Wee Nam Kee was another personal favourite Hainanese chicken rice spot for me. It was opened back in 1989 by Mr Wee Toon Outt and his wife, Sim Suy Gek. I remembered the year very well because, on that same year, the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation moved its administrative offices (Human Resources, Finance & Administration, and Audit) to United Square and Goldhill Plaza, in order to make more space in Caldecott Hill for its drama studios. My new office was on the 14th floor of United Square.
Unlike today, United Square was a culinary desert back then - we only had McDonalds and Chopsticks Corner (selling rice and noodle dishes) downstairs for casual dining. There was Her Sea Palace Thai-Teochew restaurant for special occasions.
Wee Nam Kee was 10 minutes’ walk away, across Newton Road, so we’d take a lunch-time stroll there every other week. These photos were taken over a decade ago at its original premises at Novena Ville along Thomson Road, facing Novena Church across the road.
Wee Nam Kee does a very good rendition of the Hainanese chicken rice - Mr Wee himself didn’t know how to cook it, but he got a very good Chinese-Malaysian chef, Loh Sang Ling, to helm the kitchen.
We also rather liked the “sui kow”/pork-shrimp dumplings in chicken broth, which complemented the rice and poached chicken.
In the early days, we always felt Wee Nam Kee’s rendition was a bit too greasy, compared to others in town. Not sure now if that was indeed the case then, or was it because we always found it rather challenging to walk on its greasy floors - chicken fat can be very difficult to clean up.
Mr Wee had just passed away last Oct, but Wee Nam Kee lived on - its flagship outlet having moved into United Square, nowadays a busy mall with food-courts and lots of eateries. The new flagship outlet was niftier, and located in a pedestrian-heavy part of Novena.
The food was still pretty much as I’d remembered, although there have been grumbles from some customers about the fluctuating standards.
Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice
101 Thomson Road, #01-08 United Square
Tel: +65 6255 6396
Opening hours: 10.30am to 10pm daily