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Ooo this posting brings tears to my eyes. It's been 10 years since I had these when a group of us went on a makan tour of Melaka. Hidup Hoe Kee

Nate 2.0

I heard about these chicken rice balls as being a Muar specialty but the general consensus was that they weren't worth driving all the way to Malacca for. I guess you need to find the mother restaurant that started it all.


Yummy! Thanks for posting this. I was trying to describe this dish to my friends here (having grown up in Malacca) but I don't think I was giving the dish adequate justice. This post is perfect for passing on... :)


GREAT story, and great post. Sounds fantastic!


Nate - I'm of two minds on this one. The balls are delicious ... more delicious than non-balled rice? Don't know. The soups are wonderful. Is this THE best chick rice in Malaysia? I doubt it. I wouldn't drive to Melaka ONLY for this, but if I were in Melaka I would definately devote a meal to it.

mdl - sorry for making you cry. ;-)

Karen - you're welcome. Guess we're performing a public service here.

Kevin - thanks.


The chicken rice balls are neither a Melaka nor Muar specialty.

I'm Hainanese on my father's side and rice is rolled into balls as it's easier to eat without utensils - probably something that the Hainanese on Hainan Island did as many were either farmers or fishermen and it's easier to bring rice balls to the fields/onto the boat for lunch than carting a whole load of bowls and chopsticks for each individual.

My step-gran still makes rice balls as part of the food offering for Qing Ming.


Shiewie - Interesting!
I wonder if Hoe Kee was Hainanese, or if his wife is. Is this story one big fib, then? Or might we say that though the balls originated in Hainan, his wife introduced them to Melaka? And why are they so often associated with Melaka - is chicken rice commonly served this way elsewhere in Malaysia?
Also, I suspect that rice rolled into balls is not unique to Hainanese. Certainly farmers/fisherman/laborers in other parts of Asia have prepared and consumed rice this way, for its ease of transportation and consumption.
Hmmm...this calls for some investigative journalism.

Pat Wong

I also feel that the story is a bit far fetched. It is highly unlikely that those working as labourers in the docks could have afforded chicken.During those days chicken was a very expensive commodity served only during festivals.It was never consumed on a regular basis.Beef was infact cheaper than chicken!


Regardless, it's still a great story. Those darned Indonesians. Ah well. At least the world got some chicken rice balls out of it. =)


Thanks Pat, for that historical perspective. But kopitiam were at that time serving chicken chops, no? Someone was eating chicken outside of special occasions...

Chubbypanda - yes, I'm happy to say the 'outing' of Hoe Kee and its back story does not diminish the deliciousness of the dish for me.

Steamy Kitchen

great story!

i wish i had a recipe too....


Great Point Thank you Man ... i Like Your Blog !


I never realised that there was an amazing story behind the creation of the Chicken Rice Balls!
And I never imagined that I unintentionally stumbled upon this shop and had lunch at the shop run by the family of the founders!

يوتيوب اسلامي

Great Point Thank you Man ... i Like Your Blog !


Yum! your picture is tempting me so bad. I think I will go to this place while I visit Malaysia next month. Thank you for sharing us.

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