New Lucky Claypot Rice: The thing about Claypots.....

Claypots.  They are just not meant for hawkers to use.  Have you ever notice what the hawkers do with their claypots?  They always reinforce it with some kind of metal wire.  Why?  Because most of them are cracked.  Most of the hawkers who sell Claypot rice tell me that they usually discard their Claypots after only a few uses.  It's almost like a disposable cooking utensil!  So here is the conundrum.  Why did the Chinese invent such a useless cooking utensil which cracks so easily?

Metal reinforcements for Claypots

In order to increase the useful lifespan of their claypots, most Hawkers devise their own ways to reinforce their claypots.  Now here's another thought.  Why don't the claypot manufacturer's simply just make claypots with the metal reinforcement already attached?  Seems like the logical thing to do right?

Well, the short answer to this long question is that our Hawkers simply don't use the claypots according to the manufacturer's instructions.  (Not that there are instructions anyway).

The reason for the existence of the unglazed claypot is that it cooks food differently from a normal steel pot.  You are supposed to soak it first so that water is absorbed into the porous clay.  Then when you heat it GENTLY, the water in the clay turns to steam and steams the food in the claypot.  It is meant to be used with gentle heat and with an adequate soaking in water before the next use!

Here herein lies the problem.  Which hawker has the time to soak the claypot and cook the rice under gentle heat?  Most people already complain about the minimum 20 minute wait to eat Claypot rice.  So the solution is to turn up the heat and reinforce the pots with metal!

In case you don't know it yet, the famous New Lucky Claypot Rice which used to be a Clementi "must eat" has relocated to Holland Drive not long ago.  Now they occupy two whole stalls in the food centre.  I have wanted to blog New Lucky since they were still at Clementi, but when I eventually got round to it, they have already moved to Holland Drive!

Like most good Claypot Rice places, the rice is cooked in the claypot itself.  That, for me,  is the minimum criteria for me to even order it.  Some places cheat by assembling cooked rice plus ingredients in the claypot and just char the rice slightly inside of the claypot.  Forget it.  Might as well just order a plate of fried rice.

The other key ingredients are the marinade in the chicken, quality of the lup cheong (Chinese sausages), good salted fish flavour and most importantly, a great dark soy sauce.  Of these, I would say that New Lucky scored highest on the quality of the lup cheong which had that wonderful floral fragrance which I thoroughly enjoyed.  The chicken was cooked just right such that it was tender and juicy, but the marinade could have been a little more fragrant.  I think they cut down on the amount of salted fish because people nowadays don't want to eat too much of it.  I would ask for more salted fish next time though.  I was told that the dark soy sauce was a special blend from a few selected manufacturers which they have been using for many years.  It was good but I can't help but wish I had brought along my own bottle of one and a half year, naturally fermented Dark Soy Sauce from Kwong Woh Hing4/5


Good claypot rice with excellent lup cheong but I have this niggling feeling that it must have been better in the past.  Any long time fans of this place who can attest to this?

New Lucky Claypot Rice
Blk 44 Holland Drive
#02-19, S270044
11am to 1.30pm, 5pm to 10.30pm
Closed Wed
67787808, 93697922


soundman said...

This is the nearest claypot rice stall that I would go to in the west. It is pretty inexpensive, there is a $10.00 for a 2-pax portion. Agrees with your take on their dish but thought that it would have been great with a little more chicken and sausage.

Anonymous said...

There is one Claypot Rice that I usually frequent to in Bugis, is near Leong Kee Bah Kut Teh.

There is usually no long line but is among the better ones I have tried. Even better than the ones in Army Market.

Though can't remember what is the name of the coffee shop. Is in the same shop as the Fish noodle stall too.

SHWong said...

I feel that the key to enjoying this place is to apply the oil and the sauce the way you like your rice. If you like it less burnt, put the oil by the side and scrape the bottom early. The one distributing the rice has to know the preference of everyone and scrape accordingly. (Like the rice cooking competition scene in Dae Jang Geum)

Amanda Silver said...

I know the Claypot Rice in Bugis... I have tried it and it is ok. I will also try the one at Holland Drive... the rice in these photos looks very tasty :)

bee said...

i learn to remove the meat and sausage from the rice then to pour in the oil and dark sauce. this way, you taste the real taste of the chicken. :D

Gastronaut said...

First discovered them in the early 80s at Mosque Street, Chinatown, where they occupied the ground floor of a shophouse and was managed by 2 people only. Then, their clay pot rice was heavenly, and still the best that we have ever tasted. The meat was well marinated with bits of preserved "chai tao". Even the accompanying dark sauce was thicker than today, and far more fragrant. After that, they moved to Bukit Merah and after that, to Clementi. With each move, their quality deteriorated. The present one at Holland Drive is definitely a pale shadow of their glory days in Chinatown.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doc,

There is a really good claypot rice which I ate since I was a kid. It was previously from Margaret Drive Food Centre level 2(The one with yummy guo tie, char kway tiao etc). Tai Lok Claypot! Value for money, and SUPER YUMMEH!!! It is now located at Alexandra Food Centre and is close every Tuesday. Go try it soon !!!

Anonymous said...

Dun bother going there... It's a pale shadow from the past and the standard is just like any clay pot rice anywhere. Nothing worth reviewing

Water Max said...

This post reminds me of the 'claypot' rice in NUS science canteen. Don't know still there or not. The rice or ingredients are simply being heat up rather than being cooked in the claypot itself. I can understand why...starving students cannot wait. Ha ha...great delicious shots, thanks!

Gan said...

Once again, after reading this and a few other posts, I have decided, once again, to travel more than 10k miles to try this. Fortunately, this one is good. Since New Lucky is closer to where I hung out last year, I went there for lunch. The rice and chicken are cooked in the claypot for like about 20 minutes or so. The only thing that I found not done the traditional way is the sauce. You only add the oil and the sauce yourself after everything is cooked. Putting this aside, even if it is done this way, the dish is pretty good. Still looking for one that is done the traditional way...


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