standard but there was an interesting exchange of ideas about which dishes we uniformly liked and some which differed according to personal taste.

Diversity is the essence of life after all.

The Duck Roll

The duck roll which is their speciality, is every bit as good as the write ups have mentioned. It was savoury, the duck meat gave it a very umami finish and the crispy shattering skin was amazing.

Deep Fried Intestines

One favourite of the evening was the deep fried large intestine.

No porky smell at all. The insides remained moist but the skin was deep fried and still had a slight char in texture and taste.

Cleverly served with some cucumbers and pineapple slices which helped to “lighten” the taste and balanced it beautifully.

French Beans

One surprise winner was the French beans topped with salted fish and dried prawns concoction.

I wasn’t too interested in it in the beginning but after a few mouthfuls, all of us couldn’t stop shovelling it in.

The dried prawns confetti-like mix was crispy and so fragrant – kudos to the chef.

The Egg Hor Fun

The Egg Hor Fun had sufficient wok hei and I felt was all round above average, although some Kakis thought the gravy could be better.

Yam Ring

The yam ring looked splendid when it came and was beautiful.

It was actually very good in the first few mouthfuls but got a little soggy at the end. But all in all, I thought it was pretty good.

Bitter Gourd with Salted Egg Yolk

I asked for the bitter gourd with salted egg yolk but was disappointed with the dish.

I felt it was overly salty and I would have liked the bitter gourd to have a wee bit more bite.

The sauce felt heavy and cloying and overly saltish, and the bitter gourd was too mushy so it didn’t work for me.

The Kampong Chicken Debate

I left the Pak Chum Kai to the end although it was the first dish that was served, to talk a little about Kampong Chickens which are a pet peeve of mine.

I have a nasty habit of calling out on bullshit and get obnoxious and aggressive with cross examination (sigh 30 years as a litigator does that to you) so I apologise to everyone and to my friends tonight and moving forward (because I am not going to change).

I honestly feel that sometimes people get influenced in their palette by external factors, who says it, what is the “IT” thing and the politically correct thing to say and hence I must like something (or not).

One of the things that agitate me is people going on about kampong chicken.

I wanted my friends tonight to tell me if we were eating kampong chicken and each of them to explain why they liked it (or did not).

That was obnoxious although they already know that of me and I’m not sure sometimes why I’m invited to dine. During covid times, it’s because I’m the 5th wheel haha.

Ok enough said – I am going to summarise. People cannot tell me what is so great about kampong chicken and why they like it. It is lean, hard and has less fat.

If you like your chicken that way, then you like kampong chicken but if you do not, then you don’t like kampong chicken like me.

And before you say it has a bite because the flesh is more firm because kampong chicken is allowed to freely roam, think of the logic – less fat, harder, leaner means more taste?

Read the blogs – people in the same paragraph say it is leaner and then say it is more tender. They say it has very little fat but it is sweeter. It is a giant load of crap excuse my French.

It is said that eating Veal is cruel because they don’t allow the animal to move (let alone freely roam) because it will make the muscles tougher.

We all pay astronomical prices for Wagyu because the fat is interwoven amongst the muscle and therefore it’s tastier.

But we say a lean, tough chicken with little fat is sweeter and more tender ? Please.

And finally, let me get this off my Chest. Kampong chicken in singapore is not free range chicken so all the bullshit people spew is predicated on a wrong basis – it is just a breed imported from Malaysia and Indonesia which is leaner and smaller in size, not because it is free range or cage free.

And the other excuse people give that it has no antibiotics, that’s not true either.

“Similar to Black Chicken, Kampong Chickens are fed with traces of antibiotic in their feed. AVA custom inspection then verifies that the chickens do not have antibiotic residuals when they arrive on Singapore shores.”

So kampong chicken in S’pore are still fed with traces of antibiotics in their feed, and they are just a leaner smaller breed imported from Indonesia and Malaysia.

AVA just ensures that all chicken imported into S’pore do not have too high a concentration of antibiotic residuals.

So sorry to end – none of my makan Kakis profess to know whether what we ate was kampong chicken or not, which was good and honest.

Neither did anyone think it was particularly good because we were told it was kampong chicken. Again kudos to them.

I was not enamoured because the chicken was not plump and juicy but it was leaner and bonier than what I was accustomed to and liked.

And I thought the liquid it nestled in was way too saltish and not balanced.

It would have worked with less of the salty liquid it came in, particularly because the ginger side accompaniment it came with was exceptional.

We were told that side dish consisted of three different gingers, garlic, spring onion etc. It was so good I was eating that ginger dish with other dishes.

And finally, praise the lard.

There was so much of it on our table we were eating it like keropok.

Hoy Yong Seafood Restaurant 开洋海鲜菜馆

Address: 352 Clementi Ave 2, #01-153, Singapore 120352

Phone: 6778 2223

Opening Hours: 5:30pm to 10:30pm daily.

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